Sunday, December 7, 2008

Paulik Park: a hoot. (Yes, obviously an owl is involved.)

No, not the fungus. See the orange feathers?

Paulik Park is catching on as a birding hot spot, which is kind of surprising since it's quite small, and in the heart of suburbia. But thanks to members of the Paulik family, who owned two or three of the lots and planted gardens and many, many trees, some of which are now among the tallest in Richmond, this little green space draws birds.

There. A flicker working on a hole.

I took my son there this morning after the rain had moved on, and as usual, the Anna's Hummingbird was singing and putting on show. Then a flicker showed up to work on his hole, at times disappearing inside almost completely. He was soon joined by a male Downy Woodpecker who hammered away on the next branch over.

Flicker flinging flake.

We walked into the grove of conifers, past scattered flight feathers and other assorted fresh remains of a crow. In nearby cedars, the dicky birds were having fits--chickadees, nuthatch, kinglets, and robins. In their various voices they were yelling,"Owl!" (which would also explain the crow), but I couldn't see it. I kept repeating to my son, "There's got to be an owl in here somewhere..."

A woman spoke. She had come up behind us, walking her dog, and had been listening. She said, "Oh, there is an owl." She pointed it out. A very handsome, rather pale Great Horned, only about six feet up and twelve feet away, but well-hidden by the cedar boughs. Once made, the bird spooked and dragged the remaining, sizable crow population around the neighbourhood.

Another fling, flung further.

Two Bald Eagles circled, one adult, one juvenile, and eventually the crows returned in their hundreds to settle in the crowns of the firs. And the hummingbird kept on humming (and repeatedly performing territorial dives, too.)

All this in what until recently were private back yards in the centre of a city. Shows what can happen when you plant trees. Now, about the Garden City lands.....


PSYL said...

I also went to Paulik Garden today for the first time (after reading that interesting article on Richmond News this Friday). It's indeed a special area with theose big trees around attracting the birds. I went during the afternoon, so I didn't saw any hummingbirds or flickers, but I did saw many robins and juncos. I also saw a very large bird flying above me and into the tall trees. It was quite bulky, so I think it might be the owl you mentioned.

I think I will have to go again one of these days, especially with its close proximity to the Garden City Community Park - visiting two hotspots in one day. Super fun!!

Hugh said...

I often walk between the two parks. With the pond in one and the tall conifers in the other, they draw a wide variety of birds.