Falcon, Owl, Grebe or Swallow? Vote Now for the 2015 City Bird of Vancouver

Photo credit: Magnus Manske | Wikimedia Commons

Photo credit: Magnus Manske | Wikimedia Commons

It’s time to cast your vote for the City Bird of Vancouver – just don’t expect to see too many of the candidates flying around downtown.

The theme for this year’s “bird election” is rare birds. The Vancouver Bird Advisory Committee selected the four finalists in order to raise awareness about endangered species that were once common in and around the city.  Contenders this year are the barn owl, peregrine falcon, barn swallow and western grebe (a waterfowl).

You can vote online at the City of Vancouver website through May 9.  As of the time of writing, the grebe was pulling away as an early favourite with 4,757 votes, followed by the barn owl with 3,817 votes.  Each candidate also has a dedicated Twitter account to drum up support. You can follow along at @heyitsbarnowl, @thebarnswallow, @vanperegrine and @westerngrebe.  (Best Twitter bio goes to the barn owl: “An old soul. Fan of free-range organic food, urban agriculture, heritage buildings, espresso.”) Continue reading:
Falcon, Owl, Grebe or Swallow? Vote Now for the 2015 City Bird of Vancouver

See a Live Webcam of Vancouver’s Great Blue Heron Colony

Photo credit: Alan D. Wilson | Wikipedia

Photo credit: Alan D. Wilson | Wikipedia

A new webcam is giving wildlife lovers an intimate, interactive look at Vancouver’s colony of great blue herons.

Mounted on the roof of a nearby apartment building, the Vancouver Park Board Heron Cam focuses in on a cluster of nests built high in the trees next to the tennis courts in Stanley Park.  Dozens of the long-legged birds with bright blue feathers can be seen sitting on nests, perching on branches and even tending to newly laid eggs.

In a unique twists, the webcam is also interactive.  By visiting the official website (http://vancouver.ca/parks-recreation-culture/heron-cam.aspx), viewers can join a queue to control what the camera looks at. It’s possible to zoom in tight on individual nests or select wider angle views to see the whole scene.

Each spring, hundreds of great blue herons, which are classified as a “special concern” species in Canada, return to Vancouver’s Stanley Park as part of their annual migration pattern. Continue reading:
See a Live Webcam of Vancouver’s Great Blue Heron Colony

Celebrate Earth “Cocktail” Hour, Vancouver-Style, March. 28

earth_hour

Vancouver will slip into darkness this Saturday, March 28 at 8:30pm, as residents and businesses across the city switch off their lights for Earth Hour – the largest environmental event in the world.

Given that Vancouver a) knows how to celebrate, b) plans to be the world’s Greenest City by 2020, and c) is the 2015 National Champion for the “We Love Cities” Earth Hour City challenge, there’s no shortage of ways to spend Earth Hour here.

Continue reading:
Celebrate Earth “Cocktail” Hour, Vancouver-Style, March. 28

3 Places for a Snowshoe-Fondue Outing in Vancouver

Image sourced from HelloBC

Image sourced from HelloBC

The fresh powder is glistening with moonlight; snowshoes swooshing through new-fallen snow is the only sound. Led by a guide, you work your way through forests of towering hemlock and Douglas fir trees, while the city lights of Vancouver twinkle in the distance, thousands of feet below. Up ahead, a light shines inside a rustic cabin and a you might even catch a hint of chocolate in the mountain air.

Welcome to Vancouver’s unique snowshoe and fondue adventures. All three local mountains offer the chance to explore the alpine scenery after dusk, then warm up in lodges with steaming hot cider and authentic fondue. Continue reading:
3 Places for a Snowshoe-Fondue Outing in Vancouver

Vancouver Hidden Gem: Quarry Rock Hiking, Minus the Crowds

Seymour_Maplewood-74Ask local hikers for their favourite short hike – the quick jaunt to a scenic viewpoint that rewards every time – and one name comes up a lot: the Quarry Rock Trail.  Located just outside Deep Cove, Quarry Rock (also known as Deep Cove Lookout) towers high above the Indian Arm inlet and is accessed by a 3.8-kilometre roundtrip trail from town.

But with popularity comes problems.  Finding parking along the trailhead at Panorama Drive can be a nightmare. Plus, on busy weekends, the trail can feel like a traffic jam, with big groups of hikers and international tour groups tromping up and down.

But there is a solution: a way to enjoy the great views at Quarry Rock while avoiding the hassles of the Quarry Rock Trail.

Continue reading:
Vancouver Hidden Gem: Quarry Rock Hiking, Minus the Crowds