Archive for the 'Colony Farm' Category

Lark Sparrow at Colony Farm

I got up fairly early this morning (30/09/10) and made my way to Colony Farm where a Lark sparrow has been reported since Monday. It was fairly foggy and a little chilly upon my arrival at the north parking lot by the start of Colony Farm Road but I could hear plenty of sparrows which gave me some small measure of hope; at least there was a lot of activity. I strolled down the Mundy Creek Trail to the T-junction with the Sheep Paddocks Trail and the Home Farm Dyke Trail (If you’re unfamiliar with this location here is a map). The bird had been reported in this area but after checking it out for about twenty minutes I wasn’t seeing anything other than the regular species. From here I made my way down the Sheep Paddocks Trail which dead ends at a gate about 170m along the path; it was here that I located the Lark Sparrow.

Initially I sighted the bird on a log about ten metres from one of the gates but it was too distant for me to be 100% sure. Luckily, for me at least, a Song Sparrow began chasing the Lark Sparrow who eventually got the message that this log was the Song Sparrows’. The bird flew towards me but ducked into the grass and out of sight. After a tense five minutes it took off and landed on the trail way where it began foraging nearby a Dark-eyed Junco.

The first winter bird continued to provide excellent looks for a further half an hour or so before flying into the brush along the side of the trail where I lost track of it. While there I also couldn’t help but notice the way in which the rising sun looked filtered through the tree line and the fog. A great sunrise and a great bird, is there any better way to start the day!

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Colony Farm: February 15th 2010

Colony Farm is not a place I get out to very often despite it being only a half an hours drive from where I live. The weather was quite pleasant when I visited and it was warm enough at one point for me to walk around in a t-shirt.

Much of Colony Farm is open ground with a scattering of large bushes and small trees; in other words some pretty decent Northern Shrike habitat (1). I found a handsome example of the species perched atop a bush nearby the pump house on the eastern bank of the Coquitlam River.

Evidently this particular Shrike had seen its fair share of birders and their gear because after looking me over it yawned and returned its attention to the surrounding field. Northern Shrike usually look for their prey from an elevated perch and they may move from perch to perch depending on prey availability (1). I was able to observe this behavior as the bird frequently changed its position among three nearby bushes. Unfortunately, both for me and the bird, there didn’t appear to be any prey in the area and the Shrike eventually flew off.

At the pond/marshland near the eastern end of the pump house trail a Pied-billed Grebe was diving for aquatic invertebrates or, perhaps, small fish and a group of Gadwall were preening and resting close by (2).

On my way out I spotted this Red-tailed Hawk perched atop a pole…

Colony Farm is quite picturesque and the birding is not bad either; it’s unfortunate that the rapid transit infrastructure in this city is not more developed so as to allow one to get out to places like this in a reasonable amount of time. According to Google Maps it would take about two hours to get there with public transit versus the thirty five minutes by car it took on this trip. I guess I’ll have to wait for my mom to be in a birding kind of mood before she’ll take me out here again.

References:

  1. Cade, Tom J. and Eric C. Atkinson. 2002. Northern Shrike (Lanius excubitor), 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/671doi:10.2173/bna.671
  2. Muller, Martin J. and Robert W. Storer. 1999. Pied-billed Grebe (Podilymbus podiceps), 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/410doi:10.2173/bna.410