Brant Geese Herring Feast-ival in Qualicum Beach

March 13, 2020 – The Brant Wildlife Festival is underway now through April celebrating the return of the Brant geese to Qualicum Beach and surrounding areas.

Nature photographer Deborah Freeman takes us out to see the Brant geese as they pause to feast on the herring spawn during their exhausting many thousand mile migration. In her spectacular and playful photographs, eagles and sea lions compete for the ultra-nutritious herring, while snow-capped peaks and the herring fleet form the backdrop as this annual drama plays out on Qualicum Beach’s waterfront.

There are many exciting events and excursions planned for the 2022 Brant Wildlife Festival which we list below along with Deborah’s photos.

April 1–10Qualicum Beach Museum Display

Enjoy the Museum’s display of vintage Brant Goose decoys, learn about the connection between nature and humans at the Fish, Trees, and Folk display. Explore area residents’ many cultural, ecological and economic connections to nature. The museum is open on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 1pm – 4pm. Book your visit here.

Little Qualicum River Estuary, Qualicum Beach, BC. Photo courtesy The Nature Trust of BC.

April 2: Little Qualicum River Estuary Tour Meet at 1pm in the parking area at the far west end of Surfside Drive. Qualicum Beach Streamkeepers will lead a tour of the spectacular spot and the restoration projects that are underway. This tour will also include an opportunity to observe, with experts, the abundant species of birds present at this time of year. Register for free here.

April 1–3: Inter-tidal Bio-Blitz Deep Bay Marine Field Station will be hosting a self-directed “Inter-Tidal Bio Blitz” using the iNaturalist app. Watch for details!

April 2: Field Station Tour Deep Bay Marine Field Station Tours (subject to change with Covid restrictions).  The Field Station, which is otherwise currently closed, will open specifically for the Brant Wildlife Festival. Tours will take place between 10am-2pm. Admission is free. Register for free here.

April 6: Basic Bird ID with Lynne Brookes Dr Lynne Brookes will lead this enjoyable, practical, beginning to intermediate level workshop from 8am to 12:30pm for participants age 14 and up. You must pre-register to attend this event as there will be a maximum of 15 participants. To register call the North Island Wildlife Recovery Centre 250-248-8534 Option #3 (Gift Shop)

April 8: French Creek Estuary Tour Visit this spectacular area where a creek, estuary, forest, wetlands and beaver pond provide habitats for diverse native plants and wildlife. Watch eagles soar as you walk the trails with two knowledgeable guides. Rain or shine. Register for free here.

April 8–10: Biosphere Bio-Blitz Join the 6th annual Mount Arrowsmith Biosphere Region Bio-Blitz. You can survey plants and animals and help to contribute to biodiversity research. This will be a self-directed digital bio-blitz using the iNaturalist app. Win an identification book on birds, flora and fauna, or edible and medicinal flora on the West Coast! View Details here.

April 10: Film Festival at Qualicum Beach Civic Centre Spend an idyllic afternoon from 3pm-6:30pm watching a series of 6 short films and be captivated by the beauty and wonder of nature. Register by donation here.

April 16: Hamilton Marsh Tour Bring your friends and family to explore the largest wetland in the area just outside Qualicum Beach and learn about the flora, fauna, and insect populations. The Friends of French Creek Conservation Society and Arrowsmith Naturalists will be leading guided tours, with many other partners on hand to join in the fun. The tour will take place from 10am-3pm. Register for free here.