Harbourside: October 9th 2010

I wasn’t planning on birding today due to a forecasted downpour and a sizable amount of school work but when a break in the rain happened around midday I couldn’t resist the urge to get out. I decided to head to Harbourside Park in North Vancouver.

Of course, just as I was arriving on scene it started to pour again and it didn’t let up during my visit. The rain did, however, force a number of dog walkers to retreat which is always good for birding. The place was still a veritable minefield though with feces all over the grassy areas and at several spots on the path; I think I spent all most as much time looking where I was walking as I did scanning the area for birds.

At the base of Fell Avenue I checked out a couple of Harbour Seals lounging on the logs along with a number of gulls, the most interesting of which was a California Gull. In the bushes along the path following the shoreline were the usual assortment of Emberizidae expected in this type of habitat; Song and White-crowned Sparrow as well as Spotted Towhee and Dark-eyed Junco. Over at Mackay Creek the exposed western bank held a number of Black Turnstone as well as a couple of Killdeer. Sadly I could only walk as far as the first viewing platform since the area to the north was closed off because of construction on the Spirit Trail.

When I returned to the bottom of Fell Avenue I decided to check out the brushy lot on the eastern side of the road. Here I was rewarded with a decent view of a Western Meadowlark and a fleeting glimpse of a Lincoln’s Sparrow.

Western Meadowlark inhabit a variety of grassland habitats; not really the first thing that springs to mind when I think of the area at Harbourside Park (1). The lot I sighted the bird in was a mix of bush, weeds, gravel, and asphalt. There is also a grassy/weedy lot just across the street but the total area of possible habitat for this species is pretty small. I see on eBird that three birds were sighted on the 29th of September at the same location. I wonder if these are just birds migrating through or if there’s a few that have decided to stick it out for a while. Judging by the signs posted on each lot this small patch of Western Meadowlark habitat is destined to be “developed” in the near future removing any stopover or potential wintering sites at this location.


  1. Davis, Stephen K. and Wesley E. Lanyon. 2008. Western Meadowlark (Sturnella neglecta), 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/104doi:10.2173/bna.104

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