DNCB Outing No. 2014-13 to Iona Regional Park

Photos by Terry Carr (TC), Bryan King & Jonathan Mwenifumbo (JM)

DNCB at Iona (TC)

DNCB at Iona (TC)

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.

Sora (BK)

Sora (BK)

We joined them to view their discovery, and then looked in vain for the Hermit Thrush they also saw earlier.

Hermit Thrush (BK)

Hermit Thrush (BK)

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

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Filed under Bald Eagle, Iona, River Otter, Sora

DNCB Outing No. 2014-13 to Colony Farm Regional Park, Coquitlam

Photos by Bill (BD), Bryan (BK), Jim (JK), Jonathan (JM), Ken (KB), Marion (MS), Roger (RM) & Terry (TC)

On the bridge over the Coquitlam River (KB)

On the bridge over the Coquitlam River (KB): click on photo to see larger version

Twenty-two birders (wow) enjoyed another gorgeous and productive Wednesday morning at Colony Farm Regional Park in Coquitlam. Hi-lites included: both Sora and Virginia Rails, several Mountain Bluebirds and lots of other warblers and waterfowl in breeding plumage.  Check out the photo evidence on our DNCB Picasa link.

Three vehicles with ten folk left Petra’s at 7:30 a.m. to take the new SFPR highway toward the Pattullo Bridge to Colony Farm.  The drive was awesome until we got to the Bridge where there was a car turned on its side (see Jim’s & Terry’s photos) and fire trucks, ambulances and police arriving from both directions.

Rob, Marylile and Jim made it past the scene, while Roger’s and my vehicles were caught.  We eventually made a U turn to take the new Port Mann Bridge with Magellan Meyer leading.  We toured several No Exit neighbourhoods in Surrey before finally sneaking up on the entrance to the new Bridge.  When we finally reached the Colony Farm parking lot (~8:50 a.m.), the masses were waiting, but not surprised on learning what happened on hearing the tale of another of “Roger’s Shortcuts”.

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Following intros, we followed the Garden Trail to the Pumphouse Trail.  Lots of little birds in the bushes along the slough, shining for us in the brilliant sun: Yellow-rumped Warblers (Audubon), Ruby-crowned Kinglets (Bryan got a shot of a weird bearded RCK), Tree Swallows (perhaps a Violet-Green Swallow over the Community Gardens), Golden- and White- crowned, Song and Fox Sparrows, both Rufous and Anna’s Hummingbirds, nesting Chickadees, Bushtits, Spotted Towhees and American Robins.

Beautiful pairs of Hooded and Common Mergansers, Bufflehead, Wood Ducks and Ring-necked Ducks were in the slough and the Coquitlam River.

We gathered at the Bridge over the river for Ken to take the mandatory Group Photo, as Marsh Wrens sang all around us.  The pair of Canada Geese was nesting in the same tree trunk where we saw them last year.

We walked to the end of the Pumphouse Trail to the “Grebe Pond”.  Pied-billed Grebes, hopefully preparing to nest, were there, as well as American Coots, Gadwall and Mallards.

Tree Swallows were hanging around their boxes and several Common Yellowthroats were singing.  We knew that both Sora and Virginia Rails nested there in previous years, but we rarely see them.  Today we were very fortunate as both species were feeding in the reeds very close to the path and our photogs got lots of good close-ups.

The birds did not seem to be bothered by the screams, shouts and endless chatter of us non-professional casual birders.  On the walk back, along the Wilson Farm Dyke Trail, the Red-tailed Hawk was on his roost on the hydro tower.  An American Kestrel perched on a bush was fending off a couple of Northern Flickers.  A bit further along, we finally found our target birds, the Mountain Bluebirds.  I counted six, and they occasionally perched on reeds for beaut viewing.

Both Mourning and Eurasian-Collared Doves were seen at this end of the trail too.  We may also have seen a Northern Shrike.

We got back to the parking lot around Noon, so before leaving the Farm, and following PB Lorna’s egg sandwich and Kay and Terry’s cookies which went down very easily, some of us decided to stop at and walk the Mundy Creek Trail.  Brilliant American Goldfinches and House Finches were along this trail as were White-crowned Sparrows which we had not seen earlier.  We could not find the recently-seen Say’s Phoebe.  We left the Park and drove, leisurely, but directly and quickly, back to Tsawwassen over the Port Mann Bridge and SFPR highway.  Another awesome DNCB morning.

