DNCB Outing No. 2018-37 Birds on the Bay in Boundary Bay Regional Park

Twenty-five folk enjoyed another beautiful Wednesday morning wandering around Boundary Bay Regional Park (BBRP) on our quarterly Birds on the Bay (BOTB) outing.  The tide was high, the weather was fine, the chatfest was illuminating, and we saw a few neat birds.  Check out the brilliant photo evidence on our DNCB Flickr site.

We met at and left from Cammidge House at 9:00 am. Following introductions, especially of the several Newbies and guests from Calgary, Switzerland, and North Vancouver, we walked along the driveway toward the pond in the park, escorted by a couple of Anna’s Hummingbirds.  The pond was boring with only Mallards, so David took the first mandatory, but painful, Group Photo here.

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BOTB at the pond – photo by David Hoar

It was a bit overcast when we got to the beach, and we couldn’t see Mt. Baker in the clouds, but the tide was in, which is rare for us on these outings.  We expected to see Shorebirds, but I guess the tide was too high as none were there.  We know that across the Bay at 104th Street there would be thousands of Plovers and Sandpipers feeding.  Nonetheless, we scoped the birds in the bay and saw Common Loons, Surf and White-winged Scoters, Northern Pintails, American Wigeon and Horned Grebes.  The photogenic Great Blue Herons are always popular.

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BOTB at the lookout – photo by David Hoar

Moving to the trail, there wasn’t a lot of activity in the bushes until we got near the boardwalk.  A flock of Bushtits whizzed by.  There were lots of small birds in the reeds, trees and bushes.  With 25 folk we were spread out and having difficulty coordinating our sightings.  Lots of House Finches, Savannah & Song Sparrows, Spotted Towhees, Chickadees and Robins, but most warbler sightings were unconfirmed.  Some saw Yellow Warblers and Common Yellowthroats.  Perhaps someone heard/saw a Marsh Wren and other usually-seen sparrow species (Fox, White- or Golden-crowned?).  We witnessed Northern Flickers playing, and Cedar Waxwings posing.

Dragging folk from a Downy Woodpecker sighting, we finally got the 2nd Group Photo at the Lookout Tower.  “Beady-eyed” Brewer’s Blackbirds were foraging in the sand while a few Northern Harriers gave us some excitement flying close by.  A perched Cooper’s Hawk was obliging as we walked by our now empty bird nest boxes.  We saw only a very few Tree and Barn Swallows hawking insects high above us.

Approaching the Pump House, the tide was going out so lots of birds were close to us, such as Green-winged Teal, Greater Yellowlegs, and several duck species that we saw earlier further out.  I couldn’t find any bands on the Caspian Terns that were resting among the Ring-billed, California and Glaucous-winged Gulls (and other species?).  An unusual white bird flew off; we surmised it was a Sanderling.  Roger and a few others saw the Franklin’s Gull, a target bird for today.  These BOTB outings are often too rushed, so some of us aren’t able to persistently pursue a bird like a patient birder normally would.

Past 11:00 am we almost raced back along the inland trail to CH.  Mike B2 explained our Barn Owl Box program to a few newbies.  Others enjoyed the wildflowers and bonding chatter.  Earlier, we had seen Bald Eagles and Red-tailed Hawks circling above, but near CH some saw and photographed American Kestrels, which we don’t often see here.  We straggled into CH just past 11:30 am, and were welcomed by the Delta Nats Ladies Rochelle and Elizabeth.

The post BOTB Banquet of home-made delights was its usual success, and not surprisingly wolfed down by the masses. Elizabeth’s shortbread & brownies, Margaretha’s plum pudding (and fresh plums), Sandra’s notorious egg salad sandwiches, and Rochelle’s breads, cheeses, fruits and flowers, were scrumptious, washed down with coffee or apple juice (no beer).  We missed our “godmother” Jennifer and her scones as she is fighting a bug; we wish her a speedy recovery.  Another awesome BOTB outing, and I was home in time to help with Grandparent Daycare.

The 25 were:  newbie cyclist Haddie L, visitors from Switzerland David & Patty and from Calgary Tom & Isabel with their North Van friend Ruth B, 2nd time newbie Pam, hopefully new regular Neil S, regulars David & Noreen, Terry C, our Guru Anne, Roger M, our Bird Box Team of Jim K, Chris McV, Ladner Jack and Mike B2, Rochelle & Don, photog Glen B, gourmet queens Elizabeth & Margaretha, full time Delta Nats from New York, Chief Bill & Carolyn, returning home for the winter (see you next Spring), and me.

