DNCB Outing No. 2017-16 to Deer Lake, Burnaby

More photos at our DNCB Flickr site

Most of the 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 2017-16 to “flickr_search_dncb-photosDNCB Photos” in the Search box at the top of the page.

24 people met at the Royal Oak parking lot to explore Deer Lake on a nice day—no rain and sun eventually appearing.  A pair of Wood Ducks entertained the early birds while we waited for the rest of the group to arrive.

During our time, we saw or heard many commonly found birds, American Robin, Song Sparrow, Black-capped Chickadee, Spotted Towhee, Crow, Northern Flicker, which I will not mention again.

On the first leg of the walk, we found Yellow-rumped Warblers, Audubon sub-species, Orange-crowned Warblers, Ruby-crowned Kinglets, Pine Siskins (an identification challenge solved by Kirsten), 6 Cowbirds (thanks Brian), and eventually a small flycatcher, which again presented an ID challenge.  After much debate and switching back and forth, we consulted our guru Anne Murray, who thought it was likely a Pacific-slope Flycatcher (vs Hammond’s) based on pictures of the bill size, but she said that the only way to be certain with Flycatchers is to hear them.  We heard Common Yellowthroat and Black-throated Gray Warblers in this section but were unable to see them.

The next section which we passed by twice, included the lake, which held Double-crested Cormorants, Ring-necked Ducks, Gadwall, Mallards, Wood Ducks, Goldeneye, and American Wigeon.  We also saw 3 Wood Ducks up very high in a tree, which was an unusual sighting.  A large turtle siting on a log on first pass of this section, became 4 turtles on the way back, all Red Sliders, and all doing very well in this lake.

As we entered a wooded section, someone spotted a very large bird landing in the conifers there, so we spent some time searching for a Barred Owl that had been seen close to there a day previous.  No luck, but we did produce a female Downy Woodpecker, a Huttons’s Vireo, Brown Creeper, Bushtits and some heard a Bewick’s Wren and Golden-crowned Kinglets.

On to the Burnaby Great Blue Heronry, which is busy with numerous nesting herons, some with hatched young and some without. Others of the group were distracted by a pair of mating raccoons up high on a branch.  A Pacific Wren provided enthusiastic background music for the raccoons.

We made our way back to the west end of the lake, passing a beautiful male Ring-necked Pheasant, who was happily feeding and remarkably unbothered by the many photographers who were taking its picture.  I did not know that male pheasants in breeding plumage have “horns”.   Two Canada Geese foraged in the field across from him.

Along the west end of the lake, a male Anna’s Hummingbird sat in his usual perch in a tree that has been occupied by a Hummer for years. Several swallows, mostly Tree Swallows, were hawking insects along the lake edge, but Tom had seen a Violet-green Swallow earlier.  A work crew with loud hedge trimmers likely scared off other birds that locate in that area, but after they left, we found Savannah Sparrows singing and flitting from tree to tree as we made our way westward. The walk was quiet with the occasional Orange-crowned Warbler and Song Sparrow heard.

Heading northward, we spotted a Red-tailed Hawk sitting high in a snag.  The Barn Owl boxes were noted, but no owls seen.  At least two Common Yellowthroat Warblers were heard in this area.  As we turned westward, Tom found several American Goldfinches.  We heard another Black-throated Gray Warbler, and some gave chase until they managed to spot it.

As it was close to noon, we called it a day, and part of the group went to a local eatery, where they satisfied their hunger and thirst.

Report by Marion Shikaze

Posted in *DNCB, Black-throated Grey Warbler, Deer Lake, Hutton's Vireo, Orange-crowned Warbler, Pacific-slope Flycatcher, Ring-necked Duck, Ring-necked Pheasant, Yellow-rumped Warbler | Leave a comment

DNCB Outing No. 2017-15 to Ladner Parks

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DNCB at Ladner Harbour (DH)

Photos by Terry Carr (TC), Glen Bodie (GB), Brian Avent (BA), Chris McVittie (CMcV), David Hoar (DH) & Roger Meyer (RM).
More photos at our DNCB Flickr site

Thirteen DNCBers enjoyed a surprisingly almost-rainfree and birdy Wednesday morning wandering through a few parks in Ladner.  Enjoy the close-up-and-personal photos on our Flickr website at: www.flickr.com/groups/dncb, then click the magnifying glass icon in the “Photo Pool” row, and add 2017-15 to “flickr_search_dncb-photosDNCB Photos” in the Search box at the top of the page.

