The Herons are Back

Stanley Park HeronryAs of Valentine's Day, February 14th, there are herons in the heronry at Stanley Park. According to Dalyce (Raptore) there were 3 birds visible on the camera that day. We've had the camera going for some time now, but there has been nothing to watch. Now our patience has been rewarded.

Yesterday (Feb 27th) I was sitting at my desk with the minimal versions of the cameras up on one of my screens when some movement in the Heron cam caught my eye. The host of our camera position was home and had taken the time to re-focus the camera on some of the birds that were there, zooming in for a better look. I phoned her and we discussed the camera settings, and she got it set on one nest with a bird in it. We got some great shots of the bird for a while, then it decided to walk off the branch and fly away, so she again set the camera to point at and take in several of the nests in the "B" tree.

Yesterday was one of Vancouver's reasons why we all live here - bright, sunny, blue sky, clear air and lots of snow visible on the North Shore mountains after the light snowfall of the previous day. I told her that I might visit if I got the chance. I decided in the early afternoon to ride the Honda down and take some pictures of the birds.


I arrived about 3:30PM and parked on the Park Drive between the main nest trees and the tennis courts. As I took off my leathers and got my camera out I noted there were a number of people around with cameras, many looking up or photographing the birds in their trees. A van had just pulled up and a man with a very official looking video setup got out. I spoke to his companion and it turned out they were from the CBC French network and had been videoing the herons last year. I introduced myself and we got talking about the herons.

I'll be talking more with them over the next while, but at that time I noticed Dalyce walking toward the parking lot. She was there to do a count and see which of the trees the birds were in, and had not known I'd be there. We exchanged information with the CBC crew and then spent some time watching the birds in their annual mating antics.

Dalyce noted that the herons are solitary birds except in mating season, and in fact have to re-aquire the ability to be friendly, picking a new mate each year and likely picking a different nest or even nesting tree each year. A couple of the birds there seemed to be getting along fairly well, but I watched several fly off and land in other trees or on other branches after flying around the whole area a couple of times.

The fences around the trees have had their gates closed, and the signs are up noting that the birds are back and to please not bother them. They didn't seem to mind the noise from the tennis players or the coming and going of cars - or my cell phone when it rang. Dalyce noted that last year a couple of other heronries had been abandoned part way through the season for no apparent reason at all, "a bad year". Hopefully this year will be better, but I'll note that the heronry I pass on Mary Hill bypass near Shaunessy (on the Fraser River in Port Coquitlam) on my way to and from Vancouver still does not have any birds in it that I've been able to see.

There were certainly lots in that heronry last year. There is an eagle nest nearby (as there seems to be around many of the rookeries in the Vancouver area) but again, I have not seen any birds in it.

We left the area just after 5PM as there was a Canucks hockey game on at 6 (they lost :( ) Ah well, not everything can go right ;)

Larger pictures at: The Media Gallery

Comments to: The Discussion Form (check page 2 and following)

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