Next Wednesday, September 19, we will meet at and leave from Petra’s at 7:30 am for Iona Regional Park.  We expect to be at the Iona washroom parking lot by 8:15 am.

For more info on this and other outings, reports and photos, check out our website.  As always, your comments are welcome, and let me know if you want off my email list to receive these weekly meandering missives.  Cheers: Tom

Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists Society 

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Posted in *DNCB, American Kestrel, Bald Eagle, Birds-on-the-Bay, Boundary Bay, California Gull, Caspian Tern, Cedar Waxwing, Cooper's Hawk, Franklin’s Gull, Northern Harrier, Red-tailed Hawk, Yellow Warbler | Leave a comment

DNCB Outing No. 2018-36 to Mt. Baker, Washington

Fourteen DNCBers enjoyed spectacular scenery on a beautiful Wednesday on our annual all-day outing to Mt. Baker in Washington State.  And we saw some gorgeous wildflowers and a few neat birds as well.  Check out the photo evidence on our DNCB Flickr site.

Some left Petra’s at 7:00 am and we car-pooled nicely from the Peace Arch Park parking lot at 7:30 am, in four vehicles.  The Border was smooth, and the 1 1/2 hour scenic drive through upstate Washington to the Mt. Baker Park entrance Centre was perfectly predicted by our Super Organizer Terry.  We bought the four Day Passes ($5 each) for our vehicles, then convoyed up the mountain to our first stop at Picture Lake.

Mt. Shuksan mirrored gloriously in the lake for the photogs as the weather was clear and warm (no smoke, only a bit of mist).  Even before David took the Group Photo at a lookout on the lake, we saw a plethora of birds in the surrounding trees and bushes, numbers like we would see no where else on this outing.  Yellow-rumped and a Townsend’s Warbler were the best sightings.

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DNCB at Picture Lake – photo by David Hoar

We also saw Gray Jays in the distance (but not eating from our hands), Sparrow species, Finch species, Flycatcher species, Chickadees, Juncos and Robins.  A few Swifts flew over, probably Vaux’s.  I think for many, munching on the small but scrumptious wild Blueberries took precedence over bird identification.  We circled the Lake path in an hour, which included commenting on the andesite “organ-like” columns which intrigued a few newbies.

We continued up the hill, past the ski shacks and tows, to the Visitor Centre at Heather Meadows.  Being only 11:30 am, before lunch we decided to walk the trail down along the Bagley Lakes in search of American Dippers and American Pipits (Why “American”?)  We just arrived at the river between the lakes, and right on cue was a Dipper and a Pipit.  The Dipper was dipping, flashing its white eyelid, and the Pipit was limping with a damaged leg.  We guessed that he was not destined for a long term with us.  We saw a few more Dippers, then our Time Guru Terry announced that we have seen enough here so let’s return up the hill to the parking lot for lunch.  Of course, that’s what we did.

My lunch of soda crackers with peanut butter, put on with a straw borrowed from Mike, hit the spot (my Swiss Army knife was too short to get into the PB jar).  My visiting high school buddy Brian, from Barrie, passed on the PB but had a Bartlett Pear and a couple of COSTCO granola bars.  I also ate the peanuts I didn’t use to feed the no-show Whiskey Jacks.  No beer; washed down with G Water.  Some walked the nearby circular Fire & Ice Trail (15-20 minutes) before or after lunch looking for grouse or Spotted Sandpipers, but none seen.  The colourful Butterflies gave the photogs some excitement.

Now 12:30 pm we drove to the top and Artist Point.  The huge parking lot there was packed; the Park’s popularity is understandable.  As is our regular itinerary, we walked along Trail 682 toward Ptarmigan Ridge enjoying the spectacular sub-alpine setting.  We were blanked on Ptarmigans and Mountain Goats (seen by many other visitors), but the wildflowers gave us their usual brilliant reds, yellows and purples.  Check out the photos for specie names.  At the start of the Ptarmigan Ridge Trail, we relax and gaze at the glacier base of Mt. Baker.  As is customary, David took another group photo before we trudged back along the cliff side to Artist Point.

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DNCB on Ptarmigan Ridge trail – photo by David Hoar

No birds seen, not even a Common Raven, nor Picas or Hoary Marmots.  We learned that Golden Eagles have a “secret” nest nearby, but they haven’t been seen for a long while.  We missed the Osprey seen earlier this morning, and we couldn’t ID any Rosy Finches.  We got back to the parking lot approaching 4:00 pm, threw a few snow balls because we could, some complained about not having walked this much in 30 years then, feeling totally satisfied and exhausted, we packed into our vehicles to start the descent downhill.

