YOU ARE INVITED! Saturday March 12, 2016 2:00 PM Friends of Shoal Harbour Guided Bird-Watching Tour and Supporters’ Tea

Calling all nature lovers, bird watchers and Saanich peninsula residents! Come and enjoy a guided walk, some bird watching and refreshments! Find out more about FOSH  – the Friends of Shoal Harbour group – and our new partnership with Nature Canada and with the other two local bird sanctuaries: Victoria Harbour and Esquimalt Lagoon!

Join FOSH members and supporters on Saturday March 12, 2016, for a FREE guided bird-watching tour along the Scoter Trail in Patricia Bay, followed by afternoon tea at St. John’s United Church (10990 West Saanich Road).

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Kerry Finley (foreground) informs the FOSH Birdwalk attendees about the obliging waterfowl presenting themselves along the Scoter Trail

For the bird-watching tour, meet at 2:00 pm at Patricia Bay Park (West Saanich road just north of the VAA seaplane ramp), rain or shine. If weather permits and there are enough folks, we will form a second party to survey Roberts Bay in Sidney as well! The afternoon tea runs from 3:15 pm to 4:30 pm.  At the tea there will be some delicious goodies, music and poetry readings, and a brief presentation on the Migratory Bird Sanctuary, our “sister sanctuaries” in Victoria and Esquimalt and our partnership with Nature Canada to promote the “Naturehood” concept. Everybody is welcome.

The Friends of Shoal Harbour Migratory Bird Sanctuary (FOSH)support the continued protection and enjoyment of the 1931 Migratory Bird Sanctuary that occupies Tsehum Harbour and Roberts Bay, and the protection and enjoyment of the “naturehood” of the Saanich Peninsula (see the FOSH

For more information and to register for this FREE event, please contact

Sue Staniforth, FOSH Chair, at 250-655-6300 or Hope to see you there!

Please pass this invitation on to anyone else you think might be interested

– Many thanks!

La La Land with Otters



Marine Otter with Large Inflated Sculpin, Roberts Bay 10 Feb, 2016.

courtesy of Kerry Finley:

This winter season has been easy for the Buffleheads. The Beaufort Eagles have wasted little effort and have only managed to cull two that I’m aware of so far ( which they consume in the nearby O.J. Williams Fir).
The large female otter, an experienced and stealthy predator of Buffleheads, with three pups that terrorized the flock last winter, has not reappeared, but one of her pups perhaps, has taken up residence and causes a high level of wariness and defence behaviour. They know that they have little to fear since this juvenile has not learned the necessary stealth tactics.
Yesterday, a dull drizzly day, the otter dragged its catch from the centre of the bay to the bladder kelp patch below and proceeded with much caution in eating its thorny puffed prey alive.


SHOAL HARBOUR SANCTUARY, part of the Southern Salish Sea IBA network

courtesy of Kerry Finley:
If you take a walk on Lochside, you’ll find an IBA sign, featuring the Heerman’s Gull and fellow inhabits of our waterfront.
I’ve been a Caretaker of “Sidney Channel” IBA since its inception. It got charged up with the energy of Krista Englund, and is being recharged with the new BC Coordinator, Krista Kaptein. Rob Gray, the new Co-Caretaker in training, is absorbing some of the deep cultural and natural history of the area.
One of our outstanding migratory guests is the Heerman’s Gull, at the northern most extension of its range, hailing from its single breeding colony, Isla Rasa, in the Sea of Cortez. It was Krista Englund who saw her first “HEEG” on the Salish Sea, which is how it got its name, Here Man, now. Krista was so impressed she introduced the “Sombrero Gull” to our local councils, who were so impressed they placed an IBA sign with its Heerman’s Gull on the most prominent promenade overlooking the IBA. We are hoping to re-kindle our international connection to our Sister IBA Isla Rasa, and are now working on a cooperative monitoring program with the Canadian Wildlife Service and the Coastal Waterbird Survey on Surfside’s “Isla Heerman”.
We are blessed with this vista of Mount Baker and three reefs on Surfside Bay that constitute essential roosts for Heerman’s Gulls, and a diversity of seabirds and shorebirds. This is the first glimpse that millions of tourists have of Vancouver Island as they rush to and from the ferries ( both domestic and international) and the airport.
We are fortunate too that this IBA is contiguous with Shoal Harbour Migratory Bird Sanctuary, one of the oldest migratory bird sanctuaries on Vancouver Island, along with our Sister Sanctuaries in Victoria and Esquimault Lagoon. As Jaques Sirois, the energetic chair of Victoria MBS has rightly claimed, we Three Sister Sanctuaries on the Southern Salish Sea have the best urban wildlife viewing opportunities in Canada, and yet few are aware of it, and its possibilities. Jacques has led the way in developing inspirational artworks in Victoria Harbour sanctuary and demonstrating connectivity within the framework of a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.
In this centenary of the first International Migratory Bird Convention, we are hopeful that Canada will renew it commitment to the protection of these important habitats. “Caretakers” have helped to pave the way. If you have questions, contact Krista Kaptein, IBA Coordinator <>.