The past week or two has been typical winter weather here on southern Vancouver Island - long periods of wind and rain with intermittent breaks of cold air but with sunny sky's. Last Saturday Joanna and I went in search of a few unusual birds: Tropical Kingbird, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Snowy Owl, and Brown Pelican. The weather was so poor however, we went home empty handed.
The next day, Sunday, we tried again for the same species. We missed all except Snowy Owl - a single immature male on Mary Todd Islet just off of Oak Bay marina. This was a new addition to my British Columbia checklist.
On Wednesday I had to go to Vancouver for a business meeting. Usually I take a float plane, but the forecast when I booked the ticket was for low cloud and high wind - two weather conditions that can result in flight delays or cancellations. To avoid potentially missing the meeting, I booked a flight with Helijet, which often can fly in conditions that are off limits to floats. I boarded the Sikorsky S-76 machine at 7:50am, and just as the rotor was winding up to full speed, a Brown Pelican flew by, providing an excellent view. This sighting was new to both my Canada and British Columbia checklist.