Latest BC News from Bird Studies Canada
Call for Volunteers: Shorebird Surveys, Coastal BC
22 March 2013 – Bird Studies Canada and Simon Fraser University are collaborating on a hemispheric-wide effort to study potential causes of declines of Western Sandpipers. Because they use many distinct migratory sites in the Salish Sea region, British Columbia is in the unique situation of supporting a large proportion of the Western Sandpiper population each year. This study aims to census about 20 sites in the Salish Sea and Vancouver Island, and northern Puget Sound Region. To cover this number of sites simultaneously, we are seeking help from volunteer birders.
If you’re skilled at shorebird identification and accurately estimating flock sizes (or are willing to learn estimation skills), please consider volunteering. A time commitment of three to four hours on April 28, and during two to three days on the weekends of July 19 and August 16, is required. Training will be available. The survey sites will focus on the following areas: Metro Vancouver, Victoria/Capital Region, Tofino, and Eastern Vancouver Island. If you’re interested in participating or learning more, please email David Hope (email@example.com) or Karen Barry (firstname.lastname@example.org) with the subject line “WESA Survey,” and state which area you’d be willing to survey.
New Sightings for Mayne Island
- If you see or hear a "new arrival" in the coming Spring do let us know. You could phone Michael at 5745, or better yet, use the on-line form below. Photos can be attached to an email message sent to email@example.com
Unusual or Rare Sightings
April 12, Alice Harris reports hearing a Western Screech Owl off Bowsprit - close to the "Level 3 Habitat" zone indicated on our Species Home Range maps.
January 31, Michael Dunn saw a Snowy Owl in the Glen Echo Road area. This is a very rare occurrence and the first he's observed in his 21 years on Mayne.
January 13 and 14, 2013 a Western Screech Owl, a bird species at risk, has been heard calling (there may be two) around Gallagher Bay and Purcell Roads.
January 12-14, 2013 a large flock of up to 1200 Surf Scoters has been seen along the Strait of Georgia side of Mayne Island feeding between Active Pass and Campbell Point. This is the largest single flock recorded for Mayne in the last 15 years at least.
December 31, 2012 An adult Golden Eagle observed over and around Reef Bay moving toward Edith Point. This is likely a first record for Mayne and this is not a very common observation for our area.
December 17, 2012 A pair of Yellow-shafted Flickers at Gallagher Bay Road and Purcell Road. While considered to be the same species as the Red-shafted Flicker (both classed as the Northern Flicker), it is still a striking bird to see.
December 15, 2012 Ringed-neck Duck sighted Windover Farm and Spotted Sandpiper at pond off Fernhill Road.
* For complete listing of 2011-2012 sightings & arrivals visit our Sightings Archive
Christmas Bird Count 2012
The numbers for Mayne's Christmas Bird Count on December 15, 2012 were 71 species which represented 6,488 birds, a very good result considering the very strong winds and rain for the day. The grand total for our count area (Penders, Saturna and Mayne) was 83 species and 13,486 birds.
The full report is now posted below.
Birding Refresher Course had Good Results
A wonderful break from the cloud, wind and rain, Sunday, December 2, 2012 proved to be a beautiful sunny day for ten bird enthusiasts. The birds, too seemed to be rejoicing in the brighter day judging from the numbers and diversity of species seen. The outing was hosted by the Mayne Island Conservancy under the wing (pun intended) of Michael Dunn. It was to give people a chance to improve their field observation skills as well as practice techniques for counting large flocks. Over the course of about 3 hours, the group visited Miners Bay park and bay, Georgina Point, Merryman Road and Village Bay at the boat ramp. In all, 36 species were observed representing about 850 individuals. The highlight was seeing two Anna’s Hummingbirds in Miners Bay Park. A partial list of birds sighted and numbers follows. Note that this is not a complete listing of total numbers encountered.
- Miners Bay Park and Bay
Pacific Loon – 42 Common Goldeneye – 2 Double-crested Cormorant – 8 Pelagic Cormorant – 2 Bufflehead – 8 Bald Eagle – 4 Golden-crowned Kinglet – 14 House Sparrow – 6 Song Sparrow – 3 Fox Sparrow – 1 Red-breasted Merganser – 4 Anna’s Hummingbird – 2 Unidentified Gulls – 42 Spotted Towhee – 4
- Georgina Point
Bald Eagle – 5 Bonaparte’s Gull – 15 Pacific Loon – 100+ Common Murre – 40 Pigeon Guillemot – 4 Barrow’s Goldeneye – 26 Unidentified Gulls - 120 House Sparrow – 6 Song Sparrow – 3 Fox Sparrow – 1 Red-breasted Merganser – 4
- Merryman Road
Pine Siskin - ~350 Pacific Wren – 3 American Robin – 4 Northern Flicker – 3 Red-shafted/Yellow-shafted Flicker hybrid – 1 Red Crossbill- 2 Song Sparrow – 1 Golden-crowned Kinglet – 4 Dark-eyed Junco – 1 Bald Eagle – 2 Common Raven – 2 Red-breasted Nuthatch – 1 Northwestern Crow – 3
- Village Bay
Belted Kingfisher – 1 Bufflehead – 8 American Wigeon – 9 Glaucous-winged Gull – 4 Mew Gull – 25 California Gull – 1 Double-crested Cormorant – 12 Pelagic Cormorant – 2 Thayer’s Gull - 4 Common Merganser - 4
Christmas Bird Count Weather a Challenge
On December 15, 2012, Mayne Island birders awoke to rain, high winds and reduced visibility for their annual Christmas Bird Count. Undaunted, 31 people spent all or part of their day searching the forests, fields and waters of Mayne island to contribute to this annual North American ritual. At the post count gathering everyone commented on the low numbers they had tallied, citing the weather conditions as a major factor for the disappointing results. Despite this general feeling, the total numbers for this year’s count were surprisingly good. The Mayne Island total species count was 71 species, which is our average over the last five years, but below our highest (in recent history) of 80 (2004). The number of individual birds recorded was a different story. In all, we recorded 6,488 birds for the day. This is well above our average of 4,525 over the last five years and only slightly below our highest number recorded at 7,890 (again in 2004).
