Winter in the harbour

Vancouver Harbour is well known for its birds. Seaducks and gulls occur in large numbers in winter, and herons and cormorants are common breeding species. The harbour is considered an Important Bird Area because of its birdlife.

We took our boat through the harbour this week to look for birds. There were the usual large numbers of surf scoters, Barrows and common goldeneyes, glaucous-winged and mew gulls. Red-throated loons and common murres were in English Bay and large flocks of scoters on Spanish Banks. What surprises me on these winter trips is the large numbers found in the busy port of Vancouver. Large numbers occur on Spanish Banks and around portions of Stanley Park but there are also large numbers inside the port amidst freighters and near grain terminals. There are places where a few western grebes can often be found, and where a large raft of scaup reside, and gulls feed on mussels at many locations.

The next trip will be into Indian Arm to survey birds the length of this fjord. Once these surveys are over, we hope to move to Howe Sound to add to our surveys of other parts of the Salish Sea, with the purpose of producing an atlas.


About rob butler

I am a scientist, author and naturalist with over four decades of field study of wild animals. You can read more at my web site at
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