The Oystercatcher: News and Events from the Mayne Island Conservancy

June 2021

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Field Notes

Submitted by Libbie Bake

Mindful observations on the Big Day Bird Count

We spent the Big Day in Lorie Brown’s garden, a haven for flowers and birds, a peaceful way to spend a last day with Lorie’s aged dog, Sage. She slept, we counted.

It was a day of mindful observation. “Boss”, the red winged blackbird that returns to Lorie’s garden every year, flew in and out, announcing himself each time. A pair of black headed grosbeaks joined the finches at the tray. Nuthatches zoomed continuously (we call them B52s), and a creeper stowed seeds in a wee crack in a tree trunk near our heads. Sage slept, we counted.

The garden pulsed with life. The hummers drank from every flower. The woodpeckers arrived and left, an orange crowned warbler put in an appearance, and the violet green swallows swooped overhead. Robins came down for a bath. We brought water to Sage. She slept again, we counted.

The sun moved across the sky. Vultures and eagles caught currents above us, keeping an eye out for bigger food sources. Chickadees grabbed endless sunflower seeds and flew off with them. Juncos just chased each other around and gorged themselves.

We counted twenty five species that day, mostly the ordinary spring birds we watch each year. The ordinary miracle of life ebbing and flowing around us. We said our goodbyes to Sage and walked home.

Articles

The First Annual Big Day Bird Count

Townsend's Warbler. Photo: Don Enright
By Michael Dunn

Many of you may not know that every year, May 8th is celebrated as International Migratory Bird Day (IMBD) to recognize and appreciate the amazing journeys of migratory birds from their wintering grounds to the spring and summer breeding grounds. The first IMBD for North America started in 1993 and was related to the North American …

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Bats of Mayne Island, Part II

Big Brown Bat
By Sofia Silverman

The Silver-Haired Bat (Lasionycteris noctivagans) ranges across North America from northern Mexico to southeastern Alaska. In British Columbia, this bat uses forests and grassland habitats that range in elevation between 0 and 1220 meters. These bats migrate south to hibernate in the winter, with northern populations moving …

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Book review: The Hidden Lives of Owls

barred owl
By Lori Nick

The Hidden Lives of Owls: The Science and Spirit of Nature’s Most Elusive Birds by Leigh Calvez

“Who cooks for youuuu. Who cooks the fooood?!” I woke early one morning on Mayne Island to the haunting song of two Barred Owls calling to each other. I have rarely seen an owl in the wild, but I always look up into …

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European Green Crab

European Green Crab
By Luisa Schwarz

As the weather continues to warm, hopefully you will find yourself on our local beaches more and more often. This year, while you are beach combing, take some time to observe the crabs around you. The European Green Crab (Carcinus maenas) is one of the most invasive species in the world and it has, unfortunately, been detected in many parts …

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What Are Ecosystem Services?

What Are Ecosystem Services?
By Maddy Litster

With Mother’s Day recently come and gone, it is likely we all paid tribute to the mothers or mother figures in our lives for all they do for us – but what about our other mother? Beautiful Mother Earth. While going about our days and getting wrapped up in the hustle and bustle of daily life, it can be hard …

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The Road to Rockfish Recovery

The Road to Rockfish Recovery
By Katie Kushneryk

Do you ever stand on the shore or peer off the side of a boat and wonder what’s beneath the waves? If you’re close to an underwater rocky shelf, you could be looking down on a fish born decades before Elvis Presley’s birth. Rockfish are slow growing and long lived, with some living to be over 100 years old! How …

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Tiny Island, Big Challenges III

Small Island, Big Challenges III
By Jeremy Murphy

In BC we have some of the world’s cleanest electricity – and cheapest, despite what you may think of your bimonthly BC Hydro bill. Our other home fuels like propane and fuel oil aren’t overly expensive either. But we don’t need a crystal ball to know that the cost of energy …

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Events

Beach Cleanup 2021

Beach Cleanup 2021

May 30th 1-3 pm

We hope you can join us on May 30th for the annual Mayne Island Beach Cleanup. To get involved, contact your local Beach Captain from the list below. This year we are asking everyone to please bring their own gloves and buckets or bags if you have them.

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Bats of Mayne Island

Big Brown Bat

Thursday June 17, 7:30 pm

Feeling a little BATTY? Cooped up with nothing to do? Well do we have the event for you! We hope you will join us Thursday June 17th at 7:30pm on Zoom for a presentation all about the bats of Mayne Island. The presentation will be held by Michael Dunn – Executive Director of Mayne Island Conservancy and Maddy Litster – …

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Intertidal Exploration

Intertidal Exploration

Saturday June 26, 1:30 pm

Anemones, sea stars, and limpets, oh my! On June 26th, join the Mayne Island Conservancy for a guided exploration of Piggott Bay’s intertidal zone for one of the lowest tides of the year. See firsthand the incredible biodiversity of the intertidal area and learn about the ways intertidal creatures have adapted to thrive in this challenging environment. This will be …

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