Tuesday 22 October 2019

A Mad, Mad Twitch..Twice!

Panama Flats

Mon Oct 20/21 2019

 Murphy's Law Strikes Yet Again

On this occasion I was headed out of Vancouver to Squamish when an ABA Code 4 MEGA was found by Victoria birders Jeff Gaskin and Geoffrey Newell. The bird, a Yellow-browed Warbler, is a relatively common and native of Asia but very rare in N.America, it even drew a TV crew and journalists to a muddy Victoria hillside. Three days later the bird was still around drawing a steady stream of birders from across Canada and the USA, some travelling thousands of kilometres just to catch a glimpse.

The Twitch #1 Oct 20 2019

On Saturday morning determined not to miss a once in a life opportunity I drove (mostly at the speed of sound/limit) from Squamish through Vancouver to Tsawwassen to catch the 1 p.m. ferry to Vancouver Island. At 3.05 I arrived at Panama Flats where a small flock of assorted birders were looking. At dusk the bird still hadn't shown and as the sun set I made my way back to the ferry and Vancouver, disappointed and tired from the long day, a feeling I am sure every birder can sympathize with. I decided then and there to return next day. I just didn't want to spend my life's savings again so I texted Mel and asked her help to find me others who would share the cost of the ferry. Ten minutes later I had four takers for Monday morning. Carpooling also reduces the carbon footprint us birders contribute to the climate crisis.

If At First You Don't Succeed
Twitch #2 Oct 21 2019

Monday morning the alarm went off at 4:45 a.m. It was dark and raining. Soon I was on the way back to Vancouver Island but this time with a carload of birders. Onboard was one Larry, the two Marilyn's and one Mike. 
When we arrived there were fifteen or more birders on site including one of the original finders Geoffrey Newell who was kindly pointing out the bird to anyone interested. The tiny warbler was travelling with a Yellow-rumped Warbler and a Ruby-crowned Kinglet. The kinglet being the same shape and size added to the fun of trying to figure out which one to photograph. Despite the overcast skies and rain I was able to get a few shots through the foliage. I cranked up the ISO to 1250 and over exposed a stop and half and was able get a couple of frames before it was time to return to the ferry and make it home to vote. Mission accomplished. 
Yellow-browed Warbler (Phylloscopus inornatus)

As twitches go the second attempt was a resounding success making the journey home that much sweeter. Read more about it in the Victoria Times

Birders Flocking to view rare warbler

 Yellow-browed Warbler facts

Misc bird links


Magpie shot dead

"It's never too late to start twitching"

John Gordon
BC Canada