Yesterday, April 7, Dan and I started at SNP at the gazebo … no brant, some of the raft of divers still present but much lower number of birds than our last BC.
We headed to the Seacrest access … gulls everywhere, dabblers and brant in the distance near AdTryonPool.
Stopped at Johnstone Rd … ~160 brant heading down the Strait, close in.
We decided to visit the coyote at AdTryonPool where we stayed almost 3 hrs … watched many groups of 10-200 brant fly up and down the length of beach from Seacrest to the marina … a few times a full cloud of 400-600 brant wheeling about. Just before we left at 16:15 a very large group of brant up and down the beach a few times, then all settled in front of us where I was able to get a count of close to 900. WOW, what a show.
April 7, 2023, Brant Count Area 2, 13:30-16:15, 900 brant.
Photo by Debbie McAmmond
After a wet and windy weekend Tuesday Apr. 11 was a pleasant morning at the beach. Partly cloudy and warm, with a cooling breeze. Eight Arrowsmith Naturalists surveyed the PQB Wildlife Management Area from 10 am to 12 noon.
Area 1 North: At the Seaside Nature Park in Qualicum Beach 7 Brant were spotted flying east. An additional 9 Brant were observed at Surfside Dr. East. At Surfside Dr. West there were 38 Brant on the sandbars towards the Little Qualicum River with 500+ gulls and ~450 dabbling ducks; mostly Mallard and Wigeon. Other highlights were a cloud of Dunlin and diving Bonaparte Gulls.
Area 2 Central: Although no Brant were found some highlights were: 2 Eurasian Wigeon and Bonaparte Gulls at French Creek. At Johnstone Road, 4 Greater Yellowlegs and ~300 Sandpiper were seen.
Area 3 South: At 10:15 the tide at Rathtrevor Park was still too high for the Brant. A few flocks flew in, circled, and left until 11 am when a flock of 600 Brant landed 250 metres offshore and 35 more finally settled on a sandbar at the beach. At Parksville Beach the tide was going out but there was 35 Brant in the shallows. One person with a dog off-leash was on the beach further away from the Brant.
Ten Arrowsmith Naturalist volunteers surveyed the PQB Wildlife Management Area from 12:30 pm to 2:30 pm. Unfortunately the tide was farther out than what is ideal and rain showers reduced visibility.
Area 1 North: 6 Brant were observed flying at the Seaside Nature Pavilion. At the Little Qualicum Estuary there were 18 Brant visible on the gravel bars and ~300 gulls near the river mouth. An eagle finally put all the birds up and we were hoping for more Brant but only 300 to 400 dabbling ducks appeared from behind the bar. mostly American Wigeon.
Area 2 Central: There was little to report at the stops in the central area. Highlights were, a murmuration of 200+ Dunlin, a feeding frenzy of Bonaparte Gulls, and an observation of 4 Orca.
Area 3 South: At 12:30 on Rathtrevor Beach 500 Brant were observed. At Parksville Beach the highlight was 40 Bufflehead in the Bay. A second count at 2:30pm on Rathtrevor Beach found the 500 Brant plus 230 more off shore at Brant Point. Shortly after this beach walkers finally chased the Brant off. Joining together, the two groups flew offshore and settled ~ 1Km out.