WildWings Festival taking flight in Duncan

The eighth WildWings Nature and Arts Festival, presented annually by the Somenos Marsh Society, has been expanded this year

The eighth WildWings Nature and Arts Festival, presented annually by the Somenos Marsh Society, has been expanded this year to run from Oct. 6 to Nov. 19.

Watching for the return of the trumpeter swans and other migratory waterfowl to their overwintering habitat in Somenos Marsh, the Cowichan Estuary and nearby natural areas makes this time of year special for Valley birders and naturalists.

This year’s festival is special because The Trumpeter Swan Society is coming to the Cowichan Valley for its annual general meeting and Swan Conference, which has the theme of “Swans and Agriculture, Working Together”.

This event will bring 75 to 100 visitors to the Valley. At the conference swan experts from all over the world will be presenting their interesting research papers.

The festival not only highlights the return of the swans, it also celebrates nature, the arts and culture through public presentations and activities. Confirmed festival activities include:

• Oct. 6, WildWings Nature & Arts Festival launch and art show opening at Just Jakes restaurant in Duncan.

• Oct. 8, Celebrate Somenos Family Fun Day at the Society’s open air classroom on the Trans Canada Highway

• Nov. 15-18, TTSS Swan Conference

• Nov. 18, WildWings Festival and Swan Conference closing gala fundraiser event at the Quw’utsun’ Conference Centre, with Robert Bateman as keynote speaker.

Other activities may include:

• Birding at local wineries

• Artisans who work with Nature tour

• Basket weaving workshop using invasive species

• Koksilah Big Trees hike

• Picnic on Mt. Tzouhalen with a local plant and history guide

• Raptor photography workshop at Pacific Raptors Centre

• Kids ‘Big Day’ bird watching contest and potluck

• Whales and wildlife ocean tour with Ocean Ecoventures

• Hands on experience at Pacific Raptors

• Birdcall presentation by John Neville, a renowned bird song and call recording artist

• Western Bluebird project update

• Backyard bird feeder workshop with Derrick Marven

• Birds, bees, butterfly friendly gardening with Ted Leischner

• Medicine plant walk at Bright Angel Park

• Cowichan Nation cultural talk and salmon bake with Jarod Williams

• Cowichan Tribes, a lesson in history with Tim Kulchyski, grandson of Simon Charlie

Booking for these items is to start Sept. 21. Check the Society’s website for more details.