Greater Victoria, Gulf Islands, Cowichan Valley, Nanaimo and Centrial Island, Port Alberni, Tofino, North Island
ogopogo wrote:Feb 19, 2017 Sunday-not a lot to report from Beacon Hill Park unless you want to get a shot of the first daffodils in bloom (small meadow across Dallas Rd & to the left of Mile 0 sign) or the crocus field beginning above Goodacre Lake. quiet for birds. only 5 heron; they should start their nests in March but everything seems later this year.
Found Barred "Angel" (born Apr 1, 2016) sleeping in a cedar out at SEW and Mom Barred hooting to him at 2pm.
Two year old Barred "Tuffy" (Apr 24, 2015) was entertaining tourists in front of the Bay Centre down on Douglas St Saturday with crows chasing him around. He has done very well in his downtown territory on Yates St & Market Square.

Very interesting about Tuffy
What prey items do you think is his mainstay in this unique territory?
Thx for sharing Cheryl

Jody Wells
Hi Jody, Tuffy is by the Inner Harbour, so I imagine he finds black rats and mice mostly. In the Park, I have seen them eat grey squirrel, robin, garter snake, crow, a white feathered bird (not sure if a Rock Pigeon or seagull), rats and mice and one day an owlet was holding the leg of a peahen. another was practicing talon holds on a baby peachick, dragging it along the path in the woods.

This week I got some video of Fancy swiveling her head around the 270 degrees Barred are capable of. Read this article where scientists got the skinny through research. ... heads.html
Also the female Bald Eagle was preening in the cottonwood on Douglas St with full wing extension and white tail spread.
October 18, 2017-a little update on the Barred owl family. it seems every 4 years, the senior Barred turn the woods over to the oldest and strongest son. This happened 4 years ago when Jake & Loveheart left the woods to Mr (misnamed Missy because he was so pretty) who mated with Josephine (Josie). They have had 4 years of owlets in the SEW (south-east woods by the totem), the last 2 years in a large hole at the top of a broken off douglas fir, giving perfect photo opportunities of 3 little white fluffy owlets sticking their heads out in April. I was there May 12 when they branched. Ricky, the first born, was on the ground, winding his little wings up and hopping 4 ft at a time all the way over to a horse chestnut tree near Camas Way, the Zoo road. Dad Mr flew down right beside me to make sure all was safe, then both adults flew over to applaud Ricky's effort. Nicki, the second was clinging to the nearby maple like a Koala bear and Sly, the runt, was still in the nest. The next day, Josie flew down to a branch close to the ground above me and pointed out little Sly, who lay 5 ft into the tall grass, with a broken neck. I took him to Central Vet who passed him on to WildArc for burial. May 25th Nicki had a serious eye infection or injury and died that night, body never found. Aug 9, 2017 I found another barred with feathers pulled out in clumps and buried him on the spot. It may have been the Dad. Ricky survived, spent July dancing to bee-bop-a-loola on my friend's iPHone, disappeared in Aug, and came back Sep 4 with a mate, "Lady". They use the full range of the Park, giving space to the Horned. We look forward to Spring owlets from heir apparent Ricky and his new mate Lady.
In August, as is usual, the GHOW came back into the SEW. We see Mom, Dad and the 2016 owlet who races around the trees setting off the Flickers and Steller's Jays. The horned don't seem to nest in the woods; they leave eventually.
Nov 10 there were 4 Barred in the Park, 3 in SEW (totem) from Cook St (the Dad Mr!) to Camas Drive in the squared off fence area & 1 (big female) in cedars beside the Bandstand.
Nov 12 Victoria Animal Control had to capture someone's pet released in BHPk, a big Corn Snake, quite harmless but a bit of a shock to run into considering we only have little garter snakes here.
Watching for the Crossbills to move down from Gov Hse to the Park. they like the Scotch Pines along the road up to Beacon Hill.
No sign of the GHOW for a couple weeks.
Nov 17, 2017 Fri morning-dead Barred Owl (in one piece) found on sidewalk by legislature/Plmt Bdgs by Colin McCann. given to Biologist at Royal BC Museum. might have been "Tuffy", the 3 yr old SEW born owl who lived downtown.

