DNCB Birds on the Bay Outing No. 2017-23 in Boundary Bay Regional Park

More photos at our DNCB Flickr site

Twenty-three DNCBers, mostly Newbies, had a wonderful Wednesday morning at the beach and wandering through Boundary Bay Regional Park.  This was our quarterly Birds on the Bay (BOTB) outing.  It was a bit cool and overcast, but we saw some neat stuff as evidenced in the photos on our Flickr site at: www.flickr.com/groups/dncb, then click the magnifying glass icon in the “Photo Pool” row, and add 2017-23 to “flickr_search_dncb-photosDNCB Photos” in the Search box at the top of the page.

We all met at historic Cammidge House at 9:00 am and went through the introduction of the many Newbies (about 10 in all including Randy & Wendy, Anita, Art, Pam and later Farshad), and the return of Grandma Anne and Emma.  Sammy with the Nature Trust brought two interns, Terita and Brittany who very helpful carrying our Scope on the walk.  It’s so refreshing when we have younger folk on our outings who can actually see and hear the birds.  A Rufous Hummingbird and some House Finches were flitting in the trees around the parking lot as Terry took a long shot Group Photo.

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Photo by Terry Carr

We wandered down the road toward the park and beach, and the chat fest was in full force as the Newbies fit into the system very smoothly.  Bald Eagle flypasts got occasional mention.  In the pond by the Native Plant Garden were several motley Mallards and a pair of Gadwall.

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Photo by Roger Meyer

Roger took another Group Photo with the time-challenged sisters Pat & Maureen, Marian and Margaretha included.

Photo by Roger Meyer

On entering Centennial Beach, 10 Great Blue Herons were parked on the shore as the tide was high.  No Shorebirds seen here today, nor diving ducks (They have migrated back to their nesting colonies in the Arctic or interior).  It was overcast and we couldn’t see Mt. Baker, but it was still a gorgeous vista.

Our walk on the trail was bird-quiet, but otherwise noisy.  We saw the common regulars; Towhees, Sparrows, Finches, Chickadees.  Seeing a few Savannah Sparrows was a bit exciting, then a Marsh Wren sang and posed on a bulrush, thrilling a number of us.  A male Northern Harrier gave a nice glide-past.  We heard lots of Common Yellowthroats, and finally everyone got good looks at this masked warbler.  Lots of Barn and Tree Swallows hawking insects, but we didn’t see any other species (e.g. Violet-green, Cliff).  Several of our Delta Nats Bird Boxes were actively visited by Tree Swallows, but unfortunately, we saw invasive House Sparrows at a couple of them too.

Because most birds are nesting now, we saw few Woodpeckers, only one Northern Flicker.  Brilliant American Goldfinches are always a treat to see, as are the reddish male House Finches.  Several Killdeer, our only shorebird sighting, were foraging in the mud flats.

Roger and Anne pointed out many of the beautiful Wildflowers in the park; as always, I have forgotten the names.  Perhaps the most interesting sighting was a Willow Flycatcher, posing and “fitz-bewing” on a dead tree.

On the inland trail back to Cammidge House, we stopped at a huge Western Thatching Ant mound (see Roger’s video).  The red and black worker ants are all females, but we saw some reproductive forms, winged males and females among them.  A mother White-crowned Sparrow feeding a couple of young birds on the trail was pretty cool too.  Because Cammidge House was closed for painting, when we got back, approaching Noon, the group basically dispersed.  Only Margaretha brought a lunch, and Don & Rochelle bought Fish & Chips, so we four had a lovely lunch under the Picnic Shelter.  No beer, but my “sponged” meal of an historic Peanut Butter & Banana Sandwich, muffin, grapes, fish & chips and coconut water was completely unexpected, but delicious.  Another awesome BOTB outing.

Next Wednesday, June 21, we will meet at and leave from Petra’s at 7:30 am for Maplewood Flats in North Vancouver.  We hope to be at the Conservation Area entrance around 8:30 to 8:45 am.

