Since I was going to be downtown early this morning anyway I took advantage of the situation and ferried across to the Islands for the morning. I don’t normally go on bright clear and sunny days, but thought “what the hell” go for it anyway. Usually a bad move and so it proved to be. I had to start at Ward’s and it was immediately apparent that, apart from the usual hoards of White-throats, it was going to be ultra hard work. Since I have a cold right now and am losing my voice hard work was not exactly what the doctor ordered! It turned out to be simply a walk in the sunshine from one end to the other. Nice, but rather bland. Oh well… Roll on those nice rainy days that don’t seem to be in the forecast for a while.
At Ward’s there was a nice Rose-breasted Grosbeak, a couple of vocal Catbirds and not much else. I trolled for my much-wanted TI Sora at the marsh, but failed yet again – I don’t believe it’s possible to see this common bird on the Islands anymore. I tried everywhere that looked promising (as always)… This Caspian Tern was my only photo op!
Anyway, after checking all the traditional spots I was getting a bit frustrated and just wanted to go home to nurse my “man-cold”. I tried hard at the pier to photograph the breeding Cliff Swallows, but I wasn’t up to the job. I even crawled under the base of the pier to get some rather poor nest pix!
Once at Hanlan’s Beach I checked out the gull situation. Not too much with just singles of Iceland and Lesser Black-backed Gull. Over the past week I had seen up to five and six respectively. It’s interesting that LBBs have become so regular and (in good numbers) over the past year or so. No shorebirds. Surely one of these days there will be a decent gull here…
Rather amazingly there were three species of butterfly on the wing here – Cabbage White, Mourning Cloak and Northern Spring Azure, the latter the first I’ve seen this spring.
In addition I saw a nice Beaver swimming across the trout pond and flushed my first ever TI Coyote from the scrub near the airfield. The former I could photograph, but the latter bolted away from me like a bat out of hell! Neat to see here, must have swum across from the Spit?
Finally, and just as I was rushing to catch the ferry I noticed a large falcon perched high up in a cottonwood. Thinking it was going to be an immature Peregrine I snapped away rather hastily and didn’t really look at the bird too closely at the time. However, upon processing the pix there were a number of features that made me think this bird was probably an escaped falconers bird – I guess the thin bands on the legs was the first clue! This highlights the value of bird photography really as the bands were not noticeable through binoculars. But what exactly is it? I’m working on this. It was not huge and thus not a Saker or Saker hybrid I think. Perhaps a Lanner or Lanner hybrid? Once I get some feedback I’ll update this post. For now have a look at the photos and judge for yourself. Please do comment if you have any useful suggestions…
I’m hoping for better days ahead!