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Queen Elizabeth Park: warblers, tanagers, bunting, flycatchers, and more - May 13-14 2013

Posted by birder on Wednesday, May 15, 2013
Queen Elizabeth Park in the heart of Vancouver might not seem like a number #1 choice to go birding during your free time, but I think after reading this you might change your mind.

Queen Elizabeth Park used to be a place I would bird at maybe once or twice year, but I have found myself birding there more and more. Now I bird there 1-4 times a week. And it is worth it!


I arrived at the park on May 13 in the afternoon. There was off and on rain, but something much more noticeable than the rain was going on. Warblers were everywhere! I mean everywhere! You could not look at a tree or bush without seeing at least a couple of warblers! There where so many warblers it was actually overwhelming! Here are some photos of the 5 warbler species I saw in about 30 minutes from standing in the same little spot:

Wilson's Warbler
These guys where the most common. I counted about 25 individual Wilson's Warblers.

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Orange-crowned Warblers
These guys were the second most common. They were also the most willing to pose for me in general. I counted about 10 individuals.

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Black-throated Grey Warbler
This warbler did not want to pose for me at all, but I did manage two ID shots. I only counted one bird.

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Yellow-rumped Warber
I counted two Yellow-rumped Warblers.

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Townsend's Warbler
This was only the third time I had seen this species. There where two, a male and a female.

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The warblers were so abundant that it was easy to photograph two species in the same photo:

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What happened with the warblers is called a fallout. Due to bad weather, migrating birds will "fall out".


It was hard to take my eyes off all the colourful warblers, but in the moments I did, I managed to find these birds.

Anna's Hummingbird
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Red Crossbills
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Hutton's Vireo
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Bushtit
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DUSKY FLYCATCHER - Lifer #372!
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After a day of birding like that, how could I not return to the park the next day...

Today, May 14th, I went back to Queen Elizabeth Park. There were many Orange-crowned and Wilson's Warblers around, but nothing like the day before. I did manage to pick some great birds and even one quite uncommon one (read on to find out).

Even though there were not as many warblers as the day before, there were still enough around that it was easy to photograph them:

Wilson's Warbler

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Orange-crowned Warbler

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This Olive-sided Flycatcher was near those warblers. It was my first time getting good photos of this species. Previously, I had only taken ID shots.

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I walked some more, and among all the birds singing around me, I was pretty sure I heard a Western Tanager. I followed the call, and sure enough, the singing brought me to a tree with about 10 both male and female Western Tanagers in it. What incredibly coloured bird! If there was an award to the most colourful bird in the Vancouver area, I wouldn't be surprised if it went to the Western Tanager.

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After a while of watching the Western Tanagers, the birds moved to a different group of trees where they were harder to see. I walked around a bit more, and found a bird that I was very surprised to see. In this area, it would definitely be considered rare.

The Lazuli Bunting is a bird that is found at two places in the Lower Mainland: Colony Farm in Port Coquitlam, and North 40 in Delta. As far as I know, those are the only two sights to see this bird in the Lower Mainland, so it was very unusual to see this male in Queen Elizabeth Park. On eBird, there has been only one previous time when this bird was reported from Queen Elizabeth Park, and that was in 1988. Here is a photo of the bird I saw today:

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The bunting moved on, but as it left, some Red Crossbills flew in. I managed to get the best shots I have ever gotten of this species:

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I now took a longer walk in a loop around the park. I came across this beautiful Mourning Cloak butterfly:

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Just before I left, I watched this male Gadwall preening:

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It has been a great past while of birding in Queen Elizabeth Park. Highlights for me included being in the middle of 5 species of warblers, seeing a Dusky Flycatcher (a life list addition), and getting the best photos I have gotten so far of Western Tanager, Olive-sided Flycatcher, Red Crossbill, Hutton's Vireo, and some warblers.


Thanks for looking! I hope I have shown that Queen Elizabeth Park is a fantastic place to watch birds.



 

 

 

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