Monday, March 16, 2009

March 16th, last year

Today is our grandson's 6th birthday ~ so that means that last year, we were there to help celebrate his 5th, and to do that, we moved further up the island. Our favorite camping spot up island is Kitty Coleman Provincial Park just north of Courtney, but Kitty Coleman wasn't open that early in the season, so we proceeded to Miracle Beach Provincial Park which is about half way between Courtney and Campbell River. Miracle Beach is another beautiful area with a vast sandy beach (where dogs aren't allowed) for swimming and playing in the sand, and a more northerly section of rockier beach where dogs are allowed. There is also a fairly extensive trail system. We pulled into campground to be greeted by a pair of Pileated Woodpeckers and the sound of a Red Breasted Sapsucker busy drumming on top of a light standard. Robins were everywhere and we even spotted a Yellow Rump Warbler almost as soon as we pulled into the campsite.
As soon as we were set up (which doesn't take long - we've had lots of practise!) we headed to the 'dog' section to see what we could see. On the way, this little Winter Wren was in a ditch like area right beside the roadway. Winter Wren had been at every campsite we had been at so far, but they aren't the easiest of birds to photograph, partly due to their love of dark damp places, but this little guy posed nicely. These dark and stormy pictures aren't likely to make you rush to Miracle Beach - but it was March afterall. I do have nice sunny pictures of the area, but they weren't taken on this trip so it would be cheating to post them.

The rockier areas of the beach are always more interesting for birdlife. We had hoped to see more in the way of shorebirds but it was a little too early for that. This American Golden Plover was one of several seen that first day.

Mid afternoon we headed northward to Campbell River taking the scenic route, better known as the 'old highway' which runs right along the water front. Between the highway and the beach itself there is a linear park with a paved walking/cycling path that runs the whole length. As our dogs were to be relegated to the truck while we partook of the birthday dinner, we got them out for another bit of a walk before heading up the hill to my daughters house which overlooks this beach area.

These Cormorants (all Double Crested except for one Pelagic on the extreme right) were just off shore.

a little further along, another rock with more Double Crested Cormorant and one Great Blue Heron.

The Heron flew off, only to land a little further up the beach and by that time it was time for us to fly off to a birthday celebration.

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