Monthly Archives: November 2012

Christmas Bird Count in Uplands Park – December 15, 2012.

Dave Newell, our Friends of Uplands Park Uplands Park Bird Walk expert, has sent information about the annual Christmas Bird Count:

“On Saturday, Dec. 15 is the annual Christmas Bird Count. If you would like to participate in this expedition (no experience necessary), meet at the foot of Rutlin Road by the ocean at 8:00 a.m. Rutlin Rd. is about 3 roads north of Uplands Park on Beach Drive. Geoffrey, Jean and I have been participating in the count through Uplands Park for about 8 years now and look forward to it each time. Our study area begins at Rutlin Road, then proceeds to the north entrance of Uplands Park, off Lansdowne, then goes to Cattle Point, then into the south entrance of the park, off Dorset Rd. Afterwards, we take a look at Willows Beach, then the ocean off of Glen Lyon School, then Queen’s Park, by the Oak Bay Marina. We usually break for lunch in the Oak Bay Marina coffee shop (Starbuck’s) at about 11:30 a.m. for about 30 minutes.

Afterwards, we view the ocean at Turkey Head (We may get a Snowy Owl out on the rocks or some Ancient Murrelets), which is next to the marina. We then go to the Oak Bay Golf Course to view the ocean, then to McMicking Point (next to the bottom of Transit Ave.) and look out towards Trial Island (we may get another chance to see Snowy Owls. Brown Pelicans have been in the water in that area in recent days, too.- Maybe you can go there today and have a look for either of these two bird species). We then go up Anderson Hill via a small pathway from Transit Ave., then we finish the day at about 3:30 p.m. looking out at Gonzales Bay from Repulse St., then from the Chinese Cemetery.

You do not need to come for the entire day. You can leave when you need to. Everyone is welcome. The more the merrier. We usually have been 6 and 12 people and get about 60 species of birds.

You normally sign up through the Victoria Natural History Society. You can do this through their website. Our leader through the park is Mike Edgell, who has been leading this particular route for the past 30 or more years.

If you cannot sign up ahead of time, just come on the aforementioned place and time. You can also telephone us (David Newell) at (250)598-0158. The usual cost is $5.00. You bring that with you on the day of the trip. That covers any costs incurred by Bird Studies Canada for the study. Children under the age of 18 are typically free of charge.

Dress warmly, take a rain jacket, just in case. Wear gloves, a thick jacket and bonnet. Bring a lunch. We do car pool, so if you do not have a car, then you will be invited to go with someone else. Do not forget your binoculars and telescope (if you have one). We will always share ours!

The Victoria Natural History Society usually has a party that same evening to review all the results from all of the zones. Below is a detailed letter from Ann Nightingale of the Victoria Natural History Society about the bird count that I received. It will give you more information.

Hi David,

As hard as it may be to believe, we’re just a little more than a month away from the Christmas Bird Count!

This year’s Victoria Christmas Bird Count will be on Saturday, December 15th. As amazing as participation was in 2010, we actually broke our own participation record with 220 counters in 2011. And this year, we might even get more! Bird Studies Canada has abolished the $5 participation fee so that won’t be a barrier to anyone this year. We’d love to have you join us for the 2012 count. If you have a friend you could invite along, please do so. Please encourage even beginners to participate—we all started out as novices. Of course, if you can afford to do so, we would certainly encourage you to support Bird Studies Canada with a donation or membership.

According to our records, you have been assigned to the Oak Bay team. If you would like to count in the Oak Bay area this year, the leader is Mike Edgell (Phone: 250-656-5998, email: If you haven’t already been in touch, you can help out by emailing or phoning the leader to confirm your participation. Your group’s meeting time and place is 8:00 at Ocean end of Rutland Rd..

Can’t make it out to the count this year? You may still be able to participate in the Feederwatch.

Count Week
We are also asking all birders to keep track of any uncommon birds they see during the count week (December 12-18) just in case they are missed on the count day itself.

