The Efficacy of Owl Decoys






While strolling down Coal Harbour, I spotted a lot of seagulls, as well as an owl decoy. It made me wonder:



should we judge the value of an owl decoy based on its ability to ward off unwanted visitors, or rather should we judge its value on its quality of decoration?




Chiapas, Mexico: Los Aves y Monos

While I saw a lot of different types of birds in Chiapas, most were seen briefly or too difficult to photograph with my camera. I have a couple blurry photos of a Toucan that dropped by for a second. This was one of the highlights of the trip and I believe the first thing I said afterwards was “well, I can go home happy now”.

Also it seems my camera didn’t like howler monkeys too much, because most of those photos are blurry as well. Here they are anyways.

Keel-billed Toucan (Ramphastos sulfuratus)


Yucatan black howler (Alouatta pigra)


SFU Exploration

Today was a great day for some exploring. Earlier in the day when I got to SFU I noticed some bright red poppies right by the bus loop. There were plenty of pollinators buzzing about, mainly syrphid flies and bumble bees.
Later on during a break I stumbled across some fungus, partly thanks to an anonymous tipster.
In the evening I joined up with said tipster and we did some exploring. Unfortunately my camera battery died before the real fun stuff, but I did get some nice fungus photos.

Some really interesting Hymenopterans were just west of the first bus loop, as well as some Hemipterans, spiders and a seemingly deceased dragonfly.

The real fun began when we explored passed Residence down into an area I’ve been meaning to explore for a while now. Apparently this was a bear’s home, and it turned out to be true. Bear scat was found, as well as a nice big footprint of its hind paw, right in front of a pond full of tadpoles and insects. The tadpoles were small and black for the most part, with some larger ones that were likely bull frogs. The sight of the day was seeing an immature salamander with its external gills still present.
On our way out we heard a barred owl hooting, and soon after some crows calling out. No luck in viewing the owl though.

Here is an approximate list of what we saw:

Barred Owl
Northern Flicker
Northwestern Crow
Barn Swallow
European Starling
White-crowned Sparrow
Dark-eyed Junco

tadpoles, and an immature salamander

Deer tracks, bear tracks/scat

Hymenopterans (bumble bees, solitary bees, parasitoid wasps, ants)
Hemipterans (pentatomid, scale bug, spit bug, white flies)
Various dipterans

Interesting red dragonfly with yellow wings

And of course, last but not least, lots of black european slugs and a big fat banana slug (sorry, no pictures)

2013-02-11 Burnaby Lake Trip


The SFU Wildlife Conservation Club went on a trip to the Wildlife Rescue Association and around Burnaby lake today. Plenty of birds were seen, as well as some interesting bracket fungi I am not familiar with. A mild foggy morning/afternoon, light mist rain that picked up a bit by the time we reached piper spit. The male red-winged blackbirds were in full force today singing for mates and flashing their red patches.



Birding List
Canada Goose
Wood Duck
Green-winged Teal
Greater/Lesser Scaup
Common Merganser
duck sp.
Pied-billed Grebe
peep sp.
Glaucous-winged Gull
gull sp.
Rock Pigeon
Hairy Woodpecker
Northwestern Crow
Black-capped Chickadee
Spotted Towhee
Fox Sparrow
Song Sparrow
Golden-crowned Sparrow
Red-winged Blackbird
House Finch (Flock in the trees just south of overpass by Sperling station)



I’ve never noticed this type of bracket fungi before


This is one amazing looking fungus






Bird Count 2013-01-18


Earlier this week a rare Eurasian bird was reported to be found in Queen’s Park, in New Westminster. Initially spreading throughout birding circles, the bird soon made its way onto general news broadcasts. I decided to trek out to Queen’s Park on Friday, a nice clear day that I had some spare time. It was a long time since I’ve been to Queen’s Park, so I was hit with spittles of nostalgia here and there as I wandered around.IMG_6449

When I got there, I immediately saw someone camped out with their telephoto lens camera and binoculars. I was a bit concerned that it was going to be a rare sight, but luckily I just had to “find the group”. A little more ambling and I came across a mixed group of enthusiastic birders of 10 – 15 individuals gathered around a tree.

“Is the bird supposed to be in the tree?”
“Can you see it?”
This went on until “Hey, there it is!” and off the bird went to another branch a ways away. Along went the birders, stopping at the next viewing point, until once again the bird went off to another branch. This went on for the entire time.

While the bird itself was a treat to see, it was interesting seeing the assortment of people there: office workers on a coffee break, amateur photographers, retired senior citizens, tourists, and my favourite being the two who came all the way from Victoria early in the day just for the bird. This motley assortment moved along in a group tracing the bird’s movements. I began to wonder if the bird was leading us on.

People came and went, and the bird came in and out of viewing. Despite being there to view this rare treat, it was pleasant to see the chickadees, varied thrushes and even a nuthatch. After getting a couple decent shots of the bird I decided to head off down the hilly streets back to the skytrain.

Queen’s Park, New Westminster
Red-flanked Bluetail
Northwestern Crow
Black-capped Chickadee
Red-breasted Nuthatch
Golden-crowned Kinglet
Found among lower branches and ground
Varied Thrush
gull sp.

Bird count 2013-01-13

Stanley Park

Canada Goose
American Coot
Mute Swan
Wood Duck
American Wigeon
Lesser Scaup
Surf Scoter
Common Goldeneye
Barrow’s Goldeneye
Common Merganser
Double-crested Cormorant
Great Blue Heron
Glaucous-winged Gull
Gull sp.
Northwestern Crow
Black-capped Chickadee
Varied Thrush
Spotted Towhee
Fox Sparrow
Song Sparrow
Dark-eyed Junco
Red-winged Blackbird
Pine Siskin

Mammals of note: coyote on trail, and Douglas squirrels

Jan 1st Bird Count

Iona Beach:
Double-crested cormarant
American wigeon
Possible snowgeese in distance

Deer Lake Park:
Bald Eagle
Hawk sp.
Pied billed grebe
Scaup sp.
American wigeon
Golden crowned kinglet
Great blue heron
Spotted towhee
Black capped chickadee
Song sparrow
Fox sparrow
Also spotted a vole along trails west of the lake