SPRING MIGRATION IN THE WAKE OF AN EXTREME EL NINO

After their rapid early departure during the record heat wave on the 17th and 18th of April, numbers continued to slip away as the breeding pairs departed. Numbers rebounded a bit on the 24th with the arrival of more juveniles. Last evening their numbers peaked at 102. Latest count today is 83 including six adult drakes.
 
A ridge of high pressure will build over the island tomorrow so expect the departure of the juvenile portion of the population is imminent, and probably similar to last spring, despite the marked early departure of the adults. 
Buffleheads March-May 2011-2016

Where Wrangellia Collided – Yorath Point 27 April, 2016

report by Kerry Finley

I noticed a field school of geology students investigating the geology of Armstrong Point today, so I listened in for a few minutes before talking with the instructor David Nelles. At first I thought they were Camosun students who frequently use the point as a major field site. It has long been used by geology students and was included as one of the significant features to visit in Chris Yorath’s classic field guide to the geology of Vancouver Island.
It is significant for a number of reasons that are instructive. Comprised of three groups of rocks dating back to the Early Jurassic ( ca 200 million years) granodiorite base, with volcanic intrusions. It is topped off by sedimentary sandstone from the Upper Cretaceous ( 85-65 million years ago). The students were examining the three geological ages within a short space of 200 metres, and paying particular attention to the non-conformity right at the tip of the point, aligned with Octopus Reef in the centre of Roberts Bay.
Shoal Harbour offers some stunning views of the Salish Sea, as well as some spectacular outcrops of rocks. Nearby we could hear Red-necked Grebes braying and there was a dozen juvenile Surf Scoters, among the last of winter inhabitants preparing to leave. The sanctuary offers tremendous opportunities in the entire field of natural history and its interpretation.
Park’s Canada’s state-of-the-art headquarters is within two blocks of this site, and yet somehow it was excluded from the original National Marina Conservation Area boundaries. Hopefully the renewed support of Parks Canada by the Trudeau government will help reverse this untenable situation.
Farrell has composed a poem about Wrangellia  based on Yorath’s book. Watch this space for its appearance.
Uvic students 2
University of Victoria students with the Earth Science’s Field School on 27 April, 2016.
Uvic students 1