Someone mentioned beer, so eight of us stopped at Chair 9 Pub near the park entrance.  My 5 buck pint of local Lager draught was glorious.  The drive back to Blaine was filled with the usual inane chatter, but at least it kept me awake at the wheel.  Border crossing was 5 minutes, and we got to the Peace Arch Park parking lot at 5:30 pm, right on schedule as Terry had organized.  Sandra & Susan were excited, and surprised, to see Brian and me home on time.  We wolfed down Sandra’s roasted lemon chicken, baked tomato risotto, home-made bread, key lime pie & cream, washed down with 15 year old Rum, then Brian and I flaked out on our chairs at 9:30 pm, with the TV still blaring.  It was another awesome DNCB outing.

The fourteen were: our super Organizer Terry C, Mike B, Chris McV, Jim K, David & Noreen, Richmond Brian, photog Glen, sailor Colin, North Van Richard, Roger K2, newbie Anita, my Niagara Falls high school friend Brian (aka Dumbrowsky), and me.

Next Wednesday, September 12, is our quarterly Birds on the Bay outing in Boundary Bay Regional Park.  We will meet at and leave from historic Cammidge House (CH) at 9:00 am on a 2 ½ hour amble through the park, returning to CH at 11:30 am to enjoy some home-made goodies provided by our Delta Nats ladies.

Also, don’t forget two events tomorrow (Saturday, Sept. 8), our last 2018 Car Boot Sale at Centennial Beach, and Day at the Farm on Westham Island where Delta Nats will have their informative, hands-on display.

Check out our website for more info, reports and photos.  And, as always, your comments are encouraged, and let me know if you want off my email list to receive these weekly birding babbles of gibberish.  Cheers: Tom

Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists Society

Posted in *DNCB, American Dipper, American Pipit, Artist Point, Gray Jay, Mt. Baker, Townsend's Warbler, Vaux's Swift, Yellow-rumped Warbler | Leave a comment

DNCB Outing No. 2018-35 to Sidney Spit National Park

Fourteen DNCBers enjoyed a fantastic, well-organized, all-day outing to an exciting new destination, Sidney Spit, a Gulf Islands National Park off Vancouver Island.  We saw lots of neat birds too; check out the photo evidence on our DNCB Flickr site.

We met on the 7:00 am ferry from Tsawwassen to Swartz Bay, and yes, Free for us Seniors.  It was a bit overcast, but after wolfing down the famous White Spot Traditional Breakfast on board, most of us stayed at the bow in search of pelagic rarities.  We saw cormorants, a few gulls and one Pigeon Guillemot.  Even Active Pass was quiet.  Not the beginning we were hoping for.  But the conversation was riveting, especially reminiscing/bragging about the past wild and wonderful sightings we’ve had on these ferry trips.

We arrived on time (8:40 am) at Swartz Bay and boarded the double-decker bus ($5 for day pass) to Sidney.  The walk in beautiful downtown Sidney to the Sidney Spit ferry dock was exactly 7 minutes, as Terry predicted.  We got there just before the 9:30 am ticket booth opening, so David took the first Group Photo here.

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DNCB waiting for Sidney Spit ferry – photo by David Hoar

From the dock we scoped Pigeon Guillemots, Pelagic & Double-crested Cormorants and in the distance Marbled Murrelets, Common Murres and Rhinoceros Auklets.  Return fare on the Alpine Ferry (10:00 am departure, holds 41 passengers and only operates in the Summer) was $16 for the 25 minute crossing to Sidney Island.

On the very smooth crossing, we had closer looks at some of the afore-mentioned pelagic species, and enjoyed the spectacular scenery of the spit and the surrounding Gulf Islands.  At the picnic tables near the dock, from informative signage we learned that Sidney Spit was a National Park Reserve.  Barn Swallows serenaded us, and a few Purple Martins were still hanging around their numbered nest boxes.

We started our walk out the Spit and the array of Shorebird sightings, up-close-and-personal began.  High Tide was receding so our timing was perfect.  A flock of Least Sandpipers were in the first pond.  We have some decent birders in our group, but I must thank our Guru Anne and sometimes irremediable (look it up) Roger, for confirming the identification of the Shorebirds we saw.  To some of us they all look the same, and it’s very confusing, especially for Peeps.