Also, join us this Sunday, June 18 for entertainment and a Pancake Breakfast at the annual Father’s Day in the Park at Boundary Bay Regional Park.

Saturday, June 24 is the annual DNS Garden Party at Chris & Marlene McVittie’s home. Starts at 5 pmmore details in the June 2017 Newsletter (last page).

For more info and photos on our outings and events, check out our website.  As always, your comments are encouraged, and let me know if you want off my e-mail list to receive this weekly dribble.  Cheers: Tom

Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists Society

Posted in *DNCB, Bald Eagle, BBRP, Birds-on-the-Bay, Centennial Beach, Northern Harrier, Western Thatching Ant, Willow Flycatcher | Leave a comment

DNCB Outing No. 2017-22 to Pitt Lake

Photos by Brian Avent (BA), Chris McVittie (CMcV), Glen Bodie (GB), Maureen Sinilaid, Pat Smart (PS) & Marty Allen (MA)

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Pitt Polder scene by Chris McVittie

More photos at our DNCB Flickr site

Thirteen DNCBers enjoyed a beautiful morning walking the circuit at the spectacular Pitt Polder-Addington Marsh Park at Grant Narrows (aka Pitt Lake).  We have visited this Park annually since 2010 to enjoy the extraordinary vistas and occasional unusual (for us) bird sightings; check out the previous reports at Pitt Lake Reports.

Also enjoy some super photos on our Flickr site at: www.flickr.com/groups/dncb, then click the magnifying glass icon in the “Photo Pool” row, and add 2017-22 to “flickr_search_dncb-photosDNCB Photos” in the Search box at the top of the page.

Six of us left Petra’s at 7:30 am in Anne and Roger’s vehicles and had a leisurely but long drive on highway 17, across the Golden Ears Bridge to the Park. We stopped just before the meeting place at the boat launch because we spotted a Gray Catbird.

This was one of our Target Birds and it sang and posed beautifully.  We met the others around 8:50 am, and Jim took the Group Photo with the spectacular lake and mountains behind us.

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DNCB at Pitt Lake – photo by Jim Kneesch

We started our walk along the trail, beginning with the Barn Swallows nesting in the shed by the toilets.

Lots of birds singing along the trail.  We heard Swainson’s Thrush, Bullock’s Orioles, Black-headed Grosbeaks, Warbling and Red-eyed Vireos, Yellow Warblers, Common Yellowthroats, and a number of us even got glimpses, and photos, of these species.

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Other neat sightings included Eastern Kingbirds, Willow Flycatchers (maybe Western Wood-Pewee too), Band-tailed Pigeons, Rufous Hummingbirds, and Cedar Waxwings followed us all along the trail.  More Gray Catbirds and lots of Swallows including Tree and Violet-Green, and Brown-headed Cowbirds.

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My brilliant sighting was a Wilson’s Snipe that flew into my binocular view as I was looking at a Bald Eagle on a snag.  We saw other common stuff (Sparrows, Goldfinches, Towhees, Redwings), but did not find an American Redstart.  Lots of Wood Ducks and a few Gadwall in the sloughs near the Beaver lodge, and tonnes of Canada Goslings.

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We got to the Lookout approaching 11:00 am and, after a bit of a break, most of us decided to continue around the marsh on the longer trail back to the boat launch.  Richmond Brian finally got a good shot of a Common Yellowthroat.  We hope our Newbie “Pseudo Hockey Playing” Marty got his camera adjustments organized as we look forward to seeing his Flickr postings.  Unfortunately, he was like a seasoned DNCB veteran when a Blue-winged Teal flew by.  He was busy chatting with Pat and missed the shot.

The always-fascinating Cliff Swallow colony on the rock cliff was active with parents entering their nests with bugs for young.

There seemed to be more Carp in the marsh and sloughs than we normally see, but the two guys we saw fishing for Large Mouth Bass in their tiny kayaks seemed to be having a ball.

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Carp (PS)

The two Osprey nests on posts in the Lake had both parents hanging around them.  I couldn’t tell whether there were small young in the nests, or they were just turning eggs.

