Naturalist Clubs notes and events, January 3

Hawk Owl

Hawk Owl

1. Hawk Owl irruption
We seem to be in the midst of a major Hawk Owl irruption. Two of our members saw an extraordinary five yesterday, and large numbers have turned up in the Prince George and Quesnel Christmas Bird counts (see below).  To my delight I was able to photograph one (attached) on Sunday, atop a tree on the new Willow-Cale Road off Boundary Road.

Though they are rare (one appearing in Vancouver last year caused a sensation), Hawk Owls are active during the day, are highly distinctive, and have the splendid habit of perching in visible locations and not disappearing when observed. So keep your eyes open, and a camera handy.

2. Christmas Bird Counts
The CBC season has just finished, with completion yesterday of the Quesnel Bird Count. Assisted by a large contingent of birders from Prince George, an excellent 50 species were spotted – just one more than were found on the very successful Prince George count of December 28.  Those on the ncenbird list will be getting full details – anyone else interested, please let me know, and I’ll forward the info.

3. Next event: Sunday, 15 January
The Annual Swan Count is coming up, and if you’d like to take part, just head to the Spruceland Shopping Centre for 9:00 am – we meet under the large Spruceland sign to carpool. The count, which covers open water areas north of Prince George off Highway 97, can turn up moose, deer, otter, coyote, fox, wolves and other mammals, so if you’re not into birds, this is still a worthwhile trip. Snowshoes or skis are needed for some sections, though those without can still complete most of the count.

4. Snowshoeing and tracking
Several snowshoeing / animal tracking events are being organized, and I’ll give details shortly. Some will need to take place in the morning after snowfall, so that tracks are most visible, and these will be announced at short notice. Watch this space.

Clive Keen


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