Rek Bell

Bird journal

a drawing of rek speaking nonsense to a mynah bird

Collecting bird sightings like pokemon.

"To think like a mountain means to have a complete appreciation for the profound interconnectedness of the elements in the ecosystems. It is an ecological exercise using the intricate web of the natural environment rather than thinking as an isolated individual." Aldo Leopold


Vancouver Island

2024.01.24. Beacon Hill Park is home to many varieties of ducks, they stay all year long and all have their quirks. Mallards dunk their heads in the water to search for food while their butts and legs stay afloat, the pond is often covered in a series of duck butts. Wigeons, with their steep foreheads and stout bodies, always hang out with the mallards, but are visually very distinguishable, the males make a high-pitch whistle which makes them stand out even more. Gadwalls are another common sight in the park, they are subtly colored and resemble female mallards. All of these ducks hang around the many small ponds scattered in the park, hopping in and out all day.
When the temperature dips way below freezing the ponds freeze but the ducks don't seem to mind, they walk and sleep on the ice. In such weather the ice, thin enough to support a duck but not much else, becomes a safe haven for them, they are free from being chased by small children or larger animals.

2023.05.21. Two glaucous-winged gulls are standing shoulder to shoulder, seemingly immobile, on the rocky shore of Prevost Island, screeching one after the other, mirroring each other, for a solid 10 minutes. We wondered, was it a game, or a casual conversation? Either way, I thought it sweet that they never talked over one another, a thing that humans do and that is never pleasant.

2023.04.19. Canadian geese are raising their young on the shores of the Victoria Inner Harbour. 3 yellow-feathered babies follow their parents as they walk through busy parking lots, and around tourists. Everyday I walk there and hope to find 3 babies trailing behind them.
One morning, we see a family of geese in the water swimming around the boats of our marina. One baby is swimming behind them. One. I hope that this is a different family. Then, we spot one baby left behind swimming between boats. The parents are swimming away, single baby in tow. "Maybe they're trying to find the baby but can't!" Devine says. We go and check on the baby that was left behind, and then we understand. The baby is swimming in circles, head cocked to the side. It's injured, its parents know that it won't survive. We watch as the baby moves around the marina, swimming in tight circles. "We're so, so sorry..." we say to it.
The next day, we see a family of geese with 3 babies, all there, all intact, healthy. The family we saw in the water was a different family, one that was not as fortunate.

2023.03.04. A great horned owl picks Beacon Hill Park to raise two of its young, to the amazement of the many passerbys that transit the park everyday. It is a very public place to nest, I thought, and not a quiet one either. News spread of the young owls quickly in Victoria, and soon crowds gathered at the foot of the tree to try and catch a glimpse of the feathered family. Carers of the park setup a barricade to try and disperse the masses, giving the owl family some space. "Is this mother owl a bad parent?" I asked, as we strolled past their nesting grounds. Devine shrugs, "maybe it's there for the social media clout." We looked at each other then, "Owl clout." Yes. Maybe. We did find photos of them in local newspapers, and although we dont use Instagram or Twitter, we knew the family likely had a good 'clout score'.
Young great horned owls are grey, don't have tufts on their heads yet, and look like they're covered in felt.

2020.06.24. Days are very long now, there was good light at 2100 yesterday so Dev & I went out for a row around the bay. The local sailing club here lends out a rowing dinghy to members. Tsehum Harbor shoals at low tide, but the water was high enough that we could row everywhere. We circled the bay twice, following a large gathering of geese and their goslings. The goose caravan was eating filamentous algae as they went, making loud mouth sounds as they did. A very nice evening.

2020.19.02. Love taking walks along the beach at low-tide to see what is normally hidden. Lots of smooth rocks, miniature snails, barnacles and seaweed. Spotted some black turnstones too, small wading birds_ picking crustaceans and mollusks from under stones and algae mats.


New Zealand

a black noddy sitting on the lifelines of a sailboat

South Pacific Islands

North Pacific Ocean

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