Tom Bearss 1945-2020

To reduce the risk of spreading the COVID-19 virus,
we are reluctantly suspending DNCB Outings, and DNS Meetings, until further notice.
We need to practice social distancing – at least 2m apart.
There are lots of outdoor spaces close to home, so we can continue to do our personal outings.
Stay safe.

We are sad to report that our good friend and inspirational leader, Tom Bearss, died on Friday, April 10, 2020.

Frozen in Time
The following is a video, posted on YouTube, from images of Tom collected by David Hoar and Noreen Rudd since they became involved with Delta Nats in 2016.  Chris McVittie also contributed a few photos, and David also cropped Tom from 60-70 group photos to get the 243 images used here.

To view this video in full screen mode:
1.  double-click on the video, or
2.  click on the Full Screen icon button (bottom right)
To exit full screen mode
1.  hit ESC, or
2.  double-click on the video, or
3.  click on the Small screen icon button (bottom right)

The following article was posted in the Delta Optimist, on April 16, 2020
Delta’s birding community loses a leader with Tom Bearss’ passing
by Anne Murray
– the text of that article is posted below.

Delta birders pay tribute to legacy left by Tom Bearss
APRIL 16, 2020


Tom Bearss – Photograph COURTESY OF DELTA NATS

Noted naturalist and author Anne Murray has put together this tribute to Tom Bearss, president of Delta Naturalists Society, who passed away April 10:

Many of us in Delta and around B.C. are mourning the loss of our dear friend Tom Bearss, an outstanding citizen, charismatic leader, and much-loved companion to hundreds of birders, golfers, hockey players, beer drinkers and community volunteers.  He left us too soon.

Tom had an outstanding record of service with the Delta Naturalists’ Society (Delta Nats) and its provincial parent organization, BC Nature.  Tom quickly became an active participant in the naturalist community when he and his wife, Sandra, retired to Delta in 2006.  His interest in birds had grown through a life that led him from Ontario to Australia and the West Indies, among other exotic locales.

Arriving in Delta, he soon discovered Reifel Bird Sanctuary, the annual Christmas bird counts and Delta Nats, where his lively personality and habit of successfully cajoling people to volunteer, began a revitalization of the then relatively small club.

Within a couple of years, he had started the midweek Casual Birders group, which soon grew from a handful of local birders to a diverse and widespread bunch of enthusiasts from around the Lower Mainland.  Tom kept this group going, rain or shine, every week, with whoever turned up, whether beginner birders, keeners, or curious tourists.  Even random passers-by got drawn into the fun, as they stopped to see what this odd group of people was doing as they peered into bushes or cluttered up the dykes.

In this way, Tom and his Casual Birders introduced dozens of people to birdwatching while creating a social and fun weekly event to which everyone is welcome.  The effectiveness of the group was greatly enhanced by Tom’s light-hearted, written report, completed promptly after each trip – no mean feat in itself!

After the first year, Tom was encouraged to put his literary masterpieces on a blog, which soon became the go-to-place for photographs (always including the group photo), birding links, and other Delta Naturalist news.  You can see the blog at and on the Delta Optimist website (

Ever the persuasive diplomat (his career before birding, golf and hockey retirement), Tom succeeded in organizing other Delta Nats members into keeping the archives, uploading photos and managing the blog, while also juggling a large number of other club activities.  Under his presidency, the club hosted a very successful BC Nature Fall General Meeting in 2011, involving nearly 200 people.

The club provides displays throughout the summer months at public events around the Lower Mainland, including the annual Watershed Park Fish Release, Delta Farmland and Wildlife Trust’s Day at the Farm and the new Welcome Back the Birds event with Birds Canada last fall. 

Four times a year, Tom and the club host a “Birds on the Bay” event at Boundary Bay Regional Park, a birding walk followed by a light lunch of home-cooked goodies, including Sandra’s famous egg-sandwiches.

About eight years ago, Tom got a task force involved in doing nest box maintenance in the Regional Park, as well as organizing nestboxes at Delta golf courses.  Since then, nest boxes for tree swallows and barn owls made by a talented group of volunteers have been erected and maintained all over Delta and beyond.

While much of the hands-on work is done by others, it was Tom’s contagious enthusiasm, caustic teasing and boundless energy, especially when twisting someone else’s arm, that kept everyone happily working together!

