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A special year

Frank Reynolds Memorial Christmas Bird Count at Whistler, Dec. 14



Whistler Naturalists

Our 18 th Christmas Bird Count will pay homage to Frank Reynolds, who passed away just after receiving our data from the 17 th count in late December last year.

Frank was one of our star performers on the bird count, coming from West Vancouver every year beginning in the early 1990s. In 2005, Frank’s illness kept him at home, although he continued with the electronic submission of our data to the Audubon authorities. He was about to do so again in 2006 when his health suddenly took a nose-dive, catching all of us unaware.

Frank was known throughout the birding community, carrying out year-round observations in the Queen Charlottes, where he worked for several years, then at Port Alberni, and finally in the Vancouver scene when MacMillan Bloedel transferred him to their head office. He helped with the Vancouver Christmas Bird Count, Breeding Bird Survey and Birdathon for several years before switching his interests to White Rock, Squamish, Pemberton and the Whistler counts.

He was also a Level 4 track coach and was admired by all middle distance runners, and especially the high school kids on the North Shore. And he was the national coach for the ladies cross-country team. At his funeral hundreds of fellow coaches, athletes, and a few birders were in attendance, filling the Christchurch Cathedral in downtown Vancouver, and completely engulfing the Rowing Club for the following wake. At the latter I commented upon Frank’s great assistance with our Whistler Christmas bird Count. In all respects then, it is incumbent upon us to make the 18 th count our best one, in memory of Frank.

The count is again on Dec. 14, a Friday, and count week begins on the 11 th and winds up on the 17 th . Again, there will be nine districts to cover, including Blackcomb and Whistler mountains. Evening owling on the 13 th might also take place.

Party leaders will be assigned once I have an indication as to who is coming. Area one, South Whistler to Calcheak, is usually my “beat” but with no landfill there aren’t zillions of gulls to identify. So it’s up for grabs. If you cannot join a field party, I ask you to consider watching a bird feeder for part of a day. Some of our best results (surprises) have been at feeders.

The survey begins at 8:30 a.m. and finishes at 4 p.m. (or sooner), rain, snow, cold or shine. At 4:30 I would like all participants to come to my home for refreshments and the countdown! Our long-term average is 41 spp, and 2,688 birds. For Frank we would like to end up above the average. The more who participate, the better the odds for reaching the goals.

I will be away from Nov. 10 to Dec. 5. So on Dec. 6 I want to hear from you (604-938-1107); before then the Thompsons (604-932-5010) are able to answer questions, and do the booking of participants.

There are three other bird counts in the Sea to Sky corridor that also need help. The dates, organizers, and their phone numbers are:

§ Dec. 16: Squamish, Marcia Danielson, 604-898-9420

§ Dec. 18: Pemberton-Mt. Currie, Hugh Naylor, 604-894-6402

§ Dec. 19: D’Arcy-Devine, Dan Cumming, 604-452-3453

If eagles and waterfowl are your bag, Squamish is the count; if it’s barnyards and lively after-party, Pemberton is the place; and if it’s congenial aesthetics deep in the mountains, D’Arcy at Dan’s place cannot be beat.

Bird Heil.