Six guys met at Petra’s at 7:30 am and car-pooled to our first destination Ladner Harbour Park.  Roger Two drove Terry C, David H and Mike B, and Chris came with me in the Jeep.  We arrived at the Park parking lot around 8:00 am where Roger M, Johnny Mac, sisters Pat & Maureen, Glen B and Richmond Brian were waiting and enjoying the Warblers singing in the trees (Time-challenged Margaretha came fashionably later to make the 13).

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Photo by Roger Meyer

Roger took the Group Photo of us surrounding the Playground Slide, with the resident Pussy.  Many Yellow-rumped Warblers (mostly Audubon’s in this park) were flitting about and we got good looks as the leaves have not yet fully developed.

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We also may have heard other species, Yellow, Wilson’s, Orange-crowned and Common Yellowthroats, but couldn’t actually spot any.  Kinglets were there too and we recognized Ruby-crowned.

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Ruby-crowned Kinglet (DH)

Lots of Bushtits around, some nesting and others collecting nest material. It was kind of a “nest day” for us as we not only saw a nice hanging Bushtit nest, but also a Northern Flicker expanding its nest cavity and an American Robin sitting on a nest under the picnic shelter.

We followed the Swenson trail, avoiding the many dog walkers, and were surprised by several Brown Creepers “creeping” up various tree trunks, some also collecting nesting material.

There was at least one Golden crowned Kinglet in the area of the creepers.  Lots of Wrens singing too, both Pacific and Marsh.  We walked out to the shoreline at a few spots and found the one Greater Yellowlegs.  At the water’s edge were Green-winged Teal, a couple of Buffleheads and American Wigeon and Mallards.  A flock of about 20 Dunlin gave a nice fly-past.  A few Hummers around, probably both Anna’s and Rufous.

Downy Woodpeckers posed too.  The park paths were easily traversed and the marsh area was packed down and dry (low tide) so we could access and get good views of the river that we normally don’t get towards the Summer.  It’s a gorgeous area; Pat pointed out the “Lions” behind Cypress Mountain in the distance.

Continuing on to the infamous non-Lookout behind the off-leash dog park, more warblers, and lots of Swallows hawking insects.

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Barn Swallow (BA)

We saw Tree, Violet-green and finally a few Barn Swallows.  Probably other species too.  Roger One snuck off on us and scared up the Wilson’s Snipe.  David saw the Snipe, but it was a fly-by view twice.  By the time the rest of us found Roger, the Snipe was long gone.

But we did get great looks and photos of two Lincoln’s Sparrows in a marsh bush.  We clearly saw several Sparrow species this day, Song, Fox, Golden- and White-crowned as well.  And brilliant Finches too, both House and American Goldfinches.

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Before leaving Ladner Harbour Park, we wandered over to the adjacent provincial Wildlife Management Area but couldn’t see any development of the new bridge and boardwalk that is apparently planned for this area.

Next stop was the park on Ferry Road where the stream crosses from the marsh, it may be called Earle Burnett Park.  Anyhow, we went to the little bridge where Mike “jimmied” the gate so we could get through to view the many Wood Ducks in the creek.

This has been a good nesting area for Wood Ducks, however residents have told me that they are not successful because of predation from Racoons and Otters.  We moved on to the next park, and followed the trail along the slough through the condos to Cove Links Golf Course.  Lots of Warblers here too, interestingly more Myrtle than Audubon’s Yellow-rumped.  Roger regaled us here with his infamous historic feat of getting a “House Birdie” on the 4th hole of the Cove Links course; his errant tee shot bounced off a house roof onto the green.

It started to sprinkle (why not?  It always rains on DNCB days) as we wandered back to Ferry Road.  It was about 11:30 am and by “almost-democratic vote”, we decided to abort a visit to South Arm Marsh Wildlife Park and go directly to Speed’s Pub in Ladner for lunch.

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DNCB at Speed’s (DH)

Good decision, as twelve of us (including Jim K, a Drop-in from the Probus Candidates meeting) bonded nicely and had tasty dishes at very reasonable prices.  I had Speed’s Club Sandwich with a Veggy Soup, of course with a couple of delectable pints of Okanagan 1516 Beer, on Special which I always appreciate.  It was another very pleasant DNCB outing, and I got home in time to rest before entertaining the grandkids while their parents took Dance Lessons.

Next Wednesday, April 26, we will have a special outing to Burnaby’s Deer Lake Park where Nat Marion Shikaze will lead our adventure.  We will leave Petra’s at 7:30 am and meet Marion at the Royal Oak Road parking lot at 8:15 am. Note: accessible only heading north off Royal Oak, on right.

