Bird Studies Canada, and a team of citizen scientists, comb beaches on the West Coast looking for any birds that have washed up. The intent is to get a baseline on the number of birds killed by oil spills, but of course all kinds of information can be gathered from this effort.
I did my first survey at Whiffen Spit in Sooke last Sunday.
I had never visited this park before and lucked out with a sunny, 11 degrees Celsius last day of January.
Of course that meant everyone, and their dog (literally), also visited the spit for an afternoon stroll.
I didn't find any birds, which is good news, but I missed the best light for photographing the harlequin ducks that were paddling around while I poked through beach debris looking for bodies.
Hmmm, must get the best light to agree with the tides to get both jobs done satisfactorily.
All the same, it was good to get away from the desk and I expect good things to come from my new project in the future.
Oh, but I got this nice parting shot of a golden-crowned sparrow as I headed for home at the end of the day.