Posts Tagged ‘Stanley Park Ecological Society’

Discover the local wildlife of Vancouver

Wednesday, February 17th, 2016

If you have been following our posts lately on Facebook and Twitter you will have noticed that the various local wildlife of BC have been causing a stir as of late. First off we had a guy in his car have an encounter with just not one Cougar but three in the Comox valley on Vancouver island. Meanwhile just off Ogden Point in Victoria a Sea-lion was spotted wrestling with an Octopus which is actually a common part of the Sea-lions diet, but what made this extra special was that it had actually been filmed which has not been captured too many times before. Then to end it all – we had some amazing footage of a Momma Bear with her three cubs frolicking on a roadside in British Columbia.

You can check out the footage of all these amazing moments here.
A trio of Cougars: http://www.vancitybuzz.com/2016/02/vancouver-island-cougars-video/
A Sea-lion and Octopus wrestle: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/seal-wrestles-octopus-in-rarely-captured-scene-in-b-c-waters-1.2952020
Momma Bear and her Cubs: https://www.facebook.com/getbearsmartsociety/videos/10151117963329632/

THE MOST EASILY SPOTTED URBAN ANIMALS OF VANCOUVER
It seems hard to believe that there is so much wildlife within Vancouver and the surrounding areas that it surprises many of our guests who come to stay with us at the Sunset. The most easily spotted creatures are undoubtedly the city Squirrels, Crows, Birds of Prey and then the Skunks! We will break down the most popular animals that can be spotted around the city.

Squirrels
The most common squirrel in urban B.C., the Eastern Grey Squirrel, is actually an import from eastern Canada which was released into Stanley Park in 1909.
They were then introduced to Vancouver Island in 1966. Eastern Grey Squirrels are much larger than native squirrels, are either grey or black in colour, and flourish in urban environments.

Skunks
Notoriously famous for their distinctive bushy tail, black colour with white stripes and of course their smell if perturbed Skunks are everywhere throughout Vancouver- it does surprise many of our visitors as it is not an animal you would expect to reside in the city, but reside here they do and are guaranteed to be spotted everywhere especially after dark.

Raccoons
As well as the Skunks – you could easily say that these are their cousins or nemesis of the skunks, you will likely see just as many of these creatures as you would of them. Famous for their bandit like stripe across their eyes these cuties are one of the most intelligent urban species just getting by day to day just like us. Do not be surprised to see them anywhere in the city, sometimes you will even catch them down by the sea fishing or just enjoying a bathe!

Crows, Bald Eagles & the Great Blue Heron
Crows are everywhere in the city and love them or loathe them they really are a fabric of the Vancouver society. They get a special mention as the crows are easily spotted when they are travelling too and from their roost in the Burnaby area around Sunrise and Sunset, we mention this as it is one of the largest and most spectacular murder of Crows around and if you can see it you will certainly not forget it, this so called train of Crows can add up to a few thousand so keep your eyes out for this daily occurrence. Click here for footage over Commercial Drive: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_QuEjaG4Ghs

Bald Eagles are also everywhere and the best time to catch them is in the Spring and early Summer during Fledgling season although they can be spotted all year round. Vancouver is a prime area for spotting all kinds of Birds of Prey as we are lucky enough to be located in one of the busy migratory paths for these mighty and majestic birds.
In the 1960s only two pairs of bald eagles were nesting in the City of Vancouver – one pair in Stanley Park and one near UBC.
These large aerial predators nest in the forests of Stanley Park and throughout the greater Vancouver area and beyond, also they can be found in large trees on the waterfront. From their nests they overlook soccer and baseball games, arts venues, parking lots, picnics, houses and streets.

Stanley Park is home to one of the largest urban Great Blue Heron colonies in North America. They have been nesting at their current location behind the Tennis Courts at 2099 Beach Avenue since 2001 and have been documented nesting in various other locations in Stanley Park as far back as 1921. Today, sightings of these majestic birds in and around the park are common place.

You will certainly see them at the Waters edge picking for fish and you can actually get very very close to them if you are quiet and still, it is quite the sight to watch them as they effortlessly pick out the fish. We encourage every one to check out the Herons at the Tennis courts as it is a breathtaking site to witness. The best time of year to see them nesting is during Spring and early Summer!

