Hi We had a quick look over Mill Lake today but did not see the Red-throated Loon. (Not to say it wasn't there). However there was one just west of the Mission bridge on the Fraser.
On another topic I see a few of us are using Ebird. ebird.org/content/ebird/index.html I tried it for the first time in the last few days and find it very interesting. I wish I would have kept better records over the years and then I could have just uploaded them. We will be doing a birding trip into Alberta and Sask. in the spring and I think this site will be great for Sage Grouse locations etc. If any of you have been using it for some time I would like to hear your opinions.
Len, interesting sighting! I wonder if it's the Mill Lake bird or another one. Neat either way!
Ive also used Ebird and think its great. However, I dont have much time to input sightings into AviSys AND Ebird so I usually just put them to AviSys as it's important for me to be able to see my records at a glance. I know Ebird provides this option as well, but I have over 10 years of data on AviSys. I have heard rumours that Ebird is working to have a method of transferring data from AviSys to Ebird. Id be happy to do so if and when that happens.
As for general use, it's great to see up-to-date sightings and bird movements. I think it's only going to get better!
Gord Fraser Valley Birding Administrator eBird Regional Editor (Fraser Valley)
Gord, I also wondered if the Fraser river loon might be the same one. I have never used Avisys but hear it is a great system. Being a little on the frugal side I never got around to purchasing it.
Drove to Fort Langley through the back roads yesterday (north of Hwy1) and found a very pale Eagle. Tried to get a picture but it was very skittish. Other eagles in the vicinity were cooperative but this one wouldn't even let me get close enough for a digiscoped shot that was any good. I thought it was completely white until I saw it in the scope.
I am an semi-faithful user of Ebird. I use it for specific locations, but not for large areas. For example, I have my "Mount Cheam hike" records as well as "Needle Peak Trail" records in ebird. I can then view or print a "checklist" of all my sightings on that trail, and it adds another element to the fun knowing that a sighting is the "trail's first!" I tend not to put in my sightings if I do a full day all over the place. The reason? Laziness perhaps. I find it rather user friendly, and would recommend it to anyone. It is a great record keeper, plus the data is serving the larger picture. I should be more faithful
About the Red-throated Loon: On Dec 29, 2007 on the Abbotsford-Mission Christmas Bird Count, a Red-throated Loon was seen on the Fraser River off the foot of Nelson St, around 2 miles downstream from the Mission Bridge. Later in the day it was seen another mile downstream, off the foot of Chester St. This was the first year we've had this species on this count.
Whether this is the same bird that was at Mill Lake recently, or the one that Len saw last Friday, I have no idea. This species is present in good numbers at the coast during the winter, so there's no reason to think it must be the same individual, I would guess. On the other hand, it seems there have been very few reports of this species this far up river.
Birds of BC, volume 1 (1990), page 158: "In winter, most birds are found throughout the Strait of Georgia and Juan de Fuca Strait, particularly in the vicinity of White Rock, Vancouver, Ladner and Victoria. A few individuals also winter regularly on the lower reaches of the Fraser River, Pitt River and Pitt Lake."
Contrary to my earlier (speculative) comment that the Mill Lake bird would be a migrant, Birds of BC puts the beginning of migration in early April and the main migratory movement in late April and early May, so I suppose one individual could be moving around our area as a wintering bird.