DNCB Outing No. 2016-43 to Reifel Bird Sanctuary via Tsawwassen Ferry Jetty and TFN Lands

See more photos at DNCB Flickr site

With the day still in darkness 9 of us met at Petra’s and left in three cars for the ferry jetty.  Roger (myself… still without volunteers to do this blog),  Gerhard and the other Roger, who still stubbornly refuses to change his name to Stuart, in one car, Mike and Terry together and Glen and Jim in the third.  With dawn breaking we arrived at the taxi pullout on the jetty having seen 14 Black Oystercatchers on the shoreline on the way.

Our timing with the sunrise was just right and next week it might a bit darker but, with standard time coming in to effect the following week, it will probably be OK to keep to the 7:30 am leaving time.  Highlight sightings included massive clouds of starlings flying overhead maneuvering like  shorebirds and great rafts of American Wigeon, Mallards, and Pintail ducks.  Mixed in with the wigeon were a few Eurasian ones.  Three species of grebe were found as well; several Western, a few Red-necked and Horned.  Both Pelagic and Double-crested Cormorants, Red-breasted Mergansers, and Common Loons were present on the water.  Out on the mudflats and along the shore were the usual Great-blue Herons, crows, varied gulls (Ring-billed, Glaucous-winged, and others not identified).

Having exhausted the north shore, we crossed over to the south side where the brisk wind made it difficult to see through watery eyes.  We did however see a few rafts of Surf Scoters with a  few White-winged ones mixed in with them.  Returning to the cars, we drove to the terminal and parked along the south  fence to check out that side but were told, almost immediately by security, to remove ourselves as the next ferry was arriving.  Mentioning that we had Tom Bearss’s permission seemed to have no effect but they did write his name down!  As we approached the beginning of the jetty a small flock of shorebirds, probably Dunlin, crossed over the road.

Moving on to the TFN road, we stopped at what should probably not be called Kingfisher Slough as it’s been several years since we’ve seen a Belted Kingfisher there.  In the slough we, Glen I think, scared off a flock of Green-winged Teal.  One bush on the side of the slough had five Northern Flickers in it.  The highlight of this section, though, was our discovery of the new board walk from the TFN offices leading out to the dyke on the foreshore.  A joint project of several agencies, the walk was obviously built sparing no expense.  Wide enough to drive a truck on, its boarded surface is coated with slip preventing paint!  The sign indicates that it is part of a Bicycle Network Improvement Project.  This walkway will provide  a much better access for birders to the birds in the foreshore marsh, something that might be a project Reifel Island could undertake!  The birds we saw there included a few Northern Harriers and 14 Great-blue Herons.  There was nothing much else to see until the end of the TFN road where we stopped to check out a hawk in a tree where we have seen Rough-leggeds… however, it turned out to be a female Harrier.

Leaving the TFN lands we entered the farm lands where we encountered thousands of Snow Geese and the sounds of hunter’s shotguns.  A Ring-necked Pheasant was seen landing in a field.  From the river dyke viewpoint we saw a Pied-billed Grebe, four Trumpeter Swans, and many Snow Geese.  The ride across Westham Island to Reifel provided nothing new… lots more Snow Geese though.  Our original intention was to check out Alaksen, but having run out of time before our 10:00 am meeting with the Pender Island birders, we decided to head right for Reifel.

Waiting for us in the Reifel parking lot were the following Delta Nats; Julie, Nance, Brian, Jack, Marion, Pat and Maureen.  We took a Delta Nats group photo with Brian trying to herd two Sandhill Cranes into the picture (they resisted).  The Pender Island contingent arrived, eight in all and we took their group photo and then a picture of the combined group (22 in all).  Sorry, Tom, I neglected to get all the names…mea culpa.  A single Cooper’s Hawk had been seen by the gift shop.

For the Reifel walk we followed our usual pattern with a counter-clockwise route.  Three Black-crowned Night-Herons were in their usual spot across form the warming hut and there was a small flock of Ring-necked Ducks in the middle of Fuller’s Slough.  Along the east dyke we had the usual;  Black-capped Chickadees, Dark-eyed Juncos, a Brown Creeper (spotted by Pender Island Dan), Red-breasted Nuthatch, Fox Sparrow and the highlight of the outing… a beautiful Barred Owl spotted by Pender Island Jan! From the blind looking into Alaksen there was a single Belted-kingfisher fishing from a branch over the water.  Out over the north dyke we saw several Northern Harriers, Bald Eagles and a single Red-tailed Hawk.

Out of nowhere, Burnaby Roy appeared, sans Solveig, boosting our number to 23.  A few of us went up the tower but there wasn’t much to see in the ponds except Northern Shovellers, Pintail, Mallards (including a strange very white sided one) and a flock of Green-winged Teal.  The south-east  pond had the same ducks and added several American Coots to our list.  From the observation platform a flock of Dowitcher species had been seen but were scared off by a Peregrine Falcon leaving behind a single bird?  A few Yellowlegs were seen (probably Greater),  a male Hooded Merganser, and a single Bufflehead.  Closer to the parking lot some members were feeding Red-winged Blackbirds out of their hands.

