Report by Doug Cooper
It’s been a while since my last report on the nature happenings at the sanctuary at Hasting Park. I was away for much of the spring and summer this year, so part of my report is from information posted by other users of the sanctuary green space.
An exciting find for me in early April was a Townsend’s Solitaire, I believe the first recorded sighting in the sanctuary. I had only my mobile phone with me and my only record of the sighting is a video of similar quality to those recorded at sightings of Bigfoot, Ogopogo and Ivory-billed Woodpeckers. I re-learned the lesson (not for the first, or likely the last, time) not to go out in any green space without my camera.
All the warblers that can be expected to be found in the lower Mainland during the summer (Yellow-rumped, Yellow, Wilson’s, Orange-crowned, Townsend’s, MacGillivary’s, Black-throated Gray and Common Yellowthroat) were reported on eBird. The same was true for the common flycatchers (Western Wood-pewee, Willow, Pacific-slope, Hammond’s, and Olive-sided Flycatchers). An Osprey, likely one of the ones that nest over at Maplewood, was seen fishing over the pond in August.
I found less evidence of nesting species than usual, but that may reflect the larger-than-usual gaps between my visits to the sanctuary. One noticeable exception to this was the successful raising of at least two young by a pair of Cooper’s Hawks, presumably the same pair who nested the year previous. For several weeks in late July and early August the sanctuary echoed with the pitiful cries of the fledged siblings flying clumsily from one side of the sanctuary to the other loudly wondering why their parents were no longer appearing regularly with tasty morsels. Unfortunately, it appears that the resident Bald Eagle pair who have had breeding success frequently in the past did not appear to be so fortunate this year. They constructed a nest on the nest platform in the large poplar at the east of the parking area on the SE corner of Renfrew and Hastings, but I never saw any sign of nestlings. A pair of bushtits completed an exposed nest on the west side of the sanctuary in April but by June the nest was in tatters. I always find it an amusing and awe-inspiring process. Watch this short video of the nest under construction.
Juvenile Cooper’s hawk, in the photo below is probably a male as it was considerably smaller than its nest mate in late July. Its look makes me think it was suspecting me of being complicit in the apparent gross neglect of its needs by its previously attentive parents.
This summer I did some simple bird song recording with my iPhone and repeatedly marvelled at the ability of the Merlin App to hear and identify bird songs. The Merlin and iNaturalist apps reassure me somewhat that not all AI applications are for evil purposes.