A couple of weeks ago, David and Adele Routledge found a wagtail in Courtenay, BC. This bird was subsequently identified as a Citrine Wagtail – a first record for Canada and only the second for North America. “Wouldn’t that be a nice one for our list?” we thought but all of us had commitments. However, we were working on a trip to Vancouver Island for the end of November and optimistically thought this bird might hang around.Finally, Phil and I found a time slot where we could slip over to the island – Nov. 27 to Nov. 30. Now, we started watching the wagtail reports in earnest. It was being seen daily at the same location but there were also reports of numerous predators in the same area. One person reported seeing a Northern Shrike go after the wagtail. Hopefully, Asian food wasn’t one of its favourites!
Today, we finally made it to Courtenay and we arrived at the site at sunrise. Nothing! Oh well, we shrugged, the best time is supposedly 9:00 am so we can wait. The only activity is a few Trumpeter Swans flying overhead and some Dark-eyed Juncos in the bushes.
Nine o’clock comes and goes and still no wagtail. In the meantime, a Northern Shrike, Northern Harrier and a Cooper’s Hawk cruised through the area. Were they looking for the same bird as us or perhaps they knew something we didn’t?
|Immature Northern Shrike|
It was in a wet area behind some tall grass but was showing well. I called Phil on the phone and then went to try for a photo. There were some gaps in the grass and I managed a couple of okay shots (but nothing like the gorgeous shots some people had taken a couple of days earlier). Phil eventually showed up and saw the bird. After about 45 minutes, we left the bird and went to eat our now cold sandwiches.
|Wagtail field - it had usually been seen in the field to the left but today was to the right of the path opposite the brush piles|