Cassidy’s most avid birder, Robert Hay, keeps an eye out for birds at Transfer Beach Park in Ladysmith. (Photo submitted)

Cassidy’s most avid birder, Robert Hay, keeps an eye out for birds at Transfer Beach Park in Ladysmith. (Photo submitted)

First bird count brings fine weather and enthusiastic participants

Preliminary data totals 84 species on the count day, and a rare yellow-billed loon counted

It was a great day for birding and the first bird count based in Ladysmith that included Chemainus, Saltair and Thetis Island on Sunday, Dec. 20.

“For a new count, we were still able to have 34 adults participate, of which half were solely bird feeder watchers on their own properties,” noted organizer Robert Hay of Cassidy.

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“The weather was cooperative, with light southerly winds and a high of 10 Celsius — the sun even came out at times,” he added.

The 15-mile count circle went from the Chemainus River estuary to Nanaimo Airport and from inland hills to Thetis Island, covering an area that provides habitats for a diversity of bird life.

“Our preliminary data totaled 84 species on the count day, with another rare species seen during the count week, a yellow-billed loon,” Hay indicated.

High numbers for some notable species were: Canada goose (405), trumpeter swan (80), mallard (1,012), Anna’s hummingbird (169), bald eagle (53), starling (834), American robin (257), pine siskin (793) and dark-eyed junco (1,010).

Highlights on count day included: cackling goose (9), black duck (6), Virginia rail (1), northern harrier (1), ring-billed gull (1), great horned owl (1 heard), barred owl (1), American kestrel (2) and northern shrike (1).

“I wish to thank the birders involved for their diligence,” Hay said. “I hope that we have even greater participation next year.”

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