Thursday, 3 August 2017

Checking out the birds by sea kayak at Pt Holmes, Comox, B.C.

By Keith and Heather Nicol
Bonaparte Gulls allow you to get close
      On a recent sea kayak trip to Pt Holmes  and the Lazo Bluffs (July 30) we encountered a large number of Harlequin ducks as well as Bonaparte gulls. Although we have seen a few Bonaparte gulls on earlier trips this summer we have not seen any Harlequin ducks and so that was a real bonus. These ducks are common here at some times of the years and tend to leave earlier in the spring for breeding. These ducks like the rocky wavy conditions so the tip of Cape Lazo is a good place to find them. These colourful ducks sport  very distinctive breeding plumage through the fall and winter. 

Harlequin Ducks like rocky shorelines

     We also saw lots of Bonaparte gulls and we like these small graceful gulls since they seem more  elegant than normal gulls. They were apparently were named by Charles Lucien Bonaparte, a relative of Napoleon Bonaparte and are the only gull to nest in trees. They also let you get very close to them so getting a good photo is not too much of a problem. We paddled this section at a relatively high tide which tends to push the birds onto narrower swaths shoreline. If readers see other returning birds let us know since we always look forward to the return of the ducks in the late summer and fall.

Bonaparte Gulls near Cape Lazo

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