A Western Tanager landed in a tree within 10′ of the dike while some members were observing the Osprey.

My legs were like rubber when we got back to the parking lot, approaching 1:00 pm.  Some decided to continue along the Catbird Slough Trail; one Newbie went for a swim; others decided to abort the outing and go home; six of us chose to go to nearby Swan-e-Set Golf Course for lunch and a beer.  We were forced to eat inside this gorgeous clubhouse setting as a few hundred Sikhs in costume had invaded the place to celebrate an Indian Wedding.  Thankfully, my Beef Dip, Salad (with Roger’s chips), and pint of Sapporo draught hit the spot.  Hopefully Manli’s photo evidence is posted.  I snoozed through Roger’s murmurings on the ride home, getting back to Tsawwassen close to 4:00 pm.  Another glorious DNCB outing!

The thirteen were: Marion S, Roger, Richmond Brian, Anne M, Glen B, White Rock Al, newbie Marty A (my Noon Hockey line mate), Chris M, Jim K, sisters Pat & Maureen and Manli, and me.

Next Wednesday, June 14, is our quarterly Birds on the Bay outing at Boundary Bay Regional Park.  We will meet at and leave from historic Cammidge House at 9:00 am.

Don’t forget the BioBlitz at Centennial Beach on Sunday, June 11, from 2:30 to 4:00 pm.  Join me, and other experts, on this David Suzuki Foundation event.

As always, your comments are encouraged, and let me know if you want off my e-mail list to receive these verbose ramblings.  Cheers: Tom

Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists Society

Posted in *DNCB, Bald Eagle, Band-tailed Pigeon, Blue-winged Teal, Bullock's Oriole, Cedar Waxwing, Cliff Swallow, Eastern Kingbird, Gray Catbird, Osprey, Pitt Lake, Pitt-Addington Marsh WMA, Red-eyed Vireo, Swainson's Thrush, Warbling Vireo, Western Tanager, Willow Flycatcher, Wilson's Snipe, Yellow Warbler | Leave a comment

DNCB Outing No. 2017-21 to Little Campbell Hatchery and A Rocha

More photos by Glen Bodie (GB), Jack MacDonald (JMacD), Jim Kneesch (JK), Ken Borrie (KB), Pat Smart (PS), Terry Carr (TC) at our DNCB Flickr site

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DNCB at Little Campbell Hatchery – photo by Jack MacDonald

At least 22 DNCBers enjoyed a fantastic outing on Wednesday in Surrey, visiting the Little Campbell River (LCR) Hatchery and adjacent Forest Trail, and then to A Rocha’s Canadian flagship project at their 18-acre Brooksdale Environmental Centre.  We saw 51 species throughout the morning, several were real beauties.  Being Casual Birders, we don’t normally produce a Species Seen List, however, Stan’s e-Bird record is at the end of this report.  The list of Participants is at the end of this report too.

Also, be sure to check out the photo evidence of this outing on our Flickr site: www.flickr.com/groups/dncb, then click the magnifying glass icon in the “Photo Pool” row, and add 2017-21 to “flickr_search_dncb-photosDNCB Photos” in the Search box at the top of the page.

Three cars took nine of us from Petra’s at 7:30 am and we got to the Semiahmoo Fish & Game Club in Surrey just past 8:00 am (ahead of schedule).  Smooth sailing along Highways 17, 99 and 16th Avenue.  Ken Borrie had pre-arranged this outing with our leaders, Roy Thomson at the Hatchery, and Stan Olson of A Rocha, and they met us with smiles, and a brief introduction of the morning’s outing, and what we might see.

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Roy explains salmon run (KB)

After Roy showed us the “Collection Tank” where every Salmon going upstream must pass, and the active Barn Swallow nest, Ladner Jack took the mandatory Group Photo in front of the sign and hatchery shed from which 150,000 salmon are raised and released annually.   Only 17 in the photo as time-challenged Marion, Marti and Glen showed up later.  We rousted a very young family of Wood Ducks in the grass beside the pre-release pond.

