The books arrived this week, and I have been busy making deliveries from Campbell River to Victoria. I did miss a few places as I seriously miscalculated the demand. Most people wanted more than I had anticipated, and that's a good thing. For example, Blue Heron in Comox wanted 52 books, but I only had 40 left. The Clocktower Gallery in Port Alberni also took 52 books which left me short for Nanaimo. I'll try to get to everyone by the end of the coming week. I'll also be looking for a few more innovative outlets now that I have two books to handle.
Speaking of hummingbirds, a few Rufous Humminbirds are back on the Island. Rhys just reported one today in Beachcomber and Sandy mentioned one in Errington. These are very early records for the area. According to Guy, the earliest record for the area was Mar. 1. Coincidentally, the hummers have also been reported in the Vancouver area. A lot of people are now filling their feeders in anticipation of the return of their backyard hummers. I've had mine out for two weeks, but traditionally my first female arrives on Mar. 21, and the male is a couple of days later.
Herring Report - Herring stocks in the Georgia Strait (or is that Salish Sea) have been declining for several years. This year the estimated biomass was less than 70,000 tons. Last year it was around 90,000 tons. Apparently, the seiners managed to get their quota of about 6,400 tons, but the gillnetters have been struggling to get their quota. However, the greatest setback from the dwindling stocks and diminished spawn will be felt by the thousands of birds that rely on the nutrient rich herring roe to get them to their distant breeding grounds. Many of the birds nest in distant places like the high Arctic and depend on the spawn for the energy to successfully complete the migration.
With the continual decline in biomass, now is the time for some serious re-evaluation. Although quotas are set at about 20% of the biomass, is that too high considering all the other factors affecting herring survival? What do we know about predation? Are we able to quantify the amount of predation, especially by sea lions and seals? Obviously, predators don't abide by any artificial quota system imposed by the DFO. If the predation rate increases, does the fisher rate need to be decreased to maintain a balance? And what about the krill fishery. With stocks of all fish higher in the food chain decreasing, isn't insane to be allowing any krill fishery at all. One final point regarding the cut-off threshold before fishing is prohibited. Isn't the threshold precariously low? Of course, I could be wrong with all my concerns, but I would sure like to err on the cautious side.
Harbour City Photo Club - It was my privilege to make a presentation on bird photography to a very friendly and knowledgeable group of shutterbugs in Nanaimo on Mar. 2. I was pleasantly surprised to see about 100 people in attendance, and I was told that they usually have larger crowds. Obviously, interest in photography is flourishing in Nanaimo.
One of the many species that depend on the herring roe is the Long-tailed Ducks.
Every time I take a picture of a Long-tailed Duck, I have fears that this might be the last Long-tailed I'll ever see.
The Long-tailed Ducks nest in Alaska, along the Arctic coast, and in the Arctic islands. They need a lot of fuel for the long journey.
Harlequins don't migrate as far as the Long-taileds, but they also rely on the herring roe.
I spent a few days proving my gull incompetence, but I did get one of them right. I found this first year Glaucous at Parksville Park.
The Glaucous was part of the usual spawning time flock at the park, but this year the flock has been less than half the size as in past years. Somehow the gulls knew there would be a smaller spawn.
I usually see 3 or 4 Glaucous at spawning time. Maybe there're still on their way from the north.
This seiner was one of the many boats chasing the declining stocks of herring.
There was a lot of sitting around waiting for herring.
It was a bathtub where this gillnetter was hauling in herring. Usually, the herring spawn is characterized by a lot of rough weather.
Like the fishermen the Harlequins were wondering where the herring went.
Eye Spy - Eagles lined the trees across the road from the north Qualicum viewing stand. They were waiting for their opportunity for an easy meal.
A few preferred to wait on the rocks for a chance at some herring.
The eagles terrorized any bird that had a herring.
They even terrorized other eagles.
Young birds showed no respect for older birds.
Older birds also showed no respect for other older birds.
Meanwhile, the Great Blue Heron was oblivious to all the boat and bird commotion. It just wanted a rest.
A string of pearls - the jewels of life.
The shoreline was a feeding trough for the gulls.
Usually, large flocks of Bonaparte Gulls arrive with the herring spawn. So far I've only seen a few individuals.
The delicate little bill of the Bonie is perfect for picking up the tiny pieces of roe. The usual large flocks of California Gulls have also been scarce.
Mar. 8 - Meet Mrs. Mountain Bluebird - I finally got a clear photo of the Mrs. Bluebird not on a wire. It just goes to show that persistence pays. Talk about persistence, the two bluebirds have been here since Dec. 10. They've certainly brightened up many winter days for me.
SIDNEY - VICTORIAN BIRD HOUSE, TANNER'S BOOKSTORE COMOX - BLUE HERON BOOKS BOWSER - LIGHTHOUSE GIFTS DEEP BAY - SHIP & SHORE VICTORIA - BOLEN BOOKS, MUNRO'S, Crown Publications, Ivy's UCLUELET - WORDS END BOOKSELLERS Comments, questions, or book orders? email firstname.lastname@example.org
SAANICH - WILD BIRDS UNLIMITED
CAMPBELL RIVER - SAVE-ON FOODS
DUNCAN - VOLUME 1 BOOKSTORE
CHEMAINUS - Willow's Wild Bird Store
LADYSMITH - SALAMANDER BOOKS
NANOOSE - SCHOONER COVE MARINA
LAKE COWICHAN - GALLOPING MOON GALLERY
TOFINO - BOTANICAL GARDENS
Quadra Island - EXPLORE & BOOK BONANZA
SIDNEY - VICTORIAN BIRD HOUSE, TANNER'S BOOKSTORE
COMOX - BLUE HERON BOOKS
BOWSER - LIGHTHOUSE GIFTS
DEEP BAY - SHIP & SHORE
VICTORIA - BOLEN BOOKS, MUNRO'S, Crown Publications, Ivy's
UCLUELET - WORDS END BOOKSELLERS
Comments, questions, or book orders? email email@example.com