A wonderful winter of birds

Winter is one of the best seasons for birds in Stanley Park, particularly if you stroll along the seawall and keep an eye out for ducks and sea birds. The forest and the coast provides great habitat for lots of species who want to escape the worst of the Canadian winter. Throughout the winter SPES conducts monthly counts of the birds in the park, which help us track populations of some key species.

Last week at our December count some interesting winter species were spotted during the count including ring-necked duck, Wilson’s snipe and Thayers gull. In total 912 birds were observed during the count.

Wilsons Snipe
Wilson’s Snipe – taken by Michael Schmidt

This is the full list of the birds spotted at the December count.

But these weren’t the only interesting avian discoveries in the Park.  Last week, Bird Studies Canada volunteers spotted a black and white warbler just outside the Stanley Park Dining Pavilion during the annual kids Christmas Bird Count. This lovely little warbler normally breeds in Eastern Canada and the US before heading south to Central America for the winter. So to see one in Stanley Park in December is a great surprise.

However, even more interesting was a little vireo that was spotted in the park in September. Originally the spotter thought it was a red-eyed vireo (a fairly common bird) and so did not report it. But it seems that this may in fact be a yellow-green vireo. If the record is accepted that will be first time it has ever been seen in BC and only the second record for the whole of Canada. Normally it breeds in South Texas and Central America which is why a record Stanley Park would be so exciting.

http://bcbirdalert.blogspot.ca/2013/11/yellow-green-vireo.html          

It just shows what an exciting spot for wildlife Stanley Park really is and why there is never a bad time to visit. You just never know what you might see.