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Night heron spotted in city’s annual bird count

The annual Nanaimo Christmas Bird Count saw some unusual species of birds.

The 24-hour bird-watching event took place on Dec. 29 and according to organizer Ryan Cathers, rare birds weren’t only spotted on the day of the count.

“Unusual species [included] black-crowned night heron for count week at Buttertubs marsh and a Townsend’s warbler in a backyard on count day,” Cathers said in an e-mail. “The warbler is here in the summer – sometimes one or two stay over winter.

“The heron is an unusual species for any time in Nanaimo and is seen elsewhere on the Island and on the Mainland.”

Numbers from Gabriola Island have not been submitted yet.

Once tabulated, the numbers will be sent to the National Audubon Society, Birds Studies Canada and Cornell University lab of ornithology, which compile nationwide and continent-wide data on the various counts.

A minimum of 20 volunteers was needed for the event and Cathers said 75 volunteers were in the field on count day.

The coverage area for Nanaimo is 15 kilometres north, south, east and west of the Bastion downtown and the area is broken into 20 zones.

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