Miraculously we were at the right time and place, to spot a rare and incredible Mandarin duck at Burnaby Lake Park in Metro Vancouver this past winter. I’m pretty sure, this is the same creature that rocked excitement to near local stardom in the news over 3 years ago.
The flamboyant duck plumage marked its original habitat as Asia. Apparently they were introduced in various European countries.
Judging from the other park visitors, only a few even understood this rare bird paddling among a large flock of duck companions –green-winged teal ducks. Most park visitors gazed at the exotic Mandarin duck and then focused long on other plainer duck breeds. Mandarin duck seemed to be quite solitary despite being in midst of the lake’s duck kingdom.
Our first time in this park was after several consecutive days of prolonged rain –some days up to 25 mm. of rain and greyness. Judging from the variety of birds, they, like people, were snatching day’s sunny winter rays in their open water explorations.
You would not think in a large suburban park, there were wild mushrooms, various green luxuriant or wispy moss painting themselves over moist tree bark and branches. Signs of temperate rainforest growth peeking through watery yellow sunlight.
One guy, could not restrain himself from nearly shouting happily to anyone nearby to see the pilated woodpecker hammering busily for insects up in the trees. Then he would find another bird to trumpet his delight, not caring he might disturb his feathered friends.
I went to this park, not expecting much from a suburban park and came away, feeling we struck gold on catching sight of several different birds we hadn’t noticed before in our area. We hope to return, maybe later in spring or fall to see glimpse of more bird delights.