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General News · 6th January 2010
Cortes Island Museum
On Saturday, January 2nd, the Cortes Museum co-sponsored with Bird Studies Canada the 10th Annual Cortes Island Christmas Bird Count (CBC). This year thirty bird enthusiasts split into six groups which were led by experienced volunteer birders. Five of the groups travelled roads and paths searching forests, fields and shorelines to identify and count as many birds as possible. The sixth group travelled by boat through Gorge Harbour out to Shark’s Spit to search for a few more water fowl species not always seen by land. Twelve other Islanders contributed by watching their feeders and backyards for the 24 hour period.

The weather was such an improvement from last year’s CBC – which was hampered by snow, bad roads and cold weather. The day was calm (6 C) with a light rain late in the day. These were pretty ideal conditions for spotting birds.

The highlights of the day included the single American Coot spotted adjacent to the road at Gunflint Lake; the Pigeon Guillemot and Long-tailed Duck at Manson’s Lagoon; a Wood Duck and 2 Hooded Mergansers at Swamp’s Edge; 3 Anna’s Hummingbirds, a Merlin, and a Western Screech and Pigmy Owl at the South end; a Virginia Rail, a Green-winged Teal and flock of 22 Killdeer in the swamp and field adjacent to Gunflint lake; 3 Pied billed Grebes in Hague Lake; 4 Greater White-fronted Geese at Loon Ranch; and at the North end of the Island Pacific Loons, Ancient and Marbled Murrelets, Pileated Woodpeckers and a Barred Owl. A total of 75 species in all were counted that day, and three additional species (Great Horned Owl, Red-winged Blackbird, Dunlin) were observed during the days preceding the count.

If you would like to view the detailed count summary for the 2009 CBC please visit the website of the Cortes Island Museum & Archives (cortesmuseum.ca).

A very big thank you to all the volunteers who shared their knowledge and to Lynne & Joe Jordan who kindly offered their home overlooking Manson's Lagoon (a great birding spot) as the gathering place.

If you missed the CBC but would like to join in the Museum's spring birding day, watch the Cortes Marketer 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.