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Wood Duck family (TC)

We followed the Forest Trail, with its informative signage seemingly beside every tree and plant.  Roy knew where every bird nested in this woods, and Stan could recognize and identify every singing bird species.  So we were really taken care of on this outing.  Some hi-lite sightings for me as we wandered along included: Black-headed Grosbeaks, Flycatchers including Pacific-Slope and Western Wood-Pewee (Willow later at A Rocha), Pacific Wren feeding young, a pounding Hairy Woodpecker, and finally seeing a noisy Swainson’s Thrush.

We stopped at the tree where the wide-eyed Mother Barred Owl was perched.  After a brief search, we found all three baby Fuzzballs which were hopping among the branches, never too far from Mom.  Roy entertained us with a smartphone video of the Owls devouring a Pileated Woodpecker.  We saw several Rufous Hummingbirds, and Roy showed us an empty nest that he had followed from egg-laying to fledgling.

We circled back from the Camp Ground and heard several Warblers including Orange-crowned, Yellow, Townsend and Black-throated Gray, and Warbling Vireos.  I couldn’t spot any of them high in the leaves.  Back at the parking lot, Roy led us to the Barn Owl Barn.  When we got there, one jerk amongst us was too noisy and the Barn Owl flew out before anyone could get decent photos.  Back at the cars, while watching Savannah and White-crowned Sparrows, a beautiful American Kestrel was spotted hunting and hovering in the adjacent field.

Excited by our sightings, we said thanks and goodbye to Roy, and followed Stan to A Rocha, not far away on 192 St.  Link to Roy’s GOOGLE photos

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Stan Olson at Brooksdale (KB)

A Rocha is a Christian environmental stewardship organization working in conservation, environmental education and sustainable agriculture.  The Brooksdale Environmental Centre is a living lab comprised of forests, a threatened river system, organic gardens, and heritage houses.  One heritage barn had a very active colony of Cliff Swallows nesting in its eaves.

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Stan led us around the property; in the adjacent field I finally saw a Warbler, Orange-crowned, that was very irritated by Stan’s phone.  A Willow Flycatcher, Black-headed Grosbeaks, Brown-headed Cowbirds, American Goldfinches and Purple Finches also posed for us here.

We continued our tour down to the river, where Stan explained how the Salish Sucker (it’s a fish) was re-discovered in 2011, dispelling its believed extirpation in the Little Campbell River watershed (Note: I think someone, perhaps a “discoverer” or Mike Pearson, spoke to Delta Nats several years ago about this discovery).

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Stan explains how red-listed Salish Sucker was rediscovered in Little Campbell River (KB)

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Common Yellowthroat male (TC)

A brilliant masked male Common Yellowthroat posed for us here, as I rested on a large box containing nets and pails for kids to use when sampling the contents of this section of the LCR.

The bell rang, so we climbed back up to the heritage kitchen building where the A Rocha staff, led by Director David Anderson, served us a delicious home-made lunch composed of organic stuff grown on the property, plus a song.

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  After celebrating Johnny Mac’s birthday, we ended this glorious morning at about 1:15 pm, thanked Stan and the A Rocha staff, and drove leisurely and pleasantly back to Tsawwassen.

Participants (21) were: Leaders Stan Olson (A Rocha) and Roy Thompson (LCR Hatchery), Terry C, Mike B, Jim K, Hamilton Lyle J, Glen B, Marion S, Marti of Lasqueti, Jean G, Pauline O, WR Al S, Anne M, Ken & Anne, Jonathan & Lorraine, Johnny Mac (turned 76 yesterday), Roger Two, Pat without Maureen, Ladner Jack M and me.

Next Wednesday, June 7, our outing is to Pitt Lake, leaving Petra’s at 7:30 am.  We expect to be at our regular meeting spot at the Park’s boat launch parking lot around 8:30 am.

