October 2016 Stanley Park Ecology Society Bird Count

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Hermit Thrush | Grive solitaire | Catharus guttatus

After a month-long absence from my blog, I’m posting a few pictures taken during Stanley Park Ecology Society‘s most recent monthly bird count, which took place this weekend, on October 9, 2016. It was once again very ably led by Else Mikkelsen and features about 15 dedicated volunteers!

This was an unusually calm count, especially since none of the winter ducks have yet arrived on Lost Lagoon… the flock (or raft, if you prefer) of Surf Scoters featured below was taken on the ocean before the count even began, near Stanley Park’s Ferguson Point. But we still saw many birds rather well, including Ruby- and Golden-crowned Kinglets, Black-capped Chickadees and Northern Flickers. But the highlight for me was not doubt the Hermit Thrushes seen at the western edge of Lost Lagoon, especially since I was able to get several good photos of it, including the one featured above.

All photos taken with a handheld Nikon D5200 and AF-S NIKKOR 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR. To see more pictures, please visit (and like, too!) my Facebook photography page and my Instagram account.

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Stanley Park monthly bird count (September 2016)

Green-winged Teal (female)

Green-winged Teal (female) | Sarcelle à ailes vertes | Anas carolinensis or Anas crecca caroliensis

After a lengthy absence from my blog, I felt like posting a few pictures taken during Stanley Park Ecology Society‘s most recent monthly bird count, which took place last weekend, on September 11, 2016 and was led by Else Mikkelsen.

We saw a number of interesting birds, but the most interesting for me was seeing (and hearing!!!) a pair of kingfishers up close and personal at the northwest corner of the Lost Lagoon, near the lagoon’s tributary. I captured only a marginally acceptable shot of the male, but I have posted it here nonetheless. We were also lucky enough to get some good views of Gadwalls, Green-winged Teals and Wood Ducks, not to mention a few migrating birds such as a Warbling Vireo and Yellow Warbler (the latter is not 100% certain, but I’m fairly confident that this is what I saw).

But the strangest thing that happened as we began our walk was that we got a very good and long look at a bat as it flew on the lagoon in broad daylight to hunt insects. Unfortunately, this may also indicate that this individual had rabies, as it is highly exceedingly rare for most bats to be so active after the sun has fully risen. Let’s hope that it only was temporarily confused! I’ve included a photo of the bat, even though it isn’t very sharp.

Stanley Park Ecology Society Bird Count: May 8, 2016

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Stanley Park Ecology Society’s monthly bird count took place last weekend, on May 8, 2016. This count is normally led by Else Mikkelsen, but for the next few months, she will be spending time in the United States to assist a PhD student with her research on Hermit Warbler speciation and the impact of Townsend’s Warbler hybridization. As a result, the next few walks will be led by Leslie Hurteau, who acquitted himself quite well on his first count.

We saw a number of interesting birds, but the most interesting by far was the flock of 11 Long-billed Dowitchers (pictured above), that circled Lost Lagoon on several occasions.

Now this blog will most certainly be a work in progress, as I will continue adding some information over the next few hours and days, but I wanted to be sure to post it by the start of the weekend!

And now, here are two bonus photos taken before the count at Stanley Park’s Second Beach:

Red-throated Loon (juvenile), Second Beach

Red-throated Loon (juvenile), Second Beach

Glaucous-winged Gull on Second Beach

Glaucous-winged Gull on Second Beach

 

 

Stanley Park March Bird Count

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Northern Shoveler (male) | Canard souchet | Anas clypeata (ISO 900 | 330mm | f/5.6 | 1/500, cropped for composition)

I have decided to interrupt my usual posting schedule to present several photos taken during the monthly count organized by the Stanley Park Ecology Society (SPES). Although lighting conditions were somewhat challenging, I was still quite happy with many of the results.

Even though we were told a big storm was on its way from Oregon, I decided to join last Sunday’s (March 13, 2016) bird count in Stanley Park, Vancouver (British Columbia), Canada. It was led once again by Else Mikkelsen, who is a longtime SPES volunteer and is pursuing an undergraduate science degree at the University of British Columbia. And in spite of the threat of rain, about 20 volunteers signed up for this month’s count.

Although we did not see any truly rare species on this count, this time around, we got a really good look at some less common and interesting species such as Common Mergansers, Buffleheads, Northern Shovelers, Varied Thrushes and Barrow’s Goldeneyes. The latter were a particularly unexpected treat; even though they are quite common in the Vancouver area, they are pretty much exclusively seen on the ocean, not on a freshwater pond like Lost Lagoon.

All of the photos featured today were taken next to or on Stanley Park’s Lost Lagoon with a handheld Nikon D5200 and AF-S NIKKOR 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR. None of the birds were baited, called in or set up, even though some of the ducks were probably expecting (but did not receive) handouts from the crowd of eager birders.

In conclusion, I should mention two things: 1) We did not see the Surf Scoters on the count, but I thought I would add this photo, because it was taken from Stanley Park’s Second Beach a few minutes before the count; 2) I will be posting several other photos of these species over the next several days, so stay tuned!

Taken from Second Beach in Stanley Park in Vancouver (British Columbia), Canada, on March 13, 2016, with a handheld Nikon D5200 and AF-S NIKKOR 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR. Not baited, called in or set up.

[I’ve not quite finished the captions, but will do so soon!] Done!

