DNCB Outing No. 2020-06 to Serpentine Fen and Surrey Lake

Nineteen DCNBers had an enjoyable and productive outing to four Surrey Parks on Tuesday.  It was a dry day with high overcast.  The stops included Serpentine Fen, Surrey Lake and two new stops recommended by Ken and Anne A. – Goldstone Park Elementary School and Cloverdale Youth Park.  Debbi’s ebird lists for the four stops showed that we saw a total of 48 species (see below).  A highlight was a female Redhead at Cloverdale Youth Park.

You can enjoy the photo evidence on our DNCB flickr site.

The first stop was Serpentine Fen on King George Blvd.  We saw many waterfowl species there, including Common Goldeneye, American & Eurasian Wigeon, Northern Shovelers, Mallards, Northern Pintail, Green-winged Teal, Scaup, Hooded & Common Mergansers, Bufflehead, Canada Geese and Cackling Geese.  There was evidence of fresh beaver activity and Pat and Glen took photos of a beaver.  Marion  and Glen took photos of a seal eating a very large salmon.  A Peregrine Falcon posed on a radio tower and Northern Harriers cruised by. Debbi saw a Wilson’s Snipe fly up.  We were entertained by crows dive bombing a juvenile Bald Eagle while Jim tried to take the group photo.


DNCB at Serpentine Fen – photo by Jim Kneesch (not in photo!)

The next stop was a small pond beside Goldstone Park Elementary School on 146th St at 64th Ave.  This is actually part of Sullivan Heights Park.  Ken and Anne said that it has been a reliable spot to see Ring-necked Ducks up close and personal.  And as predicted, 7 Ring-necked Ducks were there.  A Greater Scaup, without the ringed bill and with his green head, was hanging out with them.  The pond also contained Mallards, Bufflehead, Gadwall, a Hooded Merganser and an American Coot.  A Song Sparrow sitting on the cattails pretended to be a wren.

Our third stop was Surrey Lake Park.  As we left the parking area we were greeted by a Varied Thrush.  As usual this small lake contained a variety of water birds.  There were Green-winged Teal, Mallards, Wigeon, Bufflehead, Hooded and Common Mergansers, Scaup, Ring-necked Ducks, Northern Pintail, Gadwall, Coots and Pied-billed Grebes.  We were blanked on Canvasbacks and Ruddy Ducks that are often seen here.  After hearing a Belted Kingfisher we finally saw him land on a Wood Duck box at the far end of the lake.  As we headed back to the parking lot a Red-tailed Hawk flew over and Steller’s Jays made a noisy appearance.

Our fourth stop was at a small pond behind Cloverdale Youth Park where a female Redhead has been seen for a few weeks.  She appeared on cue along with Hooded Mergansers, Gadwall, Wigeon and Mallards.  These small city ponds are important winter habitat for ducks.  Two Belted Kingfishers were flying around and a Wilson’s Snipe appeared briefly.

Ten of us stopped for a very tasty lunch at Big Ridge Brew Pub at 152 St and Highway 10. However trying to find a place to park there was an adventure.

The 19 were Ken, Anne A, Roger M, Mike, Debbi, Bryan D, Pat, Jack, Margaretha, Gabriele, Jonathan, Lorraine, Johnny Mac, Pam, Glen, Marion, Jim, newcomer Langley Todd and me (Terry). Tom should be back from his Ontario adventure on Thursday.

Next Tuesday, February 18, the outing will be to Blaine, USA.  We will leave Petra’s at 7:30, cross the border at Peace Arch and meet at Blaine Marine Park on Marine Drive at 8:15.  Drayton Harbor and Semiahmoo Spit are favorite birding hot spots.

Report by Terry Carr (Tom is in Ontario)

