society news

Pender Harbour Christmas Bird Count December 17th

from: John Field

The 24th annual Pender Harbour CBC (Christmas Bird Count) will take place all day on Wednesday, December 17th, 2014. The back-up date is the following day, Thursday - see NOTE at the end of this email.

Although it is a Pender Harbour and District and Wildlife Society sponsored event, several members of the Sunshine Coast Natural History Society take part every year and also provide many of the group leaders. There are participants from outside these organizations as well.

I would like to welcome those of you who have come in the past as well as those joining us for the first time! Expertise at identification is not required for participation in the count. All that is needed is an interest in birds and a desire to learn more about which ones are around at this time of year.

Bring binoculars or spotting scope if you have them. Lunch and warm clothes are recommended as participants will be outdoors.

The Christmas Bird Count is a one-day census of all birds wintering in the Pender Harbour area, specifically within a 15-mile radius circle that extends from Middlepoint in the South to Captain's Island in the North, and from the Bjerre Shoals (Malaspina Strait) in the West to Storm Bay (Sechelt Inlet) in the East. For counting, this complex area of land, sea and numerous lakes is broken up into smaller areas, each of which is allocated to a group of counters. We plan to have at least six expert-led crews, three of which will spend at least part of the day on boats.

Details regarding the boat groups are as follows:

1. the northern group (led by Tony Greenfield) will do the Egmont area in the morning, then will go out for the afternoon on Billy Griffith's seiner to do Agamemnon Channel;

2. the eastern group (John Dafoe) will leave from Egmont mid-morning on Brian Portman's crewboat to do northern Sechelt Inlet, including Skookumchuk Narrows and Storm Bay;

3. the southern group (Scott Hodges/Paul Jones) will leave from Secret Cove in the morning on Andre’ Alarie’s prawn boat to survey Malaspina Strait and southern portions of Pender Harbour, and will be dropped off at Madeira Park about midday. The afternoon will be spent doing land areas south of Francis Peninsula Road.

The three main land routes and their usual group leaders are as follows:

4. Oyster Bay and the Garden Bay area (Arnold Skei/Rand Rudland),

5. Highway 101 from Lillies Lake to Ruby Lake (Dan Bouman),

6. Francis Peninsula (Russ Tkachuk/Jan McConnell).

Tony is organizing the experts and their routes, and I will be the contact person for other participants.

Please let John Field know:

A) whether you would like to join the count for the day or part of the day. There is no formal fee for registration, but Bird Studies Canada, which coordinates the CBC program overall, appreciates donations:

B) if you have a preference for a particular route (please be prepared to contribute $5-10 towards car or boat fuel);

C) whether you plan to come to the excellent dinner and countdown at the end of the day (dinner will start about 6 pm) - see details below.

This year's post-count get-together will be at the Ruby Lake Restaurant, where there will be a welcoming fire and dinner. Doors open at dusk. The gathering will also feature tallying up the day's results by species and numbers, and swapping tall tales of the day's highlights!

The dinner will be hosted by owner and chef Aldo Cogrossi and will include vegetarian soup, entree of fish or vegetarian pasta with vegetables, and dessert. Cost for the meal is $18 per person. I need to know numbers in advance so please let me know if you will be coming for dinner.

If you are, or know of, an expert birder who would consider taking on a new route, there are several areas within our count circle that are not currently covered. Please contact Tony at 604-885-5539 or email: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

All registrations and other enquiries should be directed to me at 604-883-2807 or by email: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) Note that I will be away from my email December 6-12, so my responses may be delayed.

Finally, if you want to take part in the count by monitoring your home bird feeder during the day, please contact Joe Harrison (604-883-9958) to register and to get more information on this aspect of the count.

Please feel free to forward this message to others who might be interested.

NOTE: The back-up date (Thursday, December 18) will be used only if extreme weather conditions (gale force or stronger winds, or major snowfall) make the scheduled count day unsuitable for birding.
IF WEATHER CONDITIONS ON COUNT DAY ARE FORECAST TO BE EXTREME, ALL REGISTERED PARTICIPANTS WILL BE NOTIFIED VIA EMAIL BY 7 PM ON THE PREVIOUS EVENING. An email will be sent out only if there is a change of date. If the weather looks bad, be sure to check your email after 7 pm on the evening prior to the count. No email means no change!