Volunteer birding events helping Nature Conservancy of Canada

Frank Gale fgale@thewesternstar.com
Published on June 7, 2014
Representatives of the Nature Conservancy of Canada, Newfoundland and Labrador, are in Western Newfoundland this week. They include, from left, Megan Lafferty, Brandon Ward and Lanna Campbell.
Star photo by Frank Gale

Three conservation volunteer birding events are being held in western Newfoundland this week, helping the Nature Conservancy of Canada in completing a stewardship task.

That’s why three representatives of the organization — Megan Lafferty, Brandon Ward and Lanna Campbell — are in the area this week for the 2014 field season.

“It’s all part of engaging and involving people to come out to the environment we protect,” Lafferty said.

She said the conservancy’s focus this year is birding and their work is aimed at getting an inventory on the number of birds on their properties.

For that the trio went to carry out a Codroy Valley Feather and Folk Bird Survey on Monday, where they met with volunteers at the Wetland Interpretation Centre in Upper Ferry and first conducted a birding workshop before going out into the field.

Lafferty said while going around the estuary they saw three piping plovers, which are listed as an endangered species in Canada.

Later, they took a group of 50 Grade 1 to Grade 4 students from Belanger Memorial and held an introduction to birding workshop with them, then took them to the wetland trail where they got to try out some equipment such as birding scopes and binoculars.

During the day they saw a bunch of yellow warblers, black capped chickadees, heard lots of white throated sparrows, saw a black poll warbler, a cat bird and even a great blue heron.

The Codroy Valley is the only Ramsar Wetland of International Importance in the Province, is a recognized Important Bird Area for migratory birds, including shorebirds and ducks, and is a site where raptors and spring vagrants are commonly found.

Thursday morning the representatives met experienced birders at the Station Grocery in St. Fintan’s to conduct a birding survey along the shoreline of the Crabbes River. This morning, starting at 9 a.m., the representatives will be meeting volunteers at the Gateway to the North RV Park in Reidville for the Rocky Brook Bird Count.

The event is aimed at birders of all ages and levels and they will be heading out to complete a songbird survey along the shoreline of Rocky Brook in the morning, before returning for a volunteer barbecue to share their results.

The area has a nature reserve with lots of unique vegetation, including Black Ash trees, a provincially rare species.

Lafferty said the conservancy has never conducted a birding survey in this area before so those involved will be helping to establish a baseline inventory of the avifauna using the area.