Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Stranger by the road: Northern Flicker

On Vancouver Island there was a bird sitting by the old highway through Qualicum Beach that I could not identify. We drove at normal speed towards Campbell River and I saw it very quickly. I always have a notebook with me to remember places, songs on the radio and of course birds. So I sketched a bit while driving, so excuse the result. The bill was Jay-like, the head brown and there was a distinct black crescent spot on his chest. Pretty easy to find I thought. I had just downloaded an app on my iPhone to be able to identify new birds quickly. But as with a lot of apps that should recognise things one way or the other: it did not work.



My iPhone app kept telling me it was a Cowbird. "Perhaps some local mutant," I wondered. It didn't look like one. Later we really saw a Cowbird and I missed the white spots I saw on the stranger by the road.
Martijn didn't agree with the label Cowbird with this new bird either. :"It is just a crow."
"But it flew in a sine wave kind of way."
"What? " Another discussion! ( If anyone knows how cowbrids fly: let me know!)
Today I stumbled upon a picture of a Nothern Flicker and Eureka! This was the stranger by the road!
photo from: http://www.caveofthemounds.com

What a beautiful bird! What great and trendy colours. I would like a blouse with a print of his chest, with black peter pan collar of course and a skirt in the hues of his tail.
This discovery saves me the frustration of another personal Vancouver Island frustration. Three years ago I thought I saw a big dark cat-thing or cougar, but I saw it from the car, and it was not safe to stop (we're not the wild life-jam creators) so I will never know(yeah yeah, chances are slim, but tell me what it was then!). I am very glad that this doesn't turn into another myth, having to convince people that I saw this bird("Sure, probably a crow"). Although I understand it is easier to believe than the cougar story.

1 comment:

Maureen Leong-Kee - Foodie Du Jour said...

I was just browsing your blog when I came upon this post. Very funny! You might enjoy this blog post. Seems like you're not the only one: http://10000birds.com/the-polka-dot-woodpecker.htm

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