Report & Photos by Doug Cooper
The summer months of June, July and August were much quieter at the Hastings Park Sanctuary. From eBird, my species count at the sanctuary for June was 25, for July 21, and for August a grand total of 17. But there were some highlights.
In general birding news of local interest was about the two species of crows – American and the Northwestern. In June 2020, following a recent study on the genetics of both the species, American Ornithological Society’s North American Classification Committee concluded that the two species are actually one and the same.
“Northwestern Crows were originally described based on size, being smaller than the American Crow, and behavior. But over the years the people who’ve looked at specimens or observed birds in the field have mostly come to the conclusion that the differences are inconsistent. Now the genomic data have indicated that this is really a variation within a species, rather than two distinct species”. – Terry Chesser, chair of the United States Geological Survey. I’ve now started posting my crow sightings at the sanctuary as American/Northwestern Crows.
The Bald Eagle nest at the SE corner of Renfrew and Hastings deteriorated over the month of June. There were two fledglings, one considerably more mature than the other. The more mature fledgling left the nest and flew to a Douglas fir on the south edge of the sanctuary on Jun 28.
Other observations included Violet-green Swallow taking nesting material into a hole in the wall of the Circus West building in early June. I don’t know if they were successful in raising a brood.
Hazelnuts were already beginning to mature in June. Wapato (sometimes known as broadleaf arrowhead, duck-potato or Indian potato) was in blossom in July. This plant produces edible tubers that have traditionally been extensively used by the indigenous peoples of the Americas. Al Grass once told of an indigenous friend of his who would gather the tubers in the fall using their feet to find them in the mud.
I also found a dragonfly carapace. The carapace is the shell left behind when the nymph transforms into the adult dragonfly.
Fructivore birds such as robins were feeding on black hawthorn berries by late July. I saw flickers eating the berries, too.
If you are interested in restarting the monthly walks at the Sanctuary (with Covid protocol in place, i.e., a limit of six people without any symptoms and with social distancing and other guidelines in place) please contact Doug Cooper by EMAIL.