HP Late March Bird Report

May 5th, 2023

Spring migration is a great time to watch for birds, and these two days were perfect examples. With our species count already in the high nineties, new findings are hard to come by. But a prime American Coot resting and swimming on the driving range pond was a good surprise. It became the 95th species officially recorded on the Highland Pacific Golf Course in less than three years. This species, in the Family Rallidae (as is the Virginia Rail that was found to nest on Highland 4 pond two years ago) prefers small lakes and ponds, preferably those with a border of emergent vegetation.  A few American Coots nest on Vancouver Island. In migration, large numbers can be found on lakes and ponds in southern British Columbia and across much of southern Canada.

Total Species Identified (2-day total):  29

Total birds Identified (2 days):  54 and 80

New Species Added:  1 (American Coot – Species No. 95)

Fair numbers of over-wintering birds were still present, but there were solid signs of southern migrants returning to the diverse habitats surrounding the golf course. For example, good numbers of wintering robins were finding grubs and worms on the fairways; a few American Wigeons and Ring-necked Ducks remained on our water hazards; and a lone Lesser Scaup was still diving on the Highland 4 pond.

But right on time were the first swallows of spring — as usual, the Violet Green species. They will soon be followed by many Barn Swallows, and a few Tree Swallows and Cliff Swallows. Watch for them as they fly-catch low over the fairways. 

And we still have hopes for a few Purple Martins to take possession of the nest-box tower on Highland 4/5. They can be expected in mid to late April.

Also back were the first of the White-crowned Sparrows, many of which will nest on the course.

Bryan Gates   brgates38@gmail.com

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