contribution from the Friends of Shoal Harbour
Its no laughing matter. Another rare species has been spotted in Shoal Harbour Sanctuary, quickly attracting the attention of elite, world birders from the Mainland and the Island. It was identified as a Laughing Gull, a small noisy gull of the American East Coast in summer and the year round on the Gulf Coast and northern South America. They very rarely venture north of southern California, and this was the first photo-documented record for the West coast of Canada. The rare and wary bird spent two days on the mudflats providing many their species of a lifetime.
This the second time that a rare species has been documented in Shoal Harbour Sanctuary. The last was a Black Phoebe, another species that is extremely rare outside its southern range. It was observed under similar weather and climatic conditions in late June, 2011, as La Niña weather took shape
Ardent birders from the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island converged on Roberts Bay on Friday, July 9th, to add a rare bird to their lists.
Laughing Gull feeding on the Roberts Bay mudflats, part of Shoal Harbour Migratory Bird Sanctuary on July 7th 2016, 13:01:03 PDT. This is the first photo-documented record for Canada’s west coast. (On the eve of the centenary of the first Migratory Bird Treaty).
Laughing Gull, a yearling bird, taking off with the much larger Glaucous-winged Gull, one of our common local gulls.
JULY 7, 2016 12:59 AM
Re: “Toxic-soil cleanup ends as Rock Bay declared safe,” July 5.
Thanks to Transport Canada and B.C. Hydro for cleaning up Rock Bay. Thanks to other federal departments (Public Works Canada and National Defence), many municipalities, the Capital Regional District, private enterprises, NGOs and an army of volunteers for cleaning, restoring and rewilding Victoria Harbour, the Gorge Waterway, the Selkirk Waterway and Esquimalt Harbour in recent decades.
Possibly $500 million has been spent; nobody really knows. Much remains to be done but our two main harbours have not been this clean in half a century. As a result, wildlife is staying and coming back. Clean waters and wildlife are fuelling urban renewal in a way that was unimaginable 60 years ago.
In early 2016, Nature Canada recognized the Victoria Harbour Bird Sanctuary (established Oct. 27, 1923), the first migratory bird sanctuary in Pacific Canada, as a NatureHood, a sanctuary with significant urban wildlife and a perfect place for urban Canadians and their children to connect with nature.
Jacques Sirois, chairman
Friends of Victoria Harbour Bird Sanctuary
© Copyright Times Colonist
– See more at: http://www.timescolonist.com/opinion/letters/victoria-s-waterways-renewal-is-amazing-1.2296094#sthash.IKqcp53B.dpuf
Thursday, July 7, 2016
At 12:30pm on July 7th – 2016, Kerry Findley found a Laughing Gull on the tidal mudflats at Roberts Bay at The Shoal Harbour Migratory Bird Sanctuary in Sidney.
As of 3:00pm the bird was still present in a large flock of Glaucous-winged Gulls and a few Mew Gulls. The bird is actively feeding but is flighty and is frequently being flushed by a Bald Eagle. The bird was last seen in the SW area of Roberts Bay near the Mermaid Creek Delta off the end of Fifth Street in Sidney.
Photos: Kerry Findley