Learn about Great Blue Herons from a man who knows them well. Joins us at 7:00 pm on Wednesday, May 29 at the Shaw Centre for the Salish Sea for an evening with ROB BUTLER, ornithologist, artist & film maker.


Over half a century of watching, writing, drawing, listening and living among birds, Rob Butler’s views have transformed from ecology and behaviour of birds to a unifying vision of nature and human culture which he calls Nature Culture.

Rob-Butler-on-boatRob Butler’s research career includes the social behaviour of crows, ecology of herons, and migration of birds.

Rob is an adjunct professor of Biological Sciences at Simon Fraser University and has published over 150 works for scientific and popular audiences. He has scores of appearances on television, radio and in newspapers. He wrote and co-produced with Mike McKinlay two films on nature and culture.

Friends of Shoal Harbour and Roberts Bay Residents together with the Shaw Centre for the Salish Sea are sponsoring an evening with Rob Butler on May 29 at the Shaw Centre for the Salish Sea. Rob will talk about Great Blue Herons, a bird Rob has studied over many years and a bird that deserves our respect and protection. The lecture will be followed by a screening of a film “Returning” about the Salish Sea produced by Rob Butler and Mike McKinlay. Details below.


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Sunday, March 10, 2019: A Perfect Day for a Birdwalk


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Bill Dancer from the Victoria Natural History Society sets up a spotting scope at Pat Bay Park. Bill volunteered to guide the party and his route included not only the Waterside Scoter Trail but also some of the roads farther inland where songbirds were active.

We couldn’t have hoped for better weather.  The walks on both the east (Sidney) and west (Patricia Bay) sides of the Peninsula were well attended. Bill Dancer (Thank you, Bill) guided the Pat Bay party and Kerry Finley (Thank, Kerry) guided the Sidney group.

Overwintering and resident shorebirds and waterfowl were well represented on both sides of the Peninsula. Signs of spring were evident to keen observers, notably the amorous behaviour of Bufflehead drakes. On the Patricia Bay side, the hedgerows on the east side of West Saanich Road were fond to be well-populated with songbirds. Noisy Red-Winged Blackbirds made sure that they were noticed.

Many of the attendees made their way to St. John’s United Church in the Deep Cove neighbourhood after the walk for tea, cookies, FOSH news and entertainment.

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President, Sue Staniforth updates attendees regarding FOSH activities

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“You Won’t Believe This” host, Sue Staniforth interviews Hank-the-Heron (aka Farrell Boyce)

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Terry Venables shows some of his outstanding photos of local birds.

We were pleased at the end of the day to find 25 new name on our sign-up sheet. FOSH now has over 100 identified supporters.  We sent a thank-you note to these good people and thought it useful to append a summary of the history, activities and ambitions of Friends of Shoal Harbour. This document is included below.

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Friends of Shoal Harbour 5th Annual Birdwalk & Tea: Sunday, March 10, 2:00 to 4:30 pm

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Come and join the Friends of Shoal Harbour (FOSH) in exploring the amazing bird life we enjoy here on the Saanich Peninsula! Many species of shorebirds and waterfowl choose to winter here, and some will be leaving soon for their preferred breeding areas. This is a great time of year to celebrate their presence among us this winter, and wish them a successful breeding season and a safe return to the Peninsula in October (watch for the All Buffleheads Celebration in mid-October).
Everyone is invited to participate in a guided bird-watching stroll along the shores of the Saanich Peninsula from 2:00 to 3:00 pm on Sunday, March 10, followed by refreshments, conversation and entertainment at St. John’s United Church (address below) from 3:15 to 4:30 pm. Last year we had a great turnout and were able to spot 24 different species, including buffleheads, wigeons, goldeneyes and a horned grebe.
Attendees may choose between two bird-watching parties, one on the east side of the Peninsula, starting from (1) the bandshell at the east end of Beacon Avenue in Sidney, and the other (2) starting from the parking lot of Patricia Bay Park (on West Saanich Road north of the seaplane ramp). Rendezvous at either site at 2:00 pm sharp for a guided walk.
The “Tea” portion of the event at St. John’s United Church (10990 West Saanich Road, opposite Deep Cove School) will start at approximately 3:15 pm. Light refreshments will be served and there will be opportunities to learn about FOSH activities, enjoy some light-hearted entertainment, and view a presentation of nature photographs by acclaimed photographer, Terry Venables. Hope to see you there!