The next group we saw were Western Sandpipers (which we originally thought the Least were).  Then a few Sanderling were running along the other side with a couple of Westerns.  Then we saw a flock of Semipalmated Plovers (like baby Killdeer) that we could all identify.  Then a half dozen Baird’s Sandpipers (longer wings because they fly from Arctic to Antarctic) landed in front of us foraging among the rocks and moss.  Obviously, these flocks were all mixed flocks, and we saw birds among them that looked a bit different, but we couldn’t be sure on ID’s.  We wanted to see a Semi-palmated Sandpiper to round out our Peep sightings.  A Greater Yellowlegs gave a nice fly-past and lots of brilliant Black Oystercatchers there too.

As for Gulls, we came upon a resting flock of California Gulls (black & red on bill tip). Glaucous-winged Gulls, and hybrids, were there too, and I think Ring-billed.  One Gull was photographed trying to swallow a huge Flathead Sole.  Lots of Mew Gulls were seen on the ferry crossing, but we were blanked on expected Bonaparte Gulls.

The walk along the length of the Spit to the Lighthouse and back was a very comfortable and enjoyable 2 hours.  It warmed up nicely; I felt like a swim, but didn’t.  We did not see any Common Nighthawks which they claim nest there.

At 12:30 pm we gathered for our picnic lunch at the tables.  No beer!  I didn’t need much after the huge Ferry Breakfast; a boiled egg, apple, Anne’s plum, bread, peanuts, granola bar and water hit the spot for me.  Lots of Sparrows surrounded us at lunch, mostly White-crowned, but Song and Savannah also seen.  PB Lorna’s Belted Kingfisher also joined us.

After lunch we began our walk toward the treed part of the island and the campground.  A Downy Woodpecker was pecking around one of the many holes in trunks made by Pileated Woodpeckers.  Several Red-breasted Nuthatches were calling, and some saw a number of Warblers including Yellow-rumped, Yellow, and Common Yellowthroats.  A Turkey Vulture flew over while Chestnut-backed Chickadees, Juncos and Northern Flickers were in the trees.  None of the apparent 1200 Fallow Deer on the island were seen.  American Goldfinches were feeding on Thistles.  It was another pleasant hour-long Lagoon Trail circular walk.  We got back to the pier approaching 2:30 pm in time for the 3:00 pm ride back to Sidney.

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DNCB return to Sidney Opera House – photo by David Hoar

The walk in Sidney to the bus stop was interesting for the neat sculptures and “arty” shops along the way (my home-made ice cream sandwich was delish).  We caught the 4:00 pm bus to Swartz Bay then the 5:00 pm ferry back to Tsawwassen.  It was very pleasant on the ferry’s bow among the Islands, and we saw a few Harbour Porpoises, but some of us spent a lot of the return trip seated, examining the insides of our eye lids.  I was exhausted.

The bus from the terminal to the Ladner Bus exchange was efficient, and cheap (free using Ladner Jack’s Compass Card) and Richmond Brian got me home at a timely 7:15 pm.  We had a super organized venue, super views and sightings, with a super group of DNCBers on a super day.

The Fourteen were: Organizer Terry C, Roger M, Guru Anne M, David & Noreen, “almost lost” Jean & Pauline, PB Lorna, North Van Richard, Richmond Brian, North Delta’s Alan & Liz, Ladner Jack Mac and me.

Next Wednesday, September 5 is our annual day-long outing to Mt. Baker, again organized by the irreplaceable Terry Carr.  Leaving Petra’s at 7:00 am, the group will car-pool from the Peace Arch Park parking lot (behind the Duty Free Shop) at 7:30 am.  More details about this trip on our DNCB Maps page.

Also, don’t forget our first 2018/19 monthly Delta Nats meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 4 at the Benediction Lutheran Church in Tsawwassen at 7:30 pmAnne Murray will be giving a presentation on her recent Birding Adventures in China.  All welcome to join us.

As always, your comments are encouraged, and let me know if you want off my email list to receive these far-too-long missives simply bragging about my good times.  Cheers: Tom

Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists Society

Posted in *DNCB, Baird’s Sandpiper, Black Oystercatcher, California Gull, Common Murre, Harbour Porpoise, Least Sandpiper, Marbled Murrelet, Mew Gull, Pelagic Cormorant, Pigeon Guillemot, Purple Martin, Rhinoceros Auklet, Sanderling, Semipalmated Plover, Sidney Spit National Park, Turkey Vulture, Western Sandpiper, Yellow Warbler, Yellow-rumped Warbler | Leave a comment

DNCB Outing No. 2018-34 to Maplewood Flats, North Vancouver

Twenty DNCBers enjoyed a very pleasant Wednesday morning wandering the trails and mudflats of Maplewood Conservation Area in North Vancouver.  Check out some beaut photos on our DNCB Flickr site.

