Vancouver Island Shopping Carts

Why do shopping carts end up where they do? Do they have a specific habitat? What sort of behaviours do they exhibit? With a nod to Hugh Griffith at Rock, Paper, Lizard and Julian Montague at the Stray Shopping Cart Project, I have embarked on a study of wild feral carts. I’ve been inspired to collect images and document species of shopping cart on Vancouver Island, British Columbia.

Julian Montague has developed a classification system for eastern shopping carts. His system is based on “defining the various states and situations in which stray shopping carts can be found.” This system should also be applicable to shopping carts in western North America. For more information on this system, consult Montague’s book “The Stray Shopping Carts of Eastern North America: A Guide to Field Identification”. Hugh has taken a slightly different tack and identified specimens by morphology and habitat. His work is on Wild Shopping Carts of North America.

Here are my first two specimens in Courtenay, British Columbia:

Common Blue Roller

Common Blue Roller

Classification: B/1, B/19

This Common Blue Roller was near a Husky station in Courtenay, British Columbia. Note the cryptic colouration as the Blue Roller attempts to blend in with its surrounding habitat. This species must be approached with caution as it is an aggressive ambush predator.

The Common Blue Roller, like the name suggests, is fairly common in urban areas. An introduced species, it is spreading rapidly in North America. The northern-most limitation of its range on Vancouver Island is currently the Comox Valley. However, there have been unconfirmed reports of sightings as far north as Campbell River.

Red-Banded Silver Spinner

Red-banded Silver Spinner

Classification: B/1

Red-banded Silver Spinner - diagnostic field mark

I’ve observed this Red-banded Silver Spinner in the same location for several days now. I was able to identify it by its diagnostic field mark (see image – right). This was a lifer for me and I was pretty excited confirm the species. The Red-banded Silver Spinner prefers vacant lots, yard edges of abandoned houses and other edge habitat. This one was basking in the late afternoon sun enabling me to approach quite close to it. Non-aggressive, Red-banded Silver Spinners are a delight to watch.

More research is needed to define the range of the Red-banded Silver Spinner on Vancouver Island.