Despite our fantastic adventure in 2012, all year long Deb has been worrying about her Mum.  Her health continued to deteriorate this fall and in early December it became clear it was time for Deb to fly home to be with her family.  A few days after Deborah arrived, her Mum passed with Deb and her two sisters by her side.  It was indeed a blessing.

A little good news to come out of this very sad event was it allowed me to get to BC and hopefully add some  birds to the year list.

On December 9th I visited the White Rock Pier on a typical dreary wet day in the Great Northwest. There I added 5 new birds including Northwestern Crow, Glaucous-winged Gull, and a trifecta of Scoters - White-winged, Black, and Surf.
At Reifel Bird Sanctuary on another dreary day the birding was still wonderful as always.  Along with the following I was able to see my first Eurasian Wigeon with it’s bright orange head poking up from a flock of over a thousand American’s as well as my first Trumpeter Swans of 2012.
On the way back from Reifel, I stopped by Blackie Spit in Crescent Beach.  Pacific Loons had been spotted there recently but as hard as I tried I could not turn any of the Common’s into Pacific Loons.
The last birding of the Vancouver trip was on December 12th. I started at Iona Park near the Vancouver airport where I walked the length of the mile-plus long spit before venturing to the 72nd street Dyke in Delta where Snowy owls had been seen recently.  There I was not only able to view several Snowies but also a Rough-legged Hawk was added to the year list. The highlights of the day though clearly were several Short-eared Owls hunting along the dyke for voles in the grasses. This was a lifer for me.
Returning back to Arizona mid month, the year list stands at 398, just 2 short of my goal for the year.  With a Christmas Bird Count scheduled I’m again very hopeful for success.
Common Loon
Glaucous-winged Gull
Herring Gull
White-winged Scoter male and female diving below.
Black Scoter
Surf Scoter
American Wigeon
Sandhill Crane
Black-capped Chickadee
Northern Pintail
Trumpeter Swan
Common Loon
Northwestern Crow
Snowy Owl
Short-earred Owl
December 2012