Eleven of us left Tsawwassen (Petra’s) at 7:30 am, car-pooling nicely in 3 vehicles but each took a different route, through Vancouver to North Van.  The traffic was okay to start for morning rush hour, but predictably there was an accident on the Second Narrows Bridge which held us all up.  So it took us all about an hour and 20 minutes to get to the Nature Hut and 1940’s Squatter Cabins at the Park entrance, where the others were patiently waiting.  We had the customary preliminary gabfest and introductions, then David took the Group Photo, with a Doe and Fawn Black-tailed Deer resting on the ground behind us.

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DNCB at Maplewood flats (left, behind Jim, is deer) – photo by David Hoar

Before starting our walk, we studied the Enclosure of Feeders and the abundance of American Goldfinches, House Finches, Spotted Towhees and Bushtits in attendance.

Not a lot of bird activity in the trees as we strolled the trail to the mudflats overlooking the pylons of Purple Martin boxes.  The tide was way out and there were still lots of Purple Martins hanging around the nest boxes.  An Osprey was on its nest on another pylon, and there were three others on the mud.  The water’s edge was far away, but we saw, in the scope, Red-breasted Mergansers and Red-necked Grebes, along with a few fishing boats in the inlet.  It was a pleasant morning, and a nice spot to sit on a log and gaze at the scenery.

We continued on, some walking on the mud, others via the trail.  Although quieter than usual in the trees, we did see a number of Flycatchers, one identified as an Olive-sided.  Others could have been Pacific-slope Flycatchers and/or or Western Wood-Pewees.  We also saw Sparrows (Song, Fox, Golden-crowned), Cedar Waxwings, Downy Woodpecker, and lots of Swallows, mostly Barn and Tree, at least one Purple Finch and an Anna’s Hummingbird.  From a lookout onto the mudflats, Ladner Jack got a photo of two shorebirds blending in on the rocky shore; they look like Spotted Sandpipers.  Lots of Great Blue Herons and Double-crested Cormorants there too.

As we crossed the bridge to the larger forest section of the park, the two deer seemed to be following us.  Some of us were concerned by the crippled front leg of the Doe, but a regular at the Flats said she had been like that for several years, and was still producing fawns each year.  Apparently it’s bad arthritis.  Another visitor saw a Garter Snake.  We didn’t see much more; blanked on our usual sightings of Band-tailed Pigeons and warblers.  A Northern Flicker aroused a bit of interest as it pecked around a large cavity in a dead tree stump.  We got back to the Nature Hut around 11:15 am, and twelve of us decided to go to lunch at the nearby Deep Cove Brewery on Dollarton Highway and celebrate Jim K’s Birthday.

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Happy Birthday, Jim! – photo by David Hoar

Lunch with Happy Birthday singing was awesome, along with my Bay Shrimp Sandwich with a huge “sour” Dill Pickle, and a scrumptious sleeve of their Helles Lager.  Roger dropped me off at the Riverport Cinema in Richmond around 1:30 pm so I got to see most of Christopher Robin with Sandra and granddaughter Juliette.

The twenty DNCBers included: North Delta’s Deborah Jones and her brother Cedron and Sarah visiting from Montana, 2nd timer North Deltan Thomas was with our sisters Pat & Maureen, long-time DNCBer Marylile now living in North Van made a welcome return appearance, the three Musqueteers Jim, Chris & Ladner Jack, Gerhard enjoyed the Blackberries, North Van Richard H raced ahead, David & Noreen brought PB Lorna and photog Glen, Marion S brought her famous apples, Roger and Terry were stuck with me in the van.  Another super DNCB outing.

Next Wednesday, August 29 is our first outing to Sidney Spit off Vancouver Island, meeting on the 7:00 am ferry to Swartz Bay.  Terry has organized this outing, and there are elaborate and explicit instructions on the 2018 DNCB Outings page.  Check them out, and other reports and photos.

It’s been a busy week with the International Ornithological Congress here, along with Vancouver’s International Bird Festival, but fun too.

As always, your comments are encouraged, and let me know if these weekly meandering missives are so annoying that you want off my email list.  Cheers: Tom

Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists Society

Posted in *DNCB, Black-tailed Deer, Cedar Waxwing, Garter snake, Maplewood Flats, Olive-sided Flycatcher, Osprey, Pacific-slope Flycatcher, Purple Finch, Purple Martin, Red-breasted Merganser, Red-necked Grebe, Spotted Sandpiper, Western Wood-Pewee | Leave a comment

DNCB Outing No. 2018-33 to Boundary Bay at 104th St.

