Maplewood: October 17th 2009

As soon as I saw a break in the rain I grabbed my gear and headed out. The forecast was for rain the entire day but thankfully the weather network was wrong. When I arrived at Maplewood Conservation Area there was quite a bit of activity going on in the general area of the bird feeders as many of the birds were singing and drying themselves off in the sunshine. Black-capped Chickadee, Fox and Song Sparrow, Dark-eyed Junco, Spotted Towhee, American Robin, Cedar Waxwing, Northern Flicker, Downy Wood Pecker, and a single male American Goldfinch were all present and in splendid form. The birds seemed just as happy as I did that the rain let up for a while.

Out on the mudflats a lone Greater Yellowlegs was foraging in the shallows close to the viewing area. Despite being one of the more familiar shorebirds wintering in the Greater Vancouver area little is known about its breeding biology. Part of the reason for this lack of information is the fact that the species breeds in “muskeg, wet bogs with small wooded islands, and forests (usually coniferous) with abundant clearings” and small ponds or lakes nearby (Elphick et al 1998 and Peck and James 1983). The resulting swarms of insects in the summer are enough to keep most people away.

At the duck pond on the west side of Maplewood five American Coot were actively foraging and many Mallards were resting or preening. Within several minutes of scanning the pond it started to rain again, initially quite heavily, and I was forced to retreat to the car.

References:

Elphick, Chris S. and T. Lee Tibbitts. 1998. Greater Yellowlegs (Tringa melanoleuca), The Birds of North America Online (A. Poole, Ed.). Ithaca: Cornell Lab of Ornithology; Retrieved from the Birds of North America Online: http://bna.birds.cornell.edu.proxy.lib.sfu.ca/bna/species/355doi:10.2173/bna.355

Peck, G. K. and R. D. James. 1983. Breeding birds of Ontario: nidiology and distribution, Vol. 1: Non-passerines. R. Ont. Mus. Life Sci. Misc. Publ. Toronto.

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