In 2014, Tom was awarded a BC Nature Club Service Award for his achievements, but did not rest on his laurels.  He signed on as a member of the board for the BC Naturalists Foundation (a sister organization to BC Nature) and never missed any of the twice-yearly BC Nature meetings held in various locations around the province.  As Alan Burger, a past-President of BC Nature wrote: “Having a beer or two with Tom and joining him on early morning birding were among the major highlights of my BC Nature meeting for many years.”

While Tom was a little wary of engaging in the cut-and-thrust of controversial conservation issues, he was very supportive of Delta Naturalists’ positions on the protection of bird populations and habitat.  He particularly liked the creation of our colourful brochures on local birds and where to go birding, featuring his Delta Nats’ “photogs” pictures.  Over 20,000 brochures have been distributed, with the help of the city, Reifel Bird Sanctuary and other partners.  Tom enthusiastically participated in two presentations to Delta council on our Birds and Biodiversity Conservation Strategy initiative, which has become a significant part of the City of Delta’s policy on environmental management and procedures.

When the world’s bird scientists came to Vancouver for the International Ornithological Conference in 2018, Tom immediately volunteered to lead a walk at Boundary Bay for some of the world-wide delegates, a task he did with his usual enthusiasm and aplomb.

Tom’s deep commitment to 10 years of weekly Casual Birding walks, rain or shine, and writing his lively blog, was most impressive.  He fostered an open and inclusive social atmosphere which has been a wonderful asset for those looking to explore nature in the lower mainland in the company of other like-minded people.  In this way, he made a profound difference to Delta’s naturalist community and his influence spread far beyond local boundaries.

In the words of his many friends: “We will always keep Tom’s big smile and good nature in our hearts”, “he was a great friend, leader and inspiration” and “will be sorely missed.”

You were greatly loved, Tom.  Farewell from all your many, many friends in the birding community and beyond.

Posted in *DNCB | Leave a comment

DNCB Outing No. 2020-10 to Iona Regional Park

To reduce the risk of spreading the COVID-19 virus,
we are reluctantly suspending DNCB Outings, and DNS Meetings, until further notice.
We need to practice social distancing – at least 2m apart.
There are lots of outdoor spaces close to home, so we can continue to do our personal outings.
Stay safe.

It was a cold and windy Tuesday morning, but twenty-two DNCBers enjoyed a productive and fun outing wandering the trails of Iona Regional Park (IRP) and the Sewage Lagoons next door.  You can check out the brilliant photo evidence on our DNCB Flickr site.

Some car-pooled from Petra’s at 7:30 am, others drove directly from home, while some arrived late as the rush hour traffic was horrendous on 99 before the Oak Street bridge.  Fortunately, the newly-arrived Swallows, mostly Tree and perhaps some Violet-Green, entertained the group hawking insects above the washroom parking lot pond.

Since the tide was high, we followed our regular route along the trail between the two ponds past the Wild Research Banding hut.  Not much in the two ponds, but lots of the “regular little birds” in the bushes.  Wrens were chattering everywhere, and many got good looks at both Bewick’s and Marsh Wrens perched on the reeds.  Richmond Brian’s eBird List (see below) shows that we saw 32 species this morning, including the flock of Snow Geese that daughter Erica saw on the drive into the park.

We entered the back gate to the sewage ponds, and they were full (i.e. hundreds) of waterfowl, mostly Northern Pintail, Lesser Scaup, Northern Shovelers (doing their neat circular feeding frenzy), Green-winged Teal, Bufflehead, Gadwall, American Coots, American Wigeon and Mallards.  Roger took the mandatory Group Photo here.

2020-10_Iona Birders_Roger

DNCB at Iona Sewage Ponds – photo by Roger Meyer (not in picture)

We couldn’t find a Tufted Duck among the Scaup, but we did find a few Ring-necked Ducks and a gorgeous male Canvasback (possible Bird of the Day for some).  As we walked the trail between the ponds, as expected the birds would drift to the other side, but our bins and scopes were very helpful.

We left the sewage ponds and followed the trail toward the Fraser.  We were blanked on Kinglets, Flycatchers and Warblers that we hoped/expected to see in the trees, but we got a few neat sightings along the river.  Three Red-breasted Mergansers, Double-crested Cormorants, a three Trumpeter Swan fly-over, a gliding silver male Northern Harrier, and huddled flock of Dunlin on a sand spit on the other side were neat to see.

We got back to the beach and the tide had started to recede.  Flocks of Dunlin began to arrive, and some interesting Gull species were seen among them, including Bonaparte’s, Mew, and Iceland (formerly Thayer’s), as well as the resident Glaucous-winged Gulls. Glad Guru Anne was there to confirm these ID’s; gulls are tough especially in non-breeding plumage.

