Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Harassment Of Hedwigs Hits Horrific Heights

I don't know if it's just the time of year, or the fact that Jenny's been having more days off at weekends lately but I had another relatively birdless week.
Last Saturday, we walked along the waterfront and included Clover Point and Beacon Hill Park in our travels. My trusty bins ever-present, I tried to find something worth mentioning but everywhere we went it was business as usual (not even a Eurowigeon in the park). Of course, that's not a terribly bad thing - I don't expect to walk out of the house and bump into a mega every day, but it just means that there's nothing much to blog about.

Sunday, we had a change of scenery and drove out to East Sooke Park. We have visited the southern stretch a number of times, and walked from Aylard Farm to Beechey Head, but had never explored the more westerly areas, so with that in mind we headed for Pike Road and the Coppermine Trail.
The temperate rain forest here is truly spectacular in places, considering we're just 45 minutes away from downtown Victoria!
Of course, the forests are deadly quiet at this time of year and other than the odd Pacific wren or bald eagle it was pretty unbirdy stuff. Great scenery and a fine picnic all helped sooth the pain...
Offshore it was equally drab, with highlights including common loon and white-winged scoter. And a SUBMARINE! Yes, a real sub - the first I've ever seen in the wild (I once saw a Trident nuclear sub in dry-dock in Barrow-in-Furness while on my way to twitch a spotted sandpiper but that doesn't count).
And other than my daily lunchtime strolls around Langford Lake, that's been it really. A small flock of pine siskins dropped by today, but alas brought no redpolls. It was nice to see a pair of red crossbills yesterday gathering nesting material, close to the spot where a male has been singing for the past week or so.
A clan of river otters have been hanging around by the boardwalk for the last couple of days, always a pleasant diversion.

On a less enjoyable note, this video depicting photographers deliberately flushing a snowy owl has been causing a stir in local birding circles. The location, Boundary Bay near Vancouver, is a renowned wintering site for owls and raptors, and given this season's continent-wide snowy invasion the place has been positively jumping with the big goofy white things.
Unfortunately, the camo-clad masses have been out trampling about the place, desperate to get another shot to add the thirty-two million already posted on local forums.
It seems that a picture of a snowy owl must be considered worthless if it should show any habitat whatsoever. Only a close up of the birds' nostril hairs will do, or at the very least a flight shot.
After all, they're really bloody boring just sitting there, aren't they...?
Anyway, watch this and despair.

1 comment:

  1. Hi John, a friend of mine who lives in Vancouver sent me this video and as you say this is very distressing. Having read a lot about the Boundary Bay Owls are the authorities actually doing anything in relation to what appears to be a constant harassment of this magnificent birds?

    I'm sad to report that this is also a problem in the UK. I work on a Nature Reserve and I actually surpress sightings of Long-eared Owls for just this reason.

    If this was Scotland and these guys were doing this to Golden or White-tailed Eagles, arrests would be imminent!