Tag Archives: Bufflehead

The 2023 Christmas Bird Count

The Cortes Island Museum has been sponsoring two birding events every year for the past two decades.* 2,873 birds were seen during the 2023 Christmas Bird Count, but this number would have been much higher if there were more participants. 

“We can only go to a certain number of places where we know there will be birds, and that’s mostly along the coastline,” explained Laurel Bohart, a keen birder as well as co-curator of Wild Cortes.

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No spill response can eliminate risk to marine life in the Strait of Juan de Fuca

Editor’s note: A large number of Cortes, Read and Quadra Island residents are concerned about the potential for an oil spill as the volume of dilbit passing through Southern British Columbia increases.

By Sidney Coles, Capital Daily, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Last week, Capital Daily reported that the new 74.5-metre (244-foot) Western Marine Response Corporation (WMRC) vessel named the K.J. Gardner will be docked in Beecher Bay early in the new year. The ship is purpose-built to patrol the BC coastline and respond in the event of an oil spill.

This additional response resource is being deployed in anticipation of the 34+ tankers per month (450 per year) that will soon come out of Burnaby’s Westridge Marine Terminal laden with oil from the TMX pipeline before making their way through the San Juan Islands and the Strait of Juan de Fuca.

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Cortes Island 2023 Spring Bird Count & an app called ‘Merlin’

Local naturalist George Sirk was sick for the Cortes Island Spring Bird Count earlier this month, so bird watchers had to rely on a new app to help them identify species. This new app, called Merlin, is one of many topics that he and Nancy Kendel, from the Cortes Island Museum, discussed with Cortes Currents. 

The conversation started out with Kendel (NK) giving an overview:

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Cortes Island’s Spring 2022 Bird Count

A total of 92 species are listed in Cortes Island’s Spring 2022 Bird count. More than 20 birders participated, including local naturalist George Sirk who started the day off as a guide on board the Misty Isles. This year’s count was expanded to include Mitlenatch island, where Sirk served as a naturalist in 1969 and 71.

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