Also, please attend our final 2016/17 Delta Nats monthly meeting on Tuesday evening (7:30 pm), June 6, at the Benediction Lutheran Church in Tsawwassen, where seven DNS members will give 15 minute Pictorial Presentations on their adventures somewhere in the world.

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For more info on our outings, meetings, reports and other stuff and photos, check out our website.  As always, your comments are encouraged, and please let me know if you want to be removed from my e-mail list to receive these long-winded and annoying missives.  Cheers: Tom

Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists Society

SpeciesList2017-05-31

Posted in *DNCB, A-Rocha, American Kestrel, Bald Eagle, Barn Owl, Barred Owl, Black-throated Grey Warbler, Brookdale EC, Cliff Swallow, Little Campbell River Hatchery, Orange-crowned Warbler, Pacific-slope Flycatcher, Purple Finch, Semiahmoo Fish & Game Club, Swainson's Thrush, Townsend's Warbler, Warbling Vireo, Western Tanager, Western Wood-Pewee, Willow Flycatcher, Yellow Warbler | Leave a comment

DNCB Outing No. 2017-20 to Burnaby Lake

15 Tom-less Casual Burnaby Lake Birders (RM)

More photos by Chris McVittie (CMcV), Jack MacDonald (JMacD), Jim Kneesch (JK), Maureen Sinilaid (MS), Pat Smart (PS), Glen Bodie (GB), Terry Carr (TC), Roger Meyer (RM) & Ken Borrie (KB) at our DNCB Flickr site

More photos of this Outing are on our Flickr website at: www.flickr.com/groups/dncb, then click the magnifying glass icon in the “Photo Pool” row, and add 2017-20 to “flickr_search_dncb-photosDNCB Photos” in the Search box at the top of the page.

Fifteen Delta Naturalist Casual Birders arrived at 8:30 am at the Nature House in Burnaby Lake Regional Park, where we were greeted by a crèche of over a dozen Canada Goose goslings guarded by a ferocious gander and his mate.

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A beautiful Anna’s Hummingbird was at the hummingbird feeder, and several Brown-headed Cowbirds were gorging themselves at another feeder.

We headed down to the wharf at Piper Spit where we saw over a dozen pair of Wood Ducks,

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and many Mallards, but the highlight was a Pied-billed Grebe in breeding plumage, swimming and diving amongst the water lilies.

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Pied-billed Grebe (TC)

Some Red-winged Blackbirds were in the reeds on the shore and Barn, Violet-green, and Tree Swallows flew over the water.  Roger took the group photo at the end of the pier.  As we returned towards the Nature House, a Canada Goose revealed a clutch of eggs it was trying to hatch.

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Canada Goose with eggs (CMcV)

From there, we meandered west along the Cottonwood Trail through a mix of cedar, spruce, and cottonwood along trails, following the north shore of the lake.  We heard Wilson’s and Yellow-rumped Warblers, and saw a Northern Flicker.

An Orange-crowned Warbler was sighted high in the crown of a deciduous tree, and there were several Black and Chestnut-backed Chickadees, as well as Spotted Towhees and Robins.

There were also some highlights: a Swainson’s Thrush, a Willow Flycatcher and a Pileated Woodpecker.  Four Pacific Wrens flitted amongst the undergrowth, and a Brown Creeper wound his way up the trunk of a tree.

There were also several very bold and hungry Douglas squirrels enjoying sunflower seeds left by a previous passerby, and a tiny shrew basking in the sun by the side of the path.

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Heading east on the Brunette Headwaters Trail, we saw Rufous Hummingbirds and lots of Cedar Waxwings.

The Black-headed Grosbeaks and Swainson’s Thrushes were making lots of noise, and occasionally showed up for a photo op.  A Bald Eagle flew overhead, and an Osprey fished in the water near the Western Painted Turtles beach.

We even managed to identify a Northern Rough-winged Swallow, just for Tom!

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Northern Rough-winged Swallow (PS)

We finally reached the east end of the lake and the Cariboo Dam on the Brunette River.  A Great Blue Heron was fishing on the dam spillway but, sadly, we could not find any Kingfishers or American Dippers.