Serpentine Fen, Feb 11, 2020, 8:10 AM – 11:00 AM
40 species (+1 other taxa)
Cackling Goose  45
Canada Goose  300
Northern Shoveler  14
Eurasian Wigeon  1
American Wigeon  150
Mallard  150
Northern Pintail  500
Green-winged Teal  21
Greater Scaup  18
Bufflehead  3
Common Goldeneye  26
Hooded Merganser  4
Common Merganser  2
Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon)  16
American Coot  1
Wilson’s Snipe  1     flew up from cattail marshes & over hwy.
Ring-billed Gull  5
Glaucous-winged Gull  3
Double-crested Cormorant  1
Great Blue Heron  3
Northern Harrier  2
Bald Eagle  7
Red-tailed Hawk  1
Barn Owl  2     seen by Roger, Jim, Mike & myself
Peregrine Falcon  1     perched on radio tower
Steller’s Jay  1
Northwestern Crow  2
Black-capped Chickadee  4
Bushtit  2
Golden-crowned Kinglet  1
Marsh Wren  3
Bewick’s Wren  1
European Starling  14
American Robin  5
Fox Sparrow  1
Dark-eyed Junco  12
Dark-eyed Junco (Slate-colored/cismontanus)  1    seen by moi in blackberries, at start of trail – all black, grey & white
Golden-crowned Sparrow  4
Song Sparrow  4
Spotted Towhee  3
Red-winged Blackbird  2     probably more – heard, not seen
Sullivan Heights Park, Feb 11, 2020, 11:30 AM – 11:42 AM
13 species
Gadwall  1
Mallard  4     2 on pond, 2 in stream/deciduous grove
Ring-necked Duck  7
Greater Scaup  1     sun shining on its green head!
Bufflehead  1
Hooded Merganser  1
Anna’s Hummingbird  1
Glaucous-winged Gull  1
Bald Eagle  1
Northwestern Crow  12
Black-capped Chickadee  2
Song Sparrow  3
Spotted Towhee  1
Cloverdale Youth Park,  Feb 11, 2020 12:30 PM – 12:50 PM
14 species
Canada Goose  2
Gadwall  1
American Wigeon  2
Mallard  4
Redhead  1     continuing female, seen by many, photos by Delta Nats Bird group
Hooded Merganser  2
Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon)  5
Anna’s Hummingbird  1
Wilson’s Snipe  1
Glaucous-winged Gull  2
Belted Kingfisher  2
Northwestern Crow  7
European Starling  8
Red-winged Blackbird  1

Posted in *DNCB, Bald Eagle, Beaver, Belted Kingfisher, Cackling Geese, Cloverdale Youth Park, Eurasian Wigeon, Goldstone pond, Hooded Merganser, Northern Harrier, Peregrine Falcon, Pied-billed Grebe, Red-tailed Hawk, Redhead, Ring-necked Duck, Serpentine Fen, Surrey Lake, Wilson's Snipe | Leave a comment

DNCB Outing No. 2020-05 to Brunswick Point

Ten DNCBers braved the elements on Tuesday for an outing to Brunswick Point in Ladner, where we saw 26 species.  Check out the photos on our DNCB Flickr site.

We left Tsawwassen at 7:30 in light rain.  And it was still only rain when we returned to Tsawwassen.  However for our 2 hours at Brunswick Point it was snowing and very cold. Our leader, Tom, is in Ontario with cold weather but no snow.

We saw several ducks along the way, including Bufflehead, American Wigeon, Mallards, Northern Pintail, Green-winged Teal and Red-breasted Mergansers.  There were thousands of Snow Geese offshore, some Trumpeter Swans and one Brant.  We saw several Northern Harriers, Bald Eagles, Double-crested Cormorants, Northern Flickers and Great Blue Herons.  A murmuration of thousands of Dunlin was a spectacular sight.  Two Wilson’s Snipe appeared briefly.  Two Western Meadowlarks were moving around in the fields.  As the snow/sleet was getting heavier and we were getting colder, we turned around sooner than we usually do.  Just before reaching the cars we were entertained by 3 Peregrine Falcons in one tree.

Since the tide was high we were hoping to see Virginia Rails.  But they did not appear.  We were also blanked on the Short-eared Owls that we usually see here.

At 10am, all ten of us drove in a blizzard to the Skyhawk Restaurant at Boundary Bay Airport where we got warmed up with coffee and breakfast.  The ten were Pat, Margaretha, Colin, Warren, David, Noreen, Glen, Anne, Mike and me (Terry).  When we left the restaurant the cars were covered with snow and the roads had several more inches as well.

Next Tuesday, February 11, we will leave Petra’s at 7:30am for an outing to Serpentine Fen, Surrey Lake and possibly the small pond at Cloverdale Youth Park (176th St just south of 64th Ave) where Redheads have been seen recently.  Meet at Serpentine Fen at 8am.  NOTE the 44th Ave parking lot is CLOSED permanently.  Meet at the parking lot on King George Blvd, 600m north of Art Knapp, just south of the bridge, west side of King George Blvd, (access is easier from the north).

Also on Tuesday, February 11, there will be a (rescheduled) DNS monthly meeting (cancelled Feb 4 because of snow).  Feb. 4 featured speaker Martin Gregus is not available that day, but our very own Delta Nats. member, Alan Stewart will give us a presentation on his adventures, Canoeing and Birding in Saskatchewan.  Northern Saskatchewan is rich in waterways and lakes and harbours some species which we do not see here.   Come and share in learning something more about this country we call Canada.

Report by Terry Carr (Tom is in Ontario)

Posted in *DNCB, Bald Eagle, Brunswick Point, Dunlin, Northern Harrier, Peregrine Falcon, Trumpeter Swan, Western Meadowlark, Wilson's Snipe | Leave a comment

DNCB Outing No. 2020-04 to Point Roberts, USA

Twenty-three DNCBers enjoyed a rainless, almost comfortable, Tuesday morning birding the hotspots in Point Roberts USA.  Our photogs got some great shots, but our Flickr site is “down” at the moment.  I’m providing links here to our DNCB Flickr “Pool”, and to some of our Nats photog’s individual sites: Glen, Terry, David, Noreen, Pat and Brian.  You’ll see brilliant photos on all these sites.

