Rare bird sightings drawing avid birders to Uplands Park in Oak Bay

“Extremely rare” bird not seen again since it was spotted on Oct. 15

Recent rare bird sightings have been drawing avid birders, hoping to catch a glimpse of nature’s striking surprises, to Uplands Park.

The most significant of these recent sightings was a female pine bunting.

“It was an extremely rare event,” explained Margaret Lidkea, Friends of Uplands Park chair. “It was the first time ever that the pine bunting had been seen south of Alaska.”

Maury Swoveland, who’s a beginner birder, found the bird at the south end of Uplands Park along Beach Drive on Oct. 15. After taking a photo, she posted it on the Victoria National History Society’s website. The bird was initially thought to be a Lapland longspur, but it was identified as a pine bunting a day later.

“That’s when the experts just went, ‘oh my Goodness,’” described Lidkea. “First they thought it was something else, but then they realized that it was the pine bunting.”

Despite multiple observers looking, the rare bird has not been seen since it was first spotted.

Birders have also been searching for other rare birds at Uplands Park, including the northern mockingbird, which is thought to have been in the park for the past six weeks, and the pileated woodpecker, which was spotted early last week.

RELATED: Barred owl comes out for daylight visit during Oak Bay birding

RELATED: Friends of Uplands park pull invasives, plant native species

Armed with binoculars and cameras, avid birders joined expert Geoffrey Newell with Friends of Uplands Park to search for these birds Friday morning.

“You never know what you’re going to see because it’s migratory season,” said Lidkea. “I know that there are several people that are coming to Uplands Park [to try to find these birds]. I feel absolutely blessed when I see them.”

Lidkea encourages birders to report any rare sightings to Friends of Uplands Park. Their information can be found at friendsofuplandspark.org.


 

flavio.nienow@oakbaynews.com

Follow us on Instagram
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Police closed McNeill Avenue after a workplace death Oct. 20, 2020. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)
Tree-pruning community gathers in Oak Bay after tragic death

Crews met in solidarity at site of Tuesday incident

A bear similar to this black bear was spotted on Elk Lake Drive again on Oct. 21 and is believed responsible for killing a llama in Saanich on Oct. 19. (Black Press Media file photo)
Search continues for bear wandering through Saanich

Bear spotted eating garbage near Elk Lake Wednesday, B.C. Conservation says

Some 30 people including a dozen youth participated in North Saanich’s first ever Fridays for Future protest outside of municipal hall on Mills Road Friday, according to organizers. (Anne-Marie Daniel/Submitted)
Fridays for Future plans second event for North Saanich after inaugural protest

Some 30 people attended first protest on Oct. 9 with a second one scheduled for Oct. 23

A Saanich police officer in an unmarked vehicle stopped a driver going 70 km/h over the speed limit in front of the police department. (Saanich Police Traffic Safety Unit/Twitter)
Driver caught going 70 km/h over the speed limit in front of the Saanich Police Department

Officer in unmarked car issues $483 ticket, week-long vehicle impound

Royal Bay students are among the list of SD62 schools that will be trained by Pacific FC coaches and staff in a new soccer academy partnership. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)
Pacific FC partners with Sooke School District soccer academies

Royal Bay, EMCS and Dunsmuir Middle students to receive professional training

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry presents modelling of COVID-19 spread in B.C., March 25, 2020. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. sets another COVID-19 record with 203 new cases

up to 1,766 active cases in B.C., two more deaths

Advance polls are open from Oct. 15 to 21 with election day on Oct. 24. (Black Press Media file photo)
Members of the Sipekne’katik First Nation load lobster traps on the wharf in Saulnierville, N.S., after launching its own self-regulated fishery on Thursday, Sept. 17, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan
Vancouver Island First Nations back Nova Scotia’s Indigenous lobster fishermen

Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council calls for action before lives are lost

Skiers line up to start the Royal LePage Comox Valley Snow to Surf Adventure Relay Race. Photo by Tim Penney
Popular Comox Valley adventure race cancelled for 2021

COVID forces Comox Valley Royal LePage Snow to Surf Adventure Relay Race cancellation again

Rio Tinto Alcan’s aluminum smelter at Kitimat competes against producers in the Middle East and Russia that have no carbon tax. (Rio Tinto)
B.C. carbon tax highest in Canada, export industries unprotected

B.C. NDP, B.C. Liberals say they’re looking at exemptions

(Pixabay)
Vancouver teacher suspended after swearing, touching students and complimenting underwear

McCabe touched students, including rubbing their backs and necks, touching their hair and hugging them

Chris Istace campaigning in Crofton. (Photo submitted)
Green Party’s Istace apologizes for remark about First Nations gaming grants being a ‘handout’

Island candidate determined to do better in thinking and communicating matters of reconciliation

Sails down, masks up for Ron and Sherry Pryde, who completed a 119 day journey that was supposed to be 70 days. (Zoe Ducklow)
Coast Guard towed rudderless sailors to Port Hardy hours before a powerful storm

Rudderless for a month, the couple zigzagged most the way home with “a few donuts and lazy-eights”

Most Read