Within our count area, which we share with Saturna and the Penders, the total species count was 83, which is higher than last year’s total (81) but below the average of around 89 species. The total individuals tallied were 13,436, which is the average over the last 3 years.
Of course, the real story is within these totals. Even with the high winds, small flocking birds were abundant and in fact, dominated the high number spots. These included Pine Siskin (887), Dark-eyed Junco (810), Chestnut-backed Chickadee (395) and Golden-crowned Kinglet (329), which is just over 37% of all the birds seen. The marine waters were also a surprise in terms of numbers observed particularly within the sheltered bays and waterways around Mayne. Species sighted included Brandt’s Cormorant (701), an all-time Mayne Island count high, Surf Scoter (584), unidentified gull species (457), Barrow’s Golden-eye (356), Bufflehead (176), unidentified cormorant species (129) and Pacific Loon (128). These species represented about 39% of the total numbers.
Notable species for this year included two count records - Anna’s Hummingbird (21) overwintering populations continue to increase since our first winter record in 2004. Surfbird (101) numbers, despite the high tides and wind waves, were a count record high. Our ‘count bird’ (a species determined by consensus of the counters to be the best or rarest of the year’s count) was a Spotted Sandpiper seen on the shores of a freshwater pond. Other notables include Ring-necked Duck (1), Western and Red-necked grebe (5 and 2, respectively), Killdeer (4), Rhinoceros Auklet (2) and Savannah Sparrow (8).
We had one count week bird, the Yellow-shafted Flicker, which is no longer considered a separate species from the Red-shafted Flicker but collectively called the Northern Flicker - a pity. The yellow-shafted form is a striking bird with a bright red “moustache” (black for the red-shafted form) and spot on the back of the head. Its distinct yellow coloured wing and tail feather shafts are very visible when it is seen in flight. A pair were seen on December 17 and recorded.
Thanks to all the counters for this year, which was a count high and all the property owners who allowed access to their properties.
|15-Dec-2012 COMPLETED CHECK LIST|
|Surf Scoter||584||Chestnut-backed Chickadee|
|Sooty Grouse||Red-breasted Nuthatch|
|Double-crested Cormorant||48||Pine Siskin|
|Great Blue Heron||1|
|Cooper's Hawk||1||Barrow's Goldeneyes|
|Bonaparte's Gull||30||Brandt's and Pelagic Cormorants|
|Glaucous w x Western hybrid|
|Pigeon Guillemot||4||Black Oystercatchers with|
Surfbirds and Black Turnstones
|Great Horned Owl|
|Northern Saw-whet Owl|
|Barred Owl||Pileated Woodpecker|
|Northern (red-shafted) Flicker||17|
|Northern (yellow-shafted) Flicker Count week Dec 17/12||2|
|Yellow-bellied Sapsucker Juvenile||Mew Gull|
|Pacific Wren (Winter)||44|
|Fox Sparrow||18||Western Tanager|
|Dark-eyed (Oregon) Junco||810|
|Dark-eyed (Slate-colored) Junco|
|Number of Species:||71|
|Number of Individuals:||6488 + 1 count week||American Goldfinch|
Sidebar Photos by Michael Dunn, Tom Hobley, Andrew McPhee & Mike Hoebel as per "tooltips" with each illustration.
To view a complete recap of the count for our local zone (the Penders, Mayne & Saturna) by Island, Zone and Species click here
The 2011 report & the Completed Check List from the 2011 count can be viewed here
Birding outing held on Sunday September 16 focused on what you might see in your own backyard and neighbourhood. We started at the Gallagher Bay Road residence of Michael Dunn and did a casual walk to Piggott and Gallagher bays, hoping to spot the Spotted Sandpiper. We did not unfortunately but along the way, we did see 20 species of birds. There were 10 participants. The total list was:
|Turkey Vulture||Spotted Towhee||Song Sparrow|
|Pine Siskin||Red-breasted Nuthatch||Osprey|
|Cooper's Hawk||Common Raven||Chestnut-backed Chickadee|
|Brown Creeper||Winter Wren||Red Crossbill|
|Northern Flicker||Hairy Woodpecker||Great Blue Heron|
|Belted Kingfisher||Ruby-crowned Kinglet||Canada Goose|
|American Robin||Mew Gull|