The 10 folk in Petra’s at 7:30 am all left for the Border in their own cars to buy the cheap gas.  Border was smooth for the convoy; we stopped at Kiniski’s Reef Tavern first.  It was very cool, cloudy and windy; water was high and wavy in the Salish Sea.  Lots of neat birds south of the Ferry Terminal, but required patience and a scope to spot, for example Common Goldeneye, both Horned and Western Grebes (further out), Bufflehead, probably all three Cormorant species flying by (Double-crested, Pelagic & Brandt’s), Red-breasted Mergansers, Surf & White-winged Scoters, and Common Loons.

We drove to the Lighthouse Marine Park where the others were waiting.  As the chatfest lingered on, the resident Black Turnstones were feeding up close on the limited bit of shoreline.  We walked toward the Point, getting good looks at several pairs of spectacular Harlequin Ducks.  Got brief looks too at the heads of a couple of California Sealions. We picked out a few Pacific Loons, and some saw Common Murres and Pigeon Guillemots.  Noreen took the Group Photo at the Point, surprisingly with a bit of sun shining on us.

2020-04 DNCB_Pt Rob.jpg

DNCB at Lighthouse Marine Park, Point Roberts – photo by Noreen Rudd

I/we couldn’t find a Rhinoceros Auklet or any other uncommon pelagic species.  David listed 40 species seen on his eBird list (see below) for this morning.

The inland trail back to the parking lot was relatively quiet too.  Sparrows (Song, Golden- & White-crowned) and House Finches were flitting in the bushes, but no Wrens seen today.  Anna’s Hummingbirds were entertaining.

Next stop was the north-west side of the Marina.  The resident Belted Kingfisher was there, and caught a little fish for us.  Between the moored boats were Lesser Scaup, Bufflehead, and both Common and Barrow’s Goldeneye doing their neck-breaking ritual.  On the drive to the south side of the Marina, a perched Red-tailed Hawk was the only raptor we saw other than the Bald Eagles which are everywhere this Winter.  More Harlies, Scaup and Goldeneye here; the immature Goldeneyes arousing discussion as to whether they were Barrow’s or Common.  Killdeer were in the field, but no Meadowlarks.

We bypassed Sea Bright Farm and drove directly to Lily Point Park.  We went to both Lookouts in the park, and there were lots of “dots” in the Strait below.  We could ID, with our scopes, many of the same species already seen, but nothing new (e.g. Murrelets, Auklets, Murres).

It was just after Noon when we left Lily Point, stopped for cheap gas, and drove to the Rose & Crown Pub in Tsawwassen for lunch.  Most of the 10 of us had the Lunch Special of Vegetable/Potato Soup and an Egg/Cheese/Ham Sandwich, and it was delicious served by the always lovely Leila.  And my pint of Original 16 Lager, also on Special, hit the spot too. It was another fantastic DNCB outing.

The 23 were: Guru Anne, Organizer Terry, Photog/eBirders David & Noreen, Flickr Guru Glen, almost Delta residents Jonathan & Lorraine, White Rockers Colin & Wazza, Ladner Pam, our garrulous Germanics Gabriele & Margaretha, North Deltans Pat & Jean, Drop-in Pt. Bob’s Paul, historian Mike B w/o Roger, recovering Limper Mike B2, Richmond Brian & Louise, Ladner Bryan w/o Masae, ILB Tony M, our Moneyman Jim, and me.

Next Tuesday, February 4, our outing is to Brunswick Point, leaving Petra’s at 7:30 am and meeting others at the River Road entrance in Ladner at about 8:00 am.

And don’t forget our Nats monthly meeting on Tuesday evening, Feb. 4, at 7:30 pm at the Benediction Lutheran Church in Tsawwassen with Photographer Martin Gregus presenting on Snowy Owls and other raptors.  All welcome, Free.

Sandra and I leave on Monday, Feb 3, for Ontario to visit with friends and relatives, and my 61st annual UpSouth outing to Dorset with about ten of my Niagara Falls primary school buddies.  So I’ll miss the next two weekly outings, but you can find info on these outings, other reports, photos and events on our website.  As always, your comments are welcome, and let me know if this weekly drivel ruins your otherwise exciting life, and you want off my email list.  Cheers: Tom

Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists Society

Beach at Kiniski’s Reef Tavern, Point Roberts 28-Jan-2020
10 species
Surf Scoter 10
White-winged Scoter 4
Bufflehead 1
Common Goldeneye 2
Red-breasted Merganser 8
Horned Grebe 4
Western Grebe 10
Glaucous-winged Gull 16
Common Loon 1
Double-crested Cormorant 384