Nov 8 & 16 Wilson's Warbler in Pk eBird

Nov 17-RTHA (Harlan's?) in tree across Camas Dr from totem, chased by crows.
11am-the Bald Eagle was right in the nest with a stick in beak, doing winter maintenance.
Sharing the experience:
Nov 18-the always enthusiastic Kip, Judy & son David came into the woods with their beautiful long lens cameras and, fortunately, after an hour's search, I had spotted one Barred Owl for them to get some great shots of. A couple from Belgium walked by and I asked them if they would like to see an Owl too. they were equally as excited about feeding the squirrels and PC peanuts and sent me an email thanking me "for bringing the Park alive" marveling at all the wildlife Canada has, and inviting me to contact them if ever in Belgium. next were 3 International students from Turkey who were over from Vancouver for a day in the Park.
Nov 22-after reading a book shared by my Owl friend Dale, "Wesley the Owl" by Cal-Tech biologist, researcher (they had warehouses full of owls) and Barn Owl raiser Stacey O'Brien, I learned that owls "imprint" sounds in their brains through triangulation of face & the 2 lopsided ears, which aids in daytime hunting. The point being, if you talk to an Owl, it will recognize you next time through. So when young 4 yr old Holly came through the SEW with her Mom & dog, and finally focused on Ricky the Barred, overcame her shyness enough to say "Hi Ricky" in a soft little voice, and he stared at her with that deep, eye-catching look, she turned to me with eyes as big as saucers and a smile of rapture on her face.
Dec 2, 2017
The Christmas Bird Count is Dec 16 (Saturday) for Greater Victoria. The weather forecast is fantastic, a sunny 8 degrees, so join our group, headed by excellent birder Mary Robichaud, at the Children's Zoo at 8am to count some birds. This section includes Beacon Hill Park and the SEW (south-east woods by the totem), Clover Point for shore birds, Ross Bay Cemetery and the grounds and woodlands of Government House, an interesting tour overall. There is a wind-up party afterwards.
If you are into night skywatching, Sunday Dec 3rd delivers the largest, brightest, and closest Super Moon. Should make for a great evening of owl watching as well.
Saw the Dad Barred "MR" hunting at 4:15pm in the douglas fir down at the Cook St end of SEW Nov 30th. Met 4 new young nature photographers in the woods this week as well, always encouraging to see.
Dec 3_2017 Sunday 9:45am
Barred Mr was snoozing in a pine down near the Cook St washrooms. He must have heard an "imprint" sound, because his eyes popped open, he flew about 30 yards to another pine and caught himself a Rat (in the tree not on the ground)!
He waited for it to die. A Flicker started calling, a dog was barking, so he flew 50 yards back into a douglas fir, where he ate the head, two Steller's Jays putting the tell on him. He stayed there for 15 minutes, then moved with his brunch to a large douglas fir on the start of Owl Alley.
Checked the rest of SEW, then the Park. No other owls seen today. 6 Hooded Mergansers were on Goodacre Lake, lots of Wigeons and Mallards. Haven't seen the American Black Duck arrive at Fountain Lake yet; he usually comes each winter.
The Santa Truck Parade (all our construction companies, fire trucks etc) honked through downtown, decorated with reindeer & snowmen and lots of Christmas lights last night. It's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas! Happy birding.
Dec 5_2017 saw 2 Barred in SEW, the Campfire Barred & Mr
Wilson Warbler noted on eBird 12:15 in the Park

Dec 6 decapitated Yellow bird found behind Bandstand (by Robert with poodle)

