Lafarge Concrete Plant - Home of One of Vancouver's Eagle Nests (updated Apr. 8)
Sunday, April 04 2010 @ 10:07 PM EDT
Contributed by: richardpitt
Just over a year ago, management of the Lafarge Concrete plant on Vancouver's waterfront contacted David Hancock with concerns about an eagle nest tree on the edge of their property. The surrounding trees had been removed and this lone tree stood next to their mix-plant, and they were concerned that the tree might suffer damage in the future, even though it is somewhat sheltered by the nearby gravel conveyor tower. Was there anything they could do to keep this pair of nesting eagles in the area?
At David's suggestion, and at fairly great expense, Lafarge has erected a feeding tower next to the nest tree. While it is hoped that the tree itself will continue to be the nest site, the tower provides an alternative in the event the nest tree is damaged, and having it there for the coming seasons will get the birds used to it.
Lafarge staff also created a block wall around the tree and the feedng platform / nesting tower to protect them from the trucks that are in and out of the plant during operations and, at David's suggestion, they've also installed a remote PTZ camera on the tower overlooking the nest. That camera is about to go into operation on our site here.
I've been working at getting this camera ready for the past several days. We've installed a server at the plant office and after a bit of a problem getting it to talk to the outside world correctly, I spent some time over the weekend getting the actual camera set up to talk to the WildEarth servers for distribution.
The camera is identical to the other cameras Lafarge has installed for their security system, but in this case is hooked to a separate internet connection. Some of the staff have been logging onto the camera over the past week or so and taken some screen captures, at least one of which showed 3 eggs in the nest. It appears that nobody on the internet has used one of these Bosch cameras for live flash-encoded streaming so it took me a bit of fiddling to get things set up correctly. I'm still having a bit of trouble with our high-resolution archive but should have that figured out soon.
In the mean time I've been to the site today to take some pictures from around the neigbourhood. David has the story and a whole series of images posted about the erection of the pole. Bob, one of our content Providers regularly posts comments about this pair (old discussion forum archive). Here's the area in our new forum where he and others will be posting. The nest itself is inside the port security fence so I got some friendly inquiries as I aimed my telephoto at the nest site. One mother surrounded by a number of her and her friends' kids asked what I was doing and I ended up showing these pre-schoolers some of the pictures in my camera. They were ecstatic at seeing the eagle and nest that they didn't even know they were within sight of.
While I was at the site I saw what I assume was the male come to the tree and finally exchange with the female. She ended up sitting in the branches to the West of the nest and was still there about 15 minutes later when I rode by on the motorcycle on my way home. That tells me she's not all that hungry yet which, when taken into consideration with the successful raising last season of 3 chicks, bodes well for this site.
Over this past Easter weekend the nest tree survived a huge wind storm; one that brought the local ferry fleet to a virtual standstill and sank a couple of yachts just off Vancouver Island. I watched the eagle sitting on the nest waiting out the storm and hunkered down - sorry that the archiving was not yet working. The tree seems to have weathered the storm but today there are only 2 eggs evident in the nest.
We're very grateful to Lafarge, and particularly to Bruce Willmer, Vice President GVA Ready Mix, who took this project on as a personal crusade for eagles, both for their concern for this pair and the work they've done to ensure it survives even if the tree does not, and for their putting the camera onto the feeding tower so we can watch this pair. They've put up a cement-block wall around the tree and tower to guard it from damage by the cement trucks at the plant. This is by far the cleanest and quietest concrete plant I've ever seen. I'm sure the birds appreciate it too.
The camera should be available to the general public almost any time now. In the mean time please join us in the discussion forum and the media gallery where this and our other cameras are discussed and displayed.