Lighthouse Marine Park, Point Roberts 28-Jan-2020
23 species
Brant 2
Harlequin Duck 3
Surf Scoter 4
Long-tailed Duck 1
Common Goldeneye 1
Red-breasted Merganser 4
Horned Grebe 3
Western Grebe 15
Anna’s Hummingbird 1
Black Turnstone 48
Common Murre 2
Pigeon Guillemot 2
Glaucous-winged Gull 12
Red-throated Loon 2
Pacific Loon 10
Common Loon 2
Brandt’s Cormorant 20
Pelagic Cormorant 9
Double-crested Cormorant 80
Bald Eagle 2
Northwestern Crow 5
European Starling 4
White-crowned Sparrow 3
Golden-crowned Sparrow 1

Point Roberts jetties 28-Jan-2020
16 species
Snow Goose 120
Canada Goose 12
Harlequin Duck 2
Bufflehead 2
Common Goldeneye 4
Barrow’s Goldeneye 1
Red-breasted Merganser 1
Horned Grebe 1
Glaucous-winged Gull 2
Bald Eagle 1
Belted Kingfisher 1
Northern Flicker 1
Northwestern Crow 2
European Starling 5
American Robin 1
Red-winged Blackbird 2

Point Roberts jetties 28-Jan-2020
17 species (+1 other taxa)
Canada Goose 12
Greater Scaup 10
Harlequin Duck 3
Surf Scoter 3
Bufflehead 5
Common Goldeneye 5
Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon) 1
Anna’s Hummingbird 1
Killdeer 3
Glaucous-winged Gull 4
gull sp. 22
Great Blue Heron 2
Red-tailed Hawk 1
Belted Kingfisher 1
Northwestern Crow 5
House Finch 4
Song Sparrow 1
Red-winged Blackbird 9

Lily Point, Point Roberts 28-Jan-2020
10 species
Surf Scoter 3
White-winged Scoter 2
Common Goldeneye 3
Red-breasted Merganser 4
Glaucous-winged Gull 5
Common Loon 1
Bald Eagle 9
Belted Kingfisher 1
Northwestern Crow 3
Black-capped Chickadee 3

Total 40 Species

Posted in *DNCB, Barrow's Goldeneye, Black Turnstone, Brandt's Cormorant, California Sea Lion, Common Murre, Harlequin Duck, Lighthouse Marine Park, Lily Point Park, Pacific Loon, Pelagic Cormorant, Pigeon Guillemot, Point Roberts, Red-breasted Merganser, Red-tailed Hawk, Western Grebe | Leave a comment

DNCB Outing No. 2020-03 to Iona Regional Park

Twenty-four keeners enjoyed a fairly productive Tuesday morning in Iona Regional Park and the adjacent sewage ponds.  We only recorded 26 species (see David’s eBird list below), but saw tonnes of birds, and you can check out the brilliant photo evidence, including the Blue Goose, on our DNCB Flickr site.

Two vehicles left Petra’s at 7:30 am and the traffic to and through the tunnel was horrendous.  Some arrived at the Iona washroom parking lot before 8:00 am, others not until 8:45 am.  Surprisingly, the sun was out and it was relatively mild as we walked to the beach to check out the flock of Snow Geese.

DSC00692 - Copy

DNCB at Iona – photo by Glen Bodie

While taking the obligatory Group Photo, another huge flock cruised in right in front of us, and then newbie Christine spotted the Blue Goose among the 2000 birds.  Another very dark bird seen may have been a juvenile Blue Goose.  No shorebirds were seen, other than the resident Killdeer, as the tide was very high.  A raft of Common Mergansers was there too, and Marion spotted a Canvasback with them.

We moved back to the front pond where a small mixed group of Ring-necked, Lesser Scaup and Bufflehead were diving.  To take advantage of the brilliant sun rising in the east (for photogs with sun behind), we decided to walk around the southwest side of the pond, then into the sewage lagoons.  Of course, as we got to the backside, the clouds covered the sun.  And not many little birds were seen, so we were blanked on any of the three wren species (Bewick’s, Marsh, Pacific) and regularly-seen sparrow species.  Several Short-eared Owls were seen a few days ago.

On entering the sewage lagoons, the northwest pond was full of waterfowl.  Lots of Northern Pintail, Northern Shoveler, Green-winged Teal, American Wigeon (we couldn’t find the Eurasian), Lesser Scaup (Greater too, but no Tufted seen), Gadwall, and Mallards.  Sharp-eyed Mel with Metro Vancouver Parks, spotted a Blue-winged Teal, but we weren’t able to find it again.  No raptors (Peregrine, Merlin) were seen either, other than the resident Bald Eagles.

We left the sewage ponds and walked through the woods to the river.  Got nice views of a Ruby-crowned Kinglet, and lots of Coyote scat.  Some saw a Northern Shrike.  The group being so large got spread out, so we straggled back to the parking lot in stages, the rain pushing some to walk faster.  It was just after 11:00 am when we aborted the outing, and some left for the Flying Beaver Restaurant in order to get breakfast before 11:30 am.

