Explore: Birds of prey flock to East Sooke

Watch raptors take a break on Vancouver Island during their annual fall migration, or listen to the rat-tat-tat of a noisy woodpecker looking for its supper at two CRD Parks programs this weekend:

Birds of Beechey Head is a guided walk suitable for anyone eight and older, on Saturday at East Sooke Regional Park.

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Join Geoffrey Newell, a CRD Regional Parks guest naturalist, for a walk to Beechey Head to observe raptors during their fall migration.

The migrating birds typically visit our area from mid-September to late October around East Sooke Regional Park.

At the peak of the migration, lucky visitors might see up to 1,000 turkey vultures and other raptors kettling.

The southbound birds use the park as a staging area to rest and feed before they make a 29-kilometre crossing over the Juan de Fuca Strait on their way to Olympic National Park in Washington state.

The guided walk will take participants on a 15-minute trek up a steep and rocky trail to an observation viewpoint at the top of the hill that overlooks Beechey Head and the Juan de Fuca Strait.

The most common raptors you can expect to see are turkey vultures, bald eagles and red-tailed hawks. Other less common raptors that may be present include Cooper’s hawk, sharp-shinned hawk, peregrine falcon, American kestrel, merlin, northern harrier and osprey.

The program runs from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday at East Sooke Regional Park. The event is suitable for children eight and older. The hike up to the viewpoint requires sturdy footwear. Meet at the kiosk in the Aylard Farm parking lot off Beecher Bay Road.

• On Sunday take younger members of the family to Peck Peck! Who’s There?, a guided walk designed to appeal to visitors five and under, at Francis/King Regional Park in Saanich.

The northern flicker and the downy woodpecker are two of the more common garden birds in our area. You may see them, but you are more likely to hear them, thanks to their distinctive rat-tat-tat as they go about their quest to find insect larvae in trees.

The northern flicker is known for drumming on roof flashings and any other surface that creates a loud resonance in the spring (much to the annoyance of their human neighbours in the city).

The downy woodpecker is B.C.’s smallest woodpecker. Although it uses its stubby bill to extract larvae from trees, it is also a frequent visitor to gardens with suet bird feeders.

During the guided walk, a CRD Regional Parks naturalist will search for signs of woodpeckers along the trail.

The naturalist will also explain what makes woodpeckers so good at what they do, through activities and a story.

There is no fee to join the program, but you must pre-register, as space is limited (meeting information is given upon registration).

The event runs from 10 to 11 a.m. Sunday at Francis/King Regional Park in Saanich. The program is wheelchair-friendly.

Try to arrive 10 minutes before the start of the program. Please leave pets at home.

For more information, go to crd.bc.ca/parks.

Gallery celebrates art by First Nations women

Join a celebration of art by First Nations women at the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria on Saturday, with free admission during Community Days.

The art gallery is celebrating Matriarchs: Prints by First Nations Women, an intergenerational print exhibition curated by Margaret August. The exhibition features works by Kelly Cannell, Francis Dick, Lou-ann Neel, Sage Paul, Susan Point, Marika Echachis Swan and Carrielynn Victor, as well as August.

Through the exhibition, August shows how her evolution as an artist was guided by, and is a continuum of, the work of these matriarchs.

The celebration includes a performance by the Anser Drum Group, an Victoria women’s drum group with representation from Nuuchahnulth, Mohawk, M’iqmaw, Anishnawbe, Métis and Cree women.

Admission is free during Community Days, 2 to 4:30 p.m. Saturday at the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, 1040 Moss St.

The Matriarchs: Prints by First Nations Women exhibition runs until Nov. 24.

For more information, go to aggv.ca.

Scary films screening at castle

With Halloween approaching, Craigdarroch Castle is setting the stage with the return of creepy movies in the Classics at Craigdarroch series, Thursday evenings throughout October.

The series begins tonight with Dracula (1931). In this classic, the dashing, mysterious Count Dracula travels to London and takes up residence in an old castle, wreaking havoc by sucking the blood of young women and turning them into vampires.

Frankenstein (1931) will be screened on Oct. 10. House on Haunted Hill (1959) plays on

Oct. 17, while Nosferatu (1922), a highly influential silent horror film, screens on Oct. 24.

Tickets are $12 for the public, $10 for members. Movies begin at 6 p.m., with doors opening at 5:45 p.m.

Seating is on a first-come, first-served basis. The movies will be shown in the castle’s dance hall, located on the fourth floor (there are 87 steps and no elevator).

Tickets are available in advance at thecastle.ca/pages/ events, by calling 250-592-5323 or by visiting the castle at 1050 Joan Cres. For more information, go to thecastle.ca.

Pick up tips on coping with disaster

Find out how to prepare for a natural disaster at an emergency preparedness workshop hosted by the City of Victoria, Wednesday at the Burnside Gorge Community Centre.

The 90-minute workshop will show what you and your family can do to cope for up to seven days without outside assistance in the event of a power outage, winter storm or natural disaster, such as an earthquake or tsunami.

Discover the hazards that can affect Victoria, what to include in your home-emergency kit, how to minimize injury and protect your home, and how to reunite with loved ones after a disaster.

The workshop is free, but registration is required. It runs from 1 to 2:30 p.m., Oct. 9 at the Burnside Gorge Community Centre, 471 Cecelia Rd.

To register, call 250-920-3373 or e-mail emvic@victoria.ca.

For tips on what to include in an emergency kit, go to victoriaready.ca.

Skerryvore brings taste of Scottish culture

Fàilte (“welcome” in Gaelic) to a performance by Skerryvore, a Scottish band embarking on its Direct from Scotland 360 Tour, Sunday at the McPherson Playhouse.

This is a return performance in Victoria for the band, which started as a ceilidh band on the Hebridean Isle of Tiree in 2005.

The group is widely acknowledged as Scotland’s most promising young band and one of the country’s top musical ambassadors. The eight multi-talented members play a unique fusion of folk, traditional, rock and new-world elements.

Tickets are $49 or $99 for a pre-concert VIP reception with a Scotch whisky taste hosted by band members. The reception runs from

4:30 to 6 p.m. The concert runs 7 to 9:30 p.m. Sunday at the McPherson Playhouse, 3 Centennial Sq. Details at celticperformingarts.com.

World of Dance comes to Victoria

You can see some of the world’s best dancers, including YouTube sensations, at The World of Dance Live Tour, Friday at Save-on-Foods Memorial Centre.

Victoria is the kick-off point of the Canadian leg of the show’s third annual tour, a live interpretation of the U.S. reality TV series World of Dance.

This show features top dancers from all genres, incorporating both local and national talent. They include the hottest stars from the television show as well as dancers made famous on YouTube.

The family-friendly show consists of an interactive 90-minute dance routine and ticket packages that include talent meet-and-greets and autograph sessions.

The tour is produced by World of Dance, the world’s largest dance entertainment enterprise. Tickets are $27.50 to $75. The event starts at 8:30 p.m. Friday at Save-on-Foods Memorial Centre, 1925 Blanshard St. Details at worldofdancelive.com.

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