Posted by: Anne Murray | February 5, 2010

Winter on Boundary Bay

Early morning in Boundary Bay Park, February 4 2010

After the cold snap in early December, the weather went very mild and damp and  it has  stayed that way for weeks on end. Plenty of birds are sticking around in Boundary Bay. We are regularly seeing big flocks of dabbling ducks, Mallard, American Wigeon, Green-winged Teal, Northern Pintail, with a few Gadwall, Northern Shovellers and Eurasian Wigeon too.

 A good place to see the more unusual Eurasian Wigeon is at Centennial Beach duck pond in Boundary Bay Regional Park . There is always a flock of the common American Wigeon hanging out here, swimming in the pond then getting out to graze on the nearby grass. The Eurasian male is distinguished by his red head with a creamy yellow crown stripe, and grey back, compared with the green and cream head, and browner back, of the American.

There is also a flock of Brewers Blackbirds and Red-winged Blackbirds frequenting the pond area, feeding on the ground and flying up into the cottonwoods if disturbed. They roost in the evening in a patch of cattails just east of the carpark, and can be seen flying in there in twos and threes when the sun sets. Sometimes the male Red-wingeds give a little tentative song from a nearby bush before settling down, and the song is developing as the days lengthen. It is beginning to sound a lot like spring.

A Red-tailed Hawk welcomes the morning sun in Boundary Bay Reg. Park

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Responses

  1. Hi Anne
    I’ve just been roaming through my emails and had another look at your blog…wondering if I could ever manage anything like it…when I came across your Red-tailed Hawk sitting in the morning sun in Boundary Bay Regional Park. It stopped me cold. My young son Patrick came home with a wounded raptor, a sparrow hawk one day saying the wounded raptor guy needed someone to care for him for a few days…Pat was a young blonde, blue eyed con man in the making and of course I said yes and welcomed it into our multi-windowed, no curtained, many plants and cats and dogs and guinea pig and bird filled house. A few days later a very angry wounded raptor guy came by and discovered the bird had been flying free in the house and being fed and cared for by Pat and kept safe by our head cat, a tri-color who had wandered in one day and never left. Pat went off with the raptor guy and when he came back he had wangled permission to care for wounded raptors if he and his dad built a large cage in the top of our old double garage…and so began years of wounded Red-tailed Hawks named Sam who would come in on cold winter nights and sit on the backs of dining room chairs, newspapers spread everywhere and watch TV with us; walk the Elm treed streets of old Regina and Wascana Park on Pat’s wrists. Even in winter he’d hop on a bus and go across town to pick up a large garbage bag of dead chicks to feed them. And I’ll never forget the time I came home on a hot summer day…after Pat had taken him for his walk and left him tied outside by a water pipe over a big pail set to catch the water. Of course Sam had tried to get a drink and when my toddler Jesse and I returned from shopping he was spread out dead as a doornail. I panicked and screamed and set Jesse down and threatened him and grabbed the dead bird and ran him over to the lawn and threw him down…all the while Jesse looked on in horror…and then Sam started to move and in less than a minute he was up and shaking himself as if nothing had ever happened. Good times. Red-tails bring back many special memories for me. Thanks Anne. Betty Carrington


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