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Un canard mandarin fascine les amateurs d’oiseaux à Burnaby

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Un canard mandarin qui a élu domicile dans le parc de Deer Lake, à Burnaby, dans le Grand Vancouver, attire les ornithologues amateurs depuis qu’on l’y a aperçu à la fin de décembre.

L’oiseau est natif d’Asie de l’Est. Mais Christopher Dean affirme en avoir observé un au parc Stanley l’an dernier, en plus de celui de Burnaby, il y a quelques jours.

J’ai pensé : c’est l’oiseau le plus étrange que j’ai jamais vu.

Christopher Dean, amateur d’oiseaux

Il n’est pas le seul à avoir été fasciné par le canard. Des dizaines de photographes se sont précipités au parc de Deer Lake, espérant avoir un aperçu du rare volatile.

Les canards mandarins mâles sont connus pour leur plumage intensément coloré, allant du violet à l’orange, en passant par le vert.

Une dizaine d'hommes et de femmes avec leur appareil photo, sur une passerelle de bois. Les photographes étaient nombreux au parc de Deer Lake dans les dernières semaines pour tenter de capturer l’image de l’oiseau coloré. Photo : John Preissl

Le photographe professionnel John Priessl est parmi les premiers à avoir aperçu l’oiseau dans le parc de la banlieue de Vancouver, le 28 décembre dernier.

Il affirme qu’il ne se montre que deux ou trois fois par jour.

Un canard probablement relâché dans la nature

Selon George Clulow, ancien président de l’Association des ornithologues de terrain de la Colombie-Britannique, c’est probablement le même qui avait été repéré l’an dernier au parc du lac de Burnaby, alors qu’il était encore jeune.

« C’est certainement un oiseau qui a été relâché dans la nature, probablement initialement au lac Burnaby, affirme George Clulow. Avec les années, il a mué en un beau canard mandarin mâle. »

C’est tellement un bel oiseau, il attire beaucoup d’attention.

George Clulow, ornithologue

L’ornithologue explique que le climat dans le Grand Vancouver est similaire à celui des régions du Japon, de l’est de la Russie et de la Chine, où on le trouve habituellement.

Le canard mandarin est une espèce étroitement liée au canard branchu, dont l’habitat est en Amérique du Nord. Selon M. Clulow, celui du parc de Deer Lake recherche probablement une femelle.

Un groupe de canards se tient sur des basses branchesOn trouve des canards branchus au parc Stanley, à Vancouver. Photo : Pat Smart

« Il y a des hybrides connus entre le mandarin et le branchu, mais habituellement, ils ne sont pas fertiles, dit-il. Il ne devrait donc pas y avoir de population hybride qui se développe. »

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‘Too soon to celebrate’ Ottawa’s low case count, says Etches

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Ottawa Public Health (OPH) logged just 11 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, the lowest daily total since Sept. 1.

Because of the lag between testing and reporting, the low number could simply reflect low turnout at the city’s testing sites on weekends — all month, new case counts have been lower on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. 

During a virtual news conference Tuesday, the city’s medical officer of health Dr. Vera Etches said she doesn’t read too much into a single day’s report.

“I don’t think we can make too much of 11. Actually, it could be a lot higher tomorrow — I would expect that, on average,” she said. “It’s too soon to celebrate.”

Provincewide, public health officials reported 1, 249 new cases Tuesday.

OPH also declared 62 cases resolved Tuesday, lowering the number of known active cases in the city to 462. Two more people have died, both in care homes currently experiencing outbreaks, raising the city’s COVID-19 death toll to 361. 

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Santa Claus isn’t coming to Ottawa’s major malls this year

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Santa Claus may still be coming to town this Christmas, but he won’t be dropping by any of Ottawa’s major malls, thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic.

On Friday, Cadillac Fairview said Santa won’t be making an appearance at any of its 19 malls across Canada, including Rideau Centre in downtown Ottawa. On Tuesday, Bayshore and St. Laurent shopping centres confirmed they, too, are scrapping the annual tradition.

“Due to the evolution of the situation in regards to COVID-19, we have made the difficult decision to cancel our Santa Program and Gift Wrap Program this year,” Bayshore spokesperson Sara Macdonald wrote in an email to CBC.

Macdonald said parent company Ivanhoé Cambridge cancelled all holiday activities “due to the rising number of COVID-19 cases across the country.”

Macdonald said families that had already booked an appointment to visit Santa will receive an email with more information.  

Virtual visits with Santa

Rideau Centre said based on customer research and discussions with public health officials, its North Pole is going online this year.

“Children will be able to have a private chat with Santa,” said Craig Flannagan, vice-president of marketing for Cadillac Fairview. “You’ll also be able to join a 15-minute storytime with Santa over Facebook Live.” 

At Place d’Orléans Shopping Centre, visitors are invited to take a “selfie with Santa” — actually, a life-size cutout of Santa Pierre, the man who’s been playing Santa at the east end mall for years.

“We understand that this is not ideal, but in lieu of this tradition we will be doing what we can to maintain and encourage holiday cheer,” according to a statement on the mall’s Facebook page.

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Ottawa Bylaw breaks up two large parties in Ottawa over the weekend

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OTTAWA — Ottawa Bylaw is investigating social gatherings of more than 10 people in private homes across Ottawa last weekend.

Mayor Jim Watson tells Newstalk 580 CFRA that Ottawa Bylaw broke-up two house parties over the weekend, with 20 to 25 people at each party.

“That’s the kind of stupidity that angers me, that’s where the bulk of the transmissions are taking place, if we exclude the tragedy of the long-term care homes; it’s these house parties with unrelated people,” said Watson on Newstalk 580 CFRA’s Ottawa at Work with Leslie Roberts.

“The message doesn’t seem to be getting through, particularly to some young people who think they’re invincible.”

In a statement to CTV News Ottawa, Bylaw and Regulatory Services Director Roger Chapman says, “There are still ongoing investigations from this past weekend that could result in charges.”

Chapman says recent investigations led to two charges being issued for social gatherings of more than 10 people in a private residence in contravention of the Reopening Ontario Act.

“In one case, up to 30 individuals were observed attending a house party in Ward 18 on Oct. 24,” said Chapman.

“The second charge was issued following a house party in Ward 16 on Oct. 31, where up to 16 individuals were observed to be in attendance.”

The fine is $880 for hosting an illegal gathering.

Alta Vista is Ward 18, while Ward 16 is River Ward.

Ottawa Bylaw has issued 24 charges for illegal gatherings since the start of the pandemic.

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