WildResearch Pelagic Trip to La Pérouse Bank

Despite a painfully stiff back (which I threw on Thursday wrestling with the kids), I made the trek to Ucluelet in order to join the April 29, 2012 WildResearch pelagic trip out to La Pérouse Bank. At the end of the day, this 7 hour off shore tour was nothing short of “shear” birding and wildlife viewing fun—not only were …

Book Review – How to be a Better Birder

How to be a Better Birder: Derek Lovitch How to be a Better Birder Derek Lovitch Princeton University Press Paperback 192 pages 2012 I’ve been birding ever since I moved to the West Coast nearly 20 years ago. Back then my strategy was pretty basic. My first field guide was a National Geographic Field Guide to the Birds of North …

The Budget Pelagic Tour

Whenever I make the crossing between Vancouver Island and the mainland on BC Ferries I always try to do a little pelagic birding, especially if the weather is good. Today I had a chance to look for alcids on the run between Nanaimo and Tsawwassen. This isn’t a particularly good route for budget birding (the Little River/Powell River route is …

Great Backyard Bird Count – February 17 to 20

Like most naturalists I’ve got a couple of backyard feeders and enjoy keeping a rough tally of the species that come and go. It’s always interesting when something a little unusual turns up, but the regulars make for entertaining viewing. Bushtits come through at least two times a week following some sort of urban feeding route which includes our suet …

Glaucous-winged but no Glaucous Gull

Portuguese Joe’s is usually good for gulls any time of the year – there’s a regular group that waits for scraps from the fish market here on Comox Road (also known locally as the Dyke Road). I’ve stopped in a couple of times over the winter hoping to see a Glaucous Gull (Larus hyperboreus) that makes the occasional appearance with …

Surreal Somass Estuary

The forecast was pretty good and I decided to check out an area that I haven’t birded before: the Somass Estuary in Port Alberni, on Vancouver Island. Sandy McRuer of Rainbird Excursions wrote up a post describing the estuary and how to get there and I figured that it might be good for some winter birding. Sandy’s directions to get …

Bird on a Wire #3 – American Kestrel …. and Dinner

Over the last couple of weeks I’ve been keeping an eye out for the American Kestrel (Falco sparverius) that I’ve seen occasionally near an old barn just north of Courtenay, British Columbia. Yesterday afternoon it was at its usual spot on the telephone wire after being absent during several weeks of bad weather. Guess who’s coming to dinner. The American …

Golden!

There are several species of songbirds that are notoriously hard to photograph. Most of them are fairly small and constantly on the move. The Golden-crowned Kinglet (Regulus satrapa) is one of these. Often it will respond to pishing and perch for a quick look at you, before heading back into the thicket or branches where it continues about its business …

Campbell River Christmas Bird Count – January 2, 2012

Another early morning and I was on my way north to Campbell River to do my second (and last) Christmas Bird Count of the 2011/12 count period. I didn’t do the Campbell River count last year (substituting it with the Nanaimo CBC) and, since I was able to do the Comox count this year, I thought it would be good …

Nanaimo Christmas Bird Count 2011

I was up at around 5:30 this morning and, after a quick breakfast, was on the road and heading south to Nanaimo for the city’s 2011 Christmas Bird Count. I have to admit that I wasn’t too optimistic about the weather  but I was pleasantly surprised to see clear skies and stars when I loaded my gear into the car. …