Bird Outing Report: Point Holmes & Kye Bay, Jan. 12,2017

This morning, January 12, five birders spent a cold but otherwise pleasant morning at Point Holmes and Kye Bay. We had good numbers of a variety of waterbirds, shorebirds, and gulls. This gave us a good opportunity for gull study. A highlight was a very cooperative Brown Creeper. The following 33 species (and hybrid gulls) were seen:

Eurasian Wigeon
American Wigeon
Mallard
Northern Pintail
Green-winged Teal
Surf Scoter
White-winged Scoter
Bufflehead
Common Goldeneye
Red-breasted Merganser
Common Loon
Pelagic Cormorant
Double-crested Cormorant
Bald Eagle
Black-bellied Plover
Killdeer
Dunlin
Mew Gull
Herring Gull
Thayer’s Gull
Glaucous-winged Gull
Western x Glaucous-winged Gull (hybrid)
Herring x Glaucous-winged Gull (hybrid)
Eurasian Collared-Dove
Northwestern Crow
Chestnut-backed Chickadee
Brown Creeper
European Starling
Dark-eyed Junco
Song Sparrow
Spotted Towhee
Red-winged Blackbird
Brewer’s Blackbird

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Guest Speaker: Sarah Dudas, ‘Microplastics in the Environment’, Sun. Jan. 15,2017

Comox Valley Nature is pleased to host Dr. Sarah Dudas for a lecture on “Microplastics in the environment and implications for the Salish Sea”. Recently featured on the CBC for her work on microplastics, Dr. Sarah Dudas is Canada research chair at the Shellfish Research Centre at Vancouver Island University in Nanaimo , BC. Her research of micro-plastic impacts on marine food chains has drawn international attention, and on the national webinar series of the Canadian Society for Environmental Biologists. She is currently supervising a project tagging some 3,000 shellfish Vancouver Island to study the impacts of micro-plastics on marine food-chains.

The impact of micro-plastics ingested by marine organisms is a growing recent concern. Relatively little is known about the fate of micro-plastics and their ultimate potential impacts on marine food chains. The ability of micro-plastics to sorb a large variety of chemicals makes them a potential danger for natural ecosystems and human health. Dr. Sarah Dudas , together with Dr. Katie Davidson, is the author of one of the few recent in-depth study on the presence of micro-plastics on manila clams in Baynes Sound and potential impacts of micro-plastics. She is currently undertaking a project to monitor some 3,000 shellfish in the Salish Sea.

The lecture is on Sunday, January 15 and will start after introductions at 7pm in the Rotary Room of the Filberg Seniors Centre 411 Anderton, Courtenay. Lecture is free, though a $4 contribution from non-members is appreciated. New memberships are always welcomed.

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Nature Outing Report: Royston Seaside Trail, Jan. 7,2017

27 hardy CVNS members came out for the first outing of the new year, along the Royston Seaside Trail starting at the Royston wrecks breakwater. Art Martell gave a background on the K’omoks Important Bird & Biodiversity Area, the second most important IBA in BC, particularly for congregations of wintering waterfowl. Kathryn Clouston & Bill Heidrick provided detail on the eelgrass planting and shoreline restoration work of Project Watershed in the area. Along the 1 km trail northward there were several opportunities to scan for waterbirds, including good looks at Common Loon, Hooded Merganser, Common Goldeneye, and Surf Scoter. Several interpretive signs along this short but rewarding Regional District trail highlight its numerous points of interest including its fascinating history as a former logging railway right-of-way.

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Comox Christmas Bird Count Report: Dec. 22,2016

The 117th Annual Audubon Christmas Bird Count for the Comox Valley was held on Thurs. Dec. 22 (postponed from Sun. Dec. 18) and resulted in a total of 108 species, including a MEGA-Rarity: a Red-flanked Bluetail, found by Shane Tillapaugh and confirmed on Dec. 29.
Here is a great blog post by Nathan Hentze about the bird.

Snow Goose
Greater White-fronted Goose
Canada Goose
Cackling Goose
Trumpeter Swan
Gadwall
Eurasian Wigeon
American Wigeon
Mallard
Northern Shoveler
Northern Pintail
Green-winged Teal
Canvasback
Ring-necked Duck
Greater Scaup
Lesser Scaup
Harlequin Duck
Surf Scoter
White-winged Scoter
Black Scoter
Long-tailed Duck
Bufflehead
Common Goldeneye
Barrow’s Goldeneye
Hooded Merganser
Common Merganser
Red-breasted Merganser
Ruddy Duck
Ruffed Grouse
Red-throated Loon
Pacific Loon
Common Loon
Pied-billed Grebe
Horned Grebe
Red-necked Grebe
Western Grebe
Brandt’s Cormorant
Double-crested Cormorant
Pelagic Cormorant
Great Blue Heron
Bald Eagle
Northern Harrier
Cooper’s Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk
American Kestrel
Merlin
Peregrine Falcon
American Coot
Killdeer
Black Turnstone
Sanderling
Dunlin
Wilson’s Snipe
Bonaparte’s Gull
Mew Gull
California Gull
Herring Gull
Thayer’s Gull
Western Gull
Glaucous-winged Gull
Glaucous-winged Gull x Western Gull (hybrid)
Glaucous Gull
Common Murre
Marbled Murrelet
Rock Pigeon
Band-tailed Pigeon
Eurasian Collared-dove
Barred Owl
Anna’s Hummingbird
Belted Kingfisher
Red-breasted Sapsucker
Downy Woodpecker
Hairy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Pileated Woodpecker
Steller’s Jay
Northwestern Crow
Common Raven
Chestnut-backed Chickadee
Bushtit
Red-breasted Nuthatch
Brown Creeper
Bewick’s Wren
Pacific Wren
Marsh Wren
American Dipper
Golden-crowned Kinglet
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
* Red-flanked Bluetail *
American Robin
Varied Thrush
European Starling
Spotted Towhee
Savannah Sparrow
Lincoln’s Sparrow
Fox Sparrow
Song Sparrow
White-crowned Sparrow
Golden-crowned Sparrow
Dark-eyed Junco
Red-winged Blackbird
Brewer’s Blackbird
Purple Finch
House Finch
Red Crossbill
Pine Siskin
American Goldfinch
House Sparrow

Additional highlights were Snow Goose, Canvasback , Ruddy Duck and Glaucous Gull.
Total species: 108

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