For further information on the local wildlife check out the Stanley Park Ecological Society website: stanleyparkecology.castanleyparkecology.ca

Urban Wildlife in Vancouver

Saturday, August 15th, 2015

Vancouver is highly rated as one of the most stunning cities in the world to visit and it is very hard not to see why. The city is situated in a temperate rainforest that encompasses much of the Pacific Northwest and is greeted by vigorous weather systems that barrel in from the massive Pacific Ocean for 9 months of the year. Due to this and the large mountains that greet the weather Vancouver and Vancouver Island is an area that has incredible dense forests and amazing fauna that is home to some incredible wildlife.

Nature in the city – meet your fellow neighbours!
It is not unusual for a guest to come in from sightseeing and being quite surprised and astonished at some of the animals that they have just spotted in the city – to many of us it is just a normal every day occurrence, however, we really do appreciate and love the diversity of the local flora and fauna that makes up the fabric of the city. So let us introduce to you the local wildlife of Vancouver.

Skunks, Raccoons and Squirrels
These animals are everywhere and are easily spotted all year round but more especially in the Summer months and after nightfall – however, if these creatures are hungry enough you will catch them in the daytime too. It is likely you will see a skunk more regularly than a Raccoon and when you do you will probably see a few as they tend to wander around with their young.
We do not advise that you feed these animals, they are cute but there is always the possibility that they may bite and Skunks are famous for spraying an oily substance that smells like an awful strong stench of Sulphur and marijuana – not a great smell. They are harmless overall though, so if you wish to have a peak of them you can do so but give them their space as they go on their merry way.

There are so many Squirrels here it seems unreal, you will always catch them scurrying around the streets and up the trees – they are pretty tame overall and have really worked out how to live in harmony in the city.

Bald Eagles, Crows and Herons
These birds are by far the most noticeable of all the animals in the city all year round – the Bald Eagles are certainly more noticeable in the Spring and Summer months due to the Fledgling season where they have many options to hunt for food and this can easily be seen when you are out and about in the city. One of the signs that there is a bald eagle not too far above you is when you hear the Seagulls and Crows crying out a warning cry to each other as they are fearlessly protecting their young from being prey, if you hear this commotion look up – it is almost guaranteed that a large bald eagle or other type of Bird of Prey is about to swoop down and feed itself and its own chicks.

Crows are everywhere in Vancouver and they are one of the most respected and revered creatures that many of us have a love hate relationship with. There is a fantastic phenomenon that happens daily in Vancouver which involves thousands of Crows heading to and from their roosting spot in Burnaby. The murder of crows is quite the sight to see and happens at Sunrise and Sunset every day – if you have a keen eye you will spot the spectacular ‘Crow train’.

Check out this Video of the Crows going home: https://youtu.be/IhVdcjyKdSU

The other gorgeously majestic Bird to spot in Vancouver is the Great Blue Heron. The Herons you can find wading in the shallow waters at pretty much any Beach in and around Vancouver and soaring smoothly in the skies above you. For a better sighting of these birds you need to head to Stanley Park near the Tennis courts, here, the Herons have been nesting at this site for quite a few years and there are roughly around 80 nests at top of the trees and the months of April to June are the prime time to catch them rearing their chicks.

For further Animal watching head to the Lost Lagoon in Stanley Park where you can see all the above creatures but lots of Ducks, Canada Geese, Turtles and plenty of people if you like to people watch!

For further information on Vancouver wildlife check these sites out.
Stanley Park Ecological Society http://stanleyparkecology.ca/

Vancouver Aquarium http://www.vanaqua.org/

Great Blue Herons of Stanley Park webcam

Friday, March 20th, 2015

When you come to visit Vancouver during the Spring this is the perfect time for birdwatchers to see the Blue Herons at their one of their regular nesting homes next to the Tennis courts in Vancouver.

