BOAT TRIP for our Vancouver Big Year!

My good friend John Reynolds took the gang out on his boat. Peter Candido, Ilya Povalyaev, George Clulow, Hilary Maguire and Quentin Brown set out to find a Heermann's Gull and Wandering Tattler for our Vancouver Big Year. We left Port Moody and boated out around Stanley Park towards Iona and soon saw a 3 Parastic Jaegers, including this one perched on a log.

We saw quite a few Common Terns that the Jaegers were harrasing. This juvenile Common Tern allowed the boat to come right up to him without batting an eye. The boat seemed to act as a blind and they were calm around us. It's rare to get that close to skittish Common Terns. We went to Sands Heads (near Steveston) and along the jetty saw many Black-bellied Plovers and 2 Red Knots! Many Caspian and Common terns and 3000 Western Sandpipers. We then saw our prize 2 Heermann's Gulls! Vancouver Island residents will be laughing at us but Heermann's Gulls are not common on the lower mainland. Point Roberts, the Ferry Jetty usually gets 1 or 2.

This was a big "Jaeger weekend" for me as I saw 6 Parasitic Jaegers, 1 Long-tailed Jaeger and 1 Pomarine Jaeger all this weekend in Victoria and Vancouver as the day before I was on the young birder pelagic trip to Race Rocks. You can see that post 

We had our passports and went to Point Roberts, WA  after checking the ferry jetty that was full of Brandt's Cormorants. Point Roberts was our backup plan if we didn't find a Heermann's Gull in Vancouver proper. According to the nature Vancouver Checklist Point Roberts is included in the Vancouver checklist. eBird does not include Point Roberts in the Metro Vancouver checklist therefore any birds we received in Point Roberts were marked in a seperate list  for example if we saw a pelican there it would be 252+2.  In Point Roberts we did not see any Heermann's Gulls but we found surfbirds, more Brandt's cormorants, Pacific Loons, Pigeon Guillemots, Black Turnstones and White-winged and Surf Scoters. It was a Another Unforgettable weekend to last a lifetime.


In the end of the year Ilya Povalyaev won the Vancouver Big Year with 258+2. I tied for second place with Mike Toochin wit 256+2. After chasing every single bird in Vancouver and seeing every common bird I was so glad the year was over.

One of 2 Heermann's Gulls in Richmond - Photo: Melissa Hafting
Juvenile Common Tern - Photo: Melissa Hafting
Parasitic Jaeger on a log. It's rare to see one sitting on the ocean like this! - Photo: Melissa Hafting


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