Sunday, June 30, 2013

A Rail of a surprise

Savannah Sparrow-Boucher Lake Rd

From Moberly lake it was on to Boucher lake road. I had seem some good sightings on Ebird from the location in weeks previous and since I was in the neighborhood I figured I should check it out, its always good to try places not on the radar.

The rain turned to more of a mist and it began to warm up as I passed the first few kilometers of Boucher lake road, it traversed residential area for a bit and then turned into more farm fields with patches of mostly deciduous forest. At first it seemed like a poor place for birds but soon the birding became magnificent.

At one point I had a Blue-headed Vireo and a Rose-breasted Grosbeak in the same tree both out in the open.
Rose-breasted Grosbeak

Blue-headed Vireo
 On the other side of the road the froggy "rebeer" of an Alder Flycatcher. I kept along the road, stopping at any habitat that looked good, as the habitat itself began to change to more wet meadows and marsh. Where the road began to branch off I heard a Sora call out so I stopped the car and got out.

Swamp Sparrows called from the shrubs bordering the wet meadow, it was interesting to see them in breeding plumage and hear their harsh trill kind of like a beefed up Chipping Sparrow. It was then i began to hear something weird, like a clicking..but not really more like two stones being hit together, it got louder..Yellow Rail!! This was unexpected to say the least. I had envisioned desperate mosquito filled evenings in the marsh hoping for a distant call, but here on my first day in a new location for the species nonetheless a Yellow Rail. Spectacular!

After the Boucher lake miracle the weather started to become bipolar. It switched from raining in buckets, and I mean buckets, to being sunny and hot. It made for interesting birding, as I would generally take a nap in my car while it rained and keep birding when it stopped.

Along road 1A past chetwynd pulp mill the mixed forest gave me another Macgillivray's Warbler with a confusing song, it also had a darker patch on its chest, I wouldn't claim it to be a hybrid but I would say its a possibility, unfortunately my experience with such birds isn't enough to make that call. Also a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker nest.

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker

The sun started beating down pretty hard, I continued on towards Dawson Creek, stopping only briefly at the East Pine rest area to check for Upland Sandpiper, to which I found none.

I spent a a few hours at Swan Lake provincial park, one of the main attractions of the Peace. Eastern Phoebes were right where I thought they would be: under the bridge before the entrance to the park.

Eastern Phoebe

Soon after seeing the Phoebe there was a big thunder storm, I took it as a sign to take a 2 hour snooze. When I woke up the forest around Swan Lake was alive again with birds, it seemed like Redstarts and Yellow Warblers were everywhere
Yellow Warbler-Swan Lake
. I had good close looks at Northern Waterthrush, which is always a treat seeing as they are usually tucked away in dense thickets.

After swan lake the rest of the day was spent at Mcqueens Slough east of Dawson Creek. There was plenty of waterfowl to pick through but the best bird was a pair of Common Grackle.

Northern Waterthrush-Swan Lake

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