Check out our website for more outing info, and reports and photos.

Sunday, April 23; the Bird Walk and Fish Release at North Delta’s Watershed Park, 11:30 am to 2:00 pm, and the Birds in Focus Photography Workshop at Cammidge House, 9:00 am to 1:00 pm.

As always, your comments are appreciated, and please tell me if these weekly missives are annoying and you want off my e-mail List.  Cheers: Tom (finally enjoying a gorgeous sunny Friday)

Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists Society

Posted in *DNCB, Brown Creeper, Dunlin, Ladner Harbour Park, Ladner S.Arm Marsh, Lincoln’s Sparrow, Orange-crowned Warbler, Wilson's Snipe, Wilson’s Warbler, Yellow Warbler | Leave a comment

DNCB Outing No. 2017-14 to Brydon Lagoon, Hi-Knoll Park and Surrey Lake Park

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More photos at our DNCB Flickr site

For the umpteenth outing in a row, it poured rain, but 13 hardy DNCBers saw a lot of neat stuff on Wednesday at Brydon Lagoon and Hi-Knoll Park, then drove to Surrey Lake Park before lunch.  Check out the brilliant photos of flowers, folk and fowl on our Flickr site at: www.flickr.com/groups/dncb, then click the magnifying glass icon in the “Photo Pool” row, and add 2017-14 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, carpooling nicely in two vehicles, David H took Valerie and Glen, Mike drove Terry and me.  We made good time and got to the Brydon Lagoon parking lot (near the Langley-Surrey border) at 8:15 am.  Sisters Pat & Maureen, Richmond Brian and Johnny Mac were waiting.  Our “Leaders” Ken & Anne and Rambling Roger made their guest appearances while we were on the trail.  While Glen (with his new camera) took the first of a few Group photos at the parking lot, we saw a couple of Green-winged Teal in the adjacent pond, and Glen heard a Common Yellowthroat.  We walked to the Lagoon and there was lots of neat stuff in it, in stunning breeding plumage, including; a pair of Common Goldeneye, both Common and Hooded Mergansers, Pied-billed Grebes, Gadwall, American Wigeon and Mallards.  Swallows were hawking insects over the water; we recognized Tree and Violet-green, Brian saw a Barn, but we weren’t good enough to identify Northern Rough-winged or other species.  Someone tried to shrink a Great Blue Heron into the oft-seen Green Heron, albeit unsuccessfully.

Yellow-rumped Warblers (Audubon’s with yellow throat) excited us as they flitted in the bushes, posing occasionally for good shots.  Three Sparrow species there too, Song, White- and Golden-crowned.  Neither Rufous nor Anna’s Hummingbirds were as common as usual there.  Of course, Rambling Roger (dressed like a Canary) saw the only Common Yellowthroat.  We trudged through the marsh mud, and crossed the Nicomekl River bridge to Hi-Knoll Park.  Here we saw our Destination Species, both White and even rarer Pink Fawn Lilies.  These wildflowers are apparently only found here and Vancouver Island.  Interestingly, Valerie advised that the name Fawn Lily is from the texture of their leaves which resemble a Fawn Deer.  Check out the photos.  We also saw lots of other beautiful flowers and blossoms, including Trilliums, Red Currant and Indian Plum blossoms, Skunk cabbage and Roger’s Lunch, Stinging Nettle.

It continued to rain, uncomfortably for a number of us who had inappropriate footwear.  We saw both Black-capped and Chestnut-backed Chickadees through our foggy bins.  We heard Pacific Wrens and a Pileated Woodpecker, saw Northern Flickers, but couldn’t find the Barred Owl.  We raced back to the parking lot, almost losing Valerie.  We passed Annabelle’s home on the Lagoon where only Red-winged Blackbirds were at her feeder with Eurasian Collared-Doves watching.

Not yet 11:00 am, we decided to add a visit to Surrey Lake Park before lunch.  Under Terry’s guidance, driving through Surrey subdivisions, we did the 10 minute drive in 30 minutes.  The Lake was quite productive for our 10 minute visit with a Belted Kingfisher, Lesser Scaup, Bufflehead, Pied-billed Grebes, American Coots, Northern Shovelers, an active Bald Eagles nest and other common stuff.

