Birders are all a-twitter following the sighting of a very rare bird in a farmer's field in Courtenay this month.
The citrine wagtail is a small songbird that breeds in north central Asia and winters in South and Southeast Asia. Until now there have been no confirmed sightings of the bird in Canada and only one other in North America, when it was spotted in Mississippi in 1992.
"We've got lots of people here and lots of people who are excited," said birder and biologist Bryan Gates. "Because if you know anything about birders, they're an excitable bunch."
The rare bird was first spotted on Nov. 14 by Cumberland's David and Adele Routledge but it wasn't until Nov. 17 that it was positively identified.
"It's quite a rarity. You don't actually find them, they find you," said David. "It took a few days to identify but we knew it was rare by the fact that it was moving differently - walking, not hopping - and it was quite beautiful."
The bird has remained in and around a large field next to Comox Road on the Comox side of the 17th Street bridge. The owner of the land has provided permission for the birders to go onto his property as long as they stay on the gravel roadway and don't venture into the farmland.
On Monday morning at least 25 birders braved the heavy rain to get a good look at the little citrine wagtail, so named for its yellow colouring during mating season and its tendency to constantly "wag" its long tail feather. As news of the wagtail's presence spread, birders from the south Island, the Mainland and even the United States have been flocking to the Comox Valley to see it for themselves and add it to their list of viewed birds. If the little bird sticks around, those numbers are only expected to climb.