About 20 DNCBers enjoyed another beautiful Wednesday morning in Delta, walking along the Boundary Bay Regional Park (BBRP) trail from 104th St. to the Mansion.  Check out the photo evidence on our Flickr site at: DNCB Flickr site.

Some left Petra’s at 7:30 am, and we all met at the Boundary Bay Heritage Airpark at 104th at 8:00 am.  The tide was out but coming in.  We set the scopes up before David took the Group Photo to get that grueling necessity out of the way.

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DNCB on Boundary Bay Dike Trail – photo by David Hoar

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Additional DNCB on Boundary Bay Dike Trail – photo by David Hoar

Hundreds of Black-bellied Plovers were feeding in the mud, along with hundreds of other shorebirds; we identified mostly Western and Least Sandpipers, Sanderling and Long-billed Dowitchers.  Some saw a flock of Baird’s Sandpipers, and perhaps Semipalmated Plovers (not S-p Sandpipers).  Peter C was walking out in the mud and found a Golden Plover.  Jean saw the Willet because she had a Swarovski scope.  We blanked on Godwits, and had difficulty identifying the hundreds of Peeps.

As we strolled along the trail, between chatfests, some saw little birds including Song, Savannah and White-crowned Sparrows, Rufous Hummingbirds, House Finches, and several Warblers.  We saw Common Yellowthroats, and via photo identification, surprisingly saw both Yellow and MacGillivray Warblers, very neat sightings.  Other sort of common birds seen included Cedar Waxwings, Eurasian Collared-Doves and lots of Brown-headed Cowbirds.  At the Mansion, there were a few Yellowlegs, and we were able to easily distinguish both Lesser and Greater.  Killdeer were there too.  As for raptors, Bald Eagles and Northern Harriers were around, and we saw a Merlin roust the Shorebirds.  Swallowtail Butterflies and bushy Caterpillars along the trail were a bit exciting.

We got back to the 104th Airpark shortly after 11:00 am, and decided we’d had enough.  Only the “magnificent” eight of us decided to go for lunch at Boundary Bay Airport.  My Shrimp Omelette was delicious, of course with a pint of Granville Island Lager, and Maureen’s fries.  I was home by 1:30 pm for the arrival of Aussie cousins from their 3 week Washington, Oregon, Montana, BC road tour.  Another awesome DNCB outing.

The 20 DNCBers were: Roger, Terry, Roger 2, Richmond Brian, sisters Pat & Maureen with Manli and their North Delta “newbie” Thomas, David & Noreen, PB Lorna, Mike B2, Jean G, Glen B, Chris McV, Debbi H and her daughter Catharine, Margaretha, Peter C and me.

Next Wednesday, August 22, the indefatigable Roger M will again lead us on an outing to Maplewood Flats.  We’ll leave Petra’s at 7:30 am and plan to be at the Park entrance at the Nature House around 8:30 am.

Also, this weekend, join Nats at three events where we will have our hands-on, informative Display:
1) Saturday 18 AugustStarry Night at Deas Island Park, 7:30 to 10:00 pm
2) Sunday August 19Animal Expo at Ladner’s Memorial Park, 10:00 to 3:00 pm
3) Sunday August 19Richmond Raptor & Garlic Festival at Terra Nova Park, 10:00 am to 3:00 pm.

For more info on DNCB destinations, reports and photos, visit our website.  As always, your comments are welcome, and let me know if you want off my email list to receive these annoying weekly missives.  Cheers: Tom

Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists Society (exhausted at 1:00 am Saturday, so forgive the “lame” report)

Posted in *DNCB, 104 Street, American Golden-Plover, Baird’s Sandpiper, Bald Eagle, Black-bellied Plover, Boundary Bay, Cedar Waxwing, Delta Heritage AirPark, Least Sandpiper, Long-billed Dowitcher, MacGillivray's Warbler, Merlin, Northern Harrier, Sanderling, Semipalmated Plover, Western Sandpiper, Willet, Yellow Warbler | Leave a comment

DNCB Outing No. 2018-32 to Burnaby Lake Park

Fifteen DNCBers enjoyed a hot Wednesday morning wandering the trails at Burnaby Lake Park.  Check out the beautiful photo evidence on our DNCB Flickr site (more to come).

Eight of us car-pooled nicely in two vehicles from Petra’s at 7:30 am.  Interestingly, our Burnaby Legend & Leader, Roger Meyer, drove one vehicle on an historic “short cut” tour of Burnaby and we got to the Park parking lot at 8:35 am, 15 minutes after the other Petra’s vehicle.

