There is a Long-billed Curlew at Hope Airport on the airport strip. Also present were 4 mountain Bluebirds, Say's Phoebe and a Harlequin Duck on the creek near the sewage ponds. Will post pictures later.
With the rain yesterday and somewhat clearing this morning I figured it would be worth a visit to Hope Airport. My Dad and I started off at the west end of the airport. Quite a few swallows flying west ultimately stopping around Jack’s place. There were two male Mountain Bluebirds on the fence posts. There was also a Kestrel hanging around as well.
One of the bluebirds
Lots of Towhees were calling. The number of White-crowned and Savannah Sparrows have increased a lot. A few YR Warblers were singing.
Parked at the northeast end of the airport. There was a female Mountain Bluebird. Spotted something weird on the airport field. Turned out to be a Long-billed Curlew. Earliest sighting of that species in our region.
A few moments later we encountered a Say’s Phoebe. At least the third one in the region so far this year.
Checked out the sewage ponds. Not many ducks in there. He highlight was a male Harlequin Duck just in Silver creek.
Did a loop around the airport before leaving and there were four Bluebirds on the west end of the airport, 2 male and 2 females.
Totaled 39 species. Missed Mallard and lacked raptor species. Usually RT Hawk and Turkey Vultures are almost guarantees.
Canada Goose 30 Wood Duck 2 Gadwall 1 Ring-necked Duck 2 Lesser Scaup 10 Harlequin Duck 1 Bufflehead 1 Barrow's Goldeneye 2 Common Merganser 4 Double-crested Cormorant 1 Long-billed Curlew 1 California Gull 3 Glaucous-winged Gull 1 Eurasian Collared-Dove 2 Northern Flicker 6 American Kestrel 1 Say's Phoebe 1 Steller's Jay 3 Northwestern Crow 11 Common Raven 2 Tree Swallow 30 Violet-green Swallow 50 Black-capped Chickadee 4 Chestnut-backed Chickadee 2 Bushtit 2 Ruby-crowned Kinglet 4 Mountain Bluebird 3 American Robin 40 Varied Thrush 3 European Starling 8 Yellow-rumped Warbler 6 Spotted Towhee 16 Savannah Sparrow 8 Song Sparrow 6 White-crowned Sparrow 7 Dark-eyed Junco 8 House Finch 1 Pine Siskin 8 American Goldfinch 2
Things are definitely early this year. I have compared this year and last year's first reports in Alberta and the Peace region and quite a few species are at least a week early. Obvious two years is a small sample size but from what I understand last year things were basically normal or slightly late. When I read the Alberta postings a few comments mention how a certain species has arrived quite early.
In the Fraser Valley warblers, swallows and other species are pretty early too. I never had this amount of YR Warblers in an outing in March before.
Took a look today and no curlew. Saw two Mountain Bluebird though. Jason, Todd and Danny had also been around looking but turned up about the same as I saw. Good bird there, Chris and great shots. The Harlequin Duck is awesome.
Gord Fraser Valley Birding Administrator eBird Regional Editor (Fraser Valley)