It was just past 11:00 am and although some wimps had bailed earlier, eleven of us decided to go to our regular Iona lunch venue, the Flying Beaver Pub.  We had the best seats in the house on the patio overlooking another arm of the Fraser and the Harbour Air planes landing and taking off.  Although my meal of Chicken Vege Soup and Tea wasn’t very exciting, daughter Erica paid for it, and the company was as always, almost interesting.  Welcome-back Ken took some neat photos of lunch.  All things considered, it was another super DNCB outing.


The eleven at lunch were: Ladner Jack Mac, the four South African 2nd timers Jack, Rose their daughter Thea & partner Nadine, returnee regulars Jonathan & Lorraine, Richmond Brian, Ken, Newbie daughter Erica (who certainly fit in with the group as she talked continuously), and me.  The other participants were; Roger and his carload of Organizer Terry, Mike B (annoyed at missing lunch), Ladner Pam, North Delta Liz S, and PB Lorna (welcome back to the fold), Burnaby Marion S, North Delta photog Pat S & Johnny Mac, our always-upbeat Germanics Margaretha & Gabriele, and our Guru Anne M.

Next Wednesday (not Tuesday), March 18, is our quarterly Birds on the Bay outing.  THIS HAS BEEN CANCELLED DUE TO CORONA VIRUS CONCERNS.

For more info on this and other outings, reports, photos and events, check out our DNCB website.  As always, your comments are appreciated, and let me know if this weekly drivel is so irritating that you want off my email list.  Cheers: Tom

Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists Society

Bird Checklist Summary for Iona Island: Mar 10, 2020
Number of Taxa: 32
30 Snow Goose — (1)
3 Trumpeter Swan — (1)
80 Northern Shoveler — (1)
24 Gadwall — (1)
4 American Wigeon — (1)
45 Mallard — (1)
900 Northern Pintail — (1)
18 Green-winged Teal (American) — (1)
1 Canvasback — (1)
2 Ring-necked Duck — (1)
150 Lesser Scaup — (1)
2 Bufflehead — (1)
3 Red-breasted Merganser — (1)
3 American Coot — (1)
500 Dunlin — (1)
25 Bonaparte’s Gull — (1)
40 Mew Gull — (1)
3 Iceland Gull (Thayer’s) — (1)
X Glaucous-winged Gull — (1)
2 Double-crested Cormorant — (1)
10 Great Blue Heron (Blue form) — (1)
1 Northern Harrier — (1)
7 Bald Eagle — (1)
25 Northwestern Crow — (1)
20 Tree Swallow — (1)
1 Violet-green Swallow — (1)
10 Marsh Wren — (1)
2 Bewick’s Wren — (1)
9 American Robin — (1)
5 Dark-eyed Junco (Oregon) — (1)
9 Song Sparrow — (1)
35 Red-winged Blackbird — (1)

Posted in *DNCB, Bonaparte's Gull, Canvasback, Dunlin, Iceland Gull, Iona, Mew Gull, Northern Harrier, Red-breasted Merganser, Ring-necked Duck, Thayer's Gull, Trumpeter Swan | Leave a comment

DNCB Outing No. 2020-09 to De Boville Slough & Blakeburn Lagoons, Coquitlam

Eighteen DNCBers, including four South African Newbies, enjoyed a rain-free morning along the DeBoville Slough trail, then the boardwalk around the Blakeburn Lagoons.  We had lots of neat species, and some almost-interesting chatter; check out the brilliant photo evidence on our DNCB Flickr site.

Just after 7:30 am, seven of us car-pooled together from Petra’s in Roger’s Chariot.  As always, it was an interesting and historical hour-long “Roger Ride” winding through the streets of Delta, Surrey, Port Coquitlam and Coquitlam to reach our first destination, the entrance to the DeBoville Slough trail.  The others were excitedly awaiting our arrival and, following introductions, we began a leisurely walk along the slough trail toward the Pitt River.

No American Dippers were in the tunnel, but we had good looks at several waterfowl species along the way, Common Mergansers, Bufflehead, Common Goldeneye. Lots of Kinglets, both Golden– and Ruby-crowned, Brown Creepers, Bushtits, Anna’s Hummingbirds, several Sparrow species, Northern Flickers, and an active pair of Hairy Woodpeckers in the trees.  Richmond Brian’s first eBird count for the day was 34 species (see below).

We got to the Pitt River around 10:00 am and Roger took the Group Photo, with a pair of gorgeous Hooded Mergansers diving together behind us in the river.


