The Ovenbird Twitch to Squamish

Young birder Bridget and I went up to Squamish today to twitch an Ovenbird that Christopher Di Corrado found yesterday in Brackendale. 

As soon as we drove up to the spot on Gov't Rd he was singing his heart out so loudly. He was doing his "Teacher, Teacher, Teacher" call. You can hear my recording here. It took quite a while to finally get a visual on him but we did. We also got badly eaten by mosquitoes in the process. 

It was a new BC bird for Bridget! Congrats B. My friend Chris Dale told me we were lucky to get photos because he couldn't. Several others could not as well, despite trying for hours :(. Other highlights here were Cassin's Vireo, Chipping Sparrow, Townsend's Warblers and some Evening Grosbeaks.

Ovenbird in Squamish - Photos: Bridget Spencer

We then headed to the Spawning Channels where we had several Red-eyed Vireos and an American Redstart, MacGillivray's and Yellow Warblers and a Willow Flycatcher. After this we had a delicious take away lunch of sushi outside at Umai Sushi. Bridget kept saying the habitat in Squamish has so much potential and I agree. We were hoping to find a Least Flycatcher or as Bridget wished a Scissor-tailed Flycatcher. Dream big or go home right? ;).

We then went to the Squamish Estuary and drove the spit and saw tons of kite surfers. We also had 3 American Redstarts and even got some nice views and photos.

American Redstart at the spit at the Squamish Estuary - Photos: Bridget Spencer

Next we were off to Oliver's Landing in Furry Creek where a Field Sparrow had been found a few years before by Ken Wright. We had no such luck with anything as rare but did see a Common Loon in full breeding plumage. We also saw a few Common Mergansers and Harlequin Ducks. We were off to Porteau Cove but unfortunately when we got there it was too crowded. We decided to continue on... for a weekday it sure seemed everyone was out today!.

We then went to Yew Lake Trail on Cypress Mountain. I had just been up a week prior and hiked to the Bowen Lookout to see some Canada Jays. 

Canada Jay at Cypress. They may just be the cutest birds on the planet ? - Photo: Melissa Hafting

Today though we had several Sooty Grouse, some singing Olive-sided Flycatchers, Red-breasted Sapsuckers, Band-tailed Pigeons, Steller's Jays, Nuthatches, Townsend's Warblers and Violet-green and Barn Swallows. We also had some lovely Hermit and Varied Thrushes. I just love the song of Hermit Thrushes!. It was beautiful up there and cool. We saw 4 stunning Black Bears as well. Bridget really enjoyed that as did I. Speaking of bears I notice that 16 new "modern westcoast homes" are being built half way up the mountain. I can imagine there will be bear/human conflicts here. If we keep pushing bears into smaller places and encroaching on their land what do we expect?. It just makes me sad because it is always the bears that end up paying the price.

Black Bears on Cypress in West Vancouver - Photos: Bridget Spencer

Townsend's Warbler on Cypress - Photo: Melissa Hafting

As we were leaving a pair of Peregrines circled above us and a Turkey Vulture flew down so low to the road that he almost touched it!. We were glad he didn't land or I would have run him over!. It was cool to get so close to one though.

Next we went to Stanley Park and walked around Beaver Lake. The park is closed to traffic so we had to walk in from downtown Vancouver. We had several Band-tailed Pigeons, a Pileated Woodpecker, a Hammond's and Willow Flycatcher, Western Tanager, several Wood Ducks and ducklings, Marsh Wrens and more. A Red-breasted Sapsucker even flew right in front of us to eat from sapwells which was neat. Townsend's and Black-throated Gray Warblers serenaded us out on our way home.

It was a perfect end to a perfect day.

Addendum: I noticed I started this post by calling Bridget a young birder.... I need to get out of that habit... she's not so young anymore. She's now finished her first year of University! Man time flies! I've known her since she was a tiny sprite LOL. She sure is one amazing birder and naturalist though. 
I will never stop being proud of that kid (I know... I know...).

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