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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Northwestern Crow on the beach

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Northwestern Crow (français, Corneille d’Alaska / scientific name, Corvus caurinus), Jericho Beach Park, Vancouver, BC, Canada, November 21, 2014. Taken with a handheld Nikon D5200 and AF-S Zoom-Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G IF-ED (ISO 800, 300mm, f/5.6, top: 1/800; bottom: 1/640). Not baited, called in or set up.

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Last year’s Vancouver City Bird…

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If you read this blog regularly, you probably already know that the Black-capped Chickadee was voted Vancouver’s City Bird a couple of weeks ago. But you may not know that last year’s City Bird was the Northwestern Crow, a species that is essentially only found in a very narrow band of land along the Pacific coast of British Columbia and Alaska. It is so close to its “first cousin” the American Crow, that many ornithologists believe they are in fact conspecific (the same species). I thought I would tip my hat to this remarkable bird with this photo I took last weekend on Stanley Park’s Third Beach in Vancouver.

Enemies

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Today’s “bird photo blitz” in honour of Vancouver’s Bird Week 2014 features two life-long enemies: The majestic Bald Eagle and the feisty – some might use the word “insane,” instead – Northwestern Crow.

I won’t say much about the relationship between these two species, except to point out that the best way to spot an eagle – aside from the fact that its hugeness makes it hard to miss, of course – is to follow the crows, especially if they are screaming bloody murder (pun intended)!

As this picture makes clear, eagles might get slightly annoyed by the attention, but they never seem overly concerned. This may be explained by the fact that an eagle’s body is as long as the crow’s outstretched wings and that the attacker could easily be transformed into a snack by the “attackee.” But the persistence (insanity?) of the crows can be truly awe-inspiring. Both birds reside in the greater Vancouver region all year long, by the way.

I was lucky enough to get this photo a few days ago along West Vancouver’s Centennial Seawalk, a few steps west of Weston Park.