Waterbird surveys and existential dread

- 3 mins read

Tower Beach - stay away fools

Last Sunday marked the beginning of the B.C. Coastal Waterbird Survey season. This is my third year volunteering with Birds Canada to help gather information on population trends and the health of birds using our coastal waters.

I was hoping to write an entry about the first visit to my survey site – my stretch of beach is quite rocky, and during winter months it becomes treacherous and even impassable, as the photograph below demonstrates.

But I adore it.

Tower Beach at high tide, Dec 2022

Tower Beach at high tide, Dec 2022

Birding Jericho Beach Park

- 3 mins read

Yesterday I went to one of my favourite local patches to do some birding – which I haven’t done since I began monitoring gull nests back in mid-June. I honestly forgot what it was like to bird in a quasi-natural environment after spending over two months spying on gull chicks from desolate concrete sidewalks a meter or two away from passing cars (and their exhaust).

Jericho Beach Park is one of my favourite places in Vancouver for birding. There’s a large variety of habitats and it’s fairly quiet if you go early enough in the morning.

A lot of birders have been showing up for the past week to catch a Great Egret that’s been hanging out in the pond – a rare species for us here in Vancouver. This bird was not the reason I went. I’ve given up on ’twitching’ – the jargon birders use for chasing rare birds – as it always entails too many people with too many cameras mulling around. I’m far happier wandering about aimlessly and experiencing whatever I encounter.

Birding, for me, is about escaping humanity – even to the point of pretending Homo sapiens or our recent ancestors never made it through the population bottleneck(s) we encountered.

Anyway, enough of my anti-anthropic ideology… here are some of the birds I was lucky to encounter.

Least Sandpiper

Least Sandpiper

Least Sandpiper

Nest visits, Aug 23rd & 27th

- 3 mins read

Series: Nesting Gulls

Filtered through the wildfire smoke, the morning sunlight took on the colour of apricots. The air was heavy with humidity and the heat already pressed down on the city and those of us walking the barren concrete spaces where pedestrians are an afterthought.

Almost all the nests I’ve been watching since late June are empty. It’s strange seeing these rooftops with only scraps of nest material remaining. How far removed we are from the nomadic origins of our species. How difficult to imagine our homes as temporary spaces, to travel and survive without our countless possessions, to leave so little trace of our existence.

Chimney nest

Chimney nest

Chimney nest

I found the chicks from Chimney nest on the awning/overhang where they have taken up residence since leaving the chimney platform.

Aug 18th & Aug 20th nest visits

- 6 mins read

Series: Nesting Gulls

I made it out to check nests on both Aug 18th and Aug 20th and have a considerable amount to catch up on in this post.

I’ll warn you in advance that it’s been a challenging time – many of the fledglings are now leaving the nests, some more prepared than others, some luckier than others.

Rainbow nest fledgling (?)

Rainbow nest fledgling (?)

Rainbow nest fledgling (?)