Photo: Angie Ooms
A heavy fog came in just after the 1 pm start of the Mar.21 Brant Count. Reduced visibility allowed observers to view only the shore line. At Rathtrevor Beach, before the fog, there were several people and two off leash dogs keeping the birds away. 21 Brant were in the water just off the sand staying away from the people.
Parksville Beach was in the fog with reduced visibility. 8 Brant and ~200 Dunlin were seen flying. Lots of people and two kites on the beach. The central region of the survey area was under heavy fog.
At the Little Qualicum Estuary there were 23 Brant visible near shore and large flocks of birds were just out of view that we could hear in the fog. Walking toward the river 42 Brant, Am.Wigeon and Northern Pintail came close to shore. Eerily, we heard hundreds of unseen Brant when they flew off.
The survey from 13:00 to 15:00 was conducted by 15 volunteers.
Total Brant: 94
Our next Brant Count is Tuesday, March 28.
We kicked off the spring Brant Count with a great day. It was sunny and warm with a stiff breeze.
Area 1 North; we found 2 Brant at Little Qualicum estuary in the lagoon with approx 50 ducks. There were 200 gulls on the outer sandbars and approx 20 Harbour Seals lounging at the mouth of the river.
Area 2 Central; at French Creek there were 5 Brant flying East, at Admiral Tryon 15 Brant on the shore. Over at Butterball 9 Brant were seen flying to settle at Seacrest. Finally at Seacrest 15 Brant were found.
Area 3 South: at Rathtrevor 304 Brant were strung along the shore with no beach walkers to disturb them. At Mariner Way 79 Brant were found after walking out to the Englishman River mouth.
A total number of 414 Brant is an excellent count by 11 volunteers.
Our next count is Tuesday, Mar. 14.
Spawn at the LQ River
– Report and Images from Sandra Gray
This afternoon we were at the E end of Surfside Dr for 2+ hrs … spawn spreading E toward QB beach, will be washed out tomorrow or there may be more.
A raft of ~1000 mostly surf scoters, some white wing & black scoters, a few brant mixed in, bufflehead, both goldeneye, gulls mixed in, some horned grebe and harlequin. Mallard and wigeon mostly overhead and at the river mouth and in the pools … a low tide with birds hidden on the back of the big sandbar at the mouth. Brant came in a large group about 2pm and settled in pools near the river mouth … easily over 150, quite thick in spots, some mixed with gulls on some almost white sandbars.
I settled on a count of 185 brant for the LQ estuary, March 15, 1230-1500.
Brilliant aqua water, a bit windy, part cloud, gusty … lots of people.
The Arrowsmith Naturalists completed their second weekly count on Tuesday, Mar. 14. Strong winds and choppy seas kept the Brant in sheltered coves and pools.
In the north survey area there were several hundred ducks near the shoreline plus 20 Harbour Seals just off shore. Fourteen Brant were seen, through the wind and rain, at Little Qualicum Estuary with a flock of American Wigeon and Northern Pintail ducks.
In the Central area observers were excited to find 485 Brant at the Admiral Tryon pools and an additional 18 Brant near Seacrest beach.
There were no Brant found in the southern area of the survey, Rathtrevor Beach, possibly due to the strong southeasterly wind.
A total of 517 Brant were counted by 13 volunteer observers.
Our next count is Mar. 21.
Photo by Debbie McAmmond 🙂
The Arrowsmith Naturalist’s weekly Brant Count, March 28, had some very positive results. Eleven volunteers counted in three areas.
Area 1 North: Observers were at Surfside Dr., early, to find 444 Brant in the bay and over the gravel bar at Little Qualicum River. Additionally, at the end of Kincade Rd there were 60 or more Brant mixed in a spectacular raft of 8 – 10 thousand sea ducks spread out 300m from shore.
Observers at Qualicum Beach counted 34 Brant flying off shore at Beach Creek and at the QB nature pavilion long lines of Brant were also observed flying off shore; approx. 250. Stopping at Surfside Dr E another 30 Brant were observed flying east. The shore line at Surfside was covered with thousands of seagulls and herring roe 30cm deep at the high tide line.
Area 2 Central: Starting at French Creek 8 Brant were observed flying west. Stopping at Columbia Beach another 70 Brant were seen flying west, well offshore. At Admiral Tryon West 400 Brant were in the lagoon and over the gravel bar. There were large numbers of seagulls here as well.
Area 3 South: There were no Brant sightings at either Rathtrevor or Parksville Beaches.
The total number of Brant counted was 1,296. It is clear all the action is at Qualicum Beach where the herring are or were.
Our next count is Tuesday, April 04.
Photo credit: Claire Summers