I spent today doing Brant surveys in the Parksville - Qualicum Wildlife Management Area. It's odd to be into March and still have so few Brant, gulls, and scoters in the area. This is the first time in years that we haven't seen a spawn of Pacific Herring in this area by early march, and thus, bird numbers are at an all time low. My total count of Brant today was under 500 birds, and this is one of the lowest totals for March we have ever had.
The one species that does seem to be around in abundance, is Bald Eagles. With alarmingly poor salmon runs last fall, these birds have faced a bleak winter. And now, with the herring runs being late, the situation is becoming dire. A few scraps thrown out onto the beach in Qualicum this morning immediately attracted the attention of a half dozen Bald Eagles, who scattered gulls in all directions as they came screaming in to grab a morsel. These birds are hungry. Lets hope the herring spawn is close at hand.