Nine of us stopped at the Big Ridge Brew Pub at 152nd and Highway 10 just before Noon.  For some, especially the soaked ones, the lunch stop was the hi-lite of the outing.  It was Asian Special Day and my Sweet & Sour Pork along with a pint of their flagship 152 Lager was perfect, and cheap too.  Despite the inclement weather, we were all very happy to have spent an almost-enjoyable morning together.

Next Wednesday, April 19, we will leave Petra’s at 7:30 am for Ladner Harbour Park, where we should be at 8:00 am.  We’ll visit other parks in Ladner, too.

Our Outing Destination List is changing, so for more up-to-date info check the 2017 DNCB Outings list on our website.

Also, our annual Birds in Focus Presentation evening is this Saturday, April 15 at 6:30 pm at the Tsawwassen Arts Centre.  Join us for the art & photography exhibit, plus Visual Presentations by three renowned wildlife photographers.

As always, your comments welcomed, and let me know if this drivel annoys you and you want off my List.  Cheers and Happy Easter: Tom

Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists Society

Posted in *DNCB, Bald Eagle, Brydon Lagoon, Hi-Knoll Park, Hooded Merganser, Pied-billed Grebe, Pileated Woodpecker, Pink Fawn Lily, Surrey Lake, Trillium, White Fawn Lily, Yellow-rumped Warbler | Leave a comment

DNCB Outing No. 2017-13 to Iona Regional Park

More photos at our DNCB Flickr site

Twelve crazy birders braved the rain, again for the 5th consecutive outing, on a surprisingly very successful outing to Iona Regional Park.  Check out the photo evidence of Wednesday’s outing on our Flickr site at: www.flickr.com/groups/dncb, then click the magnifying glass icon in the “Photo Pool” row, and add 2017-13 to “flickr_search_dncb-photosDNCB Photos” in the Search box at the top of the page.

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DNCB at Iona RP (photo by Terry Carr)

Five of us (Anne, Terry, Mike, Moira and me) car-pooled at 7:30 am from Petra’s in two vehicles (bonus: one was electric) again in the pouring rain.  As usual on rainy days, traffic was very slow and we got to the Iona Park parking lot around 8:30 am.  Aussie Nance and her sister Newbie Vickie, Richmond’s Brian A, Marion and our fashion guru Roger were waiting patiently.  Sisters Pat and Maureen were late arrivals.

The excitement came early as Marion found the female Mountain Bluebird behind the washrooms.  It flitted from post to post to log, posing nicely for our photogs.  The tide was out but we could see the rafts of Northern Shovelers and American Wigeon.  A flock of Dunlin gave a flyby over the water.  We got the Bluebird, but didn’t see the other Target bird, Says Phoebe, seen earlier in the week.

We started our walk between the ponds toward the back of the park and the Sewage ponds.  Tonnes of Swallows hawking insects; we identified Tree and Violet-green, but couldn’t find any Barn, Cliff or Northern Rough-winged, but I’m guessing a few were there. Marsh Wrens were buzzing in the marshes, lots of Red-wing Blackbirds, but no Yellow-headed seen, yet.  We heard a Virginia Rail, and Brian saw a couple the day before.  Two pair, one of Ring-necked Ducks and another of Buffleheads, were cuddling in the north pond, but we didn’t see the normally present Pied-billed Grebes.  The Beaver’s lodge looked active, indeed they used a fresh Bird Nest Box (Peter’s?) and post as roof support.  Anna’s Hummingbirds were diving, and a gorgeous Rufous Hummingbird posed on post, flashing his iridescent gorge.  Lots of Warblers in the bushes too; mostly Yellow-rumped, but some saw an early arrived Orange-crowned.  No Common Yellowthroats seen or heard this morning.

After entering the back gate to the Sewage Lagoons, Roger took another Group Photo including late arrivers not in Terry’s shot taken at the start.

It’s Wet…so what! (photo by Roger Meyer) click on photo for large version

The ponds were loaded with waterfowl in beautiful breeding plumage.  Lesser Scaup (and, I think, some Greater too), Ring-necked Ducks, Northern Shovelers, Northern Pintail, Gadwall, a Green-winged Teal, American Wigeon and Mallards, American Coots too.  We had a lesson in Shorebird identification as a couple of Yellowlegs flew overhead, but following close examination the up-close-and-personal Dowitchers in the pond were Short-billed rather than Long-billed (although bill length is not a determining characteristic).  In the east pond, we found a Ruddy Duck among the Scaup; nice sighting.  One DNCB Dreamer spotted a Blue-winged Teal.  We missed the Cackling Goose among the Canada Geese in the work yard.  Killdeer were buzzing us, and Killdeer Custodian Mike found the nest and four eggs in the middle of the inner trail.  Hope they survive, but somehow I doubt it.  Last year we watched a Mink circling the Killdeer nest on another path.

