Rare opportunity for a boat tour of Victoria Harbour and Esquimalt Lagoon Migratory Bird Sanctuaries: 9 am to 12 pm, Sunday, February 19, 2017

tour-poster-final2-copyThis guided tour has been organized to promote awareness and enjoyment of twoe of the many interesting and beautiful natural features of the Greater Victoria area.  The Victoria Migratory Bird Sanctuary was established in 1923 , 8 years before the establishment of the Shoal Harbour Migratory Bird Sanctuary in 1931 at the north end of the Saanich Peninsula. Both sanctuaries were established to protect migratory birds from excessive hunting . The  sponsor of this website, Friends of Shoal Harbour (FOSH),  is one of many similar citizen groups wishing not only to share its enthusiasm for its immediate surroundings but also to join other groups in visioning the culmination of their efforts, together with the support of community leaders, in the form of a network of beautiful protected natural spaces enjoyed by all.

Invitations are being extended to community leaders to join the February 19 tour but we anticipate that there will be spaces available for the public. Email  (ekoscommunications) or telephone (250 655 3600) to enquire.

The comfortable and capable MV “4 Ever Wild” has been made available to us on very generous terms by Eagle Wing Tours (see poster).  While the main intent of this adventure is to promote enjoyment and protection or our rich natural endowment, we nevertheless are asking for your help to cover the operating costs of the vessel and to advance the goals of Friends of Shoal Harbour and the recently established Wild 4 Whales Foundation. A minimum donation of $25.00 per person is suggested.

MV “4 Ever Wild” has space for 50 people in an enclosed lounge and plenty of deck space (dress warmly for the latter). There are two washrooms aboard.  Eagle Wing Tours is located at Fisherman’s Wharf (12 Erie Street, Victoria BC). There is a pay parking lot nearby.

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Gleep!

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Male Surf Scoter about to swallow an impressively large clam

 

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Male and female Surf Scoters

These superb photos were taken by Terry Venables and are used with his permission.

Can you imagine starting your day by swallowing a large, clenched, cold clam together with attached grit and weed? Hard to distinguish in dim light from a similarly sized rock. And then, and this is not for the squeamish, imagine yourself as a Surf Scoter, having crushed the clam in your gizzard, excreting the variously sized shelly bits. In “Birds of Coastal British Columbia” by Nancy Baron and John Acorn, the authors wonder how much of the sand on local beaches sand passed through the innards of scoters.

Surf Scoters (Melanitta perspicillata), are by far the most numerous of the three species of scoters are  observed in winter along the foreshores of the Saanich Peninsula especially where clams and mussels are abundant (Roberts Bay, Patricia Bay).  In the spring, Surf Scoters will migrate to breeding grounds to the north where they will nest alongside rivers, ponds, lakes, the ocean, even in forests. Tough customers!