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Thursday, March 4, 2010

Campbell Valley Regional Park in BC

Before crossing back into the States last weekend, we decided to pursue a report of a great gray owl that has been hanging out in Campbell Valley Regional Park near Langley, British Columbia since December. This large owl, also known as phantom of the north, is a bird that would be truly awesome to see, but alas it was not to be found during the few hours we spent at the park.

There were, however, plenty of other birds to be seen and heard on that drizzly Saturday morning. Winter wrens (105) were abundant and oddly enough, when we were in one of the areas where the great gray has been sighted, we heard a great horned owl (106). We also came across a spectacular pocket of birds surrounding a lady who has hand tamed some wild chickadees to take sunflower seeds from the palm of her hand. She was kind enough to share the experience and here I am feeding a black-capped chickadee:

The chickadees were amazingly light but they have pretty sharp little talons on their toes! Just like they do at feeders, the chickadees would take turns alighting on your hand one at a time. Rather than being in a hurry to get away, however, they would take a moment to make sure they selected the largest seed from the pile. Occasionally one would comically pick one up, only to drop it before picking up a larger one and flying back to the safety of the scrub to eat it.

Here are some of the other birds that were hanging about with the black-capped chickadees:

Chestnut-backed chickadee - odd, I don't usually see mixed flocks of chickadees like this!

Song sparrow - noticeably redder than the ones we see further south

Spotted towhee - my best-ever photo of this normally secretive bird

After getting back to Portland a few days ago I have succeeded in adding a couple more year birds to the list - the white-breasted nuthatch (107) and green heron (108). It's high time to set my goal for the year, and I'm going to aim to see 175 species in 2010. It will take a few good finds, but I think (and hope!) it should be attainable, and if the stars align I may even get closer to 200. We're just over two months in and the spring migration is just around the corner, so stay tuned!


Warren Baker said...

Like the chestnut backed one Monika! Must be good to have the birds eating out of your hand, not something i'm capable of ;-)

I'll be following your quest for 175 species - go for it!

Lancashire and Lakeland Outback Adventure Wildlife Safaris said...

Hi Monika - Hmm 175 - 200 is my (UK/BI)target too. But aren't you bending the rules a bit counting stuff north of the 49er? Surely they're foreign birds. If that's your game - Florida here I come!!!!!!
Glad you got some birding in on your trip soounds like a great time was had!!

Warned you I 'wasn't' competitive.

Monika said...

Warren - It was pretty cool!

Dave - Haha, I didn't know the rule was they had to be in your own country! Apparently I'm not playing by those rules, so you better book that ticket to Florida...