Photos by Terry Carr (TC), Bryan King & Jonathan Mwenifumbo (JM)
It poured rain on Wednesday morning, but 10 keeners showed up at Iona Regional Park for our weekly DNCB outing. Hi-lites were: another Sora, Canvasbacks, beaut Swallows, Lapland Longspurs for a couple, and a super lunch at the Flying Beaver. Our photogs were a bit wimpy today in the rain, so there are only a few shots, but brilliant ones, on our Picasa website.
After driving daughter Erica downtown to work at 6:30 a.m., I got to the Iona entrance before the 8:00 a.m. opening. While waiting for MV Park staff, I watched a flock of Snow Geese (~700) grazing on the shoreline. Among them were a few Northern Pintail, Green-winged Teal and American Wigeons. On entering the Park, I noticed some Tree Swallows on the fence and even on one of the new nesting boxes that Peter Ward has put along the Sewage Lagoon fence.
Once in the park, I covered my self with rain gear and set up the scope to focus on the hundreds of feeding Swallows which occasionally landed on the reeds by the boardwalk. Mostly Violet-green, lots of Tree, several Barn, and I think I got a Cliff. We got a few Northern Rough-winged later to make the five species.
Lots of Marsh Wrens around and Warblers too, mostly Yellow-rumped. A small swarm (~50) of Shorebirds whizzed over the pond and flew out to the Bay. Other DNCB weirdoes arrived shortly after 8:00 a.m. including: Jean & Pauline, then the Petra’s crew of Terry with Otto and Hans with Mike, then Jonathan without Lorraine (poor car-pooling). Bryan & Janet joined us later on the path.
Deciding not to abort the outing despite the downpour, we began our walk between the ponds toward the Sewage Lagoons. A Bufflehead and Ring-necked Duck were in the front pond. Lots of Red-winged Blackbirds around, but Yellow-headed have not yet arrived. Dark-eyed Juncos, Golden-crowned and Savannah Sparrows were along the path, but iridescent Rufous Hummingbirds were more interesting to most. Pied-billed Grebes were in the second pond, but we don’t know whether they have started nesting.
Close to the Bird Banding Hut, we ran into Jeremiah, Julian and Ian (J, J & I). In the 15 minutes with these guys/experts we saw more species than we saw the rest of the morning. They pointed out Orange-crowned Warblers, Common Yellowthroats, both Myrtle and Audubon Yellow-rumped Warblers, Rough-winged Swallows, then inside the Sewage Lagoons, 6 Canvasbacks, 4 Greater Yellowlegs and a Caspian Tern. When the boys left us, we all felt really old as we lamented how valuable good eyes, ears and youthful enthusiasm are to birding. So, we carried on and simply chatted more, something we all do very well.
All the regular species were in the lagoons including Northern Shovelers, Lesser Scaup, but no Cinnamon or Blue-winged Teal yet. A falcon-like Bald Eagle was on the hydro tower. We left the lagoons and followed the path through the wood lot. We did not see the Wilson Snipe that J, J and I saw earlier. Double-crested Cormorants were in the Fraser, but no Purple Martins yet at their boxes. Colourful American Goldfinches thrilled a couple of us. Across the pond we saw the “renegades” Bryan & Janet who were photographing a Sora.
We joined them to view their discovery, and then looked in vain for the Hermit Thrush they also saw earlier.
We heard Virginia Rails and J, J and I saw three at the Boardwalk early in the morning.
Back at the washrooms, we cajoled the very friendly MV Parks Melanie to take our Group Photo. It was only around 11:15 a.m., but most of us decided we were soaked enough; however the Renegades decided to walk the jetty. They found Lapland Longspurs
(see photos on our DNCB Picasa site), Horned Grebe, flocks of Shorebirds and a River Otter gliding across the mud (see Bryan’s video).
Since PB Lorna has gone on an Ontario vacation (therefore no sandwiches), the other eight of us decided to have lunch at the Flying Beaver restaurant near the South Terminal. My steak, prawns and 1516 Lager were scrumptious, the float planes landing were exciting, and the inane DNCB banter all contributed to a very pleasant, dry and warm experience. But I can’t lie, despite all the good things; it really was a miserable morning for birding.
We will do it all again next Wednesday, April 23, leaving Petra’s at 7:30 a.m. for Brydon Lagoon Park (unless we change to Serpentine Fen; check Blog for updates). As always, comments encouraged and tell me if you want off this List. Happy Easter to you and your family. Cheers: Tom
Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists’ Society