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Next Wednesday, April 16, we will leave Petra’s at 7:30 a.m. for Iona Regional Park and Sewage Lagoons.  I expect to be at the washroom parking lot around 8:15 a.m.

Don’t forget tonight’s Delta Nats meeting at 7:30 p.m. at Cammidge House.  Bernie Fandrich will be giving an illustrated Presentation on his adventures on the Thompson River.

I have had a busy but enjoyable week with hockey, golf and grand-parenting, so this report is very tardy, not very funny, and probably incomplete, so comments welcome and let me know if you want off the List to receive this drivel.  Cheers: Tom

Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists’ Society (currently on Grand-Parent Day Care Duty)

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Filed under *DNCB, American Kestrel, Colony Farm, Mountain Bluebird, Mourning Dove, Red-tailed Hawk, Sora, Virginia Rail

DNCB Outing No. 2014-13 to Ladner Harbour and South Arm Marsh Parks

Revisit this Blog… photos will be added to this report SOON!

Eighteen slackers spent another gorgeous Wednesday morning at several Ladner Parks including Ladner Harbour Park, Brigantine Park and the South Arm Marsh Park.  Among the hi-lites were several nesting species, some interesting Spring behaviour antics, and some gorgeous ducks.  Check out the photo evidence on the DNCB Picasa link.

Ladner Harbour

Ladner Harbour

Ten of us car-pooled (Roger with Mike, PB Lorna and Terry, Jonathan & Lorraine took Glen, I lucked out with Otto & Gerhard) from Petra’s at 7:30 a.m. taking the farm roads to Ladner Harbour Park (LHP).  While waiting for us in the LHP parking lot, the eight others (Marion, returnee Peggy, Jean, Pauline, Kay, Cyclist Paula, newbie Liz and time-challenged Donna) were watching the Yellow-rumped Warblers in the surrounding trees.  Following intro’s, we started our walk along the trail.  Birds were singing all around us.  Kay spotted a Ruby-crowned Kinglet.  Marion saw the Pacific Wren; we saw both Marsh and Bewick’s Wrens there too.  Rufous Hummingbirds were frequently whizzing by, flashing their iridescent throats.  We followed a pair of Red-tailed Hawks as they were bringing sticks to their nest in the crotch of a tree.Red-tailed  Hawk 2 Ladner Marsh April 2, 2014  We also followed one of several pairs of Bushtits seen today as they continuously brought moss, twigs, bark to fabricate their hanging nest.  A couple of Mourning Doves caught our attention; we don’t see them often any more as the recently-introduced Eurasian Collared-Doves seem to have taken over.  Northern Flickers seemed to be everywhere in the Park; one pair amused us with what looked like a pre-mating behaviour as they danced together on tree branches.  Then a Crow danced in another tree, meowing like a cat, and waved his/her wings.  It’s the time of year when birds display some weird and wonderful antics.

A Misplaced Viewing Tower...a view of nothing?

A Misplaced Viewing Tower…a view of nothing?

At the strangely-placed Lookout near the off-leash dog park, Roger took the obligatory Group Photo.  On the trail back to the parking lot, a pair of Green-winged Teal landed in the slough near the path and then a pair of Brown Creepers was entertaining as they crawled up and around a tree trunk.  Mike got his thrill of the day as a local House Cat massaged his neck while he enjoyed a “catter” at a picnic table.  Leaving LHP I searched in vain for the Ring-necked Pheasant that others had seen earlier near the Park entrance.

Next stop was Brigantine Park on Ferry Road where the Ladner Marsh Creek crosses the road.  Not much here except for some newly-arrived Tree Swallows and a Downy Woodpecker.  So we moved further along Ferry Road to the next crossing of the Ladner Marsh Creek, and followed the path along it to Cove Links Golf Course.  Surprisingly, there was lots of neat stuff in the creek, including a pair of gorgeous Wood Ducks, four pair of beaut Ring-necked Ducks, a female and juvenile Hooded Merganser, American Coot, American Wigeon pair, Gadwall pair, a Double-crested Cormorant and of course Mallards.  One backyard bird feeder at a home along the trail was particularly active.  Feeding there, we saw a Varied Thrush, American Goldfinches, House Finches, Spotted Towhees and four Sparrow species (Song, Fox, White- and Golden-crowned).  A Cooper’s Hawk gave a brief appearance and a Racoon was sleeping in a tree as we wandered back along the trail to our parked vehicles.

