New book great for birders, photographers and tourism guides

New book great for birders, photographers and tourism guides

Adrian Dorst releases ‘The Birds of Vancouver Island’s West Coast’

MARCIE CALLEWAERT

Special to the Westerly

Adrian Dorst is Tofino’s birding expert and with the release of his newest book, “The Birds of Vancouver Island’s West Coast”, he has cemented that title in place.

Rather than putting another bird identification book on the market, something he says there are already enough of, he wrote the book “he would have wanted” as a birder.

“To identify a bird, you need a field guide, but it really doesn’t tell you much at all”, Dorst explained.

To fill that niche, he has carefully crafted a log of every confirmed bird sighting on Vancouver Island’s west coast from Jordan River to Cape Scott. The book serves as a record of sightings and a guide for those wanting to spot a particular species or learn more about local bird habits.

It is a fantastic resource for photographers, birders and tourism guides alike.

Dorst used the Ebird website’s public sighting record for many of the birds recorded in the book. EBird has been a “huge benefit” to the scientific community.

It has “revolutionized birding and the knowledge of the distribution of birds”, according to Dorst.

The wealth of community knowledge on the coast proved to be a great asset for Dorst. You only need to look at the list of names on Page 18-20 to see how true this is. In a sense, it’s a community project, with Dorst as it’s lead, slogging through mounds of data to create this immense compilation of sightings.

No small feat considering the thickness of the completed volume. Dorst spent much of the last five years working on the book but got the idea around 10 years ago, and he started stepping up his field work then in preparation for writing the book.

Dorst got his start in birding at a young age, when he captured a bird that had found its way into their family home. He thought it was a wren, but when he brought it to his bird-loving Grade 5 teacher she identified it as a house sparrow! She gave him the bird book that sparked his passion.

It’s never too late or early to begin bird watching, whether it’s a hobby or obsession. Dorst revelled in the advantages each new generation has of new books to identify and learn about birds. There is so much information available.

Some of his favourite spots to watch birds locally are the Grice Bay boat launch, especially between tides during the winter, the viewing platform at the end of Sharp Road, behind Jamie’s Rainforest Inn, and various areas of Long Beach.

If you ask any serious birder about their lifers, birds they have yet to see but want to check off their list, their eyes will light up as they describe the species and efforts they have put into the search. Dorst is no exception. He is looking forward to spotting his first short-tailed albatross, the species featured on the cover of “The Bird’s of Vancouver Island’s West Coast”. Archaeology has shown that they were a common albatross along our coast until they were hunted to near extinction for the Japanese feather trade in the 1930s.

They are making a great comeback now and sightings are increasing off our coast. Short-tailed albatross can be seen at distances of 20-plus kilometers offshore.

On a personal note, I’ve got to say, I received quite a thrill when I flipped to the “Accidental Species” section of the book. There on page 553 is my name in black and white, an honour I never could have imagined!

In January of 2017, a juvenile male Baltimore Oriole visited us repeatedly at our home in Ahousaht, on Flores Island – a lifer that I didn’t even know was possible. My husband, Lennie John, is forever teasing me that he saw it first, and he did! I was still half-asleep clutching my mug of coffee when it first appeared on the porch railing.

We’re a great birding team though, as without my photo uploaded to the eBird website, it is unlikely that anyone would have believed us.

Lennie also spotted the Bullock’s Oriole first that we sighted in Ahousaht. Again, it took a photo submitted to eBird to confirm the sighting.

No matter your birding skill level, the West Coast is a truly phenomenal place to watch our feathered friends.

Adrian DorstbirdsBooksTofino,West Coast

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A Viking Air Twin Otter takes off midway down the runway at the Alberni Valley Regional Airport on Jan. 13, 2021 during a series of training flights. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)
New plan recognizes industrial strengths of Alberni Valley airport

Strategic plan identifies AVRA as Vancouver Island’s premier industrial airport

A piece of artwork from Port Alberni artist Jim Sears. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)
ARTS AROUND: Port Alberni artist shares watercolour images of the coast

Rollin Art Centre holding a garden clean-up on April 18

The Alberni Golf Club is located on Cherry Creek Road. FILE PHOTO
ALBERNI GOLF: Parhar picks up win in Partner with a Pro

Next Sunday, April 18 is a two man best ball

Two of the heritage buildings from McLean Mill National Historic Site that have been restored at the Port Alberni tourist attraction. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)
McLean Mill application breaks new ground for ALC

Process just another ‘misstep’ by city, says critic

Coulson Aviation’s newest Chinook helicopter, N43CU, takes to the air above the Alberni Valley Regional Airport following a complete airframe conversion into a helitanker, April 8, 2021. (PHOTO COURTESY BILL MCLEOD)
Coulson Aviation’s newest helitanker takes flight

Converted Chinook helitanker off to U.S. for new paint job

A deep cut on a humpback whale is shown in this recent handout photo in the Vancouver area. A conservation organization is warning boaters to be extra careful to prevent further harm to an injured humpback whale swimming in the Vancouver area. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Ocean Wise, Vanessa Prigollini *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Boaters urged to use caution around hurt humpback off Vancouver

Ocean Wise says watchers first noticed the wound 3 days ago and believe it was caused by a vessel strike

Ron Rauch and his wife Audrey are photographed at their home in Victoria, Friday, March 5, 2021. Their daughter Lisa Rauch died on Christmas Day 2019 when a tactical officer with the Victoria Police Department shot her in the back of the head with plastic bullets after barricading herself in a room that was on fire. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. families push for changes as special committee examines provincial Police Act

Solicitor General Mike Farnworth acknowledged the need to update the legislation last year

Major-General Dany Fortin, left, looks on as Minister of Public Services and Procurement Anita Anand provides an update on the COVID-19 pandemic, in Ottawa, Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2020. The Public Health Agency of Canada has set aside up to $5 billion to pay for COVID-19 vaccines. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada negotiating contracts to secure COVID-19 booster shots for next year: Anand

Most of Canada’s current vaccine suppliers are already testing new versions against variants

Demonstrators at the legislature on April 14 called on the province to decriminalize drug possession and provide widespread access to regulated safe supply across B.C. (Jake Romphf/News Staff)
Rally calls for decriminalization, safe supply on 5th anniversary of overdose emergency declaration

From 2016 to the end of February, 7,072 British Columbians died due to overdose

(Government of Canada)
Liberal MP caught stark naked during House of Commons video conference

William Amos, in Quebec, appeared on the screens of his fellow members of Parliament completely naked

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, Feb. 1, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count jumps to 1,168 Wednesday, nearly 400 in hospital

Now 120 coronavirus patients in intensive care, six more deaths

Moss covered branches are seen in the Avatar Old Growth Forest near Port Renfrew on Vancouver Island, B.C. Thursday, Sept. 29, 2011. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. blockades aimed at protecting old-growth forests reveal First Nation split

Two Pacheedaht chiefs say they’re ‘concerned about the increasing polarization over forestry activities’ in the territory

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Most Read