Thirteen of us gathered for breakfast or lunch at the Flying Beaver (see David’s photos).

2020-03_DNCB_Flying Beaver

Lunch at the Flying Beaver – photo by David Hoar

I had Clam Chowder Soup, an exotic Garden Salad, and a tasty pint of Sapporo draught.  The veteran Jessica served us smiling, but Mike wasn’t happy with the 18% Gratuity charge.  Nonetheless, it was another super DNCB outing.

The 24 were: Organizer Terry, Guru Anne, MV’s Iona Park Manager Mel B, Richmond Brian & Louise, New West’s Jonathan & Lorraine, eBirder David & Noreen, Marion, Marti & Kirsten, Jim & Chris, Ladner Pam, North Delta Pat, White Rock Colin & Wazza, Mike B w/o Roger, Photog Glen B, Newbies Doug & Christine McG, Angela A, and me.

Next Tuesday, January 28, we’ll leave Petra’s at 7:30 am for Point Roberts, meeting others at Lighthouse Marine Park around 8:00 am.

For more info on this outing, other events, reports and photos, see our website.  As always, your comments are appreciated, and let me know if these boring missives annoy you and you want off my email list.  Cheers: Tom

Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists Society

Iona Island (general)  21-Jan-2020
27 species (+1 other taxa)

Snow Goose 145 One Blue Goose
Blue-winged Teal 1 Located with spotting scope in NW pond amongst Northern Pintails, Mallards and Green-winged teal
Northern Shoveler 18
Gadwall 6
American Wigeon 7
Mallard 53
Northern Pintail 500
Green-winged Teal 96
Canvasback 1
Ring-necked Duck 8
Greater/Lesser Scaup 22
Bufflehead 4
Common Merganser 22
Killdeer 1
Glaucous-winged Gull 7
Great Blue Heron 16
Bald Eagle 4
Northern Flicker 4
Northern Shrike 1
Northwestern Crow 11
Black-capped Chickadee 5
Ruby-crowned Kinglet 1
American Robin 1
Fox Sparrow 3
Golden-crowned Sparrow 4
Song Sparrow 11
Spotted Towhee 3
Red-winged Blackbird 6

Posted in *DNCB, Bald Eagle, Blue Goose, Blue-winged Teal, Canvasback, Iona, Northern Shrike, Ring-necked Duck, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Sewage Lagoons | Leave a comment

DNCB Outing No. 2020-02 to Alaksen & Reifel Bird Sanctuary

Ten hardy DNCBers braved the cold (-8C) on a “changed” outing to Alaksen National Wildlife Area (NWA) and our “Mecca” Reifel Bird Sanctuary.  We saw many neat species, 50 total according to David’s eBird list (see below), and our photogs got lots of beaut shots you can enjoy by clicking on our DNCB Flickr site.

Seven of us left Petra’s at 7:30 am and drove through Ladner to Alaksen NWA (Roger wimped out and stayed home drinking hot chocolate in his Hot Tub).  We/Organizer Terry changed the destination the night before because of the predicted snow and cold spell that hit Delta and the lower mainland.  Wet Coasters, especially Deltans, are not used to snow and cold at all.  Surprisingly, the roads were mostly plowed and the ride was smooth, with a couple of Red-tailed Hawks welcoming us at the Alaksen entrance.  We didn’t find the resident Barred Owls in the Cedar trees, but a Pacific Wren, Brown Creeper, and both Ruby- and Golden-crowned Kinglets were neat sightings.

In the open water (rare, as all the ponds later at Reifel were frozen) behind the new washrooms we got 20 species in 10 minutes.  A posing Merlin, Belted Kingfisher, and most regular waterfowl species (Common & Hooded Mergansers, Bufflehead, brilliant Wood Ducks, Green-winged Teal, Lesser Scaup, etc.) were some of the hi-lites.  Walking toward the circular trail and into the tractor barn, “someone” scared out two gorgeous Barn Owls.  We were unsuccessful trying to locate any Great Horned or Sawhet Owls this day, but did see a Bewick’s Wren and Varied Thrush.

Shortly after 9:00 am, we drove next door to Reifel, and met the other three (Colin, Stephanie & Angela).  Fifteen Sandhill Cranes were jostling on the frozen pond behind the entrance building.  Two Black-crowned Night-Herons were sleeping there too, along with about 20 Great Blue Herons that looked like frozen statues.


The frozen few: DNCB at Reifel – photo by Noreen & Glen, edited by David

We took the mandatory Group Photo (Thanks David for the “photo-shopped composite” of Glen and Noreen’s photos) with the Ring-necked Ducks behind us, and surrounded by the voraciously feeding Chickadees (from seed on our hands and head).

