According to the Stanley Park Ecology Society in 2012, 117 great blue heron nests were counted in Stanley Park, of which 86 were occupied by breeding pairs.
A sample of 30 visible nests was monitored by volunteers and staff with the Stanley Park Ecology Society from a nearby building rooftop to assess nesting success and productivity of the colony, which has been nesting behind the park board’s main administrative office on Beach Avenue for 13 consecutive years. That data was then passed onto the Canadian Wildlife Service and B.C. Ministry of Environment.
Of the 30 nests, 26 successfully produced chicks for a nest success rate of 87 per cent. As a result, an estimated 169 young herons survived and fledged from the colony last summer. The bad news is, less than half of those were expected to make it to breeding age.
But most of those that did survive joined the regular colony, which is back in Stanley Park. The giant birds began arriving at the trees that tower above the administrative offices and tennis courts about two weeks ago after spending most of the winter on the Fraser delta.
In 2010, barriers were applied to the nest trees to discourage predators such as raccoons from climbing the trees. Dog owners are also reminded to keep pets leashed in order to avoid disturbing the nest area. The society continues with its Adopt a Heron Nest program, which supports efforts to learn more about these amazing great blue herons and to protect their homes within Stanley Park. Visit stanleyparkecology.ca for more information and to read the 2012 Great Blue Heron Colony Report.
Photo judges revealed
Speaking of the Stanley Park Ecology Society, earlier this week I wrote about a photo contest the group is hosting in celebration of its 25th anniversary, but at the time didn’t know who the judges are. But now I do.
The contest judges are Vancouver-based wildlife photographer, National Geographic Explorer contributor and member of the International League of Conservation Photographers, Paul Colangelo, Juno-award winner Ben Worcester of Said the Whale, and award-winning blogger Rebecca Bollwitt.
The photo contest runs April 6 through 14 and is open to professional and amateur photographers alike. Submitted images will be showcased on the society’s website and the winning entries will be published in the Courier and displayed at the Stanley Park Nature House on Lost Lagoon. The top 13 images will also be featured in a special edition 2014 calendar the society will sell to raise funds for its conservation and education projects in Stanley Park. For more information visit stanleyparkecology.ca.
Flexi photo fun
And while you’re snapping pictures, the park board is also hosting a photo contest, but this one involves the social media platform Instagram.Entering is easy. Take a photo of yourself working out, swimming or skating at a park board facility and post it on Twitter using Instagram with the hashtag #FlexiPhotoContest. The winners will receive a one- month Flexipass for the favourite photo demonstrating active, healthy living. The contest is open to participants 19 and older at the time of entry. The final winners will be chosen March 23 and 30. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.