Dec 7 Thurs
-homeless set up tent under Barred Mr's pine so he was away today. they will move.
-dragonfly with vertical red stripes at bench with concrete base Beacon Hill
-Red-tailed Hawk in Scotch Pine on Beacon Hill, hunting 2pm
-Varied Thrush in SEW, top of BH, and in Park behind Bandstand
-daffodil leaves are up 3" in the woods, first Camellia in bloom in Park
-Barred Goldie is back! pretty light coloured feathers_ female (outside SEW)
-GHOW 2016 Juv "Junior" in heavy brush (outside SEW)
Sat Dec 9-SEW 1:30pm the campers moved their tent to the bandstand lawn, so Barred Mr was back in his pine tree today near the washrooms on Cook. Hats off to the young Dad (Brit accent) who was on a birding outing with his 2 young daughters (6 & 4 yrs approx) complete with bins, bird book and the most amazing peel-off sticker book with birds, owls, eagles in it (a great Christmas present idea for young children). They had already seen the Bald Eagle land on the totem and several small birds, so when Chelsea & I asked if they wanted to see an owl, they were just vibrating with excitement. That done, they got to play with her dog, then go for tea with Dad. We carried on and found the GHOW again, 2:30pm, same tree, same location with nice light from the sinking sun.
A local was asking if we wanted her backyard bird count for the Christmas Bird count Dec 16th. Yes, most definitely! google Victoria Christmas Bird Count or contact VNHS.
Tuesday Dec 12_2017
-10:45am Wilson's Warbler reported in the Park on eBird (so it's still alive!)
wonder where this person is seeing it.
-11:00 the Bald Eagle pair were in SEW, one on the totem, the other hunting
-11:30 Barred Owl Mr in his pine near the washrooms on Cook
-12:00 GHOW (douglas fir out of SEW a ways)
-1:00 Barred Owl Lady in cedar hedge in squirrel alley behind Bandstand
-1:20 two River Otters diving and eating Pumpkinseed Sunfish by the turtle log in Goodacre Lake, BHPk, sometimes on the log. fun to watch.
-1:30 pair Hooded Mergansers on GA by McTavish Island
Saturday Dec 16_2017 Christmas Bird Count completed for our zone which is Douglas St East through Beacon Hill Park, Clover Point and up to Government House. Our team leader, Mary Robichaud, sent an email to us: "Thank you all for participating in the annual Victoria CBC. Our zone did very well with 66 species and 3916 individuals [birds]. Two teams found Common Redpolls and I was able to locate the Wilson's Warbler in BHPk after lunch. We couldn't have asked for better December weather [7 degrees, overcast, no rain nor wind/we've done this in a snow storm and a gale in previous years]. Enjoy the holidays."

This was fun. I was out in the wee hours of the morning counting Owls. Stopped to place some kitty kibbles on the fenceline for the Feral Cat and Raccoons (watched Mom Raccoon encourage her 2 little ones out of their night tree for treats/they were waiting for this). The time passes so quickly; soon it was noon and I ran home to send my count.
Jan 15, 2018
-Barred Tuffy (born Apr 24,2015) was on Chek TV Saturday Jan 13. He was sitting up inside the atrium of Central Library on Broughton St, much to the delight of onlookers. He has survived downtown for almost 3 years but I don't know if he has convinced a mate to join him. It would be fun to have owlets born downtown.
-Mr, who is 5 years old, continues to dominate the SEW (woods by the totem) although I haven't seen his mate Josie for some time.
-the Barred at the campfire must have moved deeper along the fenceline
-Ricky (SEW), Mr's oldest and only surviving owlet from Spring 2017, and his mate Lady (was under the Bandstand cedars) may have gone off to find their own nesting tree for Spring. Last seen mid Dec.
-Rascal Pete (Apr 2016) and his beautiful mate Goldie (came Oct 2016/changed her name from Fancy) are still in nearby territory down Dallas Rd.
-have seen the Red-tailed Hawk hunting on Beacon Hill
-not a lot of birds around, just the usual Flickers, Towhees, Pacific Wrens etc
-the River Otters bring their young one into Goodacre Lake to fish for Pumpkinseed Sunfish at dusk. have some good shots of them sitting on and sliding off the turtle log.
-the resident Bald Eagle pair are around every day, one on the totem, the other on the nest tree in the main park by Childrens' Playground
-most of the gardens are bare for winter maintenance but the rhododendrons and camellias are starting to bloom and one crocus head is up. Spring is coming early to Beacon Hill Park.
Jan 15_2018 11am-2pm
-1 Northern Pintail male preening beside Mallards on the side bank of Goodacre Lake
-1 Common Goldeneye female alone in the lake east of stone bridge
-10 heron flew into the cedars west of Fountain Lake. early arrivals, some adult, some juvenile, enjoying the sun. will we have herons nesting in late Jan this year? (usually March for chicks)
-Cherry tree on Camas Drive near the watering can play area has burst into bloom
(sure sign of an early Spring).
-some wild Indian Plum bushes in SEW have buds on them
-Mallard pair mated today
-Anna's mating helicopter dance underway
-saw Barred Goldie & the Barred Owl by the campfire SEW
4 nature photographers in SEW today, all owl lovers.
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