Posts Tagged ‘raccoons’

Exploring Stanley Park. Part 3. Wildlife of Stanley Park

Wednesday, July 17th, 2013

Stanley park will be celebrating its 125th birthday in August, we are writing about the highlights in a series of blogs leading up the special celebrations on August 24th & 25th 2013.

In our continuing series of where we explore the very best of Stanley Park we will like to introduce you to the large array of wildlife species that live within the park.

While staying at the Sunset Inn you may be quite surprised to see many animals casually taking a stroll close under your feet (and we don’t mean the small doggies that sometime reside in peoples handbags or the local domesticated cat), we are referring to the squirrels, raccoon’s and Skunk’s to name but a few that live in the West End like we do.

Wildlife is abundant in this city and if you keep your eyes open all around you, you will certainly see many many species of all walks of life (even the people watching is pretty incredible here too, so many weird and wonderful varieties of humans to check wandering the streets)! Joking aside, we will guide you so you know what kind of critters you will expect to see within the park and its beaches.

BIRDLIFE
If you take a peak up in the skies, there is no shortage of spectacular bird species of all varieties, these include Bald Eagles, Crows, Ravens and Herons.
Many of these birds have nesting sites throughout the parks, be sure to keep a beady eye open – you will see them all in action.
There are also quite a variety of differing Bat species in the park, we were lucky enough to have some Bat specialists stay at the hotel and on that very trip they had discovered a brand new species of Bat that was not familiar to them in the park.

The Bald Eagle population in Vancouver was limited to just a couple of pairs, one pair in Stanley Park and the other out at UBC, nowadays the population has grown to a very healthy size and you will be more than likely to see these huge majestic birds of prey in their natural habitats.

The herons are very famous in the park, especially as there are many of them who nest during the Spring season just above the Tennis Courts, to date there are more than 170 nests at any given time, these birds are known for therei huge beaks and large wingspan, they are quite the sight to behold.

The Goose population are also thriving in these parts too, and of course, Canada would not be Canada without seeing the Canadian Geese flying in their unmistakable V formation, it is not unusual to see them frolicking down by the beach, seawall and other areas around the city.

There are also sightings of elusive Peacocks in the park too, these birds are from the old Stanley Park Zoo that has long since shut down due to the living conditions there that were deemed not livable.

Here is some cool footage of a Raven interacting with a human for some help after it got itself into some bother with a Porcupine: http://youtu.be/hlwxLtFQcrY

MAMMALS
As well as the eccentric species of people that are known to visit the park, you will see no shortage of the cute and furry variety animals in the park.
The most popular Park and Urban dwellers in this area of the world are the large populations of Skunks, Raccoon’s, Rabbits and Squirrels.
At times you may get to see the Raccoon’s foraging for food in all parts of the city, some you will even see at the waters edge fishing for clams and mussels while enjoying a soak in the sea.

The Squirrels are the most visible all around the city, in fact, the Grey Squirrels that you will encounter were actually given to Vancouver as a present from New York where in the eastern part of North America is where they naturally reside. The Park was given two in the early part of the twentieth century, and, within a few decades the population has grown to a considerably large population, so much so that they thrive and have become one of the most dominant animals in the area.
Coyotes are very popular in and around Vancouver, yet they are hard to catch as they are quite elusive, if you are going to see them it will likely be after dark.

WATER DWELLERS
At the seawall and if you have a keen eye, look out along the water you may just see a head pop up from below the surface, this will likely be a sea lion taking a wee look at the tourists in between some hunting for fish.

Down at the Lost Lagoon there is no shortage of cool animals that reside around this small but stunning lake. As well as the herons wading in the water, take a look at the rocks and you will see Turtles, plenty of species of ducks and other wonderful birds.

For further information on the local ecology click here: http://stanleyparkecology.ca/conservation/urban-wildlife/other-wildlife-resources/

And of course the Vancouver Aquarium that is located close to the Lost Lagoon: http://www.vanaqua.org/

Signs that Spring is approaching.

Friday, February 8th, 2013

After spending a great evening with a friend and reminiscing over our usual catch up on nature, (the Crows are always on top of the agenda in this conversation), it inspired that time should be spent on some walking in and around the West End. The forecast was for an improving picture as the day would go on, and judging from what we have seen so far, it indeed is improving, the conditions are certainly what is more akin to late March as opposed to where we are at the moment – February!

We were also debating and comparing predictions about the weather as it had been pretty mild for this time of year, we were wondering if this is game over for Winter, the clues are there, such as the sound of the Spring birds arriving during their migration, it does seem that there is a good chance that it will be a Green Winter, or are we being fooled? Will there be chances of brief snapping stabs of Winter like conditions at the turn of Spring?

The next afternoon was spent sitting in one of the small Inner city Parkways that are used by Pedestrians and Cyclists to pass through, a nice place to take a break and have a moment. This small little Oasis is one of many dotted all around the West End and the rest of Vancouver, they are really cute spots to use and enjoy, you can easily be occupied by all the trees and plant life that have been cultivated around you. There is also no shortage of wildlife to entertain and enthrall as they go about their lives (you will be no stranger to Squirrels, and overnight Skunks and Raccoons), it is easy to actually hear the wildlife even as the city noise buzzes near by, it is really actually not that audible and more of a quieter background hum, the birds conversations really are the dominant sounds of this environment at this time of listening.

On a really beautiful Spring day as today, in this small park alone you can see and hear the hints of a spring stirring up, it is waking the hibernating plant life and other creatures from their long slumber. The sounds of the birds are beginning to change, it is a sure sign that the first birds of Spring are arriving in the city, the area of Canada and the US that is known as the Pacific North West is their regular stop at this time of year. It seems like their migration is a never ending cycle, its almost unfathomable to comprehend at how large the distances some of these birds cover – some spanning the whole globe. The noises of their language is really fascinating to hear, some are like songs, some have the sound that is spoken as if in some Science Fiction setting -as if it came out of the mouth of a robot. Others are not so glamorous, some sound threatening, some sound horrifying and kind of scary, its certainly not dull up there and is a life that is constantly on the go.

It really is quite the sight to see the abundance of trees and plant species around the West End, there is quite the variety to take in. On days like these it is a good time to absorb the colours of the plants as they become illuminated by the sun, marking a vivid contrast among the colours of brown and green. The mountains are also awash with colours that the Sun is beaming its light upon and in between the towering columns of cloud. It seems like an age since Vancouver last saw the sun, yet, when it does make an appearance it has this uncanny effect on us in the city. People seem to have this extra skip in their step and a grin on their faces, with the seawall beginning to get busier with the leisure walkers and joggers making the most of a beautiful day, its quite nice to get a glimpse of Spring in the winter time. Hopefully this is a sign of a good things to come.

So if you are staying at the Sunset Inn and Suites this Spring, make sure that you have a nice stroll around the streets of the West End, it maybe the city, but the nature is all around us, and Spring Season is quite stunning in this area.

Click on the following link from Tourism Vancouver, it explains what you need to do in Spring in Vancouver
http://www.tourismvancouver.com/do/explore/sightseeing/7-ways-to-enjoy-spring/