California Gull Zen

A bit of a feeding frenzy today at Wickaninnish Beach in Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. A huge flock of mostly California Gulls (Larus californicus) descended on the beach in the late morning and were still there in the late afternoon despite some folks who thought that it would be fun to flush the flocks resting on the sand up …

Spawning Spectacle!

Herring roe on fucus, a nutritional meal for many birds and animals. Photo © Guy Monty. Each year herring spawns around Vancouver Island, British Columbia in early March. This year is no exception. Last week, I heard that the herring were spawning near French Creek between Parksville and Qualicum Beach. This area has traditionally been one of the most important …

California Gulls, California Gulls

A flock of mostly Thayer’s Gulls (Larus thayeri). Note the yellow legs of the California Gulls (Larus californicus) in the center of the image. I happened to be down in Parksville yesterday and did some pre-meeting birding at the Parksville Community Park on the waterfront. It was a blustery day but the gulls were out in numbers. Birds are beginning …

Guess that Gull

I admit that I struggle with identifying gulls. Not only do you have to deal with four years of different plumages, you have to deal with hybrids as well. It can be extremely challenging and there are many opportunities to second guess yourself. In situations like those, sometimes it’s better to simply close your eyes, wait until the gull is …

Birding at Oyster Bay

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 …

Swimming with Bonapartes

The swimming was excellent at Miracle Beach this afternoon and as an added bonus a flock of Bonaparte gulls (Larus philadelphia) was actively feeding on invertbrates in floating bits of seaweed. I normally enjoy birdwatching from the shore but I have to admit that floating quietly on my back and watching the Bonapartes fly over added a whole new dimension …