It was a great day for a walk in the Estuary, with experienced birders to guide the way. Some of the 53! species counted are of special interest because of threats to their numbers: these include the Great Blue Herons, and the 5 species of swallows. Some species will be staying to nest in the area, and some, like the Mountain Bluebirds and Townsend’s Solitaire, will be heading further north for the summer.
Some highlights of the spring-season migrants passing through include the stunningly colourful Cinnamon Teal (a small duck), Cliff Swallows (uncommon visitor) and lots of American Pipits. The Pipits and Golden-crowned Sparrows are waiting for the snow to melt in the alpine and subalpine before heading to their high nesting grounds. Some local nesting birds are just back, including the first local Vaux’s Swift of the season, Barn Swallow, and Common Yellowthroat, a black-masked yellow warbler, common in our estuary wetlands and grasslands in the summer.
Here’s the total list: 18 Canada Goose, 3 Cinnamon Teal, 2 Northern Shoveler, 14 American Wigeon, 44 Mallard, 4 Northern Pintail, 18 Green-winged Teal, 14 Bufflehead, 2 Hooded Merganser, 1 Common Merganser, 10 Great Blue Heron, 3 Turkey Vulture, 1 Bald Eagle, 1 American Coot, 4 Killdeer, 15 Glaucous-winged Gull, 1 Vaux’s Swift, 5 Rufous Hummingbird, 1 Belted Kingfisher, 1 Northern Flicker, 1 Northern Shrike (Photographed by Chris Murrell), 6 Northwestern Crow, 1 Common Raven, 2 Northern Rough-winged Swallow, 8 Tree Swallow, 2 Violet-green Swallow, 2 Barn Swallow, 2 Cliff Swallow, 5 Black-capped Chickadee, 1 Chestnut-backed Chickadee, 1 Bushtit, 7 Ruby-crowned Kinglet, 14 Mountain Bluebird, 1 Townsend’s Solitaire, 14 American Robin, 3 Varied Thrush, 2 European Starling, 43 American Pipit, 3 Orange-crowned Warbler, 7 Common Yellowthroat, 7 Yellow-rumped Warbler, 1 Yellow-rumped Warbler (Myrtle), 54 Dark-eyed Junco, 3 White-crowned Sparrow, 4 Golden-crowned Sparrow, 11 Savannah Sparrow, 6 Song Sparrow, 3 Spotted Towhee, 1 Western Meadowlark, 11 Red-winged Blackbird,1 Brewer’s Blackbird, 1 House Finch, 4 Purple Finch.
Photo courtesy of Christopher Di Corrado