Following the obligatory introductory blather among the 15, we strolled out to the lookout at Piper Spit.  There was lots of bird noise in the trees around us and Burnaby Marion spotted a Hutton’s Vireo.  The gardens around the Nature House were filled with gorgeous blooming flowers, and, of course, several Hummingbirds (I assume both Rufous and Anna’s) were flitting among them.  Red-winged Blackbirds were feeding juvenile Brown-headed Cowbirds, and we heard Common Yellowthroats, and finally got a look at a couple.  Tonnes of Mallards around and we saw a few Wood Ducks and a Long-billed Dowitcher among them.

As we approached the Lookout, the pair of Sandhill Cranes were feeding on seeds on the plank floor.  They were hardly bothered by us, until we got very close and they just jumped over the fence onto the mudflats.The water seemed low and there was a lot more vegetation in the lake than I am used to seeing there.  As David took the Group Photo (15 with Maureen “parachuted” in), a Merlin cruised by, hawking dragonflies.

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DNCB at Burnaby Lake – photo by David Hoar

It obligingly perched for its photo shoot on a stick tree just off the lookout.  It, along with other perched birds like the Great Blue Herons, was continually panting as it was abnormally very hot already this morning.  We were blanked on the Mandarin Duck recently seen here.

Roger led us on the Piper Mill “loop” Trail first, and from the big Lookout we saw one of several Willow Flycatchers seen throughout the morning.  Cedar Waxwings and Swainson’s Thrushes were also in the trees along the trail and some got good looks and photos.  Lots of LBJ’s along the trail too including Song and Fox Sparrows, House Finches, Spotted Towhees, Rock Pigeons, and some unidentified warblers (Yellow Warbler?) Some saw a Western Tanager.

We got back to the Nature House about 10:00 am and then continued along our regular route, the Brunette Headwaters Trail to the Cariboo Dam.  More of the same species seen, but we also saw a Warbling Vireo.  A passing runner showed us his photos of a Black Bear with a juvenile Cub on the trail, but we didn’t see any Bears.  Approaching 11:00 am, some found the heat unbearable and returned to the Nature House; others continued to Cariboo Dam.  We were rewarded as Roger eventually found an American Dipper feeding among the rocks at the Dam.  Of course, back at the Nature House and Piper Spit, Maureen and the others saw a Pileated Woodpecker, a Mink and several Killdeer.  Exhausted, sweaty and fulfilled, and just past Noon, we ended the outing and ten of us decided to have lunch at the luxurious, air conditioned, Burnaby Golf Course Restaurant.

The Jug of Sleeman’s Lager went down very smoothly, along with the Hamburger Special with Mozzarella Cheese & Mushrooms, and a Salad (fortunately Maureen ordered Chips). Unlike other DNCB pub fare, veggie-wimp Terry was even pleased with this restaurant choice.  As usual, our historian and fictitious raconteur, entertained us with stories, including his legendary one-over-par 71 on this golf course back when he was a Teaching Pro with his high school class.  I snored through more of R&M’s stories on the ride back to Tsawwassen, arriving before 3:00 pm and in time for granddaughter pickup at her Camp at the Ladner Water Park.

Now Thursday morning, our France guests left this morning, I missed my weekly golf at the Cove, and grandson Thomas is napping, so I have/had time to write this almost-entertaining report.

The eclectic 15 were: Leader Roger M and Co-Leader Marion S, future leader and motor cyclist Fisherman Burnaby Roy, sisters Pat & Maureen, co-raconteur Mike B, Boundary Bay Mike 2B, elusive North Van Richard H, our Bird Spotter Kirsten W, affable PB Lorna, award-winning photog Richmond Brian, always reliable David & Noreen, Chief Organizer Terry C and me.

Next Wednesday, August 15, is a local DNCB outing along the Boundary Bay dike at 104th, for migrating Shorebirds.  Parking at Delta Heritage Airpark.

We will also have an extra outing at Reifel on Monday, August 13 at 9:00 am with some kids from Tsawwassen First Nations.

Check out our website for more info, reports and photos.  As always, your comments are encouraged, and let me know if these less-than comedic reports annoy you and you want off my email list.  Cheers: Tom

Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists Society

Posted in *DNCB, American Dipper, Burnaby Lake, Hutton's Vireo, Long-billed Dowitcher, Merlin, Mink, Pileated Woodpecker, Sandhill Crane, Swainson's Thrush, Willow Flycatcher | Leave a comment

DNCB Outing No. 2018-31 to Blackie Spit Park

Photos by David Hoar (DH), Brian Avent (BA), Terry Carr (TC), Glen Bodie (GB), Pat Smart (PS), Maureen Sinilaid (MS), Jack MacDonald (JMacD), Ken Borrie (KB)

About 25 DNCBers spent a glorious Wednesday morning in Blackie Spit Park in South Surrey.  We had some neat sightings; check them out on our DNCB Flickr site.

