As had been the issues with a number of other sites, the lingering snow made access difficult. Our only target here was Gray Jay, but sadly we were unable to find any. The Hollyburn lodge is a wooden cabin buried in the forests on the side of the mountain before the summit. It seemed to be the most reliable spot in the park for the Jays so that’s where we headed, and whilst we did have some nice species, our time there was definitely hindered by the fact that most of the forest was all but inaccessible. The thawed edges around the car park were the most productive areas, with a number of commoner species feeding around them.
Sooty Grouse - As we were driving up the long and winding road to the park, we drove past a very smart female Sooty Grouse on the side of the road. Sadly the light was far too poor for photos but it still provided us with our best views of this species to date. It trotted along the side of the road alongside the car for a short while before it scuttled into the undergrowth.
Cyprus Provincial Park - Hollyburn Lodge: Sooty Grouse, Northern Flicker, Red-breasted Sapsucker, Steller’s Jay, Northern Raven, American Robin, Hermit Thrush, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Violet-green Swallow, Red-breasted Nuthatch, Chestnut-backed Chickadee, Wilsons Warbler, Oregon Junco, White-crowned Sparrow, Golden-crowned Sparrow,
Our last destination for our time in Vancouver was the popular birding destination Colony Park Farm, just to the east of central Vancouver. We chose to save this site til last because it seemed to have a good record of migrant spring Lazuli Buntings, which we hoped we might see. Sadly though we were unable to find any buntings, but did have a really enjoyable last few hours birding, with a number of new species for us and the trip.
We parked on the side of the road at the eastern entrance to the park. The warmer weather really benefited our birding, with a good number of birds actively feeding from the vegetation. The footpath then led us through some fields littered with shrubbery and marshy ponds, before we took a loop path alongside the river, through the allotments, along the side of the road, then through some woodland and back to the river. The variety of habitats that we travelled through gave us constant anticipation for something new, and we did get a few new migrants during our time here.
We spent the remainder of the morning here before we had to head off back to the airport for an afternoon flight. It was an excellent site, and had we more time it would have been nice to make a few visits.
Black-headed Grosbeak - There were a number of scarce migrants that we missed, but fortunately this was not one. We managed to pick up a stunning male singing from the top of a small tree near the edge of the river. Black-headed Grosbeak was another of the many species we thought we were too early for, so we were thrilled to connect with.
Northern Mockingbird - We had managed to find a few scarcities during out time here, but this was the first rare bird for the Vancouver area that we found ourselves. We picked it up hunting over the scrub, but it was distant and we struggled to see anything on it except that it had copious amounts of white in its wing and tail. Record shots revealed a rather plain face, ruling out a shrike species, which had been our initial suspicions. It was only once we returned to the book that we worked out what we had seen. A pretty cool encounter for our last day!
Purple Martin - Our last new species in Vancouver was this very impressive bird. We had searched Hirundine flocks for them, assuming that we were overlooking them. That was until we saw one and realised just how big they were. They were really impressive birds, more like a swift in size than a martin.
Colony Park Farm: Wood Duck, Gadwall, Mallard, Hooded Merganser, Ring-necked Pheasant, Pied-billed Grebe, Great Blue Heron, Sharp-shinned Hawk, Bald Eagle, Red-tailed Hawk, Glaucous-winged Gull, Eurasian Collared Dove, Mourning Dove, Anna’s Hummingbird, Rufous Hummingbird, Northwestern Crow, Rough-winged Swallow, Purple Martin, Tree Swallow, Violet-green Swallow, Barn Swallow, Black-capped Chickadee, American Robin, Northern Mockingbird, European Starling, Orange-crowned Warbler, Common Yellowthroat, Audubon’s Warbler, White-crowned Sparrow, Golden-crowned Sparrow, Savannah Sparrow, Song Sparrow, Lincoln’s Sparrow, Spotted Towhee, Black-headed Grosbeak, Red-winged Blackbird, Brown-headed Cowbird, House Finch, Purple Finch, Pine Siskin, American Goldfinch,