Three species added to Whistler’s checklist over the summer 

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And the final new surprise was a yet more astounding sighting of six Black scoters on Green Lake a day or two later. This species of scoters is strictly marine, found usually along both coasts of the continent. The number of isolated in-land records for this scoter can be counted on one hand in this province, but it didn’t stop here. A few days later Heather Baines found another Black scoter at Mosquito Lake, above Pemberton, and yet another in her exclusive back yard lake at Black Tusk Village!

So there are three additions to our Whistler checklist, running the total to 253 species, and two others were seen for the first time in summer season. In all, 134 species were sighted of the 200 now known to make some sort of presence in summer, equating to a 67 per cent sighting ratio index. Other than the loons, robins, Song sparrows, Canada geese, Yellow Warblers and members of the Corvid (crow) family, the volumes of individuals for most species were low.

Unexpected absentees were three grebe species, Gadwall and Lesser scaup ducks, Green-winged teal and (the lack of breeding by the other teal species), Golden eagle, American kestrel, American coot, Glaucous-winged and Bonaparte gulls, Barred owl, Bushtit, Townsend’s solitaire, Purple finch, Pine grosbeak, Savannah and Fox sparrows, and American redstart. All would have been seen or heard in a normal summer, but our unusual spring did upset the migration patterns.

There were, however, some other good spots. Larry Murray saw Horned larks at the Little Whistler Teahouse on several occasions — a bird of concern nation-wide, and not seen very often here in recent years. Heather Baines nabbed a Harrier hawk in out-of-usual habitat in the Callaghan Valley, and Chris Dale stared at a Saw-whet owl in broad daylight on his way to the Nordic Centre. The writer lucked out with an Eastern kingbird on the Cut’Yer Bars trail, and a flock of Gray-crowned rosy finches was feeding at the edge of an isolated snow bank on Blackcomb’s Cruiser run.

As summer winds down, the daily species counts are dropping with the out-migration of our summer breeders. Juncos are now descending to the valley floor and the rush of northern migrants will soon be upon us. Have a good look at our lakes to witness the parade of waterfowl. It is the highlight of the year for birders; join us at 8 a.m. on the first Saturday in October at the Lorimer Road cul-de-sac to see a snapshot of the spectacle.

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