Monday, July 22, 2013

Sunshine Costa's

After twelve days of strait birding, becoming reintroduced into the regular world was a bit difficult to say the least. I was suffering from flashbacks, waking up thinking I was in the backseat of my car, listening for Cape May Warblers and Nelson's Sparrows from my bedside window. I even missed those Tennessee Warblers.

I admit I felt a little lost. I wasn't really sure what my next move was. Having taken care of the last two Okanagan specialties on my way back, I had given myself an extra weekend to do with what I wanted. So two of those days I spent being a son, something I haven't had the time for this year. And the third, which happened to be Canada Day, I spent going to the Sunshine Coast, for the Costa's Hummingbird.

In what can only be described as a birding miracle, a male Costa's Hummingbird had returned to a feeder in Gibson's BC, for the second year in a row! The fact this tiny bird managed to survive a second trip way out of its normal range to return to the exact same feeder, speaks to the marvels of birds. Though a Costa's in BC isn't as rare as it once was, in fact a few show up almost annually now, and perhaps because of climate change and feeder availability, they could become another Anna's Hummingbird story.

So Canada Day birding I was on the first ferry to Langdale, I even had company for the trip, as a local birder(Max Gotz) expressed interest in sharing the costs and chasing the hummingbird with me. The ride was typical July quietness. A few Pelagic Cormorants, Pigeon Guillemots, and Glaucous-winged Gulls were the only bird life along the 40 minute voyage.

Once we disembarked the ship it was a short drive to our destination. The person who;s feeder was being used is actually the former Mayor of Gibson's: Barry Janyk. He and Max were old friends and chatted while we waited. It was delightful to listen and laugh to two funny and interesting characters reminisce.

A few Anna's hummingbirds darted in and out, until finally the prized Costa's buzzed in. He was top dog at this feeder and as Barry informed us, would fearlessly chase any other bird from the feeder when he was around. He definitely seemed fearless as he sat and slowly drank his fill of nectar. He then shot up into a bare perch, and surveyed the territory giving magnificent looks of his sharp reverse V shaped Gorget. Unlike the sparkling Grapefruit colour of an Anna's his was a deep Purple and quite becoming.


Eventually he disappeared from view, and we thanked Barry for being such a great host. Seeing as we had come all this way we spent some time visiting the hot spots around the sunshine coast. While they were definitely Hot, the birding was Lacklustre at best.

At Roberts Creek jetty there were a few pairs of Marbled Murrelets and some Guillemots, but not much else.
At Wilson's Creek Estuary a couple Western and Least Sandpipers.
And at Wilson's Point, where I had in February marvelled at the numbers of birds, there was almost nothing. Ahh July...
Our mission was was hot and time to go back home.


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