Upcoming Walk: Saturday May 13th 2017, Union Bay Coal Hills Walk

This easy walk starts at the Union Bay Boat ramp and explores the remains of Dunsmuir’s Coal terminal, located on both sides of Hart (Washer) Creek. In 1887 Robert Dunsmuir had a deep water coal terminal 600 feet long built to load wind and steam freighters which carried the high quality coal from Cumberland around the world. Little of the infrastructure, which included coke ovens, a coal washer, and workers barracks remain. What does remain are mounds of low quality coal and coal dust, removed before shipping to ensure that only the best coal went aboard. Coal dust is explosive and water from Hart Creek was used to remove much of it here.  Use of the site only stopped in 1960, and various uses of the area have been suggested over the years since then. This site is a fascinating, if toxic site, and a reminder of how poorly we treated the environment not that long ago.  More information is available at these three web sites:

http://comoxvalleynaturalist.bc.ca/nature-viewing-guide/8-baynes-sound-area/union-bay/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Union_Bay,_British_Columbia

http://www.comoxvalleyrecord.com/news/union-bay-coal-hills-on-priority-contaminated-site-list-in-b-c/

 

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Comox Spring Bird Count Report: Sun. Apr. 30, 2017

The Comox Valley Annual Spring Bird Count was held on Sun. April 30 and resulted in a total of 135 species. Notable birds included House Wren, California Quail and Bullock’s Oriole.

Greater White-fronted Goose
Brant
Canada Goose
Trumpeter Swan
American Wigeon
Mallard
Northern Shoveler
Northern Pintail
Green-winged Teal
Ring-necked Duck
Greater 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
Ring-necked Pheasant
California Quail
Pacific Loon
Common Loon
Horned Grebe
Red-necked Grebe
Western Grebe
Brandt’s Cormorant
Double-crested Cormorant
Pelagic Cormorant
Great Blue Heron
Turkey Vulture
Bald Eagle
Northern Harrier
Sharp-shinned Hawk
Cooper’s Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk
Merlin
Killdeer
Black-bellied Plover
Black Oystercatcher
Spotted Sandpiper
Greater Yellowlegs
Sanderling
Western Sandpiper
Least Sandpiper
Dunlin
Short-billed Dowitcher
Bonaparte’s Gull
Mew Gull
Ring-billed Gull
California Gull
Herring Gull
Thayer’s Gull
Western Gull
Glaucous-winged Gull
Caspian Tern
Marbled Murrelet
Pigeon Guillemot
Rock Pigeon
Band-tailed Pigeon
Eurasian Collared-dove
Barred Owl
Anna’s Hummingbird
Rufous Hummingbird
Belted Kingfisher
Red-breasted Sapsucker
Downy Woodpecker
Hairy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Pileated Woodpecker
Steller’s Jay
Northwestern Crow
Common Raven
Willow Flycatcher
Hammond’s Flycatcher
Pacific-slope Flycatcher
Cassin’s Vireo
Hutton’s Vireo
Warbling Vireo
Purple Martin
Tree Swallow
Violet-green Swallow
Northern Rough-winged Swallow
Barn Swallow
Chestnut-backed Chickadee
Bushtit
Red-breasted Nuthatch
Brown Creeper
Bewick’s Wren
Pacific Wren
Marsh Wren
House Wren
American Dipper
Golden-crowned Kinglet
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Townsend’s Solitaire
American Robin
Varied Thrush
Hermit Thrush
Swainson’s Thrush
European Starling
American Pipit
Orange-crowned Warbler
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Black-throated Gray Warbler
Townsend’s Warbler
Macgillivray’s Warbler
Common Yellowthroat
Yellow Warbler
Wilson’s Warbler
Spotted Towhee
Chipping Sparrow
Savannah Sparrow
Lincoln’s Sparrow
Fox Sparrow
Song Sparrow
White-crowned Sparrow
Golden-crowned Sparrow
Dark-eyed Junco
Red-winged Blackbird
Brewer’s Blackbird
Western Meadowlark
Bullock’s Oriole
Brown-headed Cowbird
Purple Finch
House Finch
Red Crossbill
Pine Siskin
American Goldfinch
House Sparrow

Total species: 135

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Upcoming Walk: Saturday, May 6th 2017 , Morrison Creek Headwaters

Jan Gemmell and Jim Palmer will be leading today’s walk through the Morrison Creek Headwaters, off Lake Trail Road. You will have the opportunity to see the wetlands created by the geology at the east end of Comox Lake, and by the symbol of Canada; the beaver. The paths wind their way around numerous ponds, marshes and wetlands, and you will be glad that Jan and Jim know their way around the area. This land is owned by Hancock Logging, and CVN thanks them for allowing us access.. This area is home to the Western Brook Lamprey, an at risk species. See the piece from Fish and Oceans Canada in the Conservation section below.

Parking at the trail head is very limited, so you are requested to carpool to reduce the number of cars going. Meet at Old Church on Harmston to car pool; No facilities, and dress for the weather with good boots. For more information check out the Morrison Creek Streamkeepers here:   http://morrisoncreek.org/

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Bird Outing Report: Cumberland Marsh, Apr. 27, 2017

Today, April 27th, thirteen birders spent a pleasant morning at Cumberland Marsh; the rain started just as we finished. We found 29 species; highlights were many spring arrivals, Anna’s Hummingbird on a nest, and breeding plumage Wood Duck and Hooded Merganser.

Canada Goose
Wood Duck
Mallard
Hooded Merganser
Great Blue Heron
Anna’s Hummingbird
Rufous Hummingbird
Red-breasted Sapsucker
Northern Flicker
Hammond’s Flycatcher
Cassin’s Vireo
Steller’s Jay
Common Raven
Violet-green Swallow
Brown Creeper
Pacific Wren
Marsh Wren
American Robin
Varied Thrush
European Starling
Orange-crowned Warbler
Common Yellowthroat
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Townsend’s Warbler
Dark-eyed Junco
Song Sparrow
Spotted Towhee
Red-winged Blackbird
Pine Siskin

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