While examining the Killdeer nest a Peregrine Falcon (possibly a Merlin) flew at us then veered away.  Lots of Bald Eagles around and some saw a Red-tailed Hawk.  I missed the Caspian Terns fly-by too.  Back in the Iona park the trees became alive with Kinglets.  It was exciting as I saw the colourful crowns of both Ruby-crowned and Golden-crowned.  We were blanked on Wilson’s Snipe, but saw brilliant American Goldfinches, Song and Golden-crowned Sparrows, and of course the other common stuff, Flickers, Towhees, a Crow on a nest, etc.  A few V’s of Snow Geese flew overhead, and we saw the flock of a few hundred landed on the north side of the Fraser.  Couldn’t find any Trumpeter Swans.

Back at the parking lot at about 11:15 am, after watching Brian feeding his pet Redwing in his hand, we decided to retire to the Flying Beaver for lunch.  Great decision.  Eight of us dried off and bonded, seated on the patio over the river, watching the sea planes and Cormorants.  Some had Kraft Dinner (I can’t believe it, my culinary specialty), and I had Fish and Chips with a delightful Sapporo Draught Beer. Another awesome DNCB outing.

Next Wednesday, April 12, we will leave Petra’s at 7:30 am for Brydon Lagoon & Hi Knoll Park on the Langley/Surrey border.  We expect to meet our Leaders and park Wildflower experts at 8:30 am at the Brydon Lagoon parking lot.  For more info, reports and photos, visit our website.

As always, comments welcome, and let me know if these reports are annoying and you want off my e-mail List.  Cheers: Tom

Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists Society

Posted in *DNCB, Bald Eagle, Caspian Tern, Dunlin, Iona, Mountain Bluebird, Orange-crowned Warbler, Peregrine Falcon, Red-tailed Hawk, Ring-necked Duck, Ruddy Duck, Sewage Lagoons, Virginia Rail, Yellow-rumped Warbler | Leave a comment

DNCB Outing No. 2017-12 to UBC Botanical Garden

More photos at our DNCB Flickr site

For a record 29 of 31 days in March, it rained, including on our Tuesday outing to UBC Botanical Garden.  Very few birds, but some gorgeous flowers seen by surprisingly, eleven dedicated DNCBers.  Check out the few photos on our Flickr site at: www.flickr.com/groups/dncb, then click the magnifying glass icon in the “Photo Pool” row, and add 2017-12 to “flickr_search_dncb-photosDNCB Photos” in the Search box at the top of the page.

It was raining at 7:30 am when eight of us left Petra’s at 7:40 am, car-pooling effectively in two vehicles (Gerhard took Valerie, Glen and our Leader Debbi; Mike had Anne M, Jack M and me).  The traffic was horrendous; we finally arrived at the Marine Drive Garden entrance at 9:00 am, where Aussie Nance and Bird Box Pete were waiting.  Peter’s nephew (a Garden employee) took the Group Photo (only 10 as Margaretha arrived later), then Debbi led us in and down the well-groomed path.

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Damp Birders at the start (Glen Bodie)

We walked for at least 20 minutes, admiring the informative new Signage, the magnificent Magnolias, and a few of the 80 species in the Garden of gorgeous Rhododendrons (400 total species), but we didn’t see or even hear one bird.  Mind you, it was still pouring rain, and as usual, the continuous chatter of eleven DNCBers precludes hearing anything else.

From Debbi:  Over 500 species of rhododendron from Asia are at UBC Botanical garden… 200+ at VanDusen Garden.  Amazing colours blooming March to June.  Plant genetic diversity is protected, research education is important – all living things rely on plants!  They provide oxygen food shelter medicine and intrinsic value – and of course birdlife! 

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Wandering through the WET lands (Glen Bodie)

We saw a Robin at the entrance, and later we saw Juncos, Anna’s Hummingbirds, Sparrow species, Gulls, Crows, Starlings, Mallards – why do I even mention these?  Only because this is supposedly a “Bird report”.  The Garden grounds were meticulously manicured, although some trails were muddy with all the rain.  Debbi was super explaining the Garden operations, including Friends of the Garden (FOGs), as well as many of the different plant species and showing us the Owl Tree (of course, no Barred Owl around this day).  She pointed out the interesting flora species as we went through the several different gardens, namely; Asian, Alpine, Rainforest, Carolinian, Food, Physics (aka medicinal), and lastly the Garry Oak Meadow and Woodland Garden.  We did the circle loop, but did not take the Greenheart Tree Walk (closed until April 1).  I was particularly disappointed that the Melliodendron was not yet in bloom (Just kidding Debbi, I simply wanted to use a new big word).  Despite the rain and no birds, it was a fascinating tour.  A hi-lite was seeing more birds on Debbi’s umbrella than in the Garden.