Cooper’s Hawks
We also want people to make special note of Cooper’s Hawks: their location, time seen, band colour, and band numbers if at all possible. These will be reported to Andy Stewart for his study.

Water Zones
Normally, we have between one and three boats out on the water around Victoria, weather permitting. Unfortunately, none of our usual boats are available this year. If you know of a boater that might be willing to help out, please let me know.

Resources to help you get ready!
To help prepare for this year’s CBC, all the forms you might need plus information on results of past counts are posted on the VNHS website ( Try your skill at the Flock Counting Game! Learn how to calculate party hours! The site also contains links to maps and pictures of birds previously recorded on the counts.

Post-Count Gathering
This year’s post-count gathering will be at St. Luke’s Church Hall, at the corner of Cedar Hill and Cedar Hill X Rds. We’ll be starting at 5 pm, and will have warm beverages available for cold counters. It’s not a fancy affair–come as you are! If you can bring a plate of goodies, please do, but most importantly, bring yourself. We’ll share stories of the day, including the ones that got away. We’ll also have a way for you to share any photos you may have taken during the count.

Thanks in advance for your help again this year!

Ann Nightingale
Victoria Christmas Bird Count Coordinator

P.S. If you just can’t get enough, the Salt Spring/Sidney count is on Sunday, December 16 (contact me—Ann Nightingale, if you want to count on the Peninsula or Mill Bay and Karen Ferguson ( if you wish to count on Salt Spring Island), the Sooke Christmas Bird Count is on Saturday, December 29 (Daniel Bryant –,and the Duncan Count is on Tuesday, January 1 (contact Derrick Marven – You can register for these on the VNHS website at .

Phone: 250-592-0360
Preferred email:

November 25, 2012 – Uplands Park Bird Walk Report

Report from the Newell’s on the November 25th, 2012 Bird Walk in Uplands Park:

Hello Friends of Uplands Park:
This morning 5 people other than ourselves turned up at the Bird Walk (Nov.25).

Highlights were a Northern Harrier, two Long-tailed Ducks, Harlequin Ducks, 2 Surfbirds, 2 Black-bellied Plovers, 10 Black Turnstones. We also saw on the south side of Cattle Point a gull which turned out to be identified as a Franklin’s Gull, from the prairies. The Franklin’s Gull flew from the foot of Bowker along Willow’s Beach to Cattle Point then back threw the masts of the boats in the marina, then landed on the rocks at the foot of Bowker.

In the city right now, there are 3 Snowy Owls on Trial Island, which can be seen from McMicking Point with a telescope. At Ogden Point and we saw a single juvenile Brown Pelican. We then went to Fisherman’s Wharf and looked out at the island 100 yards out from the wharf with a red and white airplane sock. Just below the sock sat 5 juvenile Brown Pelicans.

Good Birding!!!.
Geoffrey, Jean, David and Brigitte Newell

The web links, to more information and photos of each bird that was sited during the November 25th Bird Walk in Uplands Park, have been provided by Kathleen using the E-Fauna BC Advanced Search Page, from the E-Fauna BC Electronic Atlas of Wildlife of British Columbia.

The Introduction to E-Fauna BC states: “E-Fauna BC is a biogeographic atlas of the wildlife of British Columbia that provides a centralized source of scientifically accurate information for use in conservation, education and research. Species covered range from mammals, birds, amphibians and fish to sea stars, sea cucumbers, insects and arachnids–and includes marine, freshwater, and terrestrial species. We even cover earthworms and some groups of mites, and hope to add more groups to our coverage down the road.

