Brant Geese arrive in Parksville for annual spring migration

WatchA rite of spring is arriving on East Vancouver Island right now. Thousands of Brant Geese stopover in the Oceanside region to fatten up on eelgrass, before continuing on their migration to nesting grounds in the Arctic.

Sandra Gray had her eyes and heart set on catching up with returning Brant Geese Tuesday.

The geese arrived by the hundreds to the beaches of Oceanside. 

“This is why we’re here,” said Gray.

“This is why people come to Vancouver Island.”

The geese are like old friends to locals who’ve been following them for years. 

“Whatever comes back is accepted and is great you know,” said Gray.

“You look forward to it every year.”

The Brant is a species of goose that fatten up on eelgrass on their way to distant nesting grounds in the Arctic. They are small and their colour is is black, brown and white

They are a sure sign of winter’s retreat. Gray and her group of Arrowsmith Naturalists are buzzing with counts that have already reached over 300 Brant Geese.

“Bit on the early side definitely, which is good,” said Gray.

“There used to be tens of thousands here that wintered over here.”

Thousands of Brant Geese will arrive in March when Parksville-Qualicum hosts the Brant Wildlife Festival to celebrate these winged visitors before they fly away once again.

Skye RyanSkye Ryan

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