Ann Nightingale is pleasantly surprised after tallying more than 140 bird species during this year’s Christmas Bird Count.
Nightingale said birders at Martindale Flats in Central Saanich spotted their first ever black phoebe, a species usually only seen between Oregon and South America.
Meanwhile, some birders were able to lay their eyes on a Townsend’s solitaire, a rare sighting at Mount Tolmie.
“We had a fantastic turnout even though the rain turned up by the end of the day,” said Nightingale, the coordinator for Greater Victoria’s count which took place on Saturday.
In total, they spotted 142 bird species with just over 200 birders on the ground from south of Island View Beach Road in Central Saanich all the way to Witty’s Lagoon in Metchosin.
Although this year’s sightings were seven more than last year, 2004 holds the record for the most bird species recorded in a single day across Greater Victoria at 154.
Nightingale pointed out that some regular sightings from 20 years ago, such as the skylark, black scoter and sanderling, have been decreasing in populations every year.
In comparison, birds such as the white-throated sparrow have been spotted more often lately.
Victoria’s Christmas Bird Count may be over, but peak season for birdwatching isn’t finished yet. A similar bird count is being organized in Sooke on Dec. 27.
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