Birding in British Columbia

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 Post subject: Mount Tolmie Reports
PostPosted: Apr 18 9:52 am 
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Location: Victoria
Mount Tolmie is a small prominent hilltop park located within the east suburbs of Victoria, BC.

Regular birds on this hill year round include: ANNA'S HUMMINGBIRD, SPOTTED TOWHEE, CHESTNUT-BACKED CHICKADEE, BUSHTIT, SONG SPARROW, DARK-EYED JUNCO, BEWICK'S WREN, DOWNY WOODPECKER, HOUSE FINCH, GLAUCOUS-WINGED GULL, NORTHWESTERN CROW, AMERICAN ROBIN and COOPER'S HAWK.

Mount Tolmie is a good hill to bird during spring migration as is it the first hilltop oasis on the north side of Juan de Fuca strait, on the east side of Greater Victoria. The hill can be particularly good when adverse weather conditions during the night force migrating birds to 'fall-out' on the hill.

One location on the hill stands out as a 'birdy' spot. This location, in the south-east corner is informally known as the 'birding triangle' as many rare birds have been discovered here in the past. This spot is small depression on the hillside where Garry oak and Douglas fir have had better conditions to mature, creating a more full canopy for birds. There are a few snags here as well for woodpeckers and there are a number of rock outcroppings and trail spots that offer good treetop viewing.

REF: http://www.saanich.ca/webapp/parks/disp ... p?mapNo=88
MAP: http://maps.google.ca/maps?hl=en&ll=48. ... 9&t=h&z=16

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Kevin Slagboom
Victoria, BC


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 Post subject: Re: Mount Tolmie Reports
PostPosted: Apr 18 10:05 am 
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April 18, 2012 :: 8:00-9:00am

Decided to try my luck at Mt. Tolmie this morning and found a few interesting birds.

Birds of Interest

ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER where singing from many locations in the park. This was the most numerious species on the hill this morning.

YELLOW-RUMPED "Myrtle" WARBLER were seen in a number of locations. Best spot was the 'birding triangle' in south-east corner of the park.

A few BLACK-THROATED GRAY WARBLER where located in the fir trees in the south-east corner of the park.

A NORTHERN FLICKER was excavating a nest in the 'birding triangle', next to the main path.

An AMERICAN GOLDFINCH and some BROWN-HEADED COWBIRD flew past on the east side of the park.

On the west slope, a CHIPPING SPARROW was heard singing.

Mt. Tolmie is a good place to learn the difference between DARK-EYED JUNCO, CHIPPING SPARROW, and ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER songs as all three where singing this morning, sometimes at the same location. Listening to each in turn helps new birders learn the distinction between their songs.

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Kevin Slagboom
Victoria, BC


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 Post subject: Re: Mount Tolmie Reports
PostPosted: Apr 20 9:41 am 
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April 20, 2012 :: 8:30-9:00am

I had another opportunity to wander the hill this morning. Weather cooperated with a sunny and cool morning. Ground and bushes were still damp after the night rains and there was a slight breeze. These are favourable conditions for a migration fallout.

Birds of Interest

CHIPPING SPARROW have arrived on Mt. Tolmie and bird where present in many locations around the hill.

ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER and YELLOW-RUMPED 'Myrtle' WARBLER were also present though harder to locate (only spotted a few).

BROWN-HEADED COWBIRD, PINE SISKIN, RED CROSSBILL flew overhead.

A single HERMIT THRUSH was found in the vicinity of the picnic area on the west side of the park below the parking area.

The west side of the hill seemed to be more active with birds however when I first arrived, some irresponsible dog owner had let his 3 large dogs loose to tear around all over the East side of the park. Any birds on the East side of the park were well flushed away from that area--the area was noticeably quiet after the dogs had left.

Mt. Tolmie, being an urban park, is subject to pressure from dog walkers and will likely always be the case. Rather then gripe about it, it is better to 'bird' the park before they get there. Also, there is no point following behind dog walkers (especially those off the lease) and best to go another direction as birds will likely move as well to avoid the dogs--sometime to where you are headed.

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Kevin Slagboom
Victoria, BC


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 Post subject: Re: Mount Tolmie Reports
PostPosted: Apr 26 10:43 am 
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Hi Kevin,

Nice reports from Mount Tolmie. I have been wondering if anyone is checking it out - no megas, but a good assortment of the expected migrants.

I wanted to comment on the dog walker issue as I confronted three of them yesterday at Anderson Hill near the Victoria Golf Course. They were obviously local and knew the sign at the gate said dogs are supposed to be leashed during the breeding bird season (April 1 to June 30). When I asked them "Is there any reason the regulation doesn't apply to you?", they had a book full of excuses. I expect that kind of reaction from teenagers and not folks 60+ years old. They were giving me the line there were no breeding birds there and when I told them I found that statement outrageous, one guy said "Show me a nest." That is the kind of ignorance going on out there. As I passed them on my way out, I said "Keep on making your own rules." I actually wasn't that concerned for the birds there - the dogs were ripping up camas and Western Buttercup plants. They were big dogs and they were ripping through full speed and rolling around on the plants. Based on their reaction, I think I will be less likely to refrain from confrontation because people need to be told. They need to know that some people care enough to speak up. I will also be calling Oak Bay Parks and letting them know.

Jeremy Gatten
Saanichton, B.C.


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 Post subject: Re: Mount Tolmie Reports
PostPosted: Apr 30 12:49 pm 
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April 30, 2012 :: 8:30-9:15am

A light breeze, spots of drizzle and some brief sun appearances this morning on the hilltop help get migrants moving. The hill was somewhat 'birdy' as there were quite a few birds species singing, calling, and foraging about.

