After an excellent and refreshing night of rest, the first in several days, I arrived at Queen's Park, New Westminster at 8:30 am, the first birder there. I walked around the park checking all the locations where the Red-flanked Bluetail had been located, particularly near the children's playground and a large fallen log and some deciduous bushes. There were Red-breasted Nuthatches calling in the tall conifer trees, Brown Creepers at ground level before they started their feeding up the trunks, Yellow-rumped Warbler, probably Audubon's race, singing, Black-capped Chickadees, American Robins, and the funny crows. I decided that the funny crows were Northwestern Crows, based on smaller size than American Crows and the lower, hoarser voice. If local birders showed up, I would ask them to verify this identification, because Northwestern Crow is somewhat of a controversial species, thought by many to be a race of American Crow and not a real species. At 9:30 am, I had covered most of the park, and there were no other birders present. I still had cell phone service, so I called John Puschock, who had been to this location and saw the bird, to verify that I was looking in the right places. He verified that I was, that I should walk slowly and spend a lot of time near the children's playground. As we were speaking on the phone, I saw two men with binoculars focusing on the spot near the children's play ground, and thanked John for his help again. I was in the pavilion north of the children's playground. I walked over and met Dan and Patrick Westfield, a father and son, from Victoria. Two more sets of eyes would help. We agreed to split up and keep in touch. Soon after meeting Dan and Patrick, I found a Pacific Wren, first by its slightly different call notes than the eastern Winter Wren and then by the buffy face and darker back. At least three more birders showed up as well as a dog walker, who said he saw the Bluetail last week. At least three of these people, said the Bluetail had been also seen recently in the north part of the park north of the pavilion. I found out that people are depositing bird seed on the ground at several locations north of the pavilion. I also spent some time trying to get photographs of Varied Thrushes, but the light was very dim and photography was essentially impossible, at least with my set of skills and equipment. Some time after 11:00 am, I started a slow walk north through the conifer stand on the west side of the park. I decided a regular pattern of coverage of the park was needed. When I reached the northern edge of the park, I crossed the walking path and started back toward the pavilion, checking around and under bushes and trees. I found a small flock of Dark-eyed Juncos, Oregon race, which are also common in the park, working around some leafless deciduous bushes and some conifers. Suddenly, I noticed small brownish backed thrush on the grass, and could see orange sides. It was the Red-flanked Bluetail, a Eurasian thrush. It was 11:30 am. The bird flew to the right under a thick conifer that looked like a sequoia to me, with branches that came close to the ground and provided good cover. I saw Dan Westfield, and motioned him to come quickly. However, by the time Patrick and Dan joined me, the bird was being secretive under this thick conifer. We caught several glimpses, but never a good clear look. There were Varied Thrushes and juncos under this tree, but the Bluetail seemed to have disappeared at least for the moment. We focused our attention in the area and I followed up on a lead of a bird that flew away from this area toward the pavilion. Close to 12:30 pm, I returned to this conifer tree to find Patrick watching patiently. He had not found the bird, but asked me to look at a bird sitting in the deciduous bush where I first found the Red-flanked Bluetail. His binoculars were fogged, but he thought it was the Bluetail. It was the Red-flanked Bluetail, again! We got Dan, his dad, over and all three of us got excellent looks, including seeing the light eye ring and the bluish tail and rump. I tried photos but without success. Dan and Patrick were especially thrilled, because they had tried a month ago and missed the bird when everyone else saw it. Patrick used auto settings on his camera and got two identifiable photos shown below, which Patrick sent to me and I modified somewhat in Adobe Photoshop.
Pacific Wren, Brambling and Golden-crowned
Sparrow to make the total 174.
There is more success to report, but I need to go birding. I'll try to report again from my hotel in Seattle while I wait for tomorrows flight.