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Great Blue Heron (PS)

We headed back to the Nature House around 11:30 and were then on our way home at around noon.  It was a lovely outing – we even had some sunshine.

Report by Nance Forster

Next week’s outing, Wed. May 31st, will be to the Semiahmoo FGC/Little Campbell River Hatchery (1284 – 184 St) with Roy Thomson, followed by a birding walk at nearby Brooksdale EC (1620 – 192nd St, A-Rocha) with Stan Olson.  Leave Petra’s at 7:30 am, arrive at Hatchery parking around 8:15 am, to Brooksdale EC ~10:30.  If you want to stay for lunch at Brooksdale (and have not already told Ken) please contact Ken at kenborrie@gmail.com ASAP so that the cook has an idea of the numbers to prepare for.

“The meal would be largely prepared with produce from the large organic farm on site, and served outdoors, weather permitting, overlooking the LCR valley where the habitat has been enhanced for the endangered Salish Sucker and for Pacific salmon species, etc.  Cost would be $5.00 per person.

The menu would be limited to the dish of the day, and Brooksdale is not a licenced establishment, so no drinks are for sale.”  Stan Olson

Posted in *DNCB, Bald Eagle, Brown Creeper, Burnaby Lake, Douglas Squirrel, Northern Rough-winged Swallow, Orange-crowned Warbler, Osprey, Pied-billed Grebe, Pileated Woodpecker, Shrew Mole, Swainson's Thrush, Willow Flycatcher, Wilson’s Warbler, Yellow-rumped Warbler | Leave a comment

BBRP – Swallow Box Activity Report

by Chris McVittie (May 23, 2017)

Swallow eggs, taken with endoscope (CMcV)

These last few days, I have either opened or used an endoscope to check the boxes.  Up until this opening I have just observed nest box activity [on a number of outings].

The nest boxes are quite active with eggs being laid.  Only one nest has chicks [House Sparrow], hatched in last 2-3 days.

Summary
House Sparrow nests                         10
Tree Swallow nests with eggs          13
Tree Swallow nests no eggs               5
Chickadee [probable]                          1
Empty [or not checked]                     30  [4 were not checked due to undergrowth, 3 of these are probable House Sparrow, 1 I was unable to open]

Total # boxes                                     50 [19 new this year]

Highlights

1.  Activity in new boxes is light

12 along dyke [1 swallow nest 5 eggs, 3 nests partially built, 8 empty]
5 in interior along fence [1 swallow nest 3 eggs, 1 being fought over Sparrow and Swallow, 3 Empty]
2 behind pump house inside [1 swallow nest 4 eggs, 1 Empty]

2.   One box [107] that was Tree Swallow was taken over by Sparrows.

Result 1 dead Swallow.  Something similar might happen at [103] Swallow nest observed last week, house sparrow in and out on Saturday.

3.   Two boxes by raptor trail 26 and 27 both have Swallows in with eggs

4.    Use of endoscope without ladder makes it easier on nest checker AKA “Swallow Whisperer”

5.    Checking boxes takes quite a while as many people [a dozen] were interested in finding out about the project.  Conversations were quite long.

Posted in *DNCB, *DNS, BBRP, Nestbox | Leave a comment

DNCB Outing No. 2017-19A in Brisbane, Australia

            Powerful Owl (AM)

