A Heron Your Shoulder

I’d been in bed with a bad cold, for most of the week but was finally feeling well enough on Sunday, to go for a drive into the city.  There’s something about driving on a sunny day with a hot latte in hand, the sunroof open, and no particular place to go.  I always like surprising myself and today’s impulsive decision was to drive to Vancouver’s West End and Stanley Park.

Last Fall, during a walk in Stanley Park, my buddy Reg Dutton showed me a place near the west entrance to the park, where the Pacific Great Blue Herons arrive every Spring to honeymoon.  It’s an area of chestnut and oak trees by the tennis courts, where the herons have been returning for nineteen consecutive years.  The trees had many nests – too many to count!  At the time, I made a mental note to come back in the Spring, in hopes of seeing these beautiful creatures and their young.

Although I love birds, I’m not what you would call an avid ‘bird watcher’.  I have several bird feeders in my yard that attract Chickadees, Nuthatches, Flickers, Thrushes, Sparrows, Robins, and the odd Redhead Woodpecker.  But blue herons aren’t what you usually see in your backyard.  In fact, you’ll have a difficult time trying to see two of them together – they are usually alone.  I often see them – standing solitary and motionless on the beach or along the shore of rivers,  But they are also a species at risk in Canada.  One-third of Great Blue Herons worldwide live around the Salish Sea area of British Columbia and Washington State.

But as I drove into the city yesterday afternoon, I learned that the Vancouver Marathon was taking place and there were numerous road closures and thousands of avid runners in the downtown and Stanley Park area.  I was lucky to find a parking spot on Robson Street, north of Denman Street and within a few minutes of walking, I was at the now familiar statues near the beach at the foot of English Bay.

I walked down the street to the entrance to Stanley Park and went to the tennis courts to see if I could see the herons’ nests.  The trees now had their leaves but I was still able to count about 40 nests in the surrounding trees.  There was an information sign that indicated that the herons arrive in March and they begin breeding.  By May, they are teaching their fledglings to fly and hunt.  So, I wasn’t able to see any of the herons or their young on this trip.  However, I also learned that there is a number of Heron Cams in the trees and you can watch them mating, and raising their young – in real time!

Here are some of the photos I took:

I also took a few video clips.

Click here to view:  West End walk

After viewing the nests, I stopped at the Breka Coffee shop to get a latte for the drive home.  It was an awesome day.  At home, I also checked out the Heron Cam and was thrilled to see the numerous videos!

Here is the link to the City of Vancouver’s Heron Cam:  Heron Cam

Today, I’ll be walking at Crescent Beach/Blackie Spit Park.  Hope you get a chance to go outdoors – there’s so much to see and do – and we might even bump into each other!

Dedicated to Nature Lovers



Today’s tune from Danny’s library (purchased):

You’ll Never Walk Alone – lyrics

When you walk through a storm
Hold your head up high
And don’t be afraid of the dark

At the end of a storm
There’s a golden sky
And the sweet silver song of a lark

Walk on through the wind
Walk on through the rain
Though your dreams be tossed and blown

Walk on, walk on
With hope in your heart
And you’ll never walk alone

You’ll never walk alone

Walk on, walk on
With hope in your heart
And you’ll never walk alone

You’ll never walk alone

Songwriters: Oscar Hammerstein II / Richard Rodgers
You’ll Never Walk Alone lyrics © Concord Music Publishing LLC

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