Next stop down the road was the South Arm Marsh Park. On entering we noticed all the dilapidated Nesting Boxes, some riddled with bullet holes.  A male Wood Duck posed in a tree for us.  Three Vancouver photogs hidden in the bushes with their massive scopes, were shooting Bushtits building a nest.  Déjà vu for us.  They gave us directions to an Anna’s Hummingbird nest which we finally found and watched the Mom arrive and sit on the eggs.  Approaching 12:30 p.m., after destroying PB Lorna’s PB & Banana sandwich, we decided to call it a day.  About 15 to 20 Bald Eagles were circling in the sky (kettling) above us as we began the leisurely drive back to Tsawwassen. Another grand DNCB outing.

Next Wednesday, April 9, we will leave Petra’s at 7:30 a.m. for Colony Farm (CF) Park.  We expect to be at the CF parking lot around 8:30 a.m.  I apologize for the lack of humour in this report, but it’s nearly 1:00 a.m. on Sunday morning and I’m tired after a long day of playing hockey, power washing my patio and partying after the Canucks rare win.  As always, your comments welcome and let me know if you want off my Drivel List.  Cheers: Tom

Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists’ Society

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Filed under *DNCB, Ladner Harbour Park, Ladner S.Arm Marsh

Delta Nats Barn Owl Box Report

Our two Barn Owl Boxes in Boundary Bay and North 40 Parks were checked this March and neither was occupied.  However, there were positive signs.

Photos, and videos, by Roger Meyer
Click on any photo to see larger version

Boundary Bay Barn Owl Box

On Friday, March 14, I joined Metro Vancouver’s Lynden Mager and Richard Mills to examine our new “mansion” Barn Owl Box that was installed on December 17, 2013 in the “oldfields” area of BBRP.  You can check out the extremely interesting report on the historic installation, including photos and videos, on our Blog at the end of Report DNCB No. 2013-50.

It was spitting rain when we arrived at the pole and box in the MV Pick up.  I scanned the surroundings below the box and was exhilarated when I found a few pellets.

BBRP Box: pellets on the ground

BBRP Box: pellets on the ground

We kept watching the Box to see if anything would fly out; nothing did.  Fortunately Richard and Lynden are somewhat mechanically inclined because it took them some time and manoeuvring with the winch attached to the truck to get the Box down the pulley.  The Box had turned about 90 degrees around the pole since installation (wind).  We knew by now there was no Owl in the box, so once lowered I opened it.  The Box bottom was sort of half covered with “fur” which I suspect was broken up pellets.  It wasn’t enough for a nest, but at least evidence that a Barn Owl had been inside.  I looked into the “parent’s ensuite” as well and found a huge pellet there; more confirmation of usage.

BBRP Box: pellet in “parent’s ensuite”

BBRP Box: pellet in “parent’s ensuite”

We took a couple of photos and raised the box back up the pole.  Raising and lowering the Box is quite an ordeal.  Metro Vancouver staff has to do it; so I suspect that we won’t be examining this Box very often, probably only in Spring and Fall.

It was fun to do it with Lynden and Richard because both are keen and interested in the DNS Barn Owl program.

North 40 Barn Owl Box

On Thursday, March 27, after 7:00 p.m., Roger and I went to the North Forty Park to examine our “middle class” Barn Owl Box.  The Report on the North 40 Box Installation on October 8, 2013 includes photos and Roger’s inane video.  We also checked the Box on March 3, 2014 and found pellets on the ground beneath the Box (see Blog Report DNCB 2014-9).

Yesterday evening was clear, but the Park was muddy and covered with lots of water.  Fortunately we wore boots.  We checked beneath the box and, disappointingly, we found no pellets.  The pole was a bit loose, but okay.

As we put up the ladder, we kept visibly checking the hole but nothing flew out.  I unscrewed the door and opened the empty box.  The floor had a flimsy layer of straw and grass, but no pellets or feces.  We wondered whether an owl or other species would have put this here.

As my learned friend pontificated, “Absence of evidence is not necessarily evidence of absence”.  So the Barn Owls could have been there, and may hopefully use it.  We will continue to monitor the box.

