Every year in mid-October, the first of the Bufflehead ducks who winter in and around Roberts Bay show up, and organizers of a day celebrating the punctual waterfowl say this year will be no different.
Expected to arrive this weekend, the dependable ducks will be celebrated with All Buffleheads Day events spread over two days.
Roberts Bay, the oldest migratory bird sanctuary on the pacific coast, is the wintering ground for about 150 Bufflehead — a small, hearty sea duck that dives up to four metres underwater to eat from the mudflats of the bay. The birds are known for their near-exact migratory timing.
The first event is spearheaded by biologist and Bufflehead expert Kerry Finley. The gathering kicks off at 7 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 14 at St. Paul’s United Church in Sidney (2410 Malaview Ave.) The evening features an audio-visual presentation from Finley and a concert by multi-instrumentalist and singer Ed Peekeekoot. Tickets ($20) are available at Tanner’s Books or by emailing email@example.com.
“I’ve had an exciting field season, having just completed my sixth trip into the interior grasslands of B.C. to observe the success and fate of Bufflehead nests and broods,” said Finley. “This is my 17th year following them back and forth between their summer and winter grounds, and they continue to surprise me.”
The second event, presented by the Friends of Shoal Harbour, is Saturday, Oct. 15.
“We’re inviting people to come out and learn a little bit more about the Bufflehead and other species that live in our local waters,” explained FOSH director, Farrell Boyce.
Everyone is welcome to attend the daytime event in Sidney, Boyce said, which begins at 10 a.m. at the Ardwell Beach Access in Roberts Bay.
Attendees will admire the birds through binoculars and spotting scopes alongside exhibits and activities hosted by other organizations such as Habitat Acquisition Trust, Peninsula Streams Society, SeaChange Marine Society and Nature Kids. New this year will be a little “street theatre” as Boyce called it – a small play called Big Bill’s Birdie Book and Binocular Bazaar put on by FOSH members.
“The aim of events like All Buffleheads Day is not only to bring awareness to and celebrate a certain species, but also to encourage people to seek out and enjoy the wild creatures and spaces that exist in their midst,” said Boyce.
The Bufflehead will spend from now until the spring in Roberts Bay.