Day 55 — Vancouver Island, British Columbia

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I added 20 birds this week to bring my total to 431 species for 2017!

I’ve decided that one of the major requirements for accomplishing a Big Year is surviving on less than 5 hours of sleep per night. Luckily, this week I was actually able to sleep in only one bed for 4 days thanks to my hostess, Ann Nightingale!

Until Monday, Ann and I had never met. After Laura Keene facilitated an introduction, Ann was more than happy to help. She did a Big Year of her own last year on Vancouver Island and understood what was involved. She shared my enthusiasm and we quickly settled into a rhythm.

Ann not only birded with me all day everyday but also put me up at her home, drove the entire time, carried the scope, enlisted other birders in the area to help us, lent me gear, helped me strategize and was relentless in trying to help me find my targets. Oh, she also turned me on to Tim Horton’s!! We stopped there for tea and coffee several times per day.

It’s rare that I get a chance to bird with an accomplished female birder. I enjoyed the camaraderie and tips that can only come from another woman.

Despite our efforts everyday to find Sooty Grouse, it just wasn’t in the cards.
I guess the birding Gods decided that 3 Grouse species in one month was it for me! We also dipped on Slaty-backed Gull after repeated visits to the dump and elsewhere. The joy of chasing Gulls!!

Purely by coincidence, Ann had arranged for John Puschok to come speak to the Victoria Natural History Society about Attu. I’m going to the Aleutian Islands in May with John so it was a treat to hear his presentation and look forward to the birds he spoke about. The 3 of us had a chance to bird together as well.

Speaking of birds, these are the fabulous birds I did add: Redwing! Eurasian Skylark, Harlequin Duck, Barrow’s Goldeneye, Pigeon Guillemot, Common Murre, Ancient Murrelet, Rhinoceros Auklet, Varied Thrush, Golden-crowned Sparrow, Fox Sparrow, American Dipper, Trumpeter Swan, Mute Swan, Northwestern Crow, Chestnut-backed Chickadee, Pacific Wren, Red Crossbill, Pelagic Cormorant and Red-necked Grebe. I added these 20 new birds but also saw a total of 88 species while I was here!! Working on my Canada list.:))

As a duck lover, I’m thrilled with some of my pictures and sorry if you already saw them! Just indulge me.