Mayne Island Conservancy Society

IBA Archive

IBA Report for 2012

The 2012 Annual Report, authored by Michael Dunn and Mike Hoebel, has just been completed, including tables of observations from our excellent group of volunteer stewards. The text appears below:
  • Introduction

    For 2012, 5 stewards continued to provide their observations of bird and marine mammal activities within the IBA. Compared to the first year of steward observations the number of reports were down and coming on a less regular basis. This year is the first full year that the Coastal Waterbird Survey results within the IBA are integrated with other observer information. Michael Dunn and Mike Hoebel, as caretakers, also have done regular observations throughout the year including one marine survey in May of Active Pass and Porlier Pass IBAs. Michael Dunn also did a winter marine survey in December. Both of these marine surveys were made possible by a volunteer boat owner/photographer. In all, 42 species were observed using the waters and marine shorelines of the Active Pass IBA for 2012.

  • Qualifying Species

    The seasonal distribution Bonaparte Gullof the IBA qualifying species remains evident in the observations compiled for 2012. Bonaparte’s Gull had peak daily and yearly numbers in the April-May period (this year 4,406 in May) and the usual, but lesser, fall high was not detected this year. Pacific Loon numbers for 2012 were generally higher than in previous years with good numbers tied to the late fall and winter months (February/March and November/December) and this year peak daily highs were recorded in March and December periods. Brandt’s Cormorant continues to show low daily high numbers through the fall and winter months with the peak this year in December (22 birds). Again this year, the numbers reported for two of the qualifying species – Pacific Loon and Brandt’s Cormorant continue to be below historical observations. As was the case last year, the December 15, 2012 Christmas Bird Count tallied over 700 Brandt’s Cormorants in Plumper Sound and Navy Channel between Mayne and North Pender islands.

  • Conservation Threats

    No new concrete conservation threats were observed over 2012, but concern was expressed by some of the stewards that commercial shipping has increased in frequency due to expansion of truck trailer hauling runs. This includes overnight runs and during times of high tides coupled with storm surges, soft and fractured bedrock shorelines along the IBA are showing signs of increased erosion.

  • Habitat Quality
  • Bonaparte Gull

    The marine feeding areas used by the vast majority of birds (tidal upwelling, fronts and rapids) continue to be used heavily and appear to provide optimum feeding opportunities for these species. No discernible changes in habitat quality were detected over 2012.

  • Other Conservation Opportunities

    The Mayne Island Conservancy continues to monitor eelgrass and forage fish spawning within the IBA to measure changes and occurrences over time. Kelp bed monitoring was undertaken in 2012. The Mayne Island Conservancy and Mayne Island Recycling Society again hosted a community beach cleanup for Earth Day April 22, 2012. The Mayne School children cleaned the main beach at Miners Bay while members of the community cleaned other beaches of the IBA. In total there were 32 students plus 4 staff and parents who participated. For the IBA 114 kg of marine debris was collected, plastic of all kinds made up the bulk of this material. This amount was well down from the previous year.

  • Outreach Activities

    In addition to the work being done for the Stewardship Program noted above, updates on IBA activities have gone in to Mayne Island’s local newspaper. Presentations on the IBA and the stewardship program have been made at the all islands Conservancies annual meeting on Mayne Island as well as the Mayne Island Conservancy’s AGM. Information about bird activity in the Active Pass IBA has been provided in regular bird articles in Galiano’s monthly newsmagazine.

    Part of the new Southern Gulf Islands Economic Development Commission’s mandate is to promote island enterprises using the ‘triple bottom line’ philosophy to new developments. Community resilience is one of the outcomes desired. The regional Experience the Gulf Islands initiative is under the auspices of the commission and the significance locally, nationally and internationally of the Active Pass IBA as a potential economic driver has been recognized. Another benefit of the Experience program would be to inform and educate many more people specifically about the Active Pass IBA. Both caretakers are engaged in this process.

    In early December 2012 Michael Dunn held a winter bird identification course for interested people, this included some of the IBA stewards. The course included a focus on identification and counting techniques for the large flocks of over-wintering marine birds found around Mayne Island, particularly Active Pass. The course was all outdoors and included stops at Miners Bay and Georgina Point. On Galiano, birdwalks to observe birds in the IBA have been offered to the public.

  • Volunteer Time

    It is estimated that volunteers contributed over 200 hours of time toward the Active Pass IBA and its ecosystems. This includes the work of the caretakers, the stewards, the Mayne Island Conservancy, and the park commission and the Mayne School children. This represents 58 volunteers over the 2012 year.

  • Additional Comments

    Part of the stewardship program was to record observations of marine mammal activity and any strandings of birds or marine mammals. The field monitoring form designed for the IBA include fields to record marine mammal movements and unexpected events. Attached are the 2012 results of this monitoring component. This year again, we were excited by the observation of a Humpback Whale in Active Pass and off Gossip Island in Ocotober. One steward provided the orca use numbers and no other marine mammal sightings were reported.

    This year we had 1 beached marine mammal. A Dall’s Porpoise (?) partial skeleton washed up in Miners Bay during the summer.