We followed the south-east trail in search of the Goshawk and Black Phoebe.  It was quite cold, and we weren’t very vigilant in our unsuccessful search, but there were hundreds of entertaining little birds on the trails (helped by Reifel’s full feeders).  We have never seen so many Spotted Towhees and Fox Sparrows.  The ponds were frozen, but in the few bits of open water, we saw an American Coot.  Some almost saw a Peregrine Falcon.  The hi-lite at Reifel was the Swamp Sparrow by the Tower, interestingly the same place we had seen one last year (same bird?).

From the tower, there were over 40 Trumpeter Swans just at the waters edge past the marsh.  A swarm of Dunlin flew over them.  There were hundreds and hundreds of ducks in the strait (too far away to identify), and a large flock of Northern Shovelers and Northern Pintail in the marsh area.  Several large flocks of Snow Geese flew over in V’s, one landed in the field at the Reifel entrance which we saw up-close-and-personal on departure.

We got back to the entrance around 11:30 am and all ten of us decided to go to Speed’s Pub in Ladner for lunch.  We had a very cozy lunch, my regular 2 piece Cod & Chips Special with a pint of Speed’s Lager hit the spot with the “colourful jeweled” Calli giving us excellent service.  We were back in Tsawwassen before 1:00 pm and I got back to my 1:30 pm Doctor appointment in Ladner early; all good, except that he again suggested that I cut back on my sugar and beer intake.  Another awesome DNCB adventure.

The 10 participants were: Guru Anne, Organizer Terry, Photogs/eBirder David & Noreen, White Rockers Colin & Stephanie, Rookie Angela A, Historian Mike B, Flickr Guru Glen and me.

Next Tuesday, January 21, we’ll leave Petra’s at 7:30 am for Iona Regional Park, meeting others at the washroom parking lot around 8:15 am.

For more details on this and other outings, reports and photos, see our website.  As always, your comments are encouraged, and let me know if you want off my Mailchimp email list to receive these long-winded, nauseating, less-than-interesting reports.  Cheers: Tom

Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists Society (1:00 am and going to bed after a long day of shoveling snow, reviving a frozen Hummingbird, and thawing and re-filling feeders, even schools were closed this Snow Day in Delta)

eBird Lists by David Hoar:
Alaksen National Wildlife Area, 14-Jan-2020
28 species (+1 other taxa)
Canada Goose 27
Wood Duck 3
American Wigeon 4
Mallard 2
Green-winged Teal 2
Lesser Scaup 2
Bufflehead 3
Hooded Merganser 7
Common Merganser 7
duck sp. 16
Glaucous-winged Gull 5
Great Blue Heron 1
Bald Eagle 3
Red-tailed Hawk 1
Barn Owl 2
Belted Kingfisher 1
Northern Flicker 2
Merlin 1
Black-capped Chickadee 3
Golden-crowned Kinglet 3
Bewick’s Wren
Pacific Wren 1
European Starling 15
Varied Thrush 1
American Robin 2
Fox Sparrow 1
Dark-eyed Junco 15
Golden-crowned Sparrow 22
Song Sparrow 2
Spotted Towhee 4

Reifel Bird Sanctuary, 14-Jan-2020
35 species
Snow Goose 600
Trumpeter Swan 41
Wood Duck 1
Northern Shoveler 65
Gadwall 2
American Wigeon 9
Mallard 18
Northern Pintail 2
Green-winged Teal 4
Ring-necked Duck 2
Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon) 22
American Coot 1
Sandhill Crane 15
Dunlin X
Double-crested Cormorant 2
Great Blue Heron 25
Black-crowned Night-Heron 2
Northern Harrier 1
Bald Eagle 10
Downy Woodpecker 2
Northern Flicker 2
Peregrine Falcon 1
Black-capped Chickadee 28
Golden-crowned Kinglet 1
Ruby-crowned Kinglet 1
Brown Creeper 1
American Robin 6
House Sparrow 4
Fox Sparrow 7
Dark-eyed Junco 10
Golden-crowned Sparrow 16
Song Sparrow 9
Swamp Sparrow 1
Spotted Towhee 34
Red-winged Blackbird 14


Posted in *DNCB, Alaksen NWA, Black-crowned Night-Heron, Brown Creeper, Dunlin, Golden-crowned Kinglet, Hooded Merganser, Merlin, Red-tailed Hawk, Reifel, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Sandhill Crane, Trumpeter Swan, Varied Thrush | Leave a comment

DNCB Outing No. 2020-01 to White Rock Pier & Blackie Spit Park

Seventeen brave souls spent a rainy, windy, Tuesday morning on the White Rock pier, then at Blackie Spit Park.  Despite the crappy weather there were tonnes of birds around and our photogs got some great shots which you can enjoy on our DNCB Flickr site.

