Photo courtesy Spenser Smith Local birder Spenser Smith photographed this juvenile great horned owl in central Nanaimo. He recently launched a birding website featuring photos and articles about birdwatching on Vancouver Island.

Online meeting place created for Nanaimo birders

Nanaimo photographer Spenser Smith launches Vancouver Island birdwatching website

A Nanaimo photographer is hoping to nurture the birding community on Vancouver Island.

Spenser Smith had been photographing landscapes for much of the last decade, but this spring the Vancouver Island University student was tipped off about the location of a great horned owl nest in the city. He grabbed his camera to investigate and discovered a new passion.

“Once I got to experience that, watching an owl family and watching the mama owl interact with the babies, that kind of got me hooked,” Smith said.

“It’s just one of those things where, for me as a photographer, wildlife became much more exciting than shooting landscapes, which was kind of stagnant for me. Once I got into that, I just kinda got hooked on it.”

Last month Smith decided to set up a website, www.birdsandbark.com, to chronicle and compile his birding photography and already he’s starting to amass a following. So far he’s caught the attention of Tourism Nanaimo, his Facebook page has grown by 300 followers and people have been reaching out via his online contact form. He said a couple from Seattle travelled to the Island after inquiring about a birding spot in Parksville.

“I thought that was a pretty cool connection and response has been great. I think the biggest thing is I’ve met a lot of people through [the website], other birders, and then kind of in a selfish way those relationships have helped me find new birding spots that I otherwise wouldn’t know about,” Smith said.

“I think in the birding and photography community, for wildlife it’s really important to know people because that’s how you’re going to find out about spots. But then on a more personal level, it’s been great to meet new, like-minded people and kind of develop new friendships.”

Smith said he’s hoping his webpage attracts other birders, as well as a wider audience of people who may be curious about the hobby or have a passing interest in wildlife observation. He said one of his most popular posts is called ‘Morrell Nature Sanctuary: How to Find a Barred Owl,’ a step-by-step guide on spotting the birds including pictures, videos, a map and a recording of an owl cry. As a creative writing student, Smith said it was important to him to include written pieces along with his photographs.

Smith foresees Birds and Bark as a venue for other local birders to share their work. His inaugural contributor was a birder who contacted Smith to inform him of the location of a falcon.

“I asked him if he wanted to contribute a story and he actually wrote a little story for me and had a bunch of photos in it so it was kind of cool to have that,” he said. “I’m hoping to make a submissions page and … encourage other people to submit as well.”



arts@nanaimobulletin.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Windstorm topples tree onto townhouse in Nanaimo

Heavy winds have thousands of B.C. Hydro customers without power

Lantzville council approves financial plan, property tax increase of 5.6-per cent

Councillors to vote in the new year on motion to lower property tax increase

Coast Bastion Hotel, union reach tentative deal

Deal between hotel chain and union representing Nanaimo workers reached early Friday

UPDATE: Winds knocking out power across the Nanaimo region

More than 12,000 residences affected across B.C. Hydro’s Vancouver Island North area

Nanaimo city council starts pitching ideas for Island-wide debate

Councillors begin brainstorming Association of Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities resolutions

VIDEO: Royals reveal the images on their Christmas cards

Prince William and his wife Kate are shown outside in casual clothes, their three young children in tow

Beefs & Bouquets, Dec. 13

To submit a beef or a bouquet to the Nanaimo News Bulletin, e-mail bulletinboard@nanaimobulletin.com

Nanaimo city council will reconsider waterfront walkway plan

Project included in financial plan but councillors want to examine scope and timelines

Media, robotics, Indigenous studies coming to B.C. Grade 12 classrooms in 2019-20

Provincial tests are also being changed for students in Grade 10 to 12, the Education Ministry said

ICBC to apply for 6.3% hike to basic insurance rates

Crown Corporation said it will be submitting its next basic rate application to the British Columbia Utilities Commission Friday

Stranded B.C. trucker writes final wishes before being rescued 3 days later

‘I was just praying someone would come along’

Canfor Corp. extending temporary curtailment of sawmills in B.C.; cutting hours

Vancouver-based company says the decision is due to declining lumber prices, high log costs and log supply constraints

Canada’s prospective world junior team members await final roster decisions

Thirty-four players were invited to the national junior selection camp

Woman guilty of impaired driving in death of Vancouver Island pedestrian

Man in his 70s killed in 2016 Courtenay multi-vehicle incident

Most Read