2 rare birds soar into Vancouver Island skies

A wood sandpiper is pictured in Panama Flats in Saanich: (Geoffrey Newell)

Two winged wonders are delighting bird watchers on southern Vancouver Island with first-ever sightings.

According to experts with the Rocky Point Bird Observatory, two incredibly rare species were spotted in the past 24 hours.

On Sunday evening, birders snapped photos of a great-tailed grackle at Esquimalt Lagoon.

The spindly-legged black bird normally resides in the southern United States and Mexico. This was the first time it was ever seen on Vancouver Island, according to Ann Nightingale, with the Rocky Point Bird Observatory.

"The grackle has been seen, I think the seventh time for all of British Columbia," said Nightingale.

Then, on Monday, another first-ever sighting sent shockwaves through the birdwatching community.

A wood sandpiper was spotted at the Panama Flats Park in Saanich among the marshy terrain.

Nightingale says its sighting is the first for Vancouver Island and just the third ever for B.C.

The birding expert says it’s likely the birds got confused during migration and flew the wrong way.

Nightingale also says it’s not unheard of for a bird to accidentally stow away on a ship or plane and land on foreign shores.