White-throated Sparrow and Slate-coloured Junco at Stanley Park

Thanks to the upcoming four day weekend I don’t have quite as much homework that needs to be done immediately, so I decided to head to Stanley Park after my classes were finished. A decision that paid off pretty well!

Both the White throated Sparrow and the Slate-coloured Junco (male) were seen in the brush on the south side of the stone bridge at the west end of Lost Lagoon.

I was there at about 12:30 when I first sighted the White-throated Sparrow foraging on the ground with Song and Fox Sparrow as well as Spotted Towhee. Unfortunately, having my cell phone as my only means of taking pictures makes documenting such a sighting quite difficult. This is the best of my efforts:

As you can see there are two bird shaped blobs in the photo; the top one is a Fox Sparrow and the bottom one is the White-throated Sparrow.

This is undoubtedly the same bird seen and reported since January. Upon checking the BC eBird records for White-throated Sparrow it seems most of the sightings at Stanley Park were from the second week of January to the middle of February; though, there are a handful of reports since then (of course, this could also be the result of a lack of visits to the area by eBird using birders). I had thought that I had missed this bird as school work prevented me from going after it when it was first seen and I was not able to locate it on any of my visits since the end of February. Sufficed to say it was quite a nice surprise to see it as I’d essentially given up hope.

The other and, perhaps, more unexpected rarity of the day, a male Slate-coloured Junco, was in the same general area as the White-throated Sparrow; though, a little further east along the path across the wood bridge. It was associating with a group of Oregon Juncos as well as the other regular assemblage of sparrows that inhabit this part of Lost Lagoon. I was only able to observe this bird for a few minutes before it took flight with a couple of other Oregon Juncos and, being unable to relocate it, I don’t have any photographic proof.

Coincidently, the last time I saw both of these birds was in New York City’s Central Park during the winter of 1999!

As if two rare birds in one day weren’t enough, I also witnessed a Sharp-shinned Hawk make an attempt at capturing a Song Sparrow at the marsh impoundment in the northeast corner of Lost Lagoon. Normally this would have likely been the highlight of any birder’s day; especially mine. So, as you might imagine, I had a pretty spectacular time out at Stanley Park.

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