THE GREAT BLUE HERONS
These majestic creatures have made a small area in Stanley Park their natural home for nesting and it is in surprisingly large numbers considering the species is dwindling elsewhere.
During March we will see the return of the male Herons, the best place to see them are down by the Tennis Courts on Beach Avenue (Which is not too far a walk from the Sunset) the male herons will return to their designated nests where they will hope to attract the females whom arrive a short while later.

Once they do arrive the usual courtship ritual begins, you can spot this when the couples are in their nests and will cross their bills regularly, together they help maintain their nests (some return to the existing ones and like to modernise and spruce them up too).
Come the end of April and early May you will start to see the chicks hatching from their nests, it is quite a sight to see. This location has been a regular home since 1921 there were many nests across the creek in Vanier Park, but now, only a handful remain.

HERON CAM
A Webcam has now been installed at the sight of the Herons nests at Stanley Park near the Tennis courts and went live as of Wednesday March 18th. The heron cam is a remotely controlled wireless camera mounted on the roof of a building near Park Board offices at 2099 Beach Avenue. It gives you a “birds’ eye view” of the drama in the trees.

The heron cam gives you the ultimate close up view of one of North America’s largest urban colonies of Pacific great blue herons. It is a window on the world of these magnificent birds from courtship through egg laying, until the grown chicks fledge in late summer.
Tune in often to watch the drama of new life unfolding in our nests. Spread the word through Twitter using the hashtag #herontalk

The Stanley Park herons typically arrive in February and chicks are generally born in April and in 2014 there were 94 active nests in the colony, producing 131 fledgling herons. The baby birds face predators such as eagles and raccoons before they are able to fly.
Over the past century, the abundance of large trees suitable for Great Blue Heron nesting near foraging areas has declined in some parts of British Columbia because of human population growth and industrialization so this is a great way for the public to be aware of these majestic birds and the fact that they are an endangered species, hopefully this will help raise interest and awareness so these Great Herons do not go extinct.

WEBCAM: http://vancouver.ca/parks-recreation-culture/heron-cam.aspx

STANLEY PARK ECOLOGICAL SOCIETY: http://stanleyparkecology.ca/

Spring in Vancouver

Wednesday, February 18th, 2015

As the rest of Canada is still locked in the deep cold of Winter, it is looking and feeling more like the end of April in Vancouver. The rains have cleared away and we anticipate that the Flowers, trees and wildlife are going to be waking up from the slumber of the long nights of Winter.

Here we want to show you what Vancouver has to offer during the Spring time – it is one of the most gorgeous seasons as the city erupts in Colour and life!

WHALE WATCHING
Wild Whales Vancouver offer great trips to watch the majestic Whales as they swim through the Georgia Strait. The Whales will be migrating sooner than April when Wild Whales begins its operations so if you travel between Vancouver and Victoria you may catch them.
Beginning in April and departing from Granville Island in downtown Vancouver, the Wild Whales experience allows you to observe Killer Whales and the diverse wildlife of the Pacific Coast in their natural habitat. It is an unforgettable, trip of a lifetime!
Board one of our three vessels at Vancouver’s unique and historic Granville Island. Keep your cameras ready as you travel down False Creek and into English Bay, where the views of Vancouver, the Coast Mountains and Stanley Park are unparalleled. From English Bay, we pass the Fraser River estuary into the Strait of Georgia.
Trips and Rates: http://www.whalesvancouver.com/trips-rates/

GRANVILLE ISLAND
If you visit Vancouver you must visit Granville Island – it is famous for its world renowned Public Market, Artisan Shops and entertainment that includes Theatres, Live buskers and more.
The Granville Island Public Market features a farmers’ market, day vendors, and artists offering local Vancouver goods. There are fifty permanent retailers and over one-hundred day vendors in stalls throughout the market selling a variety of artisan cottage-industry foods and handmade crafts on a rotating schedule – a true jewel in the crown of Vancouver
Website: http://granvilleisland.com/

CHERRY BLOSSOM FESTIVAL
This annual festival for us heralds the fact that Spring is well and truly here, the city looks absolutely incredible once the Blossoms are in full bloom, it is impressively bright and really tells us that the gloom of Winter becomes a distant memory.