DNCB at DeBoville Slough – photo by Roger M

The walk back to the vehicles was basically a chatfest in the pleasant dry conditions, enjoying the scenery over the Blueberry fields and Minnekhada Park mountain, with mostly the same species seen as on the walk out.

We drove on to a new spot for me, Blakeburn Lagoon Park in Port Coquitlam, arriving there around 11:00 am.  This recently-created park had well-groomed trails around the two lagoons, with several lookouts and informative signage.  And lots of species, up-close-and-personal.  We added Green-winged Teal, Gadwall, Lesser Scaup, American Coot and Northern Shoveler to our list, plus a leucistic Canada Goose.  A perched Red-tailed Hawk was good for our photogs, and a secretive Varied Thrush


Varied Thrush (RM)

excited a few as it skulked under the bushes.  Backyard Feeders at homes along the trail attracted lots of Sparrow species, plus a small flock of Pine Siskins and a Steller’s Jay.

It was past Noon when we decided to head off for lunch at The Arms Pub in Port Coquitlam.  Nine of us were entertained and happily served by the lovely Lara.  My Veal Cutlet Special was delicious, with water, (I gave my Beer Sleeve to Mike B).  The ride home was chatty and uneventful as Roger didn’t get lost.  It was approaching 3:00 pm when I picked up the Chile and Crueller Donut at Tsawwassen Tim Horton’s to take home for Sandra.  I had time to relax before our monthly Nats meeting and Lena Azeez’s informative presentation on BC Salmon.  Another awesome DNCB outing.

The 18 were: Roger and his carload of Mike B, organizer Terry, returnee Marian P, Ladner Pam, North Delta Johnny Mac and me, the four South African Newbies Richard & Rosemary Beckman (Ladner residents) and their daughter and partner (excellent birders and I forget their names, would like an email address), Ladner Bryan w/o Masae, West Van Lori, South Surrey’s Colin & Wazza, eBirder & Photog Richmond Brian & Louise, and North Delta Photog Pat S.

Next Tuesday, March 10, 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 info on our outings, events, reports and photos, check out our website.  As always, your comments are welcome, and let me know if this weekly gibberish annoys you and you want off my email list.  Cheers: Tom

Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists Society

eBird Checklist Summary for Mar 3, 2020
Number of Taxa: 34
Checklists included in this summary:
(1): DeBoville Slough, Coquitlam Mar 3, 2020 at 8:27 AM
(2): Port Coquitlam–Blakeburn Lagoons at 11:35 AM

93 Canada Goose — (1),(2)
60 Northern Shoveler — (2)
2 Gadwall — (2)
83 American Wigeon — (2)
70 Mallard — (1),(2)
10 Green-winged Teal (American) — (1),(2)
1 Lesser Scaup — (2)
2 Bufflehead — (1),(2)
3 Common Goldeneye — (1),(2)
7 Hooded Merganser — (1),(2)
2 Common Merganser — (1)
5 Anna’s Hummingbird — (1),(2)
8 American Coot — (2)
7 Great Blue Heron (Blue form) — (1),(2)
2 Bald Eagle — (1),(2)
1 Red-tailed Hawk — (2)
2 Hairy Woodpecker — (1)
11 Northern Flicker — (1),(2)
2 Steller’s Jay (Coastal) — (1)
25 Northwestern Crow — (1),(2)
6 Black-capped Chickadee — (1)
8 Bushtit — (2)
3 Golden-crowned Kinglet — (1)
2 Ruby-crowned Kinglet — (1)
5 Brown Creeper — (1),(2)
55 European Starling — (1),(2)
2 Varied Thrush — (1),(2)
25 American Robin — (1),(2)
5 Pine Siskin — (2)
22 Dark-eyed Junco (Oregon) — (1),(2)
2 White-crowned Sparrow — (2)
4 Golden-crowned Sparrow — (2)
11 Song Sparrow — (1),(2)
7 Spotted Towhee — (1),(2)

Posted in *DNCB, Blakeburn Lagoons Park, Brown Creeper, DeBoville Slough, Golden-crowned Kinglet, Hooded Merganser, Red-tailed Hawk, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Varied Thrush | Leave a comment

DNCB Outing No. 2020-08 to Tsawwassen Ferry Causeway & Reifel

Twenty-three DNCBers had an enjoyable outing on Tuesday to the Tsawwassen Ferry Causeway, TFN and Reifel Bird Sanctuary.  It was cloudy and cold, but the rain held off. Brian’s eBird list showed 54 species (see below).

