We’re passionate about birds and nature. That’s why we opened a Wild Birds Unlimited Nature Shop in our community.
#13-33324 South Fraser Way
Abbotsford, BC V2S 2B4
Phone: (604) 852-1960
Mon - Sat: 10:00 am - 5:00 pm
8810-C Young Road
Chilliwack, BC V2P 4P5
Phone: (604) 792-1239
Mon - Sat: 10:00 am - 5:00 pm
Willowbrook Park Shopping Centre,
#2-6131 200th Street
Langley, BC V2Y 1A2
Phone: (604) 510-2035
Mon - Fri: 10:00 am - 5:30 pm
Sat: 10:00 am - 5:00 pm
Sun: 11:00 am - 5:00 pm
Whether you are looking for a walk in the gloomy days of winter or a sunny spring stroll, Willband Parks fits the bill. Developed in the late 1990's, the park's purpose was to serve as a catch basin for run off water from the subdivisions built on the hills above (present day Latimer, Exbury and Laburnum Streets). Today the park has become an important habitat and wintering site for many species of songbirds, ducks and geese.
The park is found on the corner of Bateman Road and Highway 11 (Abbotsford-Mission Highway) just on the outskirts of Abbotsford. To reach the park, turn onto Bateman Road and park in the small parking lot just over a small bridge. The trail system is shaped like an elongated figure eight around the two large ponds. The habitat is mainly grass with sedges growing by the water and scattered clumps of conifers, cottonwoods and maples. Woody shrubs like Solomon's seal can also be found as well as the ever-present blackberry thickets that are beloved by sparrows and rabbits alike. A new pond was added to the park in the winter of 2012 for the only real complaint about the park is that it tends to flood during the heavy rains of winter. Some of the trails that were most susceptible to flooding were raised during the construction; hopefully this will help one avoid wet feet.
Birding at Willband varies with the seasons, which makes this a great park any time of the year. During the winter many species of waterfowl, such as the Northern Shoveler, Hooded Mergansers, Buffleheads, Eurasian Wigeons, Mallard, Pintails and, of course, Canada Geese, call these ponds their home. Due to the flooding that occurs in the fields around the park, it is common to see ducks and geese swimming there as well as the park itself. Trumpeter Swans can also make an appearance in the winter. There are not many other birds at this time of the year. Residents like the Black-capped Chickadee and Song Sparrow are seen and, occasionally, a Northern Shrike will make an appearance. But the park belongs to the ducks in the winter.
Spring sees the departure of the majority of ducks as they head north to their nesting spots. The Canada Geese prefer to stay and nest on the small islands in the ponds. By the end of April, fluffy goslings begin to appear. I always enjoy watching the parents taking their brood on a stroll along Bateman Road. One parent in front, the other behind the goslings who are safe in the middle, it reminds me of adults taking children out on a field trip. By May the warblers, migrating sparrows like the Savannah Sparrow and the swallows have arrived to join the resident Marsh Wren, White-crowned and Golden-crowned Sparrows. There are several species of warblers that can be seen at this time of year; Common Yellowthroat, Yellow Warbler, Orange-crowned Warbler, Wilson's and Yellow-rumped. During nesting season, every clump of old sedge grass has either a male Yellowthroat or a Marsh Wren clinging to a tall stalk, singing lustily as they try to attract a female. Insect hatches on warm days mean a feast for the Tree and Barn Swallows. The small bridge at the parking lot is the preferred nesting site for the Barn Swallows while the Tree Swallows find theirs in the surrounding forests. Predators also become apparent as the resident Bald Eagle, Red tail and an occasional Harrier appear to feed off the goslings.
Summer is the quietest season of the pond as the parents’ are busy raising their young. This is the time of year that you can see otters and muskrats in the ponds. But once fall arrives, the migrants reappear and the pond gets busy again. Be prepared to see shorebirds like the Spotted Sandpiper or maybe even some larger birds like Dowitchers or Snipe. And remember to look closely at the juveniles, who sometimes don't resemble their parents at all and can give the birder a momentary, misplaced bit of excitement.
|Bald Eagle||Canada Geese||Spotted Sandpiper|
|Common Yellowthroat||Yellow-rumped Warble||Barn Swallow|
|Tree Swallow||Song Sparrow||White-crowned Sparrow|
|Golden-crowned Sparrow||American Wigeon||Ring necked Duck|
|Lesser Scaup||Marsh Wren||House Finch|
|Brown-headed Cowbird||Black-capped Chickadee||Crow|
|American Robin||Killdeer||Belted Kingfisher|
|Long-billed Dowitcher||Bufflehead||American Coot|
|Hooded Merganser||Northern Shoveler||Mallard|
|American Goldfinch||Rufous Hummingbird||Savannah Sparrow|
|American Robin||Spotted Towhee|