Coastal Journeys

Sea kayaking during the spring shorebird migration

Shorebirds are the highlight of an early spring kayaking trip for Coastal Journeys team member Keith Nicol.

We finally dusted off our sea kayaks on Wednesday, April 20 after a great year of skiing at Mount Washington. Last year with Mount Washington closing in mid February, we had our kayaks out in early March in time for the annual spring herring run. But this year we were still cross-country skiing after the trails closed and had our final ski on April 16.

One of our “go to” places for sea kayaking in Comox is Point Holmes, since it offers a boat launch so that you can easily launch even at low tide. Also another bonus is an outdoor toilet which has been recently installed in the parking lot. Point Holmes is easy to find (it is located along Lazo Road in Comox) and there is a large parking area for cars with benches and picnic tables overlooking the water.

We put in and then headed east toward Lazo Cliffs. The tide was rising and immediately we began to see evidence of some shorebirds that we hadn`t seen since last fall. They are heading north on their spring migration and so we opted to paddle along the shore to see what new birds were around. We saw many black bellied plovers but the highlight was a flock of dunlins which banked and swooped in unison. How they don`t crash into one another in flight is amazing. If you like paddling with various birds then check out the shoreline over the next few weeks as this migration takes place. Evidently the dunlin are heading to Northern Alaska where they breed during the summer.

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