A Tale of Local Port Moody Wildlife

Herons are an iconic sight around the Tri City area especially near the Colony Farms trail head area. With the demolition of the old Port Mann Bridge many conservationists according to this article: http://www.bclocalnews.com/news/202214651.html were concerned that this would harm the population of over 200 herons that call the area home.

The good news? The Noons Creek Estuary sight was the perfect spot to relocate the extra birds to expand on the local Port Moody wildlife family. Now there are roughly 17 couples settled in the area that are raising their young here.

Although there was great cause for concern, the populations are settling in now that it is 3 years after the demolition started in their original habitat space. For bird watching enthusiasts Old Orchard Park and Old Mill Site Park are great locations for hearing and watching the heron nests.

Besides the local herons, we have a wide variety of local hummingbirds that come feed close to our house at designated feeders set out for them.

Once the Port Mann area has been settled, many herons will likely resettle there.

For more information on local bird watching marvels, feel free to email us. We’d love to connect you with a group during your stay.

Your host,

Mary Ellen Hagglund

Bird Watching or Bird Waiting and a Food Fight

Heron 1385494_23240512“Food Fight”—From the deep recesses of my journaling I thought I would share:

What a wonderfully, calming and delightful start to my morning, a hot cup of tea and steaming porridge in hand! I position myself either at my kitchen Bay window or my dining room table.  There, I marvel at tiny varieties of chickadees and dark eyed juncos; 5-6 feasting at a wire basket filled with suet.  Then comes the hummingbird that has stayed through the winter.  This is a first and I am pleased that this species:  Anna’s Hummingbird has found my feeder.  Each bird has its level of daring and trust of beings bigger than themselves.

The fun really heats up outside my dining room window.  The neighborhood grey squirrel that I might add is very chubby enters the scene.  I watch as he carefully climbs the bird feeder pole and does an upside-down, vertical acrobatic act to feed from the suet basket.

“Scat”…he is most bold and pretends to “shake in fear” only to wait ‘til I’m back inside.  His other trick is to jump from the hydrangea landing on another bird feeder filled with gourmet sunflower seeds and bird feed mix.  He proceeds to tip it, scattering seed everywhere.  Fortunately it wasn’t wasted as he ate from the cobblestone. The spotted Towhees ate what remained in the feeder and other species chose the spilled bits. The flurry of activity from squirrel to birds rustling in the bushes was most entertaining.

For certain it was a “food fight” before my very eyes.  As they say:  “Survival of the fittest”.

It’s easy to observe an unspoken “pecking order”. The squirrel had an unfair advantage and his size reflected his character.   I couldn’t help but share as I am realizing how prime our location is for entertaining

Birding, Bird watching or “Bird-waiting”…
What ever you choose to call the activity, I embarked on Saturday, January 18th, on my first ever bird watching hike along the Pitt River Dyke in Port Coquitlam with Nature Vancouver.  This was a true outdoor adventure that was partially cloaked in fog.  6 others joined me who was far more experienced. Two carried a telescope complete with tripod perched on their shoulder.  With experts totally familiar with local or migrant bird species, my inexperience was obvious.  They were patient and inclusive and shared their spotting and viewing of 4 majestic Eagles and beyond. I was grateful.

The Eagles were breath taking as they posed for a superb view of close ups. Every detail from the beady eyes to their hooked beak and ruffled head feathers were visible as the head pivoted side to side.

We counted Bufflehead ducks, Golden eye, Merganser, Green-winged Teal, Widgeon; half of which I was familiar and numerous crows.

I learned that identifying species is a multi-sensory skill.  They heard the call of a Sand hill crane without spotting it, likewise a Pacific Wren.  Everyone pointed their binoculars in the direction of the sound, hoping to catch a glimpse of the birds. A multitude of Canada Geese were sighted as many have wintered in the Lower Mainland this year rather than seeking warmer climes.

