Thursday, January 05, 2012

Marine Birdwatching!

Well, it does seem to be the year of the ducks. The field in Gyro Park on Cadboro Bay was filled with dozens of mallard ducks this afternoon. They were all walking placidly on the mown grass (yes, in Victoria the grass gets mowed in winter) and dabbling in the rainwater puddles. Marine birdwatching was real simple today... no boat needed.

Finally, there's a birdwatching course suited for kayakers! It's taking place through Swan Lake Christmas Hill Nature Sanctuary. The lake itself is a little gem next to the Lochside Trail, the northern spur of the terrific bike trail that runs through Greater Victoria. We're not allowed to paddle there, alas, but it is a good park to take kids or visitors. You can tramp around the trails and floating boardwalks.

Here's the listing for the Marine Birds course, copied from the Nature Sanctuary's website.

Marine Birds – an course for naturalists and nature enthusiasts
Thursdays, March 1, 8, 15, 22, 29, 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

Field-trip Sundays March 18, 25, 9:00 to 10:30 a.m.
Learn where to find and how to identify marine birds and discover fascinating secrets about how they feed and live with local ornithologist, James Clowater. Cost: $80 for Swan Lake members - $100 for non-members. Please register by calling 250-479-0211.

If you're used to a "course" at a community centre costing about $10 and lasting an hour, don't boggle. This is not a single evening slideshow -- it's a humdinger of a program for anyone who takes an interest in the seabirds we see when paddling our kayaks.
Now I'm wondering if that was a puffin or a marbled murrelet that surfaced beside my kayak out in Oak Bay, with a grey squid in its beak...

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