Photos are on the DNCB flickr site

DNCB Reifel 2020-02-25.JPG

DNCB at Reifel – photo by Roger Meyer

Beside the ferry causeway were Surf & White-winged Scoters, Common & Barrow’s Goldeneye, Common Mergansers, Bufflehead, Horned & Red-necked Grebes and Common Loons.  A large flock of Brant flew in, and thirteen very noisy Black Oystercatchers flew back and forth across the causeway.

A stop at the pond on the Tsawwassen First Nation added a Pied-billed Grebe, Northern Harrier, House Finches and Sparrows.

At Reifel, three Sandhill Cranes were behind the giftshop, and two Black-crowned Night-Herons were in their usual spot.  Also near the entrance were many ducks, sparrows, Red-winged Blackbirds and Great Blue Herons.  We headed toward the Southwest Marsh to look for the American Bittern that had been seen frequently in the last few days.  We did not find it.  But there were many geese and ducks in the ponds, including Northern Shovelers, Northern Pintail, Gadwall, American & Eurasian Wigeon, Bufflehead, Green-winged Teal, Mallards and Ring-necked Ducks.  On the far shore were Trumpeter Swans, Dunlin and Black-bellied Plovers.  A very large flock of Snow Geese flew over, and Northern Harriers were cruising the marsh.  On the East Dyke trail we added Wood Ducks and a Northern Saw-whet Owl.

After everyone else left for lunch, Marion went back to the Southwest Marsh and got a great photo of the American Bittern.  And Margaretha went to Alaksen and saw 2 Barred Owls in the large cedar trees.  Ten of us went to Speeds Pub for lunch and warmth.

The twenty-three were Anne, Glen, Pat, Brian, Roger & Rose, Pam, Val, both Mikes, Marion & Marian, Kirsten, Jonathan & Lorraine, Margaretha, Gabriele, Jean, Colin, Warren, Jack, Johnny Mac and me (Terry).

Next Tuesday, March 3, we will leave Petras at 7:30am and drive to De Boville Slough (4100 Cedar Drive in Coquitlam)  and Blakeburn Lagoons Park (Elbow Place in Port Coquitlam).  Park in the lot at the intersection of Cedar Drive and Victoria Drive and meet about 8:30.

Also next Tuesday, March 3, is the DNS monthly meeting with guest speaker, Lina Azeez, speaking on Reconnecting Salmon Habitats Impacted by Flood Intrastructures (7:30pm at Benediction Lutheran Church).

Terry Carr

eBird Checklist for Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal & Reifel Sanctuary
Feb 25, 2020
Checklists included in this summary:
(1): Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal Jetty
(2): Tsawwassen Beach Rd
(3): Reifel Bird Sanctuary
Number of Species: 54
150 Snow Goose — (3)
55 Brant — (1)
70 Canada Goose — (3)
28 Trumpeter Swan — (3)
6 Wood Duck — (3)
55 Northern Shoveler — (3)
5 Gadwall — (3)
1 Eurasian Wigeon — (3)
23 American Wigeon — (2),(3)
153 Mallard — (2),(3)
424 Northern Pintail — (2),(3)
4 Ring-necked Duck — (3)
1 Greater Scaup — (2)
12 Surf Scoter — (1)
8 White-winged Scoter — (1)
7 Bufflehead — (1),(2),(3)
10 Barrow’s Goldeneye — (1)
4 Common Goldeneye — (1)
5 Common Merganser (North American) — (1)
1 Pied-billed Grebe — (2)
2 Horned Grebe — (1)
1 Red-necked Grebe — (1)
39 Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon) — (3)
7 American Coot — (3)
6 Sandhill Crane — (3)
13 Black Oystercatcher — (1)
45 Black-bellied Plover — (3)
20 Dunlin — (3)
12 Glaucous-winged Gull — (1),(2),(3)
3 Common Loon — (1)
1 Double-crested Cormorant — (1)
1 American Bittern — (3)
58 Great Blue Heron (Blue form) — (1),(2),(3)
2 Black-crowned Night-Heron — (3)
2 Northern Harrier — (2),(3)
6 Bald Eagle — (1),(2),(3)
1 Red-tailed Hawk — (3)
1 Northern Saw-whet Owl — (3)
3 Northern Flicker — (3)
2 Northwestern Crow — (3)
2 Common Raven — (3)
4 Black-capped Chickadee — (3)
1 Red-breasted Nuthatch — (3)
12 Marsh Wren — (2),(3)
3 American Robin — (3)
4 House Sparrow — (3)
4 House Finch — (2),(3)
3 Fox Sparrow (Sooty) — (3)
3 Dark-eyed Junco — (3)
16 Golden-crowned Sparrow — (2),(3)
19 Song Sparrow — (1),(2),(3)
23 Spotted Towhee — (3)
26 Red-winged Blackbird — (2),(3)

