Maplewood: December 6th 2009

Last weekend I took advantage of the clear skies and managed to get out birding before the end of term exam period began. The sun may have been out but cold temperatures combined with a stiff northerly wind led to an absolutely freezing outing… at least by Vancouver standards.

Upon arriving at the mudflats I noticed a Spotted Sandpiper foraging not far from the viewing area; it took flight shortly after and retreated to the northern corner of the mudflats preventing me from getting any pictures. Over at the Birding in BC forums there are some excellent photos taken by revs of what is undoubtedly the very same bird I observed. The checklist for Maplewood Flats (which can be found on the WBT’s website) lists the Spotted Sandpiper as “accidental; out of range” for the winter months making this an interesting and noteworthy sighting. Typically these birds begin moving south in mid-July and by the end of October this species has moved out of the province (Campbell et al 1990). I wonder why this particular sandpiper decided to stick around. Perhaps, it was a bird that bred further south and migrated north?

Also of note were twelve Greater Yellowlegs; a personal high count for Maplewood, and several Killdeer were foraging close to the viewing area.

It was nice to have the sun out while birding but I’m not used to it being that cold. How did the arctic front affect your birding?

References:

Campbell, R. W., N. K. Dame, I. McTaggart-Cowan, J. M. Cooper, G. W. Kaiser, and M. C. E. McNall. 1990. The birds of British Columbia Vol. 2. Diurnal birds of prey through woodpeckers. R. Br. Columbia Mus. Victoria.

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