[Tweeters] RF BLUETAIL in BC, W-90 owls & rarities

Scott Atkinson scottratkinson at hotmail.com
Sun Jan 27 09:02:52 PST 2013


I made the trip up to Queens Park in New Westminster yesterday
and although it took about 40 minutes for the RED-FLANKED
BLUETAIL to show up, around 12:45 pm it showed at point-blank
range in a small group of salmonberries right along the main trail
there by the playset/picnic sites. Thereafter a number of other
birders found the bird and collected photos. When I find a
machine that still has a working E:/ drive I'll upload mine for
Dennis to Flickr.

The habitat here is much like places I've seen the bird over the
years in the RFE. In fact the most recent grouping was five at
the Khabarovsk Arboretum on April 15, 2010, in habitat very
nearly identical--coniferous forest slopes with a bit of deciduous
underbrush but plenty of leaf litter/duff. These were imm and
female-plumaged birds like the Queens Park bird, feeding and
moving about in the same manner, on the ground or from low
perches. The Queens Park bird called just twice while I had it,
the little "phit-phit" mentioned by others. In the RFE, the bird
breeds commonly on Sakhalin I (central and north), more rarely
southward; on the southern mainland it is also common to
uncommon, but there mostly as a migrant, often moving singly
in groups of other migrant passerines.

The literature I have only distinguishes between males to
determine the nominate or pacificus subsp. from each other.

Also at Queens Park were 2 Brown Creepers and a flock of 8 or so
Red Crossbills. I ask observers to keep their ears/eyes open for
an odd-voiced thrush, which gave a buzzy "teez" type note several
times, but will likely prove to just be one of the many Varied
Thrush in the area. We all know how Varieds can vary their

On returning, I stopped by the Samish Flats and birded from about
3 pm til dusk. The birding was excellent: I counted 30 SHORT-
EARED OWLS across the flats, and that is with deduction of over a
third as double-counts. Many birds were vocal and in small groups.
Better, I had a LONG-EARED OWL from the West 90 looking west
near the dike. I thought it was just another SHORT-EARED until it
landed and showed some prominent close-set ears and more. The
bird was too far off for a photo. Two imm. SNOWY OWLS were
visible briefly on the pilings close by. I don't recall better daytime
owling ever from the W-90.

Also from the W-90, I heard a BLUEBIRD, sp. three times to the
south, and heard a W. MEADOWLARK song in this area also.
Neither bird came into view, nor did a YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLER
here as well.

Scott Atkinson
Lake Stevens
mail to: scottratkinson at hotmail.com

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