As I got out of the car I glanced over toward the wee sparrow-fest taking place by the path at Hyacinth Park. One each of tan- and white-striped white-throated sparrow were feeding alongside golden-crowned, white-crowned, song and house sparrows plus several fox sparrows, including the 'resident' partial albino bird. This really is a striking individual, with at least 70% of its feathers being pure white. I didn't see hide nor hair of the Harris's sparrow unfortunately.
With water levels now at an impressive height, the flats are teeming with birds. On the downside the volume of water is such that access is fairly restricted even with wellies. As a result, a full circular walk of the perimeter is impossible and I could only make it to the southeastern quadrant if I was prepared to fully retrace my steps back to Hyacinth. The good news is that I had time and I was able to give the whole site a fairly decent bit of coverage over the 3 hours or so that I was there.
I scoured the dabblers but failed to locate any Euro-teal although I did spy 4 Eurasian wigeon in among the mass of American wigeon. Pintail numbers continue to impress, and alongside the many mallard there were also a few northern shoveler and gadwall. Bufflehead and American coot were present in small numbers and a lone drake ruddy duck was on the southwest quadrant pool.
As I trudged along the muddy bank path I flushed half a dozen Wilson's snipe from a boggy patch. By the end of my visit this number had doubled, although I expect that the true figures far eclipsed those seen.
Along the eastern edge of the flats I came across large numbers of foraging sparrows including good numbers of Lincoln's sparrows. Among a group of these near the grey building I was delighted to see a cracking adult swamp sparrow who charmed me with stunning out-in-the-open views.
A group of bushtits actively feeding by the path close to the Gladioli entrance (well, it would be an entrance if it wasn't under 2 feet of water) looked promising and I scanned through the darting birds in the hope of spotting something more transient. After a couple of minutes of being diverted by ruby-crowned kinglets I finally noticed a warbler. Hmmm, an eastern 'Taiga' orange-crowned warbler by the looks of it. Then it was gone. The flock moved away and I was stood staring into a birdless vista.
Only the second palm warbler that I've seen on the island, my first being one that I found at the Nanaimo River Estuary soon after my arrival on the island in 2009. In fact, checking the dates the two birds were only 3 days apart!
The flock once again moved off and faced with the discovery that I was flooded in I turned about face and walked the whole way round again. En route back to Hyacinth I did get to see swamp sparrow again and a dazzling western meadowlark (pictured) made a welcome appearance.