Some car-pooled from Petra’s at 7:30 am and we all met at the entrance to the re-built White Rock pier around 8:15 am.  It was raining lightly, not real cold (actually approaching 10 degrees C), but the wind on the pier was horrendous.  The tide was high with no shoreline (therefore no shorebirds or dead Anchovies seen) but tonnes of birds, seals and sealions around, so the anchovies or other small fish and crabs must still be abundant.

Close to the pier were Surf and White-winged Scoters (someone saw a Black Scoter), both Common and Red-breasted Mergansers, Bufflehead, Greater Scaup, a few Common Goldeneye, Horned Grebes and at least one Red-necked, Double-crested and Brandt’s Cormorants, and many Gulls, Harbour Seals and California Sealions.  A herd of about eight sealions huddled and diving in unison was impressive.

We marched against the wind to the end of the pier where a friendly walker took our Group Photo.


DNCB at White Rock Pier – photo by David Hoar

Three Black Turnstones were wandering on the pier among the Pigeons.  Some picked out Bonaparte’s, Mew, and Ring-billed (possible Thayer’s Gull too) among the many Glaucous-winged Gulls.  The wind and waves restricted our view further out so we didn’t see any Alcids.  The walk back, with the required chatfest, was more comfortable with the wind, and “my new best friend” Colin carrying the Scope was a real blessing.

We left White Rock around 10:00 am for Blackie Spit.  Overcast, but not rainy or windy, wandering the spit and Rene Savenye park area was relatively pleasant.  And there to welcome us were the resident Long-billed Curlew and three Marbled Godwits.  And they were brilliant, posing on land and in flight.  Lots of Common Loons in the Bay and we picked out a Pacific Loon.  Surprisingly, there were very few waterfowl here, unlike the hundreds of wigeon, teal and pintails we normally see.  A couple of Greater Yellowlegs flew in to test our ID skills, but we were blanked on the other shorebird species; possibly missing because no shoreline to feed on with the high water.

In the grove of trees near the off-leash dog park, we saw most of the neat little birds, such as Anna’s Hummingbirds, both House and Purple Finches, American Goldfinches, Golden-crowned Sparrows, Northern Flickers, Spotted Towhees, Juncos, etc.  David logged 39 species on his eBird report (see below) of this morning’s outing – interestingly, no one saw a Starling.

Back at the parking lot approaching 11:30 am, we aborted the outing and nine of us decided to retire for lunch at the Ocean Park Pizza Pub on 16th Avenue.  A super decision as the lovely Ariana made us all feel comfortable, and my Welsh Meatloaf (House Specialty) with Mashed Potatoes and Green Beans, with two pints of Bavarian 1516 Lager really hit the spot.  I was home before 2:00 pm with plenty of time to prepare for the monthly Nats meeting where Jocelyn Demers screened his brilliant documentary film, The Future of Birds.  Our first 2020 DNCB outing was another gem.

Next Tuesday, January 14, we’ll leave Petra’s at 7:30 am for Burnaby Lake Park (Mandarin Duck?), meeting others at the Nature House parking lot around 8:30 am.

For more info on this outing, other events, reports and photos, check out our website.  As always, your comments are welcome, and let me know if this Mailchimp isn’t working, or you’re annoyed with receiving this weekly drivel and you want off my email list.  Happy New Year.  Cheers: Tom

Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists Society

White Rock Pier, Jan 7, 2020
27 species
Canada Goose  6
Greater Scaup  2
Surf Scoter  65
White-winged Scoter  80
Black Scoter  2
Bufflehead  12
Common Goldeneye  18
Common Merganser  75
Red-breasted Merganser  75
Horned Grebe  4
Red-necked Grebe  2
Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon)  35
Black Turnstone  4
Bonaparte’s Gull  30
Mew Gull  3
Ring-billed Gull  8
Iceland Gull (Thayer’s)  X
Glaucous-winged Gull  135
Pacific Loon  1
Common Loon  2
Brandt’s Cormorant  8
Double-crested Cormorant  50
Bald Eagle  4
Northwestern Crow  11
House Sparrow  4
Song Sparrow  2
Spotted Towhee  1
Trumpeter Swan  ~2

Blackie Spit (Incl. Dunsmuir Farm & Nicomekl estuary), Jan 7, 2020AM
26 species
Surf Scoter  4
White-winged Scoter  5
Bufflehead  2
Common Goldeneye  2
Red-breasted Merganser  3
Horned Grebe  2
Red-necked Grebe  2
Anna’s Hummingbird  7
Long-billed Curlew  1
Marbled Godwit  3
Greater Yellowlegs  1
Ring-billed Gull  2
Glaucous-winged Gull  6
Pacific Loon  1
Common Loon  18
Great Blue Heron  10
Bald Eagle  3
Northern Flicker  4
Northwestern Crow  32
Black-capped Chickadee  10
House Finch  3
Purple Finch  2
American Goldfinch  2
Dark-eyed Junco  10
Song Sparrow  2
Spotted Towhee  4

