Christmas Bird Counts just ahead

  • Dec. 10, 2012 4:00 p.m.

By Margo Hearne–It’s been an amazing fall for migrant birds on Haida Gwaii. Many warblers came through in late October and November; Bramblings, Wilson’s Warbler, Rustic Bunting and Purple Finch. The juncos at the feeder were joined by a White-throated Sparrow for a few days but the birds of the fall were the dramatic, stately Snowy Owls. About forty were seen between Masset and Sandspit. Quite a few died; the young ones don’t seem to know how to hunt, but many others made it to the southern mainland. Thanks to everyone who reported their sightings, it was a remarkable year for owls. Haida Gwaii did really well during last year’s Christmas Bird Count (CBC). We had the highest counts in North America for Yellow-billed Loons (17 Hecate Strait), Short-tailed Shearwaters (9 Rose Spit) and Thick-billed Murres (9 Hecate Strait). Most were offshore birds, but the Yellow-bills have been seen in Masset and Skidegate Inlet previously so it’s possible to find some inshore. The Skidegate Inlet Western Grebe count of 546 was the high for Canada and Delkatla had the only Least Sandpiper. Black Oystercatchers (157 Skidegate Inlet), Sanderling (607 Rose Spit), Rock Sandpiper (1 Skidegate Inlet) and Common Murres (2017 Hecate Strait) also topped the polls for Canada.You just never know what’s going to be out there. When we started thirty-one years ago, a Townsend’s Solitaire and a Cattle Egret appeared. We weren’t sure what was normal and what wasn’t, but the Little Bunting was definitely not, nor was the Mountain Bluebird. The only way to find out is to be out there with binoculars and a good heart to see what can be found. You don’t have to go far, even counting what shows up at your feeder makes a big difference. Every robin, every jay, every junco, every crow and every raven counted adds to the sum of bird knowledge and tells whether or not bird numbers are declining. The birds counted at Christmas, with the exception of exciting rarities, are on their home territory. We can only tell if they are winning or losing by counting them. Count dates: Skidegate Inlet Dec. 16 (includes Skidegate, Queen Charlotte (Barb 559 8207) and Sandspit Peter (626 5015); Greater Masset Dec. 27 (Peter 626 5015; Martin 626 3888); Port Clements Dec. 28 (Peter 626 5015); Tlell Dec. 29 (Sitka 557 4241).Hecate Strait – 1st week in January -weather dependentRose Spit – weather dependentLangara – weather dependentNaden Harbour – weather dependent

Just Posted

QC food bank needs cash

Feed the People program shuts down for month of May

Repen: FOI data proves Telkwans being ripped off by ICBC

Former Telkwa mayor received a response from ICBC and says the results don’t look good for residents

Fires still burning near Telegraph Creek

BC Wildfire Service assures residents of a proactive plan heading into wildfire season

Northwest B.C. leaders divided over oil tanker ban

Senate hearings in Prince Rupert and Terrace show Bill C-48 is at a crossroads

Northwest entrepreneurs pitch their plans for cash prizes

ThriveNorth announces 12 finalists in this year’s business challenge

What’s age got to do with it? B.C. couple with 45-year gap talks happy marriage

An Armstrong couple that has 45-year age gap began turning heads after being featured on show Extreme Love.

WATCH: South Vancouver Island shooting an ‘isolated and targeted’ incident, say police

One person in custody, another fled following shooting and crash on West Shore

Woe, Canada: Bruins down Maple Leafs 5-1 in Game 7

No Canadian teams left in Stanley Cup playoffs

Defence accuses officer of ‘incompetence’ in trial for B.C. man accused in daughters’ murder

Double murder trial for the Victoria father accused of killing his two young daughters continues

Should B.C. parents receive money if they make sure their kids are vaccinated?

New survey looks at public opinion around government’s role in forcing immunizations

B.C. men challenge constitutionality of Canada’s secret no-fly list

Parvkar Singh Dulai says he received a “denial of boarding” notification under the no-fly program last May 17

Murder on B.C. property didn’t need to be disclosed before sale, court rules

Buyer had tried to break contract after learning a man with ties to crime had been murdered there

B.C.’s largest Vaisakhi festival target of threatening Facebook post: Surrey RCMP

Police say they are investigating the posts on Facebook, after local MLA forwarded screenshots

Pug life: B.C. town boasts waggish list of dog names

Freedom-of-information request lists most ‘pupular’ dog names registered in White Rock

Most Read