As asides, the Bald Eagle pair in the nest nearby is sitting on eggs.  And back at the parking area, a Cooper’s Hawk landed on a branch, then took off directly at us and into our binoculars before veering off at the last minute.  Wish my bins had video capabilities.  Cheers: Tom

Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists’ Society

Videos by Roger (also posted on YouTube):

(Tom takes the camera, Roger up the ladder)

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Filed under *DNS, Bald Eagle, Barn Owl Box, BBRP, Cooper's Hawk, Nestboxes, North Forty/VWS

DNCB Outing No. 2014-12 to Victoria

DNCB in front of BC Legislature, Victoria (click on photo to see large version)

DNCB in front of BC Legislature, Victoria (KB) (click on photo to see large version)

Photos by Terry (TC), Roger (RM), Jonathan (JM), Rick (RW), Marion (MS), Jim (JK) & Ken (KB)

Twenty-seven (wow!) smiling birders enjoyed a glorious Monday on the ferry, double-decker bus and walk around Victoria harbour and parks.  Read this report on our DNCB Blog and enjoy the super photos on the DNCB Picasa link(Names of 27 DNCB at the end of this blog.)

We met on the 7:00 a.m. Ferry from Tsawwassen to Swartz Bay, most car-pooling and parking at the Ladner Bus Exchange, TFN parking lot, or the “expensive” lot at the terminal.  The Ferry was Free for the Seniors (yeah, but unfortunately only until April 1) so several could afford to enjoy the White Spot breakfast on board.  Others stayed on deck admiring the unusual, glass-like flat Strait.  Double-crested Cormorants, Surf Scoters and a few Harbour Seals were the only wildlife of note before departure.  It was a bit breezy but comfy on deck as we crossed the Strait and the sun was rising beyond Mt. Baker.  We were hoping/wishing to see Orcas, but were blanked.  However, a group (4) of Pacific White-sided Dolphins passed in front of the ferry, then along our side, occasionally breaking the surface for shots by our quick photogs.  Not much else in the Strait until we approached Active Pass where the hundreds of Bonaparte Gulls were waiting for us.  Then lots of Pigeon Guillemots were along the Pass.  We picked out a pair of Long-tailed Ducks too.  Of course, the scenery was breath-taking for many of us who don’t often take the ferry.

We got to Swartz Bay on time, around 8:45 a.m., disembarked and lined up for the 70X Double-Decker Bus to Victoria.  Mike gave special $1.50 tickets to each of us cheap Seniors; another bonus.

In the comfy upper deck seats we could enjoy the Island blossoming landscape, which seems distinctly different from the Mainland.  Roger claimed he saw a Sky Lark (introduced species from Britain) as we drove by the Airport.  We got to the last stop at the Parliament Buildings, on time before 10:00 a.m.  Islander Nats Rick & Marg and Valerie met us here to complete our Group of 27.

Rick & Marg (KB)

Rick & Marg (KB)

So we got a passerby to take our obligatory Group Photo, 28 including the Bus Driver, with the Parliament Building behind us.  Then we lost Jane & Louise who went to the renowned Wildlife Photography exhibit at the Royal BC Museum across the street.

We began our walk around the harbour toward Laurel Point, Fisherman’s Wharf and Ogden Point.  Several BCites (Roger, Mike, Rob, etc.) pointed out historical buildings and other famous and infamous places and occurrences as we wandered along the path, but I’ve already forgotten them.  Conversation was certainly not lacking, but birds were.  A Common Merganser was among the yachts in the harbour, near the famous Coho Ferry (to Port Angeles, USA).

Common Merganser (RW)

Common Merganser (RW)

The colourful Float Homes at Fisherman’s Wharf were intriguing; Roger fed the resident “trained” Seal.

Then the Victoria Fire Department entertained us with a “burning boat demonstration”.  One “hero” fireman pulled a survivor from the burning boat, carried him/her to safety, then threw him/her head-first on the dock.  He gave the Superman sign, and walked away.  Fortunately, the concussed survivor was a Dummy.

We continued along the walkway between the luxurious condos and the water, passed the Heliport, to the breakwater (is that what it’s called?) at Ogden Point.  Along the newly-fenced breakwater, we saw a couple of Sanderling flitting on the rocks below near a fisherman.