Living on Burrard Inlet and a nearby estuary, I am spoiled by the bird activity right out our kitchen & dining room windows.  Our guests are delighted by this at the breakfast table or lounging on our ocean front deck.

As I mentioned, this was my first experience of this kind, to hike with experts and I have much to learn.  It won’t be my last.

Happy bird watching!  As for Port Moody Bird Watching, there are lots of natural places along the trails.  Last one to the swamps with their binoculars is an egg!

Your Host and Fellow Birder,

Mary Ellen



2013: A Good Year for the Birds

Before Barry and I decided to open up Mainstay Oasis as a bed and breakfast in the Port Moody area, we had teenagers and friends running around 916 Alderside Road. We often joke that we turned our house into BnB so our adult kids couldn’t move back home. Although there is a grain of truth to every joke, we do love hosting people of all ages and walks of life.

Around this time of year, I get slightly nostalgic about the early memories when we built the house. We had just moved in and the kids excitedly were pointing out the kitchen nook window. I’ll never forget the vision of that regal bird swooping down in front of me on our newly finished dock. One of the native blue herons from the nearby estuary came for lunch. He was fondly named, Franklin. The constant sighting of many birds from water fowl to eagles fueled my passion for birding watching. Hence, binoculars are at the window sill ready for action.

January is our earliest sighting of Eagles. Today I’m watching the Goldeneye swimming outside the kitchen window. Springtime the Canadian Geese parents proudly

parade their goslings around our dock. This morning I  caught sight of a harbor seal flick it’s tail as it dove under water.

Did you know that over 370 species of birds have been sighted and annually over 250 species sighted from Osprey, Flickers, Humming Birds, Towhees, Mergansers,

Kingfishers, Juncos, Woodpeckers, StellarsJay and many others!

According to NatureVancouver.ca, there are various ‘hot-spots’ throughout the lower mainland that are designated for sightings.

A few besides our backyard include:

Deer Lake Park

Deer Lake Park, picturesque and serene is home to wonderful walking trails, and a lovely view of the surrounding mountains. It’s no wonder that birds brood in and around here.

Barnet Marine Park

This park is one of the quieter parks in the area. People often forget it’s there simply because they use the Barnet to scoot into the city. But if you turn into the park area,

you’re in for a treat as it has a wonderful view of the fork in the water where the Indian Arm and the Burrard Inlet merge. Tons to see and do here.

Burnaby Mountain Conservation Area, Burnaby

See a wonderful view of the Lower Mainland while you identify species along the way. Bordering on the campus of Simon Fraser University at the top of Burnaby Mountain, you’re truly in for a panorama vista as you watch the sunset and enjoy a wonderfully decadent dinner at Horizon’s Fine Dining Restaurant.


You will find field trips with fellow birders around the area. Two upcoming events that are happening in the New Year are:

Saturday, January 18

Jericho Park Bird Walkk

Saturday,January 18.2014.

This half day walk will cover the whole Park, featuring the foreshore and ponds and brushy trails.Last year we tallied sanderlings and ring-necked ducks. Meet in the East parking lot(free)on W 2nd Ave.,at Wallace St., at 8:30 a.m.Leader;Adrian Grant Duff,604 263 7957.

Saturday, January 18

Birding Port Coquitlam’s Northern Dykes

Join Colin Clasen, filling in for Larry Cowan, for a half-day birding field trip to Port Coquitlam’s Pitt River Dyke from Dominion Ave. back to the parking area at DeBoville Slough. This field trip route covers a distance of approx 5km with some excellent dyke-side habitats. We will be on the hunt for resident and visiting wintering species. Meet in the main parking area at Cedar & Victoria Drives (DeBoville Slough) in Port Coquitlam at 0900. We will then carpool to our start at the east end of Dominion Ave. 604-817-5358

Find more great birding activities, communities and more at @NatureVancouver.

During your birding adventures, let us know if you are in the area and we’d love to host you and hear all about your travels.

Your Host

Mary Ellen Hagglund

~ Your Host of Mainstay Oasis BnB