One of the better places for winter bird watching within easy driving distance from Courtenay is Oyster Bay Regional Park. The park is located just north of Oyster River and opposite the Driftwood Restaurant on old Highway 19A. Oyster Bay is best when the tide is high and the birds are in closer to the shore. A spotting scope is definitely recommended to sort through the huge flocks of winter ducks and numerous shorebirds.
I didn’t have an ideal tide yesterday and was traveling light (no scope) so didn’t do a thorough search through the birds on the bay. The tide was low and a fair amount of the mud flat was exposed (note – the mud flat is not suitable for walking). Large numbers of mallards and American widgeon made up the majority of ducks in the water and on the shore feeding on cast-up seaweed. Groups of dunlin were feeding along the water’s edge and there were several black-bellied plover as well.
Because the tide was low I did find some interesting tracks of both gulls and shorebirds (see below).
Interested in birding at Oyster Bay? Use the Google Map below for directions.