Posted in *DNCB, American Bittern, Barred Owl, Barrow's Goldeneye, Black Oystercatcher, Black-bellied Plover, Black-crowned Night-Heron, Dunlin, Eurasian Wigeon, Northern Harrier, Northern Saw-whet Owl, Pied-billed Grebe, Red-necked Grebe, Reifel, Ring-necked Duck, Sandhill Crane, TFN, Trumpeter Swan, Tsawwassen Ferry Port | Leave a comment

DNCB Outing No. 2020-07 to Blaine Marine and Semiahmoo Parks, USA

Eighteen DNCBers enjoyed a super sunny Tuesday at Blaine Marine and Semiahmoo Parks in Washington State.  The photogs were ecstatic with the conditions and got some beaut shots of many species up-close-and-personal.  Check out their wizardry on our DNCB Flickr site.

All eighteen of us met around 8:15 am at the entrance to Blaine Marine Park.  Roger took the Group photo at the lookout with the border Peace Arch and White Rock behind us.


DNCB at Blaine Marine Park (missing Jonathan & Roger) – photo by Roger Meyer

There were hundreds of Northern Pintail in the Bay, and we also picked out a sleeping flock of Dunlin, both Common and Barrow’s Goldeneye, both Surf and White-winged Scoters (couldn’t find a Black), and a couple of Yellowlegs.

We moved on to the lookout at the end of Marine Drive, the entrance to Drayton Harbour.  The Long-tailed Ducks were close by here, with lots of Harbour Seals.  We argued over the ID of the many Loons in Semiahmoo Bay, Common, Pacific and perhaps Red-throated.  Tonnes of Cormorants around, both Pelagic and Double-crested.  Both Red-necked and Horned Grebes, and Red-breasted Mergansers were close too.  The Marina was fairly quiet, except for a brilliantly posing Cooper’s Hawk on a raft (no Eared Grebe found).

We “convoyed” back through Blaine around the Harbour to the Semiahmoo Park Museum parking lot.  More Scoters, Scaup, Pintails, Goldeneye here (Bay side), but the large raft of Canvasbacks in Drayton Harbour, where we frequently see them, was most interesting.  We couldn’t find a Redhead.  Then, closer to the marina at the end of the Spit, we saw more shorebirds, Sanderling, Black Turnstones, Black Oystercatchers and a Killdeer.  The common little birds were around, but we didn’t see anything unusual (e.g. Redpolls, Crossbills, Grosbeaks).  Hopefully Debbi will post our eBird list for the morning.

We wandered over to the Semiahmoo Resort lookout and saw the same species, and the vista of the surroundings, including the snow-covered mountains, was glorious.  I had lo leave at Noon for a Doctor’s appointment in Ladner, so didn’t stay for lunch.  The border was smooth sailing both ways and it was another gorgeous DNCB outing.

The eighteen were: Roger, Mike B, Mike B2, Pat S, Jonathan & Lorraine, Margaretha & Gabriele, Marion & Kirsten, Ken & Anne, Ladner Pam, Glen B, Colin H, Ladner Bryan, Debbi H, and me.  Apologies for this relatively boring report, but it’s already Sunday morning and I’ve had a busy week with a two-day family Portland trip to see comedian Sebastian Maniscalco, hospital visits, birthday parties, hockey, etc.

Next Tuesday, February 25, we’ll leave Petra’s at 7:30 am and, via the Tsawwassen Ferry jetty, meeting others around 9:00 am at Reifel Bird Sanctuary.

For more info on this and other outings, events, reports and photos, check out our website. As always, your comments are welcome, and let me know if this almost-weekly drivel annoys you and you want off my email list.  Cheers: Tom

Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists Society

eBird List will be posted HERE

Posted in *DNCB, Barrow's Goldeneye, Black Oystercatcher, Black Turnstone, Blaine Marine Park, Canvasback, Cooper's Hawk, Drayton Harbor, Dunlin, Harbour Seal, Long-tailed Duck, Pacific Loon, Pelagic Cormorant, Red-breasted Merganser, Red-necked Grebe, Red-throated Loon, Sanderling, Semiahmoo Spit | Leave a comment

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