We arrived back at the entrance Shop around 10:45 am and decided we had had enough.

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Soaked Birders at the end (Glen Bodie)

Another Group Photo inside, then all eleven of us went to Bean Brothers Café on 41st Ave. to dry out and have breakfast.  I splurged on French Toast with Bacon, and coffee.  It was delicious, despite no beer.  But the bonding among like-minded folk was awesome. For a more informative report on last March 2016 DNCB outing to the UBC Botanical Garden, click on this link.

Next Wednesday (not Tuesday), April 5, our outing destination is Iona Regional Park.  We leave Petra’s at 7:30 am and expect to meet at the Iona “washroom” parking lot around 8:15 am.

Don’t forget our DNS monthly meeting on Tuesday, April 4 at 7:30 pm, at the Tsawwassen Benediction Lutheran Church.  Emma Langson will be presenting on Plastics: Devil in the Deep Blue Sea.

Check out our website for more info, reports and photos.  As always, your comments are encouraged, and let me know if you want off my e-mail list to receive these inane reports.  Cheers: Tom

Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists Society

Posted in *DNCB, Botanical Garden, UBC | 1 Comment

DNCB Outing No. 2017-11 to Brunswick Point

More photos at our DNCB Flickr site

It was another wet and rainy Tuesday morning with only six DNCBers braving the “normal” BC elements at Brunswick Point.  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 2017-11 to “flickr_search_dncb-photosDNCB Photos” in the Search box at the top of the page.

I got to Petra’s at 7:30 am in the pouring rain, expecting/hoping no one would show up.  David H, Mike B and I left Petra’s at 7:40 am, still in the rain.  Brian A was waiting at Brunswick Point, in the rain, when we arrived at 8:15 am.  On entering the trail, still raining (get the Picture, it was bloody wet!) a nice pair of Bufflehead were diving in the Fraser, and a Mute Swan was loafing on the other side.

The Double-crested Cormorants were on their pylons, but no Black-bellied Plovers, although we saw flocks of these Plovers throughout the morning.

Sparrows (Song, White- and Golden-crowned, Fox) and Finches (House, American Gold) in the bushes along the trail.

We heard Marsh Wrens and Roger, who arrived later, saw a Pacific Wren.  Jim K came later too, when the rain had eased to a spit.

Killdeer (BA)

Killdeer were there and we regularly heard a Ring-necked Pheasant calling, but couldn’t spot him.

The main attraction this morning was the 2000 Snow Geese in the field, which swelled to 20,000 as flocks arrived from the Bay, flying low right over our heads.  We searched for banded birds, and Brian finally got a photo of a leg band.

 

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Also, coming and going in the fields were swarms of Shorebirds, mostly Dunlin.  We estimated 60,000 shorebirds (wish we could ID the different species) were feeding at Roberts Bank this morning, along with the thousands of ducks, mostly Green-winged Teal, Northern Pintail, American Wigeon and Mallards.  About 20 Trumpeter Swans were along the distant shoreline too.  Of course, Bald Eagles and Northern Harriers were there too, but we didn’t see a Peregrine Falcon this morning, nor a Short-eared Owl.

A nice raft of Red-breasted Mergansers showed up near the Fraser mouth.

David H takes group photo (BA)

Brian photographed David taking the Group Photo while we six posed behind a barrel of Daffodils just about to break out into bloom.  We sure know how to have fun, don’t we?

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6 DNCB at Brunswick Point – photo by David Hoar

We saw other common stuff, and perhaps a Lincoln’s Sparrow, but nothing earth shattering.  We chatted on the walk back about how fruitful and important this Roberts Banks was to so many birds and wondered about the impact the expanded Port might have on their survival.

Then we five went to Speed’s Pub again (Mikey likes it) to dry off.  Their Schnitzel and my Soup and Sandwich Special (B&E&T and Potato soup) were delicious, of course, with an Okanagan Springs 1516 Lager.