A cast of two participated in an “away” outing in Brisbane, Australia on
Thursday (local time). We also lucked out on some beaut sightings. Two of us
car-pooled from South Bank at 7:30 am, with Brian chauffeuring. Driving was
a breeze as we headed west out of town to a secret destination. We arrived
at 7:45 am and walked up a wooded trail for ten minutes where we almost
immediately found copious amounts of splat in a dry creek that soon revealed
our target bird, a Powerful Owl, roosting in a shady tree (photos
forthcoming). Our party of two then left that woodland and headed further
west for about an hour, on a winding but empty road. Various common Aussie
birds were observed flying over, including Sulphur-crested Cockatoos,
Rainbow Lorikets, Striated Pardelotes, Willie Wagtail and Welcome Swallows.
A Satin Bowerbird was a bit of a surprise. Bell Miners called from the trees
– they are expanding their range and drive all other creatures nuts with
their weird and incessant calls. We arrived at our grassland destination
within an hour. Brian immediately spotted a Tawny Grassbird, one of several
observed. Australian Pipits (very similar to American Pipits; different
accent) were everywhere. Brightly-coloured male Red-backed Fairy-Wrens posed
on the fence posts while their grass-coloured females lurked on the ground.
Golden-headed Cisticolas were singing and posting too. Some distant fence
post birds drew us up the track and closer views revealed a number of
singing Horsfield’s Bushlarks.
Their plumage reminded me of longspurs but Brian told me they are totally
unrelated and he knows everything about bird taxonomy. We wanted
Black-breasted Button-Quail but our visit to the owl had put us an hour too
late and it was too sunny and bright. The button-quails were all hiding in
the long grass and staying quiet. We heard one call in the distance but that
was it. At 11:45 am, we headed back stopping at interesting places. A
wetland held about twenty species including Azure Kingfisher, White-necked
Heron, Australasian Grebes,  Darter, Australian White  Pelican, and the
usual Wood Ducks and Hardheads. A couple of Nankeen Kestrels were hanging
out and a Brown Falcon came by. A pull out park further up the road also had
a stream with water running in it, which attracted a lot of little birds.
The odd call of a Restless Flycatcher (also called Scissor Grinder) alerted
us to its presence and it was fun to watch as it fluttered around, calling
and catching bugs. A male Rainbow Bee-eater was perched on a tree, a small
flock of Chestnut-breasted Mannikins and two Double-barred Finches came to
drink at the water, and a beautiful male Rufous Whistler showed off its
plumage above us. Brian was excited to show me two Wedge-tailed Eagles
soaring overhead (wings in a
dihedral) as these are one of his regular garden birds. There were a bunch
of other birds here too. A Yellow-tailed Cockatoo was feeding on an
overhanging tree as we drove by looking for somewhere for a snack as it was
now 3 pm and we had had no lunch, both of us having forgotten to bring food
or drink. The few cafes along the quiet country road were all closed.
We reached Sampsondale (or Sampsonvale, or some such name) where Brian swore
there would be food. All the cafes except one had stopped serving lunch, but
we finally found a place that served us tea. I had an apple muffin and Brian
had a sort of Nanaimo bar dessert, but green inside not white, rather oddly
served with a side of ice cream that he had not requested but ate anyway.
Our server was a lad from Middlesborough (England; football team just been
relegated; much discussion). We then drove back to Brisbane through rather
heavy traffic. Species count about 56.

Cheers
Anne Murray

Posted in *DNCB | Leave a comment

DNCB Outing No. 2017-19 to Colony Farm

DNCB at Colony Farm (RM)  (click on photo to enlarge)

A cast of “thousands” participated in our away outing to Colony Farm Regional Park (CF) in Coquitlam on Wednesday. The decent weather and prospect of some neat sightings brought out over 30 DNCBers (see List at end). We really lucked out with some beaut sightings. Check out the photo evidence on our Flickr site at: www.flickr.com/groups/dncb, then click the magnifying glass icon in the “Photo Pool” row, and add 2017-19 to “DNCB Photos” in the Search box at the top of the page.

Ten of us car-pooled beautifully in two vehicles from Petra’s at 7:30 am. Terry chauffeured five of us in Margaretha’s van and Chris took three with him. Although new Highway 17 was a breeze, the Patullo Bridge and driving through New Westminster was a nightmare, horrendous traffic and very slow (not to mention Terry’s “shortcut”). We got to the Community Garden “make shift” parking lot behind the Psycho Institute (construction/paving at regular parking lot) at 8:45 am, where Roger and the edgy masses had already begun the search for Lazuli Buntings, our target bird. We all amalgamated and started our huge queue of chatterboxes along the lower Garden Trail. Lots of Warblers around; we saw many Wilson’s, a few Yellow, Yellow-rumped, and Common Yellowthroats (lots of yellow, eh). Warbling Vireos too. Tonnes of Swallows hawking insects, including Tree, Violet-green, Barn and we even identified several Northern Rough-winged. A Crow eating a snake and a male Northern Harrier capturing a mole were entertaining sightings.

