Time has passed quickly for us all living along the BC Coast and now already early spring is bursting forth with shrubs and spring bulbs budding while crocusses are in full bloom. The Enbridge Pipeline Hearings continued early in the New Year in Victoria and because I was unable to attend the hearing scheduled last August in Port Hardy, I was able to speak against the pipeline proposal at the Victoria venue in January via teleconference. Early winter brought with it sightings of two owl species: Snowy and Short Eared owls that are not usually found on Cormorant Island (Alert Bay). On October 28 I found a small Short Eared Owl lying vulnerably in the grass in poor condition and was able to send it down to the Mountainaire Avian Rescue Society (MARS) at Merville BC. Thanks to their dedicated care and attention this bird was given a second chance at life and was successfully released into Owl habitat at the Nanaimo River Estuary by Pat (MARS volunteer)and Jared on January 17, 2013. Much can be found on various web-sites including MARS about the problems with owls and their loss of territory and food in their natural habitat. On December 22nd, 2012, in tragic circumstances, a Great Blue Heron was rescued by Rob and Erin (from Pearse Islands) where it was found hanging by its neck having been caught up in fishing line that had been left hanging from the Government Dock in Alert Bay. This bird also travelled by car down to MARS, arriving late in the evening in the middle of a snow storm. Named “Kringle” by staff at MARS its injury turned out to be a dislocated hip. A mention here and Big Thank you to those helping in assisting the safe ride down to MARS, with only minutes to spare in preparing the birds for their 3-4 hour journey via ferry and car. The ‘next’ ferry was the best ferry to prevent further shock while lessening the pain and suffering to the birds, getting them to the help they needed as quickly as possible. Kringle was returned and released back to the beach here in Alert Bay on February 6, 2013. For information about MARS Society: http://www.wingtips.org/ There have been numerous reports and sightings of Transient/Biggs Orcas throughout the winter months and recent days and weeks and Northern Residents with A5’s in recent days and weeks. Follow them at: http://www.orca-live.net/community/index.html Humpback Whales have also been sighted in the area.

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