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Lunch at Speed’s (photo by David Hoar)

Long-eared Owl (RM)

Roger didn’t join us, but went instead to 104th Street dike path to photograph a Long-eared Owl.  Since Tuesday (actually on Thursday), he and others photographed the annual arrival of the Mountain Bluebird at Boundary Bay Regional Park (BBRP).  Anyhow, despite the rain, we had an almost enjoyable morning at Brunswick, bonding with the boys.  And the rain held off for Tuesday afternoon’s Opening Day of my Tsawwassen Men’s Golf Club.

Next Tuesday, March 28, Nat Debbi Hlady will lead us on our annual outing to the UBC Botanical Garden.  We will leave Petra’s at 7:30 am and plan to meet at the Garden entrance by 8:30 am (hopefully 8:15 am).  Map at goo.gl/BrhbMc

As always, your comments are encouraged, check out our website for more info, reports and photos and, let me know if you want off my List to receive these weekly missives of misguided musings (an alliteration which means annoying).  Cheers: Tom

Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists Society

Posted in Bald Eagle, Black-bellied Plover, Brunswick Point, Dunlin, Lincoln’s Sparrow, Long-eared Owl, Mountain Bluebird, Mute Swan, Northern Harrier, Red-breasted Merganser, Ring-necked Pheasant, Trumpeter Swan | Leave a comment

DNCB Outing No. 2017-10 to Serpentine Fen

Rainy-day Birders at Serpentine Fen – minus Glen (photographer) & Al S. (departed early) Click on photo to see large version

more photos at our DNCB Flickr site

Eleven stubborn DNCBers braved the constant rain (It’s BC!) on Tuesday on our surprisingly fruitful outing to Serpentine Wildlife Management Area, aka Serpentine Fen in Surrey.  Check out Glen and Anne’s photos on our Flickr site at: www.flickr.com/groups/dncb, then click the magnifying glass icon in the “Photo Pool” row, and add 2017-10 to “flickr_search_dncb-photosDNCB Photos” in the Search box at the top of the page.

It was pouring rain when I arrived at Petra’s at 7:15 am and surprisingly three others joined me, Guru Anne M, reliable Mike B and returnee “Scope Bearer” Ladner Moira I.  We car-pooled to the Fen arriving before 8:15 am, and more surprisingly several others were waiting there for us: Johnny Mac, North Delta Jean, White Rock Al, Chuck and newbie Tom M, and “Master of the Fen” Gareth P.  Glen B, our main photog, arrived after 9:00 am thinking the rain would stop.  That made the eleven.  While the group bonded in the parking lot, I checked the Barn for the usually resident Barn Owl, but he/she was not there.  GB_MuskratWe watched two Muskrats leisurely feeding along the road while Anne took a Group Photo.

 

 

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10 DNCB at Serpentine Fen (includes photographer Anne Murray)

Then we began our walk to the first Lookout.

At first the bushes along the trail were quiet with only the regular common stuff, Spotted Towhees, Robins, Chickadees and Song Sparrows.

On the Lookout was some real excitement.  A Ring-necked Duck and female Bufflehead were in the pond below.

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Ring-necked Duck & 2 female Buffleheads (GB)

Then a gorgeous Yellow-rumped Warbler (Audubon’s) flitted on a branch right in front of us, first warbler of the year for me.

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Yellow-rumped Warbler (GB)

We saw a few more Yellow Rumps in the bushes on the other side, along with four Purple Finches (we saw House Finches too).  Then newbie Tom spotted a cock Ring-necked Pheasant under a tree near the Barn.  And a Coyote lurking in the marsh beyond the pond added to the excitement.

Back on the trail, Fox Sparrows were scratching in the dirt as we walked toward the main ponds.  Then, seemingly out of nowhere, we were bombarded with Swallows flying all around us.  These Swallows, both Tree and Violet-green, were my first swallow sightings of the year.  Good timing too, as Gareth had just recently finished preparing his Tree Swallow Boxes in the Fen for their arrival and accommodation, and only last Friday we/Delta Nats finished preparing our Nest Boxes at Boundary Bay Regional Park, Earthwise and Kings Links Golf Course.

Lots of regular waterfowl in the Fen ponds including Mallards, American Wigeon, Green-winged Teal, Northern Shovelers, Gadwall, American Coots and a couple of Northern Pintail.

A few “divers” there too like Common Goldeneye, but we were blanked on Pied-billed Grebes.  Marsh Wrens were singing, and we finally saw a couple.  Several adult White-crowned Sparrows posed for a spell in the bushes along the trail, and a couple of Anna’s Hummers flashed their iridescent gorges.  We saw a few raptors too including Northern Harriers, a Red-tailed Hawk and lots of Bald Eagles.

