Some years there are rare birds that show up, all around North America. This year they settled on British Columbia.
First in Comox, BC, which is on Vancouver island, a Citrine Wagtail (Code 5) was found by David and Adele Rutledge.
Second in the month of December, 2 Bramblings (Code 3) were reported, one in Victoria and a second in Vancouver.
I could have probably resisted had there only been one but knowing there was a Wagtail and a Brambling….I had to go. I called my good friend and fellow avid birder, Dave Shutz, to see if he was up for a birding trip. He was was up for it and asked me if I’d heard about the Bluetail that had been reported. Nope!
Doing some quick research online, I found the ABA Birding News article about the Bluetail. On January, 13th a Red-flanked Bluetail (Code 4) was discovered in New Westminster, BC. Now all I could do was wait out the 9 days and hope for the best. Well as luck would have it, the Wagtail wasn’t seen again after the 13th of December.
As soon as I got off the airplane, we went in search of the Brambling, we waited for 2 hours but it never showed. Thing were looking a bit grim, off we went in search of the Bluetail. It did not disappoint, very easy to find, getting a photo was another matter.
This bird was hanging out in Queens Park, it was rainy, overcast and under the trees there was almost no light. I tried various settings but the bird would not sit still for long and most photos were blurry. I boosted the ISO of my camera up to 6400, knowing full well the images would be grainy but it was the only way I could get a resonably sharp image of this bird. The bird seemed to fly in a circular pattern and all we had to do was wait.
A few minutes went by and the Red-flanked Bluetail was in the books. Species photo #632 for my files.
The photos are not the best but this is the first time a Bluetail has been seen in Canada and may never be seen again in my lifetime.
The first photo is the first I took in the rain and fog, the second is my best.
Ciao for now…Thanks Dave
That’s a very impressive blog & some superb photos. Number 632 must rank very near the top for exciting finds. Congratulations. I enjoyed meeting you this afternoon on Rushmore Road & my grandchildren are still talking about the Snowy Owl. At least two of them are future birders for sure. I’ll follow your blog with interest. Good luck & also good health!