This is the third year I’ve been harbouring an obsession with nesting gulls. For the previous two years, I was lucky enough to be managing without full-time work, and so was able to check up on the gulls at least twice a week.

Working full time, I’m at the mercy of weekends and holidays, so I only end up walking the entire route on Sundays. Why not Saturdays? Saturdays I volunteer at the Vancouver Avian Research Centre banding birds, and I’m barely exaggerating by saying it is the light that gets me through the week.

Yesterday it struck me that much of my recent frustration comes from being relegated to weekly visits of these birds. Monitoring these nests probably seems like a strange form of birding to many of you, and I guess you’re right. I’m not spotting any rarities or ending the day with a massive list on eBird… despite that, having the opportunity to watch these “seagulls” live their daily lives – lives as vivid, meaningful, and real as ours – there is something profound and numinous in it that I don’t find anywhere else.

Lots to get through, let’s begin…

Culinary Nest

Culinary Nest

Culinary Nest

At approximately three weeks old, the chicks at Culinary Nest are the oldest chicks we’re watching. Take a peek at the photo from last week and note how much they’ve changed.

Sunday’s gull nest survey happened to fall on June 30th, which is my birthday – and I was gifted with many new chicks that have hatched since last weekend’s visit. There’s a lot to get through, so I’ll try and keep the writing compact and to the point.

Cambie Nest

Cambie Nest

Cambie Nest

Until the eggs hatch, there is always a bird brooding on the nest. So, seeing the nest unoccupied and an adult resting nearby I knew that there had to be chicks. While the chick is quite visible in this photo, from my vantage point I could only see an empty nest and I was worried.

Rooftop Cormorants

- 1 min read

While out surveying gull nests I often see Pelagic Cormorants flying up to their nests underneath the Granville and Burrard Street Bridges, many returning with a beak-full of nesting material.

I was curious where they were gathering it from -– with their legs far back on their body and adapted to swimming, they are awkward while on land. You won’t see them waddling around much since it’s a risky endeavour for them.

Last Sunday I spotted a handful of them gathering vegetation from the ‘green’ rooftop of a building on False Creek and spent quite a while watching them.

Pelagic Coromrant

Pelagic Coromrant

Pelagic Coromrant