Several Northern Flickers around, and we also saw a Downy Woodpecker near a small flock of Bushtits.

At the trail junction and the Serpentine River we lost two “wimps”, Johnny Mac and North Delta Jean, who the rain got the best of, and the normally durable White Rock Al left for his Yoga class (give me a break – yoga trumps birding?)  The remaining eight carried on along the river trail to the next Lookout.  More Common Goldeneye, Greater Scaup, a Hooded Merganser and a Horned Grebe in the river, and a brilliant Eurasian Wigeon,

but we were blanked on the resident Belted Kingfisher as well as often-seen Northern Shrikes, Red-breasted Mergansers and usually-common Double-crested Cormorants.  A flyover of four Trumpeter Swans was neat.  A couple of blackbirds in a tree across the highway looked like Brewer’s Blackbirds.  Gareth pointed out our final “neat” sighting of the day, the Peregrine Falcon on his regular roost on the hydro tower.

It was still raining off-and-on when we got back to the parking lot around 11:30 am, so we decided to call it a day.  Most of us wore appropriate rain gear so we were dry and very pleasantly pleased that we had braved the elements to enjoy another awesome DNCB outing.  See Glen’s ebird List below.

We four Petra’s crew stopped at Speed’s Pub in Ladner on the way home for lunch.  Mikie & Anne loved their Schnitzel, Moira her Salad, and me the Potato Soup and BLT Sandwich Special with a delicious pint of 1516 lager hit the spot.  I got home in time for my Dr. appointment to change bandage, and then went to the Vancouver Giants/Victoria Royals hockey game with Mike.  A super day (…wish I was working… not!)

Next Tuesday, March 21, our destination has been changed to Brunswick Point.  Leaving Petra’s at 7:30 am, we should be at the dike entrance parking around 8:00 am.

Note that on Tuesday, March 28, we will be going to UBC’s Botanical Garden with Nat Debbi Hlady leading us.

As always, your comments encouraged, check out our website for more info and reports, and let me know if you want off my e-mail List to receive these “Gems”.  Cheers: Tom

Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists Society

eBird Report from Glen Bodie
Serpentine Fen, Metro Vancouver, British Columbia, CA Mar 14, 2017 9:00 AM – 11:00 AM
Protocol: Traveling
3.0 mile(s)
36 species (+1 other taxa)

Canada Goose                              X
Trumpeter Swan                          4
Gadwall                                        4
Eurasian Wigeon                         1
American Wigeon                        6
Mallard                                        X
Northern Shoveler                       10     Probably a lot more
Northern Pintail                           6     Mostly seen in flight
Green-winged Teal                      X
Ring-necked Duck                        6
Greater/Lesser Scaup                  15     Probably a lot more, most likely they were Greater (brackish river water and salt marsh)
Bufflehead                                   6     Mostly females
Common Goldeneye                    6
Ring-necked Pheasant                 2
Horned Grebe                              1
Great Blue Heron                        6
Northern Harrier                         3
Bald Eagle                                    2
Red-tailed Hawk                          1
American Coot                             10
Glaucous-winged Gull                  10
Downy Woodpecker                    1
Peregrine Falcon                         1
Northwestern Crow                     X
Tree Swallow                               X     Mixed in with the violet-greens
Violet-green Swallow                  X     All of a sudden there were lots of them
Black-capped Chickadee              X
Marsh Wren                                X     Heard several in the rushes and saw two for sure
American Robin                           2
Yellow-rumped Warbler              X     At least several flitting around the hedgerow
Fox Sparrow                                 3
White-crowned Sparrow              2
Song Sparrow                               X
Spotted Towhee                           X     Several, not sure of the count
Red-winged Blackbird                 X     Males and females all over the marshes
House Finch                                 6
Purple Finch                                 1

View this checklist online at http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S35190487

This report was generated automatically by eBird v3 (http://ebird.org)

Regards – Glen C. Bodie

Next week, Tue. March 21, meet at Petra’s at 7:30 for Outing to Brunswick Point.

Posted in *DNCB, Bald Eagle, Coyote, Eurasian Wigeon, Hooded Merganser, Muskrat, Northern Harrier, Peregrine Falcon, Purple Finch, Red-tailed Hawk, Ring-necked Duck, Ring-necked Pheasant, Serpentine Fen, Trumpeter Swan, Yellow-rumped Warbler | Leave a comment