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SPES Waterbird Count

Posted by birder on Tuesday, November 15, 2011

On November 13 2011, I participated in the annual Stanley Park Ecology Scociety Seawall Waterbird Count. The counters arrived at the nature house at Lost Lagoon in Stanley Park. We were split into two groups. each group would count birds on there assigned half of the seawall. When my group was leaving, we noticed a few birds on the lagoon, but we didn't stay long because we were supposed to count the birds on the seawall.

Here are a few photos from the lagoon before we started:

Male Hooded Mergansers

Male Common Mergansers and male American Widgeon

Juvenile Pied-billed Grebe

When we arrived at the seawall, there were 2 Bufflheads close to shore, and some Horned Grebes farther away. There were also many waterbirds flying by including Goldeneyes and Scoters. Around 2-3 kilometers out, one birder spoted 5 Western Grebes through her spotting scope. They were way to far away for photos.

The two Buffleheads

A Horned Grebe

We continued walking and there were more Buffleheads, Horned Grebes and scoters flying. We then came to a group of around 75 Barrow's Goldeneye and 1 Common Goldeneye. The males in this group were busy showing off for females because they find a pair at this time of year. They will stay with there pair throughout the winter and then they will breed when spring and summer come.

Barrow's Goldeneyes


The one female Common Goldeneye

A few American Widgeons and some Mallards were also with the Goldeneyes. Here is a photo of two of those widgeons:

We continued walking and saw some Black Oystercatchers. They took off (not because of any people) before we got close to them, but we saw them again later. We countinued walking and saw mainly birds like scoter sand goldeneyes flying in the distance. We then came to 4 Harlequin Ducks, as well as 2 of the Oystercatchers that had took off before. Here are some photos of the Harlequin Ducks and the Oystercatchers:

Harlequin Ducks

At multiple times during the count, we saw Bald Eagles. At around this time, we saw one juvenile fly over:

During lots of the count, there was a Common Loon following us some distance out in the water. It came closer and closer, but later on we had lons around 10 feet from us.

At this time, we continued to walk until we came across our first White-winged Scoter. It was pretty far away, but I still took some photos. Here is one of them:

After more walking, we saw the usually stuff. Soon, we saw two Northern Pintails, a bird that is not usually found on the seawall in Stanley Park. Here is a photo of the pintails along with a photo of a Bald Eagle that flew over as we were leaving the pintails:

Next up were more Oystercatchers. They were tame so they let me get some good shots. Here are a few:

After some more counting, we came across more Harlequin Ducks and Black Oystercatchers. Among them though, was a lone Pacific Wren. Here are photos of all three of these species from that time:

I like the look of the male Harlquin ducks from the front.

A little while later, we came across an area that had lots of different species of ducks. These included Barrow's Goldeneye, Buffleheads, Surf Scoters, White-winged Scoters, Common Mergansers, Harlequin Ducks, a female Greater Scaup, and alot more. Here are photos of some of these birds from that time:

This White-winged Scoter attacked by a seal (but escaped). At the bottom of this photos, you can see the female Greater Scaup that was also present.

We left that group of birds and started again to count the other things, and we came across a Bald Eagle in a tree. This eagle was near it's nest.

After the eagle, the last cool thing we saw was a loon. The loon was around 10 feet away from us at a time, but he (or she) was only there for a second and I did not get a photo. This loon did come up again around 15 feet away, and I got lots of photos this time. Here are some of them:

Soon after the loon, we made our way back to the nature house at Lost Lagoon. At the lagoon, I stopped to take some photos. The first bird I took photos of was one of many Golden-crowned Kinglets. The next type of bird I stopped to take photos of was the Common Merganser. There were three males on a log. Here are two photos, one of the kinglet, and one of the mergansers:

Here are some other photos I took at the seawall count:

Surf Scoters flying

Pelagic Cormorants resting

Black Oystercatcher flying


A gull, an Oystercatcher, and two Harlequin Ducks:

Overall it was a great day and I can't wait till next year when I can do the count again.




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