We are definitely in the dark days of winter, at this time of year Vancouver Island can be a bit of a gloomy place, and in comparison to summer, a bit devoid of wildlife. However, whilst the forests and the meadows are quieter than the Spring and Summer, the coast is filled with overwintering waterbirds, including the horned grebe. What I find so fascinating about the horned grebe, is how a bird with such a striking summer plumage, they have a fiery red/orange and black colouration, with yellow ‘horns’ behind their eyes, can look frankly, quite bland in the winter. The horned grebes can be spotted across Vancouver Island, despite being a little dull looking, they are delightful to watch. You can usually spot them bobbing along close to shore, diving up and down feeding on small fish.
The Victoria coastline is a designated migratory bird sanctuary, because of the importance of the area to birds like the horned grebe. Most of the waterbirds wintering here will soon leave the area and head inland and north, to nest in the lakes and wetlands of central and northern BC and beyond. Migration really is a natural wonder, and I feel very lucky to be able to see it so close to home, these birds do brighten up the grey, foggy days on the west coast.