Champions of the Flyway!

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.

Smuggler's Beach

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).

California Quail