The past three years of working for the Burnaby NOW have meant learning a lot about our community and its characters.
But one character – perhaps the most famous of the past two years in Burnaby – has always eluded me.
I finally tracked down the amazingly popular Mandarin duck.
I just had to risk my life to do it. Am I being too dramatic? Well, probably.
My partner and I parked down at Burnaby Lake on a recent sunny weekend and strolled down to the boardwalk where people feed the ducks.
We were wearing our masks, but there were far too many people who weren’t. Some people think that simply because you are outside means you can't catch or spread COVID-19.
The problem at the boardwalk is the space is so narrow that it’s tough to avoid getting close to people.
Once we got by the thick of the throng, we stood off to the side away from others and enjoyed a little sunshine and the hundreds of birds floating around this magical spot.
And then, it happened.
The Mandarin duck that I had seen so many times in amazing photos by such local nature photographers as John Preissl and Glen Govier was suddenly right there – strutting his stuff. (These guys have nicknamed him Trevor after Ben Kingsley's character Trevor - also known as the Mandarin - in Iron Man 3).
People have called this kind of duck the world’s most beautiful duck and it’s easy to see why. The colours are so vibrant and there is this incredible ring of feathers around his neck that he looks like royalty.
Sadly, a group of people who weren’t wearing masks spotted him as well and rushed over to where we were standing. Too close, I might add.
And so we decided to leave. Yes, outdoors is safer, but you still need to distance and you really should wear a mask.
Follow Chris Campbell on Twitter @shinebox44.