It’s been pretty quiet on the birding front but I decided to go on the Nanaimo/Parksville Sunday bird walk to Bowen Park. In the heart of Nanaimo, this park is a jewel with most of its 36 hectares undeveloped.
The walk starts in the parking lot, near the first hole of Nanaimo’s Disk Golf course where we quickly spotted a Brown Creeper while waiting for the group to assemble. This one was quite vocal (for a Creeper) emitting a double note call at fairly regular intervals making us wonder if it was a young bird.
It was pretty quiet today. There were no Starlings or House Sparrows which helped keep the BQI (Bird Quality Index) high.
Shortly after we started down the birding trail we discovered a fairly large paper wasp nest. What I liked was the colour and pattern — different from the grey nests I am used to. Perhaps mocha is this year’s colour in paper-wasp real-estate.
A bit further, someone noticed an interesting spider web hanging between trees. With a bit of light that made it through the thick forest canopy it looked a bit like a suspended compact disk.
Next along the way was a Pacific-slope Flycatcher, making short foraging flights, returning to the same perch. He was quite cooperative, hanging out a few meters from the path so that everyone could get a good look or take a few pictures.
Pileated Woodpeckers frequently are oblivious to us birder-humans as we take shot after shot while they peck away at the trees. This female was pecking at various trees, occasionally do light renovations to existing holes. With the dark under-canopy, the camera shutter speed was in the 1/100 to 1/200 range so you had to snap your shot during the bird’s brief bouts of pounding or the image would be heavily blurred.
We saw a Barred Owl along the way but getting a good image would have been a challenge so I didn’t even try. The following two owls, however, cooperated with my picture taking:
Almost at the end of our outing, we found our ‘Bird of the Day’ — an American Dipper. It was hanging out in a shaded spot at the edge of the Millstone River. The BQI definitely jumped when we found this bird.
That was it. About three hours at Bowen Park. Total species count: 25.
This walk was organized by the Nanaimo Backyard Wildbird and Nature Store. They can be contacted for more information on future Sunday or Tuesday outings.