Birds of Interest

A group of 10+ GOLDEN-CROWNED SPARROW were observed below the concrete reservoir.

An injured HERMIT THRUSH was found (and almost stepped on) 'on the path' in the birding triangle. This bird was listless and did not move when approached and was in obvious trouble. I was able to gently pick it up and move it to a east facing rock where it could recoup or die in the sun. Better fate then ending up as a dog's play toy.

ORANGE-CROWENED WARBLER and YELLOW-RUMPED WARBER (both 'Myrtle' and 'Audubon' variations) were spotted in numerous places. Many good viewing opportunities as these birds were mainly foraging within the stunted Garry oak (eye level). CHIPPING SPARROW where present as well but not as numerous.

HOUSE WREN we heard from 2 locations on the hill.

A WILSON'S WARBLER was singing just off the main trail north/center of the hill.

A flock of RED CROSSBILL's was foraging in the fir trees to the south.

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Kevin Slagboom
Victoria, BC


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 Post subject: Re: Mount Tolmie Reports
PostPosted: May 04 9:24 am 
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May 4th, 2012 :: 8:13-9:00am

A cloudy morning with a breeze and the beginnings of rain shower kept most birds on the hill quiet and hunkered down. Still a few birds were singing and made themselves known. My walk was cut short as the rains came in--hard to bird with fogged up binos.

Birds of Interest

ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER were still singing and easily found despite the rain.

YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLER was lower down the hill on the north side gleaning in the Garry Oaks. These birds had to be spotted as they kept quiet, not even a call.

CHIPPING SPARROW were calling from bushes as a walked the path.

A soggy but couldn't care less NORTHER FLICKER was perched at the top of a tall fir tree in the rain and wind.

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Kevin Slagboom
Victoria, BC


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 Post subject: Re: Mount Tolmie Reports
PostPosted: May 08 10:53 am 
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May 8th, 2012 :: 8:30am-9:15am

A nice calm morning on the hill with no breeze to speak of made it easy to spot birds gleaning in the oaks. The only thing to spoil it was a helocopter circling overhead and large machinery working at a home to the east. ...At least there was some quiet lulls that made birding by ear a real treat.

Birds of Interest

WARBLING VIREO were on the hill this morning, one in the birding triangle and one down the hill on the north-east side.

A SAVANNAH SPARROW as found on the open north slope area.

A possible OLIVE-SIDED FLYCATCHER was heard from somewhere on the north slopes. Only heard one call but it was clear enough to offer a possible identification.

WILSON WARBLER were calling from a few locations. Also heard TOWNSEND'S WARBLER and there were a lot of ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER around.

Along the trail in a few places were heard the calls of begging chicks. A BEWICK'S WREN nest hole was spotted trail-side in a oak snag north of the birding triangle.

Absentees

Didn't see any yellow-rumped warbler this morning.

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Kevin Slagboom
Victoria, BC


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 Post subject: Re: Mount Tolmie Reports
PostPosted: May 11 1:34 pm 
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May 11, 2012 :: 8:30-9:15am

A pleasant sunny spring morning on the hill. Both birds and birders were about enjoying the morning and I joined a fellow birder in search of migrants. Lots of bird activity to chase with binoculars!

Birds of Interest

An OLIVE-SIDED FLYCATCHER was perched on an oak snag in the birding triangle and offered great viewing opportinities.

WARBLING VIREO and TOWNSEND'S WARBLER were heard (but hard to spot) in the south east corner of the birding triangle.

WILSON'S WARBER were found in a number of locations, as well as ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER.

RED CROSSBILL were seen and heard in the pine trees to the south.

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Kevin Slagboom
Victoria, BC


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 Post subject: Re: Mount Tolmie Reports
PostPosted: May 28 10:11 am 
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May 28, 2012 :: 8:15-9:15am

Every once in a while birding can be a real treat and this morning it was 'popcorn' birding on the hill. (There's one, now over there, ..oh, now over to the right. Now two warblers species side-by-side). An overnight fallout brought an abundance of warblers, flycatchers, and tanagers to the hill this morning offering some great birding.

Birds of Interest

A good number of male and female WESTERN TANAGER were seen and observed in the oaks around the birding triangle. Lots of great viewing opportunities.

For flycatchers, OLIVE-SIDED FLYCATCHER, WESTERN WOOD PEWEE, and PACIFIC SLOPE FLYCATCHER were found in the birding triangle area. There were perhaps as many as 5 OLIVE-SIDED FLYCATCHER spread around the hill--one calling. The pewee was calling as well. (or maybe more Pewee as Olive-sided flycatcher and Western-wood pewee look very similar.)

A BLACK-HEADED GROSBEAK as singing from the tree-tops in the birding triangle.

Through-out the birding triangle area, there were various migrants singing, calling, gleaning on inchworms, and chasing one another. The list of birds includes: WILSON'S WARBLER, TOWNSEND'S WARBLER (one was seen on the ground gathering nesting material), YELLOW WARBLER, ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER, WARBLING VIREO. (Did not see or hear a yellow-rumped warbler but might have been in the mix as well)

Some resident bird juveniles where spotted. Both SPOTTED TOWEE and CHESTNUT-BACKED CHICKADEE juveniles where trailing parents, begging for food.

A COOPER'S HAWK soared overhead.

CEDAR WAXWING and BROWN-HEADED COWBIRD where is the large Douglas fir.

A SWAINSON'S THRUSH was also briefly sing from a thicker set of bushes in the birding triangle.

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Kevin Slagboom
Victoria, BC


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