Dave Beeke and his team doing the CBC found one of the better birds for the Chilliwack CBC by way of a Black Phoebe on Kitchen Hall Road. Dave will not doubt give more details and show the awesome pictures he got. Randy and I enjoyed a quick peek at this less than expected December visitor. I believe this to be the second record for Black Phoebe in our checklist area!
Sometimes birding can surprise you. Today while doing the Christmas Bird Count I found a BLACK PHOEBE. It was actively feeding at the surface of the water along Kitchen Road between Hope River Road and Fairfield Road in the Fairfield Island part of Chilliwack.
It would work its way back and forth, often dropping on to the ice or a flattened cattail. It would hop onto several overhanging branches that were only a few feet above the water. It seemed to return to the area where there is a Norman's Photography sign. I have the feeling it may have been there for a while - it sure seemed at home, was noisy, and was finding food.
A Black Phoebe in the middle of December? One never knows what you will find birding
Sweet find Dave! CBC time is always interesting with the anticipation of great discoveries like these! Black Phoebe makes me yearn for Palm Springs where I had the chance to capture a few photos a couple of years back.
Ryan Johnston from Vancouver found the Black Phoebe again this morning and posted the following on the Vancouver site:
Just saw the phoebe found yesterday along the slough on kitchen road. Watched it feeding for 20 minutes until it seemed to get excited about something and took off towards island 22. Hopefully it returns. It's very vocal so I would think it can be relocated.
Glad he saw it and hopefully others that may decide to take the drive here will be successful.
Thanks Len and Ian. April seems more likely than December for a fly-catching phoebe, although I have to admit I know little about the species. The only ones I have seen in the past are from California and Arizona. When it was walking around on the ice (collecting little bugs?) it did seem rather out-of-place
Post by denisknopp on Dec 15, 2013 13:09:38 GMT -8
Lee and I were out to Kitchen Hall Road this morning at before 9:00 tock about 15 min to find the BLPH. It was just north of the Norman's sign. The BLPH was acting just as Dave had described it to the ice then the low branches over to the flattered cat-tails, very healthy and a gorges bird. Ryan Johnson and Vanessa showed up around 9:30 and we all had great views and took many photos. Then at 9:45 the bird got very agitated an flue across the road to the west calling loudly all the time, then back to the slough flying north then south then back across the road. Then all of a sudden it flew up high and off to the west until it landed in a big cottonwood tree over a km west then off again west till it was out of site. Lee and I looked for it for about an hr before giving up. It may have come down so if you're looking I would look for it west of Young Road North maybe in Cobalt Park or Island 22 or it may have just kept going as it was still quite high as it faded from view. Thanks for always being on the lookout Dave, great bird and my first for my Chilliwack list.
Post by birder1942 on Dec 15, 2013 16:31:32 GMT -8
Hi Dave. Good find of the Black Phoebe!I went out to find it this afternoon (Sunday)but dipped on it. Mike Toochen and his wife were also out looking without success, but Mike reported having found a Harris's Sparrow in the area and I was able to refind it at about 3:30 pm near the corner of Fairfield and Kitchen Road. I don't know if you have this for the Chilliwack CBC but if not, it would count for count week. John Vooys, Abbotsford.
Denis, glad you and Lee managed to see it. Wonder where it took off to. Ryan will be happy for the bird for his big year list too.
The kids and I stopped by late morning but no luck. Brent had been looking as well but probably missed it by not too long sadly. Well, if it survived that cold snap, it may yet be found prowling the sloughs in the area.
Gord Fraser Valley Birding Administrator eBird Regional Editor (Fraser Valley)
Hey all its been a while since I posted on here, but just wanted to say thanks to Dave for finding the Black Phoebe. I have been in desperate need of new birds this December. November did not go as expected and there were almost no rare birds to find(I missed the Great-crested Flycatcher). Ended up having quite the weekend, Hooded Oriole on Saturday in Port Mcneil, and Black Phoebe on Sunday. That makes 262 for the year!
if anyone is interested I have been blogging about my big year, and should be updating it with the Oriole Phoebe weekend by tuesday at lastofthecurlews.blogspot.com
Thankfully for me Dennis and Lee were already viewing the bird when I pulled up and waved me over. If I had been 15 minutes later I would never have seen it. Pretty good luck. take care Ryan Johnston