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Barrow’s Goldeneye (female) | Garrot d’Islande | Bucephala islandica (ISO 800 | 500mm | f/5.6 | 1/800, cropped)

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Barrow’s Goldeneye (male) | Garrot d’Islande | Bucephala islandica (ISO 800 | 500mm | f/5.6 | 1/800, cropped for composition)

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Common Goldeneye (male) | Garrot à œil d’or | Bucephala clangula (ISO 800 | 500mm | f/5.6 | 1/1000, cropped for composition)

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Common Merganser | Grand Harle | Mergus merganser: (ISO 1100 | 500mm | f/5.6 | 1/500, cropped)

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Dark-eyed Junco (“Oregon”) | Junco ardoisé | Junco hyemalis (ISO 1600 | 500mm | f/5.6 | 1/160, cropped)

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Glaucous-winged Gull (maybe hybrid?) | Goéland à ailes grises | Larus glaucescens (ISO 720 | 500mm | f/5.6 | 1/1000, cropped for composition)

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Pied-billed Grebe | Grèbe à bec bigarré | Podilymbus podiceps (ISO 450 | 500mm | f/5.6 | 1/1000, cropped)

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Bufflehead | Petit Garrot | Bucephala albeola (ISO 1600 | 500mm | f/5.6 | 1/320, cropped for composition)

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Varied Thrush (male) | Grive à collier | Ixoreus naevius (ISO 1600 | 500mm | f/5.6 | 1/60, cropped for composition)

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Song Sparrow | Bruant chanteur | Melospiza melodia (ISO 1600 | 500mm | f/5.6 | 1/125, cropped for composition)

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American Coot | Foulque d’Amérique | Fulica americana (ISO 1600 | 350mm | f/5.6 | 1/500, cropped for composition)

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Surf Scoter (two males) | Macreuse à front blanc | Melanitta perspicillata (ISO 640 | 500mm | f/5.6 | 1/1000)

Christmas Bird Count in North Vancouver

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Anna’s Hummingbird (female) | Colibri d’Anna | Calypte anna
ISO 1600 | 300mm | f/5.6 | 1/500

Yesterday, I featured a few photos that I took during the monthly count organized by Stanley Park Ecology Society (SPES). Today, I will publish a few photos taken last weekend, at the “Vancouver” Christmas Bird Count, which actually covers most of Metro Vancouver.

Led by Jay Burr and accompanied by three other fearless volunteers, we set out on December 20, 2015 to count as many birds as we could in the south-eastern section of North Vancouver. According to our official tally sheet, we identified 37 species and counted over 1,500 birds. Highlights included a Long-tail Duck, a Black Turnstone and two Pigeon Guillemots.

As usual, I took these photos with a handheld Nikon D5200 and AF-S Zoom-Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G IF-ED. None of the birds were baited, called in or set up, although the Anna’s Hummingbird featured prominently here was happily visiting one of the feeders placed in front of our local stores.

DSC_0386Downy Woodpecker (female) | Pic mineur | Picoides pubescens
ISO 1600 | 300mm | f/5.6 | 1/500

DSC_0452American Robin (male) | Merle d’Amérique | Turdus migratorius
ISO 1600 | 300mm | f/5.6 | 1/500

DSC_0216Common Goldeneyes (female) | Garrot à œil d’or | Bucephala clangula
ISO 1600 | 300mm | f/5.6 | 1/500

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Anna’s Hummingbird (female) | Colibri d’Anna | Calypte anna
ISO 1600 | 300mm | f/5.6 | 1/500

December Stanley Park Bird Count

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Hooded Merganser | Harle huppé | Lophodytes cucullatus
ISO 1600 | 300mm | f/5.6 | 1/200 (cropped for composition)

This weekend, I will feature photos taken during two different bird counts. Today, I will publish a few photos that I took during the monthly count organized by Stanley Park Ecology Society (SPES). Tomorrow, will feature photos taken at last weekend’s Christmas Bird Count in North Vancouver (eastern section).

In spite of the pouring rain (and localized flooding), I made my way to SPES’s monthly bird count at Stanley Park on December 13, 2015, organized by the Stanley Park Ecology Society. It was led for the second time by Else Mikkelsen, who is currently a science undergraduate at the University of British Columbia. Aside from about 10 volunteer counters, we were joined by SPES’s new Urban Wildlife Programs Coordinator, Greg Hart and Conservation Projects Manager, Maria Egerton.

As usual, these photos were taken with a handheld Nikon D5200 and AF-S Zoom-Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G IF-ED and none of the birds were baited, called in or set up (although the towhee, chickadee and sparrows pictured here were attracted by seeds provided by unknown park visitors).

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Wood Duck (male) | Canard branchu | Aix sponsa
ISO 2500 | 300mm | f/5.6 | 1/160 (cropped for composition)

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Spotted Towhee | Harle huppé | Lophodytes cucullatus
ISO 2200 | 300mm | f/5.6 | 1/160 (cropped for composition)

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Fox Sparrow | Bruant fauve | Passerella iliaca
ISO 1600 | 210mm | f/5.6 | 1/125 (cropped for composition)

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Song Sparrow | Bruant chanteur | Melospiza melodia
ISO 1600 | 300mm | f/5.6 | 1/100 (cropped for composition)

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Hooded Merganser (female) | Harle huppé | Lophodytes cucullatus
ISO 1600 | 300mm | f/5.6 | 1/400 (cropped for composition)