We had a cloudy but warm and dry early morning for the Cowichan Estuary Nature Centre Coastal Waterbird Survey. Regulars Gail Mitchell, Hilary Stead, Robin Lawson, and John Scull were joined by Jill Thompson and Oliver Price. Most of the ducks have headed north, leaving only Common Mergansers, and a few other ducks behind. But the Great Blue Herons, Purple Martins, and Ospry have arrived to replace them. We saw a distant flock of shorebirds, but they were too far away to identify. Maybe the north shore group will pick them up. There was a special treat at the end of the count — a piliated woodpecker was busily pecking one of the logs on the beach — it must have been enjoying the salted bugs. Data from our waterbird counts can be viewed at http://www.cowichanestuary.ca/wildlife/birds/#Coastal_Waterbird_Survey.