Stanley Park: October 25th 2010

After spending the weekend studying for a midterm I had on Monday I knew I needed to get out for a bit of birding as soon as my exam was over. The weather wasn’t particularly good on Monday but I opted to turn this to my advantage by heading to Stanley Park where I expected the rain and wind to keep most people indoors; allowing me to have a quiet and relaxing outing at a great location for some fall birding.

I started off at the pond in Devonian Harbour Park just east of Lost Lagoon were I had some smashing views of a Belted Kingfisher preening itself on a log. American Widgeon, Mallard, and a lone American Coot were present as well; three species that I would see plenty of during the rest of my walk.

At the northeast corner of the lagoon I had distant views of a Ring-necked Duck along with some excellent looks at a couple of Bushtits; a number of which were no more than an arms length away in a small tree. As I continued to circle the lagoon in a counter clockwise direction I came upon this interesting Mallard, or rather it came upon me in an attempt to beg for some food.

According to this post on the Birding in BC forums the duck has been identified as a domestic duck x Mallard hybrid with the petite Call Duck breed contributing some of those domestic genes. This particular duck is certainly smaller than your average Mallard.

Shortly after I had had my fill of the interesting Mallard hybrid a group of Northwestern Crows drew my attention towards the top of a conifer where they were actively involved in mobbing a juvenile Red-tailed Hawk. The raptor didn’t sit still for more than a minute before the constant dive-bombing and cawing of the crows forced him skyward. In the same vicinity a flock of Golden-crowned Kinglets, Chestnut-backed, and Black-capped Chickadees were foraging; none of them appeared to be phased by the rain which had, by now, soaked the lenses of both my glasses and binoculars and was slowly seeping through my rain jacket.

The area surrounding the stone bridge located at the lagoons west end was quieter than usual; only a couple of Mallards and American Widgeons were out and about, the rest were huddled along the banks napping or preening.

From here I walked out to the seawall at Second Beach where the tide was in and not much was going on other than a couple of gulls careening about in the winds. I noticed that one of those birds, a first cycle Glaucous-winged Gull, had a candy wrapper in its bill. The bird positioned himself upwind of me where it released the wrapper which flew towards me and smacked into my arm. Perhaps this gull was trying to communicate its disdain for humanities propensity to pollute the environment by throwing this piece of garbage back at the first person it could find. Or maybe it was just angry that the wrapper was empty and he wanted me to fill it with some candy.

Along the southern shore of Lost Lagoon the usual assortment of ducks and gulls along with a couple of Canada Geese were present. A juvenile Snow Goose was also hanging about on the grass nearby; possibly the same bird I sighted here on the 10th of October.

Despite the rain and the wind I had a pleasant time out; there was still plenty of activity, considering the poor weather, and the place was practically deserted of people!

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