Thursday, July 28, 2011
Vancouver Island, Canada - day two
A pleasantly full schedule for day two in our long Canadian weekend included much of the afternoon on Protection Island, a beautiful, lush, highly desirable island a fifteen minute small boat ride into the sound. For starters, lunch and delectable local real ale on the floating pub-restaurant (oh yes), before wandering the trails in warm sunshine.
Brown Creeper, Dark-eyed Junco
Past the aromatic, noisy Great Blue Heronry just behind the pub, woodland birds here included Spotted Towhees, Black-headed Grosbeaks, Dark-eyed Juncos (Oregon ssp.), Swainson's Thrushes, White-crowned and Song Sparrows (local ssp.), Chestnut-backed Chickadees, Brown Creepers, Pacific-slope Flycatchers (at the nest), Yellow-rumped and Wilson's Warblers, and Bald Eagles (including a tame and noisy juvenile in the pines).
juvenile Bald Eagle, Pacific-slope Flycatcher at nest, House Wren
On the stunningly intricate Smuggler's Beach - a hidden geological marvel tucked away beyond the trees - Caspian Terns screeched overhead, Pigeon Guillemots and Glaucous-winged Gulls were close in, and genuine Canada Geese pottered around in the rock pools.
The highlight, however, came on the walk back to the boat, where an alarm-calling California Quail kicked up a comical fuss from the surprising position of high in a conifer. (This species is on the very northern limit of its range here and was an unexpected bonus).