|Gadwalls (Anas strepera), such as this male, are a resident species of waterfowl to the Victoria area|
My luck changed near Weir's Beach when I heard the distinctive whir of a Rufous Hummingbird's (Selasphorus rufus) wings. I scanned through a patch of flowering Salmonberry (Rubus spectabilis) and spotted a male darting from flower to flower.
With a bit of persistence, I eventually managed this capture of the male Rufous Hummingbird visiting a Salmonberry blossom
The Salmonberry flowers were looking so vivid and fresh that I couldn't help but take an extra shot or two. I'm sure you'll agree it was worth the effort!
|The flowering of Salmonberry is perfectly synchronized with the arrival of Rufous Hummingbirds|
I detoured over to the Goodrich Peninsula in hopes of finding Mountain Bluebirds (Sialia currucoides) due to their presence a couple kilometres away at Whiffin Spit. There were no bluebirds to be found, but I did have my first Yellow-rumped Warbler (Setophaga coronata) and migrating Savannah Sparrow (Passerculus sandwichensis) of the year. Fox Sparrows (Passerella iliaca)were in abundance again at this location, including a couple singing males.
|One of the Fox Sparrows was kind enough to pose for a minute on one of the many Himalayan Blackberry (R. armeniacus) shrubs|
I finished my day off at Esquimalt Lagoon where I decided to take some photos of a couple birds that would likely be identified as Western Gulls (Larus occidentalis) to the laybirder. I personally have no idea where the spectrum of northern Western Gulls (ssp. occidentalis) stops and hybrids with Glaucous-winged Gulls (L. glaucescens) - also known as Olympic Gulls due to their prevalence around the Olympic Peninsula - begin in terms of mantle shade. Personally, I felt these were Spaghetti Westerns. That's really just a term I made up, but I think it's suitable. In birding, if someone deceptively reports a bird, it is termed "stringing". During big days (a competition to see who can find the most birds in a day), I'm sure a few stringy Western Gulls sneak onto lists. Spaghetti is stringy, hence Spaghetti Western. The birds I saw today appear quite similar to a typical Western Gull, but the mantle shade is a touch paler, the primaries (wingtips) don't quite seem truly black, and the orbital ring appears to have a touch of pink mixed in the yellowish tone. It is subtle but it would be more apparent if it was side-by-side-by-side with a Western and a Glaucous-winged for an idyllic comparison. Here are two examples of Olympic Gulls:
|The hot Jerry Springer topic in the bird world is: interspecies relationships|
|This one's bill is a little more orange, but the wingtips are a bit greyer|
If I get the chance in the next while, I'll try to get a photo of what I believe to be a pure Western Gull for comparison. Enough of the gulls, though. Also at the lagoon, there is a big flock of blackbirds and starlings and they are quite entertaining to watch. Surprisingly, there was a nice adult male Brown-headed Cowbird (Molothrus ater) in the mix, but it flew a second after I noticed it. I did, however, get a couple shots of male Brewer's Blackbirds (Euphagus cyanocephalus), so that will be the finale for this entry.
|For something called a "blackbird", they have a lot of nice colours coming off those feathers|