October Bird Report
October 1st, 2022– Highland Pacific golfers are encouraged to enjoy the natural features of the golf course, birds being just one of those features. Michael Simmons, a regular at the course, was doing just that on September 28 on Pacific 2. Attracted by the disturbed and crying calls of a noisy Red-tailed Hawk (a common species here), he had a good look at the object of the redtail’s objections. It was a smaller raptor, one with which he was only vaguely familiar. He noted the broad and distinct black and white tail bands, its relative size and its flight pattern…a probable Broad-winged Hawk. He had seen one a few years ago at the southern-most tip of Vancouver Island…at the “hawk watch” site near Rocky Point. His latest sighting fits with the migratory patternof this species, one or two of which fly south now from southern Vancouver Island almost every August/September, yet there had been no Vancouver Island sight records of the species until the early 1990s. No photo was obtained, so this will be included as a provisional record, Species Number 93 on the course checklist.
By September 22, Green-winged Teal and Golden-crowned Sparrows had returned to the course; a whirling flock of up to 300 European Starlings had assembled; and a single Virginia Rail was skulking along the edge of Pac 8 pond. On September 27, 15 Killdeer were around the driving range pond, some of which were probably from local nests. Eight Band-tailed Pigeons flew over, they too now migrating off the Island.
September 30, 2022
Total Species Identified: 19
Total Birds Identified: 184
New Species Added: 1 Broad-winged Hawk (see above).
Killdeer numbers at the driving range pond had increased to 26; up to 20 migrant Savannah Sparrows were on Pac 6; Green-winged Teal now up to 16; and a mink made a leisurely run through the maintenance yard.
October 18th, 2022- Here today, gone tomorrow!
That’s what happens during bird migration. Most of the so-called neotropical migrants — those species of birds that live for most of the year in the tropical climates of Central and South America but fly north to the temperate climates of northern USA and Canada — have now left us. They thrived on the abundance of insects, fruits and seeds available here through their nesting season, but with resources now dwindling, most have headed back to the topics. Lots of food there…and no snow!
Replacing them, though, and now on the course, are certain migrants from north of us, including Golden-crowned Sparrows, Dark-eyed Juncos, Ruby-crowned Kinglets and Green-winged Teal. (A total of 41 teal were on our ponds on October 4, some of which will remain here through the winter). And you can expect more “northern” birds to join us in the next few weeks, especially various species of waterfowl.
Total Species Identified: 17
Total Birds Identified: 145
New species added: Nil (Total remains at 93)
One spectacular bird to watch for in the ponds is the male Hooded Merganser pictured here.