Update: Many Volunteers Contributed Many Hours to Stewardship in Uplands Park – Oct-Nov 2012

Update on volunteer activity in Uplands Park, from Margaret Lidkea:

BROOM BASH on October 20 and 21:

107 PEOPLE CUT DOWN BROOM, IVY, DAPHNE AND INVASIVE EUROPEAN ASH! Included were over 50 Girl Guides and families with 107.5 volunteer hours, 4 groups of UVic students and many concerned community members. Total volunteer hours is 225.5. See photos from Oct 2012 Broom Bash here

About 60 people, including 28th Girl Guides, the 1st Trefoil group, and other community people participated in the Oak Bay Parks 3rd annual Tree Appreciation Day at Uplands Park, learned how to plant trees, shrubs and acorns properly and went on a nature walk with Kathleen Matthews. The 28th Girl Guides carried and dragged the biggest Garry Oak tree sapling and planted it in the hole where the previous Girl Guide tree was planted 2 years ago. It turned out to be an English oak, so we needed to replace it. The English oak will be replanted elsewhere in Oak Bay. The girls then planted camas, nodding onion and Hooker’s onions around the base of the tree. THANK YOU 28th Guides!

Other volunteers helped with the planting of Garry Oak and Arbutus trees, Indian plum, Ocean spray, Red-flowering currant and native hawthorn bushes and native onion bulbs, camas bulbs and camas seeds in the area to the right of the new Uplands Park sign. Several invasive European elm trees were removed in that area, so it is a good practice to replant with native species asap. Next year the area on the other side of the Uplands Park sign will be the site of the Tree Appreciation Day. THANK YOU to all who participated and supported our invasive removal and restoration events.

Photo by Margaret Lidkea.

Photo by Kathleen Matthews. More photos here.

Margaret Lidkea and Kathleen Matthews, Co-Chairs FOUP

Birding in Uplands Park – Sunday November 25, 2012 (8:00AM)

EVENT: Birding in Uplands Park

Join Birder Geoffrey Newell of the Friends of Uplands Park in a bird walk from Cattle Point through Uplands Park. Meet at Cattle Point by the first boat launch. Bring binoculars, bird books or checklists or simply show up to enjoy the outing, rain or shine.

DATE: Sunday November 25, 2012
TIME: 8:00 am
CONTACT: Margaret Lidkea 250-595-8084
Photo by Wayne Matthews. Uplands Park Birding, Fall 2012.

Tree Appreciation Day Transforms Beach Drive Entrance to Uplands Park – Nov 4, 2012

There was a great & hard working turnout for Tree Appreciation Day on Sunday November 4th, and the weather was so perfect. Oak Bay Tree Appreciation Day is an annual event, arranged and hosted by the Oak Bay Parks Department. This year, Tree Appreciation Day activities took place at Uplands Park, in collaboration with the Friends of Uplands Park, and with many community volunteers. In preparation for Tree Appreciation Day, Oak Bay Parks removed a number of Elm trees that were growing in Uplands Park, along Beach Drive, to the south of the new Uplands Park sign. Elm trees are not native to the Garry Oak Meadow ecosystem and today this area was transformed and replanted with many native plants. We planted Garry Oaks, Indian Plum, Mock Orange, Ocean Spray, Arbutus, our native Hawthorn, and many bulbs associated with Garry Oak Meadows. Mayor Jensen opened the event and Councillors’ Herbert and Kirby, along with members of Oak Bay Rotary, the Community Association of Oak Bay, the Oak Bay Green Committee, the Girl Guides, the new Oak Bay Environment Committee, and many others who were just out for a walk, all pitched in to help with the digging and the planting. Here are some photos:

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Bike Racks for Uplands Park Welcomed – Nov 4, 2012

The Friends of Uplands Park is so pleased to welcome bike racks, newly installed at two of the entrances to Uplands Park. One set of racks (pictured below) is located on the grassy area beside the parking lot at the entrance to Cattle Point, across from the new Uplands Park sign. The other set is located at one of the entrances along Dorset. These bike racks have been generously funded by Oak Bay Rotary. They were installed by Oak Bay Parks staff in time for the November 4, 2012 Tree Appreciation Day, an annual event organized by Oak Bay Parks, and, this year, held at Uplands Park. Mayor Jensen was on hand to acknowledge the importance of these new bike racks and encouraged folks to enjoy a bike ride to Uplands Park, but to walk through the Park. Bike riding through Uplands Park, is not allowed, because biking, even along the trails, causes extensive damage to the many rare plants in Uplands Park.