Ten of us car-pooled from Petra’s at 7:30 am and arrived early, around 8:00 am at the Blackie Spit parking lot.  The tide was high, and we feared we wouldn’t see many birds.  Then, right in front of us, posing on a fence post was a Bonaparte’s Gull in full breeding plumage.

As others arrived and following the customary introductory gabfest, we began our walk out the spit.  Not much activity, but we spotted a few Greater Yellowlegs in the grass with Killdeer nearby.  Some found Savannah Sparrows on the walk out, but no large flocks of shorebirds that we kind of hoped for and expected.  Then the “resident” Long-billed Curlew arrived and our excitement began.

David took the Group Photo as we sat on a log in these beautiful surroundings.

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22 DNCB at Blackie Spit – missing Maureen photo by David Hoar

Walking back to the parking lot, we noticed a few California Gulls among the flock of Ring-billed Gulls.

While examining the identification differences, a hawk landed near to where the Curlew was seen.  Some raced to see it, while others remained at the “Gull ID Course”.  Subsequent photos by Richmond Brian and Pat S of a Cooper’s Hawk with its captured Rabbit prey in its claws proved that we should have joined them.  Check out the photos on Flickr, especially Brian’s shot of the bird and prey just above Maureen’s head, a potential award-winning photo.

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We continued on the trail toward Rene Sevenye park.  Langley Guru Gareth pointed out an Asparagus Beetle on where else, an Asparagus plant.

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photo by David Hoar

Some saw a few other common little birds, Finches, Sparrows, Bushtits,  Rufous Hummingbirds, etc.

A large flock (~20) of Great Blue Herons was enjoying morning tea together near some feeding Yellowlegs.  We were able to pick out a few Lesser Yellowlegs among the Greaters.

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Purple Martins (TC)

Meanwhile, lots of Purple Martins still around, including on their nest boxes.  And Swallows (Barn, Tree and Violet-green) were also hawking insects above the mud.

We followed the trail along the slough to the new Pumphouse, then Dunsmuir Community Gardens.  Only Mallards in the slough, and we were blanked on other colourful birds we often see here, Black-headed Grosbeaks, Western Tanagers.  A flock of Short-billed Dowitchers flew by.


And the flowers and other plants in the Gardens were brilliant.  We got a bit excited with American Goldfinches and Cedar Waxwings in one tree.  Others posed humorously beside Plastic Owls.


We got back to the parking lot about 11:15 am and 13 of us, including New Yorker Caroline and her visiting South African Rugby 7’s junkies, decided to retire to the Townhall Public House on King George Highway for lunch.  We had been here several times before, and I again enjoyed the Fish & Chips with two sleeves of their House Lager, very reasonably priced for some of us cheapskates.

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DNCB at Townhall Pub – photo by David Hoar

I was home by 1:30 pm with the Iced Cap & Sour Cream Glazed Donut for Sandra, and in time for grandkid afternoon pick-up at Camp and DayCare.  It’s a Wonderful Life!

We 26 on the outing and/or at lunch were: our Photogs Ladner Jack, Richmond Brian, sisters Pat & Maureen, David & Noreen, Glen B, Langley Gareth, webmaster Ken & Anne and Terry C, the New Yorkers Chief Bill & Caroline with their 3 South African “7’s” guests including the diminutive Viccy B, Motorcycle “Rapid” Roy, South Surrey Julie, PB Lorna, Johnny Mac, Mike B2, Roger K2, Langley Joanne R,  Rick H, Guru Anne M and me.

Next Wednesday, August 8, Roger Meyer will lead us around his old haunting grounds at Burnaby Lake, leaving Petra’s at 7:30 am and meeting at the Interpretation House Park parking lot around 8:15-8:30 am, depending on traffic.

Check out our website for more info on outings, reports and photos.  As always, your comments are encouraged, and let me know if you want off my email list to receive these worthless weekly gems.  Cheers: Tom

Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists Society

Posted in *DNCB, Blackie Spit, Bonaparte's Gull, California Gull, Cedar Waxwing, Cooper's Hawk, Long-billed Curlew, Long-billed Dowitcher, Purple Martin | Leave a comment