Eight casual birders met this morning at Petra’s but it turned out that Don and Rochelle were just there for moral support. Minus 2 degrees and overcast but John, Kay, Hans, Terry, Lorna and Roger decided to brave the elements and bird Stanley Park for a change. Parking near the Stone Bridge on Lost Lagoon we were rewarded with several pairs of Hooded Mergansers, a few Buffleheads, both males and females of Greater and Lesser Scaup, lots of Mallards, and very few Wigeon. At the Stone Bridge a man was feeding the smaller birds and had the most Spotted Towhees we’ve ever seen in one spot. There must have been over a dozen and they were, along with Fox Sparrows, Juncos, Song Sparrows, Black-capped Chickadees, and Golden-crowned Sparrows, eating out of the man’s hand. There were raccoons all about and at one spot a man was sitting on a fold-out chair feeding two adults and two young ones. This must have been a daily occurence as it appeared the raccoons were waiting for him to appear. We decided to walk completely around the lagoon and on the north side observed several Varied Thrushes with vivid coloration.
From the lagoon we walked over to the Second Beach area where there was an enormous flock of Surf Scoters. Also there were two groups of Harlequin Ducks, some Barrow’s and Common Goldeneyes as well as a Red-breasted Merganser. A flock of crows was feeding on mussels that they first dropped on the cement apron of the swimming pool so that they would break open. The result was an enormous scattering of shells on the apron. Farther off shore were a few Pelagic Cormorants.
A drive around the park didn’t provide and further sightings until we reached Third Beach where we saw more Harlequin, Surf Scoters, Pelagic Cormorants, and four Black Oystercatchers.
Considering the very cold temperature the birding was rewarding, especially the large number of Hooded Mergansers and the many Varied Thrushes. It was nice to see so many turn out and just goes to show what a hardy bunch birders are.
Photos by Terry Carr. More photos at