  • The tables of observations included in the report are posted: Bird and Marine Mammal species counts.

    IBA Report for 2011

    The 2011 Annual Report, authored by Michael Dunn and Mike Hoebel, has just been completed, including tables of observations from our excellent group of volunteer stewards. The text appears below:
    • Introduction

      For 2011, 7 stewards continued to provide their observations of bird activities within the IBA. Compared to the first year of steward observations the number of reports were down and coming on a less regular basis. This year is the first full year that the Coastal Waterbird Survey results within the IBA are integrated with other observer information. Michael Dunn and Mike Hoebel, as caretakers, also have done regular observations throughout the year.

    • Qualifying Species

      The highly seasonal distribution of the IBA qualifying species is much evident in the observations compiled for 2011. Bonaparte’s Gull had peak daily and yearly numbers in the April-May period (this year 5,000 and 2,000 respectively) and lesser highs during the October to December period. Pacific Loon numbers are tied to the spring and winter months and this year peak daily highs were recorded in April-March and November-December periods. Brandt’s Cormorant continues to show low daily numbers with the peak this year in December (45 birds). As reported last year, the numbers reported for two of the qualifying species – Pacific Loon and Brandt’s Cormorant continue to be below historical observations, even though this year the Pacific Loon daily high observations were up from the 2010 reporting year. One bright note with respect to the Brandt’s Cormorant was the observation of 2500 plus birds on rocky islets off Sidney, BC and during the December 17, 2011 Christmas Bird Count, rafts of up to 400 Brandt’s Cormorants were tallied in Plumper Sound and Navy Channel between Mayne and North Pender islands.

    • Conservation Threats

      No new conservation threats were observed over 2011 including no discernible increase in boating traffic.

    • Habitat Quality
    • The marine feeding areas used by the vast majority of birds (tidal upwelling, fronts and rapids) continue to be used heavily and appear to provide optimum feeding opportunities for these species. No discernible changes in habitat quality were detected over 2011.

    • Other Conservation Opportunities

      The Mayne Island Conservancy has completed mapping of eelgrass within the IBA and has begun a monitoring program to measure changes over time. The forage fish inventories have continued but no spawning occurrences were detected in 2011 within the IBA. The kelp monitoring has developed a monitoring protocol but monitoring was not undertaken in 2011. The Mayne Island Conservancy and Mayne Island Recycling Society again hosted a community beach cleanup for Earth Day April 22, 2011. The Mayne School children cleaned the main beach at Miners Bay while members of the community cleaned other beaches of the IBA. In total there were 35 students plus 8 staff and parents who participated. For the IBA 254 kg of marine debris was collected, plastic of all kinds made up the bulk of this material. This amount was up from the previous year.

    • Outreach Activities

      In addition to the work being done for the Stewardship Program noted above, updates on IBA activities have gone in to Mayne Island’s local newspaper. Presentations on the IBA and the stewardship program have been made at the all islands Conservancies annual meeting on Mayne Island. The IBA was also highlighted at a meeting with Nature Canada, Bird Studies Canada, BC Nature and the Sidney Channel IBA caretaker held in October 2011.

      With respect to the larger information signs to be placed within Bellhouse Provincial Park on Galiano Island and within Georgina Point Lighthouse Heritage Park on Mayne Island, both signs at time of this report are completed. The Galiano Island is an original artwork that will be converted into a sign. The Mayne Island signage has been completed and the mounting frame fabricated. On October 30, 2011 both signs were officially unveiled with at concurrent dedication ceremonies on each island (See news item & pictures elsewhere on this page - ed.). Representatives from local government, Gulf Islands National Park Reserve and the IBA partners were in attendance.

      In early December 2011 Michael Dunn held a winter bird identification course for interested people, this included some of the IBA stewards. The course included a focus on the over-wintering marine birds found around Mayne Island, particularly Active Pass. The course was followed with a field component that included some birding of the Active Pass IBA at Miners Bay.

    • Volunteer Time

      It is estimated that volunteers contributed over 250 hours of time toward the Active Pass IBA and its ecosystems. This includes the work of the caretakers, the stewards, the Mayne Island Conservancy, and the park commission and the Mayne School children. This represents 65 volunteers over the 2011 year.

    • Additional Comments

      Part of the stewardship program was to record observations of marine mammal activity and any strandings of birds or marine mammals. The field monitoring form designed for the IBA include fields to record marine mammal movements and unexpected events. Attached are the 2011 results of this monitoring component. The most exciting observation was of the Humpback Whale off Georgina Point in November. There were several sightings of this species in Active Pass during the fall.

      This year we had 1 observation of beached marine mammals. A Harbour Porpoise washed up in Miners Bay during the summer. DFO officials were contacted and removed the carcass for research purposes.

    Two tables of observations are included in the report: Daily Highs by Month and Marine Mammal Sightings

    The 2010 document and its table of observations is available in the original MS Word format here, and here as a .pdf document.

    The first Annual Report from 2009 is posted here.

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