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Nature Notes: Return of wintering birds

Treat yourself by going birding and getting to better know our feathered friends.
American Avocets on Boundary Bay
American Avocets on Boundary Bay.

Crisp morning air and long evening shadows are sure indications that summer is coming to an end and fall is just around the corner.

For nature lovers, fall on the Fraser River Delta is cause for celebration. Our hearts are aflutter and eyes turned to the sky as we anticipate the return of over a million birds.

We hear whispers of rarities down by the dike and await the days when the cries of geese fill the air. The fields, forests and shorelines of the Fraser Delta provide more wintering habitat than anywhere else along the British Columbia coast. We who live here are treated to an abundance and diversity of wintering birds not found anywhere else in the province.

Alongside the large flocks comes the odd rare delight.

For the last few weeks there has been a Buff-Breasted Sandpiper, a Long-billed Curlew and American Avocets mixed in amongst the usual suspects. The secret to finding these rarities - start looking and keep looking. In time you’ll become familiar with the yearly migrations that occur on the delta and be able to recognize something unexpected when it pops up.

If you are looking for a hand getting started, the Delta Naturalist casual bird walks offer a great chance to learn more about some of the hot spots for viewing birds.

More experienced birders can also participate in bird surveys such as the Coastal Waterbird Survey; check out the Birds Canada website if interested. There is a series of birding events coming this fall including training workshops and the Fraser Estuary Important Bird and Biodiversity Area Bird Count planned for Nov. 21.

Treat yourself by going birding and getting to better know our feathered friends.