|Humpback Tail Markings are Unique to Each Individual|
|Harbour Porpoise Mort|
As we were touring an isolated region of the coast one spring we stopped by a large, exposed, rocky islet near the mouth of Knight Inlet. It was covered with gulls who became very agitated as I slowly motored past. I noticed several gulls nesting so paused to take some photos as I had never seen gulls nests before. I took a few notes including GPS location of where we were at. I sent the information into the B.C. Breeding Bird Atlas headquarters.
|Glaucous Winged Gulls with some possible Western Gull Cross breeding|
Incidentally, I created quite the stir when I reported a Eurasian Collared Dove, band tailed pigeon and an American Redstart in my square. Once again the Doctor of bird showed up to confirm my amateur sightings. While there he was also able to confirm a couple other unexpected birds for this region. These sightings were the beginning of a long relationship with the doctor as he ended up coming out annually to put on a bird watching course for all the guides at our lodge. He was also able to add several more species to my list which I could not hear or identify.
To find bird watching clubs in you area, “Google” that. After I moved to Alberta, I googled nature clubs and found scores of them located in every region of the province. Various nature clubs watch, educate new birders and count birds, monitor nests and nest boxes. Other clubs monitor the skies at night watching northern lights, stars, planets, shooting stars and satellites. A big part of what some clubs and naturalists do is rescue wounded or stuck animals. Hundreds of birds fly into man made obstacles or are hit by vehicles. Some of them can be saved if found in time and taken for appropriate care. Many baby mammals are found every year lost or abandoned by mothers and taken to shelters to be cared for. Mountainair Avian Rescue Society, Hope for Wildlife and Northern Lights Animal Rescue are just three valuable groups of overworked, under appreciated and under paid people who genuinely care for our hurt wildlife. All these groups rehabilitate and restore to health, if possible, and release back into the wild, healthy animals and birds. There is unimaginable joy that helps to compensate the hard workers and volunteers when they are able to release back to the freedom of the wilderness a creature that they have healed.
Norman Carr Safaris, whom I visited in Zambia, rescued a baby elephant from a mud hole right below their headquarters last summer. They noticed a concerned mother elephant pacing back and forth on the mudflat nearby and upon investigation saw the baby mired so it could not get free. Several of the guides and staff gathered ropes and shovels, then braved mother’s wrath to finally dig and pull the baby elephant free of the mud to rejoin its worried mom. These same guides are on constant watch for poaching in the South Luangwa National Park. They have spotted and helped to rescue hundreds of animals that had been hurt or trapped in cruel snares. If found in time these animals are tranquillized, the snare removed and wounds are treated.
Remember the U-tube sensation last year of the tour group who rescued a humpback whale that was entangled in a fisherman’s net. After the whale was freed from the clutches of certain death, it put on an exuberant show of breeches, tail and flipper splashes of thanks. Think of the feelings and emotions of the rescuers when they went to bed that evening knowing the freedom granted to that magnificent whale.
It is sometimes suggested that we may be interfering with Mother Nature’s grand design by rescuing wounded or trapped animals. That baby elephant was rescued before the hyena or other predators could get to it, thereby depriving them of their meal. Sometimes we humans do show some compassion and cannot stand by while a helpless little creature wails and cries for help as its helpless mother looks on in horror. Other times we are the indirect perpetrators of the horror, e.g. the net.
|Common Merganser and her chicks|
|Grizzly Adjusting the Trail Camera to his Liking|
|Curious Saw Whet Owl in a nest box|
|Breaching Humpback Whale|