Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Texada Island To Vancouver Island Turkey Vulture Migration confiirmed!

This morning I was at Vesper Point in Moorecroft Regional Park, doing a sea-watch and wondering if I might see a few Turkey Vultures migrating. I did not have to wait long. At 10:18, I spotted a kettle of 12 Turkey Vultures which had just left Texada Island, heading almost straight south. The birds were still fairly high up when the reached land, above South Ballenas Island. They then kettled there until 10:32. By this time they were fairly high up, and drifting SE. Suddenly, they all turned and began a steep descent towards Gerald Island. They came ashore on the back side of Gerald Island about 5 minutes later, and were quite low to the water, with some birds now flapping vigorously. The difference between their ability to soar from Texada to Ballenas, vs the much shorter hop from Ballenas to Gerald, was pronounced. After spending about a half hour perched in trees on Gerald Island, the entire flock began kettling over Gerald Island. By now the NW wind was very strong (app. Bf, 5) and the birds seemed to have trouble staying together. Within 30 minutes, all 12 birds had made the shoreline of Vancouver Island, although only 4 came ashore at Moorecroft, while the rest seemed to arrive somewhere about halfway down the shore towards Schooner Cove.

It remains to be seen whether these vultures are all birds that summer on Texada, or if some are migrating onto Texada from the Sunshine Coast.

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