Thursday, January 30, 2014

New Brighton Park, Vancouver: Ducks need a pond (Part II)

East Vancouver, January 18th

Naturalists have contributed to park and urban greenspace design in North America and this is a really important cultural development. 

But there is always room for improvement and often conflict does take place. New Brighton park on the south shore of Vancouver is a spot of beautiful greenspace. Its great for dog-running, dog walking, landscape viewing. But how good is it at providing habitat for wildlife?

I have seen the place evolve during the last three decades. It was a big lawn-like meadow since the early '80s, but back then much of the south shore also had a lot of vacant lots and infilled shoreline areas that were of use to wildlife (killdeer and geese nesting by the tracks etc). A lot of that vacant lot space, such as a large in-fill immediately west of the New Brighton park proper, has now been developed. So the "wider space" is not as green today. 

Also the park is not a modern wildlife-scaped greenspace - its a little anachronistic for Vancouver (of course as I mentioned before, there are plans in place for a creek-side restoration thingy). 

I post some shots of the waterbirds at the Park's pool (swiming pool!!!). The Pool functions as a "pond" in winter. Mallard, American Wigeon, Lesser Scaup, Teal visit and find protected shelter from dog-walkers and dogs in general. 

I believe the "openness" (i.e. untreed) of this greenspace is very important for wildlife - this open wet-meadow feeling of the lawn attracts lots of birds. Wildfowl and birds of pray really need it open like this. And there are so few wetlands left on Burrard Inlet - so this openness structurally compensates. Of course some big trees or thickets are important for the birdscape as well. But these need to be planned really carefully. (See that humongous tree stump next to the railway tracks...). 

I include shots of three fantastic Peregrines seen flying above the park: Attracted to the great density of Rock Pigeons at the wheat-pool next to the park and loading docks. 

On this 40 minute late afternoon walk a manged to tally 23 species of birds. 


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