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Carol & Martha searching the water...
General News · 8th January 2009
Nancy Kendel
It was too bad that the 9th annual Cortes Island Christmas Bird Count (CBC) missed the warm sunny weather by 24 hours. But despite 2 inches of new snow, snow flurries and cold weather 23 birders still joined the CBC on January 3rd, 2009. The CBC is always conducted sometime between December 15th and January 5th, and though it could have been postponed one or two days – the weather for the 4th and 5th was predicted to be even worse.

The CBC is co-sponsored annually by the Cortes Island Museum and Bird Studies Canada and the results of the count are recorded with the Audubon Society, the organization that started the CBC 109 years ago.

This year in addition to the 4 groups of land-based birders that covered the beaches, lakes and forests of Cortes, a contingent of 5 observers traveled by boat from Manson's Landing Dock, toured Gorge Harbour, circumnavigated Marina Island, and traveled on to the Whaletown Dock – all before lunch. The boat continued on north in the afternoon to Von Donop Inlet. Having observers on the water increased the number and species of seabirds tallied this year. There was also an increase in feeder and backyard observers – with 10 people calling in their observations.

With everyone's keen participation 72 species of birds were observed on the count day.
An additional 8 species were noted the 3 days prior to and after the count day. With the cold snowy weather it was surprising that the species count was still close to average. All the small freshwater marshes and ponds were frozen making it harder to spot some of the usual waterfowl such as Green-winged Teals, Trumpeter Swans, and Pied-billed Grebes. The grassy fields which are usually the favoured feeding places for Canada Geese and Common Snipes were covered in a foot of snow. So considering the conditions the participants finished the day with a feeling of success.

If you would like to view the detailed count summary for 2008 please visit the website of the Cortes Island Museum & Archives (cortesmuseum,ca).

A big thanks to Lisa Joe for providing a yummy hot lunch so we could thaw out and regroup for the afternoon, and to Lynne & Joe Jordan who kindly offered their home overlooking Manson's Lagoon (a great birding spot) as the warm gathering place.

If you missed the CBC but would like to join in the Museum's spring birding day, watch the flyers or the web-page in early April for details of the event. No previous birding experience is necessary, and it is a great way to have fun and improve your birding skills.
Snow on the binoculars!
Snow on the binoculars!
Well Done Birders!
Comment by Richard Trueman on 9th January 2009
We were thinking of you from Mexico