More Pigeon Guillemots, Harlequin Ducks, Black Oystercatchers and a couple of Rhinoceros Auklets also seen on the walk out to the lighthouse.

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The occasional Steller Sea Lion also poked its dog-like head out of the water.

We got back to the Breakwater Café around Noon, and sat on its deck in the brilliant warm sun, enjoying fish chowder soup, chicken pot pie (they were out of Shepherd’s pie) and a delicious pint of their House Beer.  Some of our rookies fed the House Sparrows under their table.

After lunch, we continued along the beach path through Holland Point Park toward Beacon Hill Park.  Lots of Anna’s Hummingbirds along here, posing and diving for our, and I suppose their partner’s, entertainment.

We also saw one of our very few Warbler sightings as a Yellow-rumped Warbler (Myrtle) flitted in a bush beside the path.

Marion heard a Bewick’s Wren, and we then saw several posing and singing for us.

In the Strait below us were: Common Goldeneye, Red-breasted Mergansers, Bufflehead and Roger picked out a Western Gull among the many Glaucous-winged Gulls.  We turned into Beacon Hill Park where Woodpeckers, a Downy and a Northern Flicker, welcomed us.  “Little Bird” sightings in this park included Bushtits, Ruby-crowned Kinglets (no G-C K’s seen), unidentified warbler, Chestnut-backed Chickadees.  A beaut Eurasian Wigeon was among the American Wigeon and Mallards in a dry inland pond.

Eurasian Wigeon (RW)

Eurasian Wigeon (RW)

At a full pond, near the I think new Great Blue Heronry, a couple of Ring-necked Ducks were with some Lesser Scaup.  We could even detect the “ring neck” on one of these birds.

Approaching 3:30 p.m. we decided to head back to the Bus Stop, via the Museum for a pit stop.  We said our farewells to Rick & Marg and boarded the 3:40 p.m. bus to Swartz Bay terminal.  We were only short six on the return bus trip; better than I expected.  Four of the six took an earlier bus, and I have no idea what happened to Jane (aka Thelma) and Louise.

The ferry ride to Tsawwassen was relatively uneventful.  Saw the same birds as on the way over and the scenery was equally as stunning.  Only a few martyrs stayed on deck as most slept in their seats, exhausted after the long day and almost 10 km walking tour.  At the Tsa Ferry Terminal a Peregrine Falcon posed on a light standard, supplying a fitting end to an awesome DNCB outing.

Peregrine Falcon (JM)

Peregrine Falcon (JM)

Terry Carr’s concise and impeccable arrangements along with such fine weather, a decent number of sightings, with an eclectic group of weirdoes all contributed to a very enjoyable day.

Next DNCB outing is WEDNESDAY, April 2, meeting at and leaving from Petra’s at the earlier time, 7:30 a.m. It will be a local outing; we may go to Ladner Harbour and the South Arm Marsh Parks.  This is a long and dreary report, so, as always, comments encouraged and let me know if you want off my List to receive this drivel.  Cheers: Tom
Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists’ Society

PS: Twenty-seven participants in no particular order were: Organizer/Leader Terry, historians Roger, Mike & Rob with Marylile, part-time participants Jane & Louise, Vancouver Island residents Valerie, Rick & Marg, Jonathan & Lorraine, White Rock Al with his Surrey harem of Alice, Pauline and Jean, other Krauts (I hope this isn’t offensive) Otto, Gerhard and Hans-Ulf, happily re-located PB Lorna without the PB, Kay, new photog Jim, Donna, Ken & Anne, Marion and me.  They like their name in print.

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Filed under *DNCB, Beacon Hill Park, Black Oystercatcher, Fisherman’s Wharf, Harbour Seal, Harlequin Duck, Holland Point Park, Laurel Point, Long-tailed Duck, Ogden Point, Pacific white-sided dolphin, Pigeon Guillemot, Rhinoceros Auklet, Steller Sea Lion, Victoria

DNCB Outing No. 2014-11 to Stanley Park

DNCB at Second Beach (TC)

DNCB at Second Beach (TC)

Photos by Terry Carr (TC), Glen Bodie (GB), Jonathan Mwenifumbo (JM), Marion Shikaze & Bill Denham (BD)

Nineteen birders including several “newbies”, plus a dog, spent a pleasant Monday morning at Stanley Park in downtown Vancouver.