Total 39 Species for 2020-01

Posted in *DNCB, Bald Eagle, Black Scoter, Black Turnstone, Blackie Spit, Bonaparte's Gull, Brandt's Cormorant, California Sea Lion, Harbour Seal, Long-billed Curlew, Marbled Godwit, Mew Gull, Pacific Loon, Purple Finch, Red-breasted Merganser, Red-necked Grebe, Thayer's Gull, White Rock Pier | Leave a comment

DNCB Outing No. 2019-53 Ladner Christmas Bird Count

Several Delta Nats participated in the Ladner Christmas Bird Count on Saturday, December 21.  Each Christmas Bird Count is conducted on a single day between December 14 and January 5.  Counts are carried out within a 24-km diameter circle that stays the same from year to year.  The Ladner Christmas Bird Count includes Tsawwassen, Point Roberts and south Richmond.  Ladner and Victoria usually compete for the highest species total in Canada – usually over 140.

The Ladner count area is divided into 11 sub-areas. Not all areas reported at the post-count gathering at Reifel.  Without the missing areas and the feeder counts, the preliminary total was 128.

This is a report on Area I, which is Tsawwassen east of 56th St, from Highway 17 to the border, including Beach Grove, Centennial Beach and Boundary Bay. Our total was 70 species.  Some Delta Nats participated in some of the other sub-areas.

There are photos on our flickr site at https://www.flickr.com/search/?group_id=3027315%40N23&view_all=1&text=2019-53

We left Petra’s at 8 am and broke into two groups.  Roger, David, Noreen, Brian, Louise and Larry covered Centennial Beach and Boundary Bay. Terry, Alan, Syd, Debbi and Liz W covered Beach Grove.  It was overcast and windy but the rain held off.  There were not the usual large flocks of ducks, gulls and shorebirds in Boundary Bay.  But 1535 Brant Geese were counted.

Highlights were a Red-breasted Sapsucker and a White-throated Sparrow.

Red-breasted Sapsucker.  Photo by Terry Carr.
                          White-throated Sparrow.  Photo by Kathryn Milligan.

Our count included eleven raptors – Great Horned Owl, Barred Owl, Barn Owl, Short-eared Owl, Peregrine Falcon, Red-tailed Hawk, Northern Harrier, Merlin, Cooper’s Hawk, American Kestrel and 39 Bald Eagles.

Short -eared Owl.  Photo by David Hoar.

Cooper’s Hawk.  Photo by David Hoar.

Northern Harrier.  Photo by David Hoar.

American Kestrel.  Photo by David Hoar.

A flock of Canada Geese behind the South Delta Recreation Centre included Cackling Geese and Greater White-fronted Geese.

One small pond in Beach Grove Golf Course had Mallards, American Wigeon, Hooded Mergansers, a Gadwall, a Northern Shoveler, a Bufflehead and a Ring-necked Duck.

We also counted 1 Killdeer, 11 Yellowlegs, 144 Sanderling, 10 Anna’s Hummingbirds, 5 Downy Woodpeckers, 16 Flickers, 1 Steller’s Jay, 40 Black-capped Chickadess, 2 Chestnut-backed Chickadees, 12 Bushtits, 3 Red-breasted Nuthatches, 1 Brown Creeper, 3 Bewick’s Wrens, 1 Marsh Wren, 1 Golden-crowned Kinglet, 2 Ruby-crowned Kinglets, 23 Robins, 30 Starlings, 16 Towhees, 8 Fox Sparrows, 11 Song Sparrows, 5 White-crowned Sparrows, 40 Golden-crowned Sparrows, 38 Juncos, 10 Red-winged Blackbirds, 20 Brewer’s Blackbirds, 48 House Finches, 18 Goldfinches and 11 House Sparrows.

The next DNCB Outing will be Tuesday, January 7 to White Rock and Blackie Spit, leaving Petra’s at 7:30 am and meeting at White Rock Pier at 8 am. There is free parking until 10 am.

Don’t forget our DNS Monthly Meeting on Tues. January 5, 7:30 at Benediction Lutheran Church, featuring guest Speaker Jocelyn Demers presenting his film “The Future of Birds“.

For more information on our outings, meetings and events, plus reports and photos, see our website at https://dncb.wordpress.com

Terry Carr

Posted in *DNCB, American Kestrel, Bald Eagle, Barn Owl, Barred Owl, BBRP, Beach Grove, Boundary Bay, Brown Creeper, Cackling Geese, CBC Ladner, Centennial Beach, Golden-crowned Kinglet, Great Horned Owl, Greater White-fronted Geese, Hooded Merganser, Merlin, Northern Harrier, Peregrine Falcon, Red-breasted Sapsucker, Red-tailed Hawk, Ring-necked Duck, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Sanderling, Short-eared Owl, White-fronted Goose, White-throated Sparrow | Leave a comment