Subject: Pelicans (was Early Arrivals) Date: Apr 10 15:12:55 1995 From: Michael Price - Michael_Price at mindlink.bc.ca
Rick Gee says:
>on sunday we were hiking near oliver, in the south okanagan valley, >and saw a lrge flock of large birds flying north (20 or so birds). >they were so far away that we couldn't make a firm identification. >from the large wingspan and the fact that they flashed white in the sun, >we thought pelicans. but isnt't this too early for pelicans to be heading >north?
I got curious and re-read both Birds of the Okanagan Valley by the Brothers Cannings, and Wayne Campbell et al's Birds of British Columbia on the subject.
BOV p.75 says: "Most spring records fall between the second week of April and the last week of May...earliest spring record is 14 March...The first pelicans normally arrive at the Stum Lake colony (in what is now White Pelican Pk. in the Chilcotin Plateau--MP) in the second half of April..."
BBC vol 1, p.208 says: "In March, migrants start moving northward..." from W Mexico wintering areas.
What's interesting to me is that AWPE is considered a very rare fluke vagrant here on the coast, but when I looked back through Vancouver records for the last 12 yrs, what we have is a small cluster of records in late May and early June which in 1991 yielded an average arrival here on the coast of May 29. Darned if 1992's 5 AWPE didn't arrive *exactly* on that date a year later. Hot stuff.
Preening of my statistical ego aside :-), what that *seems* to suggest is that, *if* observers are in the right place at the right time, we'll see a regular, if late, migration or occurrence of a small group of AWPE along the inner coast of Georgia Strait (and that raises the question of whether they also turn up in spring with equal regularity on the E coast of Vancouver Is.), that has staged here (i.e, loafed for a week or so off the Roberts Bank Coalport Jetty). No-one knows if they turn inland here on their way to a breeding lake, or continue up the coast. Or whether these are failed or non-breeders already out wandering around for lack of anything better to do before the fall migration.
My questions are: if they are late migrants, where do they hang a right turn to go inland? In view of the lateness of these migrants, are they non-breeders, though with few exceptions they're in definitive alternate adult plumages? And if they are breeders, do they go somewhere else than Stum L. to nest?
Let me stress that this post refers only to late spring/early summer birds, not fall migration vagrant occurrence.
Finally, what I *really* want to know is does its beak *really*--
Michael Price Vancouver BC Canada michael_price at mindlink.bc.ca