The weather was mild and dry; hi-lites included: lots of waterfowl species in breeding plumage, some neat “little birds”, relaxing walks around Lost Lagoon and Beaver Lake, and a “mediocre” lunch in the Prospect Point Restaurant.  Check out Marion’s, Glen’s, Bill’s, Jonathan’s and Terry’s photos on the DNCB Picasa link DNCB Picasa site.

Eight of us left Petra’s at 8:00 a.m. car-pooling nicely in two vehicles (Rob & Marylile took Glen & Gerhard; Terry, Jim and Hans with me).  Spring Break traffic was flowing smoothly so we got to the Second Beach parking lot a bit before 8:45 a.m. where we were met by newbies Paula (without her bicycle) & Ray, Marion, Santa Otto (beer gift-yeah), dog-sitting Tony & Erika with their “accompaniment”,

Burnaby’s Janice, and Richmond’s Bill and Donna.  Jonathan & Lorraine joined us after MV Parks Staff took our obligatory (and always a hassle) Group Photo as we surveyed the waterfowl and many empty ships in the harbour.  The tide was high and the water wavy from the wind, but dry and not cold, which was much appreciated by some of us old folk.  Lots of Barrow’s Goldeneye and Pelagic Cormorants and some Bufflehead, American Wigeon and Mallards.  We saw beautiful Harlequin Ducks there later.

We began our walk past the swimming pool toward Lost Lagoon.  A posing Anna’s Hummingbird caught our attention, then a couple of Ruby-crowned Kinglets were clearly visible in the bare, budding tree branches.

Several pair of gorgeous Wood Ducks were in the stream before the bridge where someone always leaves seeds.  Song & Fox Sparrows, Spotted Towhees and Juncos were feeding here.

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Canada Geese were roosting, perhaps nesting, on the top of tall tree stumps.  Interestingly, in the Lagoon we saw single species of a male Common Merganser, a male Northern Shoveler, a male Green-winged Teal and one Snow Goose with three Canada’s.

Further around were several American Coots and a raft of Lesser Scaup (taller head, smaller bill) with a few beaut Ring-necked Ducks among them.

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Lots of Common Goldeneye (some showing their neck-bending mating behaviour) and Double-crested Cormorants in the fresh water Lagoon (Barrow’s & Pelagic respectively in the outer Bay).

The resident Mute Swans were there too, a couple looking like they might be pairing up for Spring activity. Marion photographed a pair of “entertaining” Mallards.  A pair of Varied Thrush feeding just off the trail thrilled us on the way back to Second Beach.

We got back to the vehicles about 10:30 a.m. and re-grouped to drive to the Beaver Lake entrance.  Lots of repetitious and often unintelligible conversation as we wandered around the lily-pad covered lake.  More Wood Ducks, Bufflehead and a couple of Green-winged Teal cruising about.

A bunch of Violet-green Swallows (first-of-year for me) were hawking insects above the water; we did not ID any Tree Swallows.  A Red Slider Turtle was resting on the Beaver’s Lodge.  Marion and Otto fed both Black-capped and Chestnut-backed Chickadees from their hands.

Native Douglas Squirrels enjoyed the feed too.  Lots of buds, and Daffodils and Swamp (Skunk) Cabbage in bloom, but not a lot of mushrooms or other fungi to whet Glen’s palate.  We again noted the Indian Totem carving on the tree on the way out.

Some then visited the Great Blue Heronry in the Park; several of us decided to have lunch at Prospect Point Restaurant.

The beer was awesome, the fish & chips mediocre, and the 18% Surcharge again pissed off a number of us.  Nonetheless, we were all happy heading home in the brilliant sun having enjoyed another fun DNCB morning.

Next Monday, March 24 is our Ferry Outing to Victoria.  We will meet on the 7:00 a.m. ferry to Swartz Bay, returning on 5 pm ferry from Swartz Bay (arr. 6:35 pm); see Terry’s details on the DNS Upcoming Events page (end of page).  As always, comments welcome and please advise if you want off My List.

Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists’ Society

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Filed under *DNCB, Beaver Lake, Douglas Squirrel, Harlequin Duck, Lost Lagoon, Stanley Park

DNCB “Birds on the Bay” Outing No. 2014-10 in BBRP


BOTB birders (JM)

Photos by Terry Carr (TC), Jonathan Mwenifumbo (JM) & Marion Shikaze (MS)

BOTB Group (MS)

BOTB Group (MS)

A huge group of about 35 nature lovers enjoyed a brilliant Wednesday morning walk in Boundary Bay Regional Park on Delta Nats quarterly Birds on the Bay event.  A few neat sightings, a lot of chat-bonding, and a finale of some scrumptious grub, all in a beautiful setting on a gorgeous Delta morning.  Check out the photo evidence at DNCB Picasa site.

We met at and left from historic Cammidge House (CH) at 9:00 a.m.  Following introductions and name-taking of the many “newbies” we set off toward the beach.  I won’t list the participants’ names, but there were visitors from every part of Greater Vancouver including one by bicycle (and bus) from North Vancouver.  Lots of Nats from Langley, White Rock, Surrey and of course Delta, and a few weird “internationals” from I don’t know where.  We scared up a few Mallards,

Mallards (female & male) (JM)

Mallards (female & male) (JM)

Spotted Towhees and Red-winged Blackbirds, some with brilliant epaulets, in the slough along the Park road.  Bald Eagles were roosting in the “Big Tree”,

along with Otto’s “Kite” (we don’t see many Kites in Delta).  We circled the construction fence to the “re-invigorated new pond”.  A couple of American Wigeons in it, and Anne M found about 5 of the resident Brewer’s Blackbirds near to where the former concession stand stood.  We wandered across the sand to the shore.  High tide gave us false expectations of hordes of Shorebirds pushed up close for good viewing.  Not to be.  Gulls and Wigeons and a Greater Yellowlegs gave a fly-past that a few saw.  But Mt. Baker was stunning across the Bay.

Begrudgingly to some, we/Roger took the obligatory Group Photo here, and then we continued our walk along the trail.  Marsh Wrens

were buzzing in the marshes and some got good looks.  Not a lot of bird activity, but Song, Golden-crowned and Fox Sparrows were seen.  We were all pretty excited at seeing lots of Northern Harriers, several involved in mating behaviour, circling and showing-off in the sky.

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A Cooper’s Hawk flew past chasing a Robin, then spent the next while fending off attacks from Northwestern Crows.  A Red-tailed Hawk (possible resident) posed on a stump for us.

Red-tailed Hawk (TC)

Red-tailed Hawk (TC)

A number of Green-winged Teal and Northern Pintail were also seen in the marshes with the other ducks. Interestingly, a large flock of Snow Geese was seen flying south over the Bay.


Brants (JM)

The group got a bit spread-out as we got to our Delta Nats “still plugged” Bird Boxes, approaching the Pump House.  Several newly-arrived Tree Swallows were seen swirling above us throughout the morning.  Only a few Brants were seen off shore here, not like the hundreds last week (Hunting Season ended March 10).  And we saw no Shorebirds, unlike last week when thousands of Dunlin were feeding on the other side of the Bay.  Lots of Northern Flickers around and a nice male Downy Woodpecker.

On the walk back to CH on the inland trail, some saw a Bewick’s Wren.

Bewick's Wren (MS)

Bewick’s Wren (MS)

Of course, the Great Blue Herons are always fun to watch spearing prey.  A neat flock (8) of Trumpeter Swans flew over us toward the farmers fields.  The “bird of the day” for some was a posing Ruby-crowned Kinglet in a bush just off the trail.  We got back to CH just after 11:30 a.m. and were welcomed by the Delta Nats Ladies, Rochelle, Eleanor, Jennifer, Sandra and their godfather Don.  The home-made scones, cakes, cookies and egg sandwiches were wolfed down quickly by the starving mob.  I think everyone left smiling.

Next Monday, March 17, we will leave Petra’s at 8:00 a.m. for Stanley Park.  We should be at the 2nd Beach parking lot around 8:45 a.m. (near the Swimming Pool).  Time permitting, we may go to Ambleside Park in West Van.

The following Monday, March 24, is our Ferry Outing to Victoria.  Check Blog for details.  Also, the Wings Over Water Festival is on this weekend in Blaine, WA.

We will change our DNCB outings to Wednesdays beginning on April 2 (no outing March 31).  As always, comments welcome, and let me know if this drivel annoys you.

Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists’ Society

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Filed under *DNCB, Bald Eagle, BBRP, Birds-on-the-Bay, Cammidge House, Cooper's Hawk, Northern Harrier, Red-tailed Hawk