Group Meeting – 25th January 2019

Transporting the audience nearly 5,000 miles across the Atlantic to British Columbia (BC) on the west coast of Canada, Lee Morgan from Lutra Wildlife and Wilderness gave a fascinating presentation on the diverse and exciting wildlife found along this remarkable coastline. Lee, together with his partner Lindsay Janes, run professionally guided wildlife, natural history and photographic tours in this area. Their itineraries are carefully crafted to include the best locations for quality wildlife viewing away from the usual tourist hotspots.

Lee explained that BC is Canada’s most westerly province and stretches from the Pacific Ocean in the west to the Rockies in the east and is the size of France and Germany combined. It has a population of around 4.5 million people and over 27,000 miles of coastline with many sheltered fjords, sprawling forests and mountainous peaks it is ideal territory for the diverse wildlife this area has to offer. It has pristine ecosystems and vast tracks of wilderness and it is along the coastline that you may catch a glimpse of an orca, pause to marvel at a moose, or simply watch eagles soar. Pacific Grey whales are regular visitors from March to October and other marine sightings may include humpback whales, minke whales, dolphins, porpoises, seals, sea lions and sea otters.

Seasonal migrant birds are attracted by the abundant fish; including barrows golden eye ducks in winter and in summer pigeon guillemots, belted kingfishers and ospreys. Bald Eagle sightings coincide with the movement of salmon making their way back to their places of birth to spawn. Grizzly bears are also fond of salmon and can be spotted along the shoreline ready to help themselves to the plentiful supply. Mink may be seen hunting for crabs among the rocky outlets.

Bird watchers can appreciate the diversity of wild birds this area has to offer with a variety of songbirds, waterfowl, raptors and marine birds, from turkey vultures to species of hummingbirds.

This beautiful natural environment as portrayed by Lee makes a visit to this part of the world an attractive proposition.

After the usual break for tea and biscuits, in Tricia Hall’s absence, Graham Tuppen presented the ever popular Nature Notes. Graham advised us that unusually at this time of year roses, fuchsias, daffodils and gladiolus had been spotted in flower in the village and also a large white-tailed bumblebee. Graham asked if any of the audience had seen or heard any tawny owls and to record their findings on a weekly basis. Over the month Clive Hope had recorded sightings of many birds in the area, including guillemots, razor-bills, red breasted mergansers and gannets. Graham announced that the clean-up of the banks of the Rife will take place on Saturday 23rd March meeting at 11am in the Bluebird Café car park.

To conclude the January meeting Ed Miller gave an update on planning news in the village. He advised there had been a refusal by Arun DC of the planning application to build a house in the back garden at 4, Sea Lane, and also the 2 houses in the garden at 21, Ocean Drive. The planning application at 11, Ocean Drive to demolish a 2 bed bungalow and build a 2 bed house was still to be decided. Two new planning applications were highlighted; the proposed building of a house in the garden of Elm Lodge in Tamarisk Way and the proposed conversion of a bungalow to a four bed house in Midhurst Drive.