Monday, 16 September 2019

British Columbia 2019 and the Pacific Golden Plover and Birding in Three More States

Every summer, thanks to my work, I get to travel to British Columbia and always take a few days to go birding and have been able to get a few Lifers out west, including Black Swift and Eurasian Skylark.  This year was no exception.  Along with going out west, I also have to take a a trip to Bluefield, West Virginia, and I often try to make it a more interesting trip than it sounds.  I could almost use my blog from 2018, but this year I had new goals.  

Firstly, in British Columbia I was hoping to follow up on a Pacific Golden Plover report from eBird and also go up to Whistler for the first time, where there was an eBird report of a Barrow’s Goldeneye.  The Pacific Golden Plover would be a Lifer, where as the goldeneye would just be a new bird for my B.C. List.  I checked eBird before leaving and saw a Pacific Golden Plover was being reported at a Wildlife Sanctuary in Delta.  I’ve been out west many times to both BC and California and just never was in the right place at the right time to see this bird.  This time I hoped it would be different.  I picked up my rental car at the Vancouver airport and headed directly to Delta, where the plover was reported, between the edge of farmland and the nearby mudflats.

And it wasn’t a gimme either.  It’s a good walk from where I parked to the mudflats and on 4 occasions I visited the location, seeing many good birds, but not even Black-bellied Plovers.  I did see an American White Pelican, which was rare for that time of year, but my persistence finally paid off on my final trip before heading to the airport on my last day in Vancouver.  Finally, amongst a throng of shorebirds, including black-bellies, I caught a look, though my scope, nearly fully zoomed in, at a lone golden plover.  It was ABA Lifer, number 682. 

While in B.C. I always like to take a day or two to get out of Vancouver and explore new places.  This time I headed to Whistler.  I was hoping to see a Barrow’s Goldeneye at a lake that advertises it as as a feature on a large hand painted sign.  Though I didn’t see one, I did get a wonderful look at my other target species, a McGilvary’s Warbler, my first seen in Canada.  I also added Cassin’s Finch to my Canadian Life List.  I’m actually not sure of my total list in Canada, as I didn’t start keeping track of birds in Canada until 2016 when I started eBirding every day, though eBird has me at 358 in my home country.

As I said in my previous blogs, I am trying to submit an eBird list in every State and Provence in the US and Canada and on this trip I took a couple of days out from my schedule to add three more states to my eBird Life List: Virginia, Tennessee and Kentucky, giving me eBird lists in 40 of the 63 US states and Canadian provinces and territories.  

Though I didn’t get any Lifers on this trip, the scenery and hiking was terrific, even if I had to be cautious of stumbling into certain doom, as was warned by many signs in the of the State Parks I visited along the way.