April 21, 2021 – 6:00 AM
For roughly the final 30 years, Chris Charlesworth has watched all kinds of birds thrive on the Kelowna landfill.
It is is a well-liked chook watching spot, attributable to its number of scavenging birds, together with gulls and eagles, along with numerous waterfowl and shorebirds just like the American avocet, which solely nests in a couple of locations in B.C., Charlesworth, the proprietor of bird-watching firm Avocet Excursions, mentioned.
Over the past 12 months nevertheless, the landfill has been closed to chook watching as a result of pandemic.
“It’s too dangerous, however clearly I perceive why they don’t need additional folks coming in… the type of concern is that they received’t allow us to again in after COVID,” he mentioned, including there are few landfills that permit chook watchers to view the birds.
In regular years, chook watchers would sign up on the entrance workplace, get an orange vest and use a parking space subsequent to Alki Lake to see the birds.
“There was a spot for us there to face and look. Should you look again eight or 10 years in the past, they’d just about allow us to go wherever, we might simply drive round in there,” he mentioned.
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In a typical 12 months, he’d go to the landfill two or thrice a month.
Charlesworth mentioned with greater water ranges at Robert Lake and Alki Lake lately, he’s seen fewer avocets that will usually thrive on the shoreline.
“I keep in mind occasions the place we might see 50 or 70 avocets on the landfill and now if you happen to go you would possibly see 10 if you happen to’re fortunate,” he mentioned.
Glenmore Landfill supervisor Scott Hoekstra mentioned there was numerous interplay with the general public previous to COVID-19, in order that they determined to cease chook watching and can consider at a later date whether or not it would return after the pandemic ends.
For example of how busy it might get, Hoekstra mentioned a uncommon Russian duck was noticed on the landfill a couple of years in the past and by the following day roughly 130 folks from the Coast had flocked to the landfill to see it.
“Basically we stopped all excursions of the landfill that aren’t trade affiliation,” he mentioned.
With distinctive birds just like the avocet on the landfill, he suspects that is the rationale why chook watchers have been allowed in when so few landfills supply that to the general public however the determination was made previous to his arrival on the landfill in 2016, he mentioned.
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