A Blue Jay, commonly found in the Central and Eastern United States and the southeastern coast of Canada, was spotted in Sooke on Dec. 27. (Contributed – Robin Robinson)

A Blue Jay, commonly found in the Central and Eastern United States and the southeastern coast of Canada, was spotted in Sooke on Dec. 27. (Contributed – Robin Robinson)

Blue jay, usually found in southeastern Canada, spotted in Sooke

Around 80 birders counted 118 different species within a single day

A rare bird commonly found in Eastern Canada was spotted hanging around Sooke by birdwatchers in late December.

According to birder Robyn Byrne, a blue jay has been a regular at a bird feeder at the end of King Road. The bird is predominantly blue, with a white chest and a blue crest.

As the Sooke Christmas Bird Count organizer in late December, Byrne said blue jays spend most of their time between the Central and Eastern United States and parts of southeastern Canada. She was surprised to hear about the sighting.

Byrne said 118 different species were spotted within a single day during this year’s bird count, a new record for Sooke.

READ MORE: Rare bird usually found between Oregon and South America seen in Central Saanich

Last year, avid birders counted 106 species. In total, around 80 participants counted thousands of birds within a 25-kilometre circle that stretches from Otter Point Park to Metchosin Golf and Country Club.

Byrne said she woke up around 6 a.m. to hear the calls of owls at Rocky Point Bird Observatory on Dec. 27. Although the sun hadn’t risen yet, she and her husband could identify the birds by their chirps.

“I need to retire to spend more time with the birds,” chirped Byrne. “The migration trails are so interesting. I love that even a little hummingbird can fly across the country and come back to the same feeder.”

Byrne said they also sent birders out into the water with a boat past Race Rocks Lighthouse. Also, they spotted a handful more rare sightings, including a ruffed grouse in Metchosin and a western meadowlark on Whiffein Spit.

ALSO READ: Birders flocking to Greater Victoria after rare warbler sighting


 

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