Big day birding nets donations

Annual Brant Festival bird-watching event raises conservation cash

Sandy Gray of the Arrowsmith Naturalists and Tim Clermont of the Nature Trust of B.C. appreciate all the donations that came in for the Brant Wildlife Festival

Sandy Gray of the Arrowsmith Naturalists and Tim Clermont of the Nature Trust of B.C. appreciate all the donations that came in for the Brant Wildlife Festival

The Arrowsmith Naturalists are thrilled they raised over $700 at their Big Day Bird Count on April 7.

The fun event that gives all experience levels a chance to test their abilities at finding birds has been part of the Brant Wildlife Festival for years.

Bird experts from all over Vancouver Island as well as amateurs show up for the bird count and teams head out for the day to count as many birds as they can.

Sandy Gray of the Arrowsmith Naturalists said one team counted 118 birds this year not quite as many as the all-time single record of 122.

She said there were 51 participants and 14 teams this year and awards were handed out in several categories at the end of the day during a banquet at Deez Bar and Grill in Qualicum Beach. She said they collected $630 in donations from the event and Deez added another $100 to the kitty.  She added that Deez was also generous in providing gift certificates for the days prizes.

The Bird of the Day award went to Guy Monty from team No Egrets for spotting an American Golden-Plover.

A large shorebird of pastures, open ground, and mudflats, the American Golden-Plover makes one of the longest migratory journeys of any shorebird.

It breeds on the high Arctic tundra of Alaska and Canada and winters in the grasslands of central and southern South America.

For those who would like to spot some birds in our region, but are new to the hobby, the Arrowsmith Naturalists have just released their latest field pocket guide.

The Seasonal Bird Checklist was compiled by Guy Monty and other knowledgable birders in the area and is available for $3.  The book lists over 300 species of birds that can be found specifically in the Parksville Qualicum Beach area and what time of year you would expect to see them.

The book can be purchased through the Arrowsmith Naturalists or at Cha Cha Java in Parksville.