The City of Vancouver designated Saturday, May 12, 2012 as the City’s 2nd Annual Migratory Bird Day. As part of the celebration, the Event Planning Committee (Vancouver Parks Board, Stanley Park Ecology Society, Bird Studies Canada, Nature Vancouver) chose 5 City Parks, including Hastings Park Sanctuary, as venues for public bird walks.
May 12th turned out to be one of the sunniest, warmest spring days so far this year. At 10 am, approximately 35 people gathered on the northeast corner of Hastings and Renfrew for the Hastings Park walk. In addition to many familiar faces – people who have attended previous Nature Walks organized by the Hastings Park Conservancy – at least a dozen people were new to the Sanctuary.
The walk was led by Doug Cooper and Pat Miller, longstanding members of the Conservancy’s Environmental Committee. Other members of the Committee in attendance included Virginia Downes and Armin Strohschein. Rosemary Taylor, of Nature Vancouver, also came along and contributed on the birding and botanizing fronts.
The walk was kicked off by Katherine Sopa of the Stanley Park Ecology Society who greeted everyone on behalf of the City of Vancouver and invited us all to participate in a range of other events scheduled for Migratory Bird Day. Doug, Pat and Virginia said a few words about the Conservancy and the Sanctuary and then we set off. Just into the Park, Doug spotted a male Western Tanager– an excellent first bird which cooperated by remaining in the trees along the promenade on the east side of the Garden Auditorium long enough for most of the group to have a look.
Once inside the Sanctuary, we spotted a 2nd Western Tanager as well as 21 other bird species. Highlights included nesting tree swallows, red-winged blackbirds and bushtits, a mallard female with 7 ducklings, a great blue heron, 2 adult bald eagles (flyovers), and the eagles’ nest nearby – on the south side of Hastings Street.Neotropical migrants (birds travelling along the Pacific Flyway from Central and South America) included 4 yellow-rumped warblers (2 Audubon’s form and 2 Myrtle form), 5 Wilson ’s warblers, and an orange-crowned warbler. Perhaps the most exciting sighting of the morning was a flyover by 4 turkey vultures.
All in all, we spent a very enjoyable morning together. Many thanks to the Event Planning Committee, especially Nature Vancouver, for nominating the Sanctuary as a 2012 MBD walk venue!
Visit the EFTA official site for International Migratory Bird Day to learn more.