Best Places to View Cherry Blossoms in Vancouver
“This is why I live here!” is a phrase many Vancouverites exclaim during cherry blossom season. Each spring, as the rainy season fades, city dwellers pack their sweaters away and are rewarded with one of the world’s most cheerful sites: 40,000 cherry trees bursting with pink and white blooms.

The West End is flush with the Blossoms, Harwood St which is one block South of us becomes quite an impressive site, also, check out Bute St the architecture and the trees make this street look very romantic.
Vancouver’s many parks and gardens are ideal showcases for the beloved trees, but there are also a number of urban places to view these pink beauties.
Queen Elizabeth Park touts several varieties of cherry trees, which bloom at different intervals throughout early March and late April
Stanley Park also has rows of blossoming trees near the formal rose garden and the Japanese Canadian WWI war memorial
VanDusen Botanical Garden boasts more than 100 cherry trees, representing 24 varieties.
Vancouver international Cherry Blossom Website: http://www.vcbf.ca/

BIG BUS CITY TOURS
This is an excellent way to sight-see around the city and to take in all the major attractions. Big Bus have an excellent reputation and the Big Bus staff are incredibly knowledgeable and fun! They offer 1 day and 2 day passes where you can Hop on and Hop off at your leisure. Tickets can be purchased directly at the Hotel, ask the staff about discounts!
Website: http://bigbus.ca/home/

SEAWALL, STANLEY PARK AND VANCOUVER WILDLIFE
The Vancouver Seawall is absolutely breathtaking and circles the majority of the Downtown Peninsula and encircles Stanley Park. This area is great to walk around during the Spring as there is no shortage of incredible Trees, Flowers and wildlife to stun your senses. We recommend that you look all around you as there will be Racoons, Geese, Herons that nest in the Spring in the Park and plenty of Birds of Prey and more. We are very lucky to have such stunning nature within this busy metropolis.
Stanley Park Ecological Society Website: http://stanleyparkecology.ca/

We also recommend Cycling around the Seawall and Stanley Park, you can get a great deal with a selection of Bikes to choose from using English Bay Bike Rentals – we have discount vouchers at the Front Desk.
English Bay Bike Rentals: http://www.englishbaybikerentals.com/

SHOPPING FOR THE SPRING SEASON ON ROBSON ST
Robson Street is Vancouver’s main shopping district that connects the West End to the downtown area and is a little over a 10 minutes walk north of the Sunset Inn Hotel.
If you are really up for a good old fashioned spending spree why don’t you go on a Shopping tour? Posh Shopping Tours will help out you out with exactly that, taking you to some great brand named stores and other major Shopping areas that Vancouver has to offer.
Robson St Website: http://www.robsonstreet.ca/
Posh Shopping Tours: http://www.poshshoppingtours.com/

For further tourism information click here Tourism Vancouver: http://www.tourismvancouver.com/

Events to enjoy in March 2014

Friday, February 28th, 2014

The event season is really beginning to to get going during the month of March, here are some of the highlights to look out for that we feel you will enjoy, we welcome back some regular annual events that are staples of the Vancouver calender, and as always March brings with it a Celtic twist for you all to enjoy and get your Jig on!

CELTIC FEST 10th ANNIVERSARY
When? March 8th-16th
Yes it IS that time of year again when many of us look to our Celtic roots and immerse ourselves in the Celtic culture with Song, Dance and an extra special amount of frivolity as it is done Celtic style.
Celtic Fest is celebrating its 10th anniversary so we are in no doubt that this years shenanigans will be big and you will be treated to 9 days worth of great Music, Theatre and a great Parade to really get you in the swing of things…….it promises to be the biggest and best this year around and we are sure it will be awesome. There will be more details on the big parade down below under the St Patricks Day celebrations….

