Stanley Park: December 28th 2009

Monday provided me with another excellent day of birding, this time at Lost Lagoon and Second Beach. A large portion of Lost Lagoon was covered in a thin layer of ice; this meant that most of the activity was close to shore and easily observed. The pond at Coal Harbour by Georgia St. was also completely frozen over.

At one point while walking along the eastern shore of Lost Lagoon I came across a Mallard standing on the ice looking at passersby for a handout. I stopped to watch him for a bit with the intention of getting a few photos when the ice suddenly gave way and he plunged into the water. I admit to having a bit of a chuckle at his misfortune and he must have heard me because he gave an angry quack in my direction before flying off.

Several Hooded Mergansers were also present; including these two males…

There was quite a bit going on at Second Beach. A group of Surf Scoters were diving close to shore, several Barrow’s Goldeneye were foraging near the rocks, and further out some Harlequin Ducks were also feeding. There was also a flock of Canada Geese on the water and with them a single Cackling Goose.

Upon returning to Lost Lagoon I found another two Cackling Geese at the west end with several Canada Geese. The Cackling Goose typically winters in Oregon and southern Washington; a few also winter in the Sacramento and San Joaquin valleys of California (1, 2). So it is uncommon to see them in Vancouver. In fact the Stanley Park bird checklist records the Cackling Goose as a rare sighting in the park during the winter.

Here is a picture I took of a Cackling Goose and a Common Goldeneye for comparison:

I had a great time birding on Monday. I usually find Stanley Park to be fairly productive during the winter despite the abundance of people and dogs; two factors that can often lead to poor birding. Vancouver is lucky to have such a place so close to the city center.

References:

  1. Gilligan, J., M. Smith, D. Rogers, and A. Contreras. 1994. Birds of Oregon: status and distribution. Cinclus Publ. McMinnville, OR.
  2. Small, A. 1994. California birds: their status and distribution. Ibis Publ. Co. Vista, CA.
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