Swans of Comox
by Heather Harbord, 20 February 2010
Three of us attended this birding field trip. On the ferry to Comox, numerous long-tailed ducks and murres were sighted. At Little River, we stopped to see the shorebirds just outside the terminal. A large flock of dunlin were interspersed with black-bellied plover, mew gulls and glaucous-winged gulls. By the airport, we saw whistling swans swimming in a slough with some mallards.
At Goose Spit, several pintails were enjoying a muddy meal with more mallards. We got close enough to a small group of white-winged scoters to see the red tips on the ends of their beaks. Usually they are too far away for us to see this handsome detail. Clyde explained that when they dive, they swallow mussels whole and their digestive juices then open the shells which are afterwards regurgitated empty.
At the nature observation point on the dyke road, we saw about 5-6 European widgeon along with a few of their American cousins. Usually we expect to see about one European to 100 American but this was more like a 1:10 ratio. We drove as far as Oyster Bay where we saw more dunlin and other shore birds. On the ferry ride back, we saw several common loons and more long-tail ducks.