Friday, April 10, 2009

Coot hangs around heron and swan

Yesterday, after watching the seagull take a bath, I walked just a few steps further along Lost Lagoon, and saw a heron.  I guess it was taking a break from heronry duties, or perhaps looking for food to take back to its mate.  I think it was enjoying the sun.  It didn't appear to be in any great rush to leave.  An American Coot stayed close by.
*Note: I have just discovered the Bald Eagle Web Cam for the first time since 2006, when I watched a failed hatch in the Hornby nest, and then two eaglets grow and fledge in the Sidney nest.  The next year, I bought an iMac, and couldn't get full screen, and was so frustrated after many attempts, that I finally gave up watching.  (Just corrected a bad link.  Hope this one works.)  This is the same pair, still in Sidney, but in a new nest.  A parent has just flown in and fed a chick that I think hatched yesterday.  There may be one other chick there.  I'm not sure.  I'm still amazed, three years later, at the capabilities of technology!  Two windows and two worlds open to me at once.

On with the blog.

Food potential!  The Coot is still there, hidden completely, at that angle, by the heron.
A swan approaches.  (Another side note: I don't understand why Stanley Park chooses to bring a foreign species into the lagoon.  Just for the public's entertainment?  If I understand correctly, they clip the wings of the swans - not a great thing!  There is enough natural wildlife action to keep people entertained forever at that park.  But that aside, the swans are beautiful (if grouchy).  The coot and the heron get out of the way. 
The swan looks away while the heron stares. 
Now, the swan stares, and I think the heron's glance moves off to the left.  The coot observes.
The coot does a bottoms up in the background.
The heron has had enough.  It flies away..
.. to its little island a tiny distance away.
Peace at last.
A mallard goes bottoms up too.  It creates lovely ripples.
The coot goes looking for food.  It looks like a quizzical nun, don't you think?
Probably all sorts of drama happening around that rock, but I continue on my way.
And a last aside.  That little eagle chick is driving the parent nuts.  Talk about drama!


  1. I may have misunderstood, but I don't think the swans are foreign. We have whole flocks of them flying through these parts right now.

  2. Hi dp. Someone had told me that they are foreign, but reading your comment, I wondered if that person was mistaken. I just went to the Stanley Park site, and found this:
    ► Pinioning: Following Environment Canada's regulations, the swans of Lost Lagoon have been “pinioned” meaning their wing tendons have been clipped. This is done because the Mute Swan was an introduced species, and not native to British Columbia, Canada. Pinioning ensures that they won’t become feral and intermix with native species. They cannot fly away but can raise themselves above the water surface for speedier movement, or to protect their cygnets.

    The swans near you, I think, are Trumpeter Swans, or possibly the smaller Tundra Swan, which migrates through. (I've just checked in the book you gave me:) The book also says feral populations of mute swans have been established in a few isolated locations, so I guess that could be a possibility as well.

  3. My apologies -- I just assumed that it was a trumpeter, which are everywhere now. I have never heard of a Mute Swan before -- they are the silent cousins to the trumpeters, I suppose.

  4. I'm assuming the importation of the Mute Swans goes back to the days when Stanley Park was a zoo? When I was a small child, there were hundreds of imported species kept there - many in caged ponds not much bigger than a backyard fishpond if I recall correctly.

    Last fall, I saw more flocks of Trumpeter swans out here than I have ever seen before - sometimes dozens and dozens on a field. They are such beautiful birds.

  5. Jean, I'm not 100% sure about this, but I think they still import the occasional mute swan, for example, if a mate dies or goes missing. I'm supposed to be finishing my reports, but there is a swan link at the Stanley Park site where you can ask questions. Will look that up when the reports are done.