A pair of Otters also entertained us in the Coquitlam River. We saw some neat ducks too including gorgeous pairs of Common Mergansers, Hooded Mergansers, Gadwall, and both Wood Ducks and Mallards with ducklings. Most of us gathered on the Millennium Bridge where Roger took a Group Photo. We ran into cycling Colony Farm Guru David Schutz who said the Yellow-headed Blackbird he saw last week was here today in a different form, a Redwing behind a yellow flower. While chatting with David, our Hamiltonian visitor Lyle spotted, and photographed, a Lazuli Bunting. He and a couple of others saw the bird but we were not able to re-locate it, or another one, all morning. Sad, but at least we know they’re there. We were blanked on Western Tanagers, but CF’s David saw a pair of Black-headed Grosbeaks.

Walking the Pumphouse Trail toward the Grebe Pond, we got good looks, and photos, of more Warblers and Sparrows, including Savannah and Song  Sparrows. A Red-tailed Hawk circled above, and we may have seen a Peregrine Falcon on a hydro tower. Several Bald Eagles around. At the Grebe Pond, some of us saw one Pied-billed Grebe, but didn’t see the mate or their nest. No Rails seen or heard either, but the Swallows were entertaining, and here is where we got good looks at a pair of Yellow Warblers. My three hockey buddies, Lyle, Tim and Dave, who crashed our outing, got bored after losing sight of the playful Otters and left us here

On the walk back, we got good looks at a number of Flycatchers, other than the Bunting.  We saw an Olive-sided Flycatcher, a Western Wood-Pewee, and an Eastern Kingbird (see photos). Number One Colony Farm Guru (self-proclaimed) Larry C joined us here and led us to the Village Green Trail in search of Lazuli’s. No luck, and we were even rebuffed at the Work Shed by an overly-protective MV Parks staff from continuing our search beyond the shed. A singing Purple Finch, along with House Finches and American Goldfinches, a beaut female Belted Kingfisher, along with some low-flying Vaux Swifts, closed out our very successful and enjoyable CF outing.

Ten of us went for lunch at the famous and very busy Gillnetter Pub in Port Coquitlam.  My Daily Special of a huge Prawn Pasta with Garlic Toast, along with two 1516 Lagers was worth the wait. The ride back to Tsawwassen was a satisfying snoozer, interestingly followed by another afternoon snooze.

Next Wednesday, May 24, Roger will lead an outing to “his” Burnaby Lake Park. I will be at our son’s Wedding in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.  Leaving Petra’s at 7:30 am, the group should meet at the Burnaby Lake Park parking lot by the Nature House at the end of Piper Ave around 8:30 am. For more outing info and directions, and other reports and photos, go to our website at: www.dncb.wordpress.com. As always, your comments are encouraged, and let me know if these mindless missives annoy you and you want off my e-mail List. Cheers: Tom

Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists Society

We 31 were: Roger M, Terry C, Glen B, Hamilton Lyle J, Margaretha, David & Noreen, Jonathan & Lorraine, Pat & Maureen, Chris & Jim, Johnny Mac, Prince Rupert’s Roy, Solveig & “long lost” Gordon, Alan & Liz, Valerie W, Richmond Brian, Aussie Nance, Adventurist Marylile, White Rock Al, local Gurus Larry C, David S and David ?, Hockey Players Lyle F, Tim W & Dave N, and me.

 

Posted in *DNCB, Colony Farm, Lazuli Bunting, Northern Harrier, Northern Rough-winged Swallow, Olive-sided Flycatcher, River Otter, Western Wood-Pewee, Wilson’s Warbler, Yellow Warbler, Yellow-rumped Warbler | Leave a comment