The weather here in Vancouver has been just simply awesome! Nothing but blue skies and lots of sun. You would almost think that it was Summer here. I still believe Vancouver only receives two seasons per year; Summer & Winter.
Yesterday as Robyn was getting ready for work (at 5 AM) I was pretty much awake and decided I would go looking for the elusive Coyote that seems to have taken up residence in Stanley Park. He (or she) is also often rumoured to hang out around 3rd Beach in the morning. I love Coyotes, I used to see a group of them on my way to work in Pitt Meadows near the farm fields close to the Fraser River. I have also seen the occasional photo of a Coyote in Stanley Park on Flickr too. After all, there are signs around the area warning of Coyote activity. I’ve also heard of a lady’s dog being snatched off leach by a Coyote and carried off into the forest.
While I started my journey from our place here in the West End (technically because we’re West of Denman we’re considered to actually be in Stanley Park), and when I got to 3rd Beach there was just too much activity to have the Coyote anywhere nearby. People were jogging the Seawall, the Vancouver Parks workers were cleaning up the beach etc. So I continued my trek around the 10 KM stretch of the Seawall hoping to get photos of whatever came near.
Once you get past 3rd Beach (typically in the early morning) the joggers and cyclists seem to disperse, which is nice I like having the whole seawall to myself as I walk around it. I heard a rapid tapping noise in the trees around me. A quick couple of moments and I was able to locate the noise:
A Red Breasted Sapsucker. He was probably not more than 15 feet from me, up in a tree next to the path. If there had been people on the path you would probably not have heard him, nor would he probably be so close either. Also in the vicinity was an Adult Bald Eagle who was perched in a tree high above looking for, what I would assume was, fish. He also had a crow pester him constantly, granted crows are highly territorial. I was hoping that the Eagle would have either taken flight and flew away, or made the crow his next meal. Neither happened.
A rounded the area near the Lions Gate Bridge where I saw the usual group of Cormorants and a couple of lazy Great Blue Herons. As I was taking photos with my iPhone to tweet them I noticed a fuzzy little critter on the curb looking for a way down, or perhaps contemplating his little fuzzy existance.
It’s been a while since I’ve seen a Caterpillar. He was just wiggling his way around the edge over looking the ocean below. Perhaps he too loved the scenery and was just chilling out.
I eventually went past the Spray Park near the Aquarium, past the Totem Poles and came up to Brockton Point. It seems they are upgrading the area. The walls of the lighthouse there seem to have new cement over them and construction workers were busy with their saws cutting word. Here is where I saw something new to me; a pair of Pigeon Guilemots.
I haven’t ever seen a pigeon with webbed feet before, so seeing a new variety of bird is pretty cool. The two that were swimming along are both in their breeding plumage. Typically they are a white with black molted spots, but when in breeding plumage, they are brownish black with large white patches on their wings.
Yes it does seem that I am more fascinated with the local wildlife around Stanley Park than the cityscape that surrounds the park. That’s okay right? I know some of you out there do enjoy looking at my bird photos!
As I rounded the 9 o’clock gun, I suggested to Rebecca that she write a blog post on the history of the gun or of Dead Man’s Island. She has already done a post about the 9 o’clock gun back in 2006, which is pretty cool. From where Robyn and I live in the West End, we can always hear the gun go off at 9pm as the sound echoes off the buildings. I need to make plans on photographing the gun going off one evening!
The boats in the surrounding marina (Vancouver Royal Yacht Club) are always fun to look at. I’ve only been on big boats (RCL Cruise Ship, BC Ferries etc) but never on smaller sailing ships or water crafts. Though I have gone kayaking. One day I think I’ll have myself a boat, not some dinky dinghy but something fun that you can take on over night trips.
I kept on walking and into Lost Lagoon. I wanted to check on the status of the Mute Swan nests. I noticed that one nest is abandoned, and there were eggs in it last Keith and I looked. Though I saw no cygnets anywhere. The other nests still have their respective mothers sitting on top so there is still some hope that some of the eggs will hatch.
According to some of the volunteers of the Lost Lagoon Ecological Centre, they are not too keen on having more Mute Swans as the size of the Lagoon can’t really sustain any more of them. Yes I am sure they would like to see the birds survive, but with the water quality and the current bird population they are not too hopeful of a high survival rate. Last year out of all the eggs only 3 were seen with their parents, those 3 did not survive. I would like to see 1 or 2 make it this year though.
I did see some of the cute ducklings though. A small group were following their mother close to the shoreline.
This little guy was running along the water surface trying to catch the bugs. Eventually he got too far behind the group and had to dash back to his mother. I think ducklings are more cute than goslings are, though cygnets are the cutest.
On another note a few days before yesterday when Robyn and I walked around the Seawall we ran in to an interesting and rare sight.
An Osprey was perched over the water looking for fish. If it wasn’t for a tourist who was looking up with his little point and shoot camera, we would of walked right past underneath him. Osprey are my most favourite bird and I have never seen them in Vancouver or the surrounding areas such as West Vancouver or North Vancouver. I’ve only ever seen them at one of their breeding sites in Pitt Polder (beginning of Pitt Lake are) in Pitt Meadows. He eventually took to the air, but my shutter speed was too slow to successfully capture him in flight, which is a bummer to me as this is the closest I have ever been to my favourite raptor. Perhaps another time. Oh if I only had a bigger lens too!