The Festival will be occurring at various venues throughout the city, please click on the link below for further information…
Celtic Fest: http://www.celticfestvancouver.com/

STANLEY PARK HISTORICAL WALKING TOURS
When? Sunday March 9th, 2014
In memory of E. Pauline Johnson (also known in Mohawk as Tekahionwake –pronounced: dageh-eeon-wageh, literally: ‘double-life’) was a famous Canuck writer originally from the Six Nations of the Grand River First Nation in Ontario. In later life she was a West End resident in Vancouver until her death on March 7th 1913. She was widely known for her written works of poetry and her performances that celebrated her First Nations heritage. While living in Vancouver – she was well known here for her appreciation of Stanley Park and had written various stories regarding the Park, specifically on Deadmans Island and the famous Siwash Rock where her Ashes were scattered after her untimely death to Breast Cancer at the age of 51. Her funeral was noted as one of the largest seen in Vancouver at that time and was held on what would have been her 52nd birthday.

Pauline Johnson will also be remembered at the 17th annual Gung Haggis Fat Choy Dinner, we have written more about this event further along the page….

To commemorate her life and works, there will be a walking tour in Stanley Park in her memory and the walking tour will happen come rain or shine – all you need to do is show up with a cash donation of $10 which will go towards the Stanley Park Ecological Society.

Stanley Park History: events, walking tours, exhibits & programs: http://stanleyparkhistory.wordpress.com/

Stanley Park Ecological Society: http://stanleyparkecology.ca/

ST PATRICKS DAY
When? March 16th
With Celtic Fest bowing out on March 16th – this can only mean one thing, a finale to end all finales and an excuse to be Irish on the one and only St Patricks Day!
A huge Parade as always will be making its way through the streets of Vancouver with Green and lots of Shamrocks, Green Beer and plenty of Guinness all courtesy of the Celtic Fest Finale and of course St Paddy!

There are some great Irish Bars in Vancouver for you to choose from that will of course be taking part in the celebrations, here is a little information on each of the downtown Irish bars…
The Blarney Stone

One of the biggest St. Patrick’s Day celebrations in Vancouver, the Blarney Stone throws a huge St. Patrick’s Day party on March 17 with green beer, Irish Dancers, full Irish menu, and live music.
This year, the entire street closes down for an all-day party that runs from 9am to 2am on Tuesday, March 18. The event is all ages until 6pm.
Website:http://blarneystone.ca/

Doolin’s Irish Pub
Doolin’s teams up with Vancouver CelticFest for five days of St. Patrick’s Day celebrations, March 12 – 17, and includes live bands, Celtic Folk Singers, dancers, Irish food, and more.
Website:http://www.doolins.ca/

The Irish Heather
One of Gastown’s favourite neighbourhood bars, the Irish Heather is a classic location for tossing back Guiness and Irish Whiskey on St. Patrick’s Day!
Website:http://www.irishheather.com/

Ceili’s Irish Pub & Restaurant
Vancouver’s largest Irish pub and eatery, Ceili’s celebrates St. Patrick’s Day with live music, Irish dancers, bag pipers, and a huge crowd.
Website:http://www.ceilis.com/home?sid=63178

St. Patricks Day Club Crawl 2014
Aimed at students–tickets are $25 and include transportation between venues–this St. Patrick’s Day Club Crawl starts at downtown Vancouver’s famous Roxy Nightclub or the Blarney Stone and gets you “front of the line” entrance to three more nightclubs (all entrance fees are included in the $25 ticket), plus party favours, prizes and contests.
Website:

Now in its 10th year Gung Haggis Fat Choy is now happening on March 16th.

GUNG HAGGIS FAT CHOY
When? March 16th
A familiar event with an unusual connection – this event marries the Chinese New Year and the celebration of the famous Bard Robert ‘Rabbi’ Burns. Now running in its 17th consecutive year the dinner will not only mark and ring in the Chinese New Year (the year of the Horse), there will be poetry read over dinner not only from the great Bard himself but will pay homage to Pauline Johnson.
Website:http://www.gunghaggis.com/2013/12/24/2014-gung-haggis-fat-choy-dinner-tickets-now-on-sale/

TEDtalks
When? March 17th-21st
The infamous TEDtalks come to Vancouver this month and they are in celebratory mood, TED talks are 30 years old and will be welcoming the masses at the Vancouver Convention centre, we expect the city to be pretty busy for just this conference alone.
Website:http://conferences.ted.com/TED2014