So, the trip ended at 12:20 pm giving us 10 minutes to get to The Landing for lunch.  Roy, though,  elected to stay behind and get more out of Reifel.  Since Jack had arranged things ahead of time, we had a whole section of the Landing to ourselves and a great lunch was enjoyed by all, except Mike whose food never arrived.  Oh, one more member arrived, just a bit late.  Margaretha… we’ll have to get you an alarm clock!  We had a most enjoyable time with our Pender Island counterparts and were invited to visit them some time in the future.  All, in all, it was a most enjoyable day, and we were sorry Tom wasn’t able to be with us.  I’m sorry if I’ve missed any species seen as I don’t have Tom’s photographic memory.

Next week Tues. 1 November we re-visit Point Roberts for looks at Jaeger’s, Heerman’s Gulls, Murrelets, and other exotic sea birds.  Still meeting at Petra’s for a 7:30 am departure… don’t forget your passports!

Also, don’t forget DNS Meeting Tues. Nov. 1 at 7:30 pm at the Benediction Lutheran Church.  Guest speakers David Hoar/Noreen Rudd will speak on “Greenland to Cambridge Bay: Transiting the Eastern Arctic“.

Roger Meyer

Posted in *DNCB, Bald Eagle, Barred Owl, Black-crowned Night-Heron, Brown Creeper, Dunlin, Eurasian Wigeon, Northern Harrier, Pelagic Cormorant, Peregrine Falcon, Red-breasted Merganser, Red-necked Grebe, Red-tailed Hawk, Reifel, Ring-necked Duck, Ring-necked Pheasant, Sandhill Crane, TFN, Trumpeter Swan, Tsawwassen Ferry Port | Leave a comment

DNCB Outing No. 2016-42 to Brunswick Point


DNCB at Brunswick Point – first group photo (TC) – click on photo to see large version

See more photos at DNCB Flickr site

At 7:00 AM this morning in Ladner there was monsoon rain and the prospects for birding looked pretty dim.  However the Petra’s group of four, Mike, Val, Terry and Glen, felt that it looked good and off they went to the Point where they met a surprising number of others who don’t know to come in from the rain!  Present at the start were the afore-mentioned, Roger (having lost the “who will write the blog contest”), Donna, Patrick, Jack, Brian, and Marylile.  Shortly into the walk Roy, Solvag, Pat and Maureen arrived from Burnaby having taken a great chance on the weather to come all that way.  Much later on we were joined by Margaretha (or  was she just really early for lunch?).

DNCB at Brunswick Point (photo by Roger M)

DNCB at Brunswick Point (RM) – click on photo to see large version

Right from the start we had over-flights of thousands of Snow Geese and accompanying sounds of shotgun blasts from the fields.  On the river we saw a single Horned Grebe and the pilings for the old cannery hosted a flock of Black-bellied Plover.

Also on one of the pilings was a Pectoral Sandpiper and a small peep, possibly a Least.  Several Greater Yellowlegs were on a small islet of grass just off the shoreline.  While we were watching the plovers a Bald Eagle grabbed a bird (black… possibly a Cormorant) out of the river and proceeded to eat it on a log on the opposite shore.


Bald Eagle with caught Cormorant (TC)

There were several Double-crested Cormorants on the water.  Smaller birds along the way included Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Golden-crowned Sparrows, a single Fox Sparrow, Savannah Sparrow, a Spotted Towhee, Northern Flicker, numerous American Robins, and Starlings.  We made no attempt to identify the gulls, probably Glacous-winged, flying about.

Walking along the dyke we saw several Northern Harriers over the marsh, most near the shoreline.  A bird on top of a tree turned out to be a Northern Shrike but flew before photos could be taken.  This bird continued to taunt us all the way to the picnic table area but we did managed some good photos by the end of the trip.

We were pretty sure there were at least two of them.  Eagle-eyed Donna spotted a family of Western Meadowlarks and most of us managed to get some good photos.


Western Meadowlark (TC)

At one point on the dyke a falcon (Peregrine was the consensus) chased a flock, and then one bird, for a long way before disappearing towards Reifel… outcome not known.  Flocks of Sandpipers were seen over the shoreline and when one flock stopped on a log we were able to confirm that they were Dunlin.  Offshore there was a large flock of Snow Geese and large numbers of ducks we were not able to identify from their long distance out… definitely some Mallards though.


Snow Geese & assorted ducks (TC)

Just before the path leading off the dyke to the picnic tables we had our best view of the Northern Shrike.  In the rose bushes close to the picnic tables we were, with some difficulty, able to identify two, at least, Ruby-crowned Kinglets.  There were large numbers of American Robins just about everywhere on the trip, many Eurasian Collard-doves, and frequent Great-blue Herons.

Although the weather looked iffy it only started to sprinkle a bit when we were almost back at the cars.  Visitors to Brunswick should pay attention to the new parking regulations before heading out for a long walk.  The trip turned out to be more rewarding than anticipated and some of the group headed out for an early lunch.  I hope photographs were taken, especially with beer in hand, for Tom to envy while away… oh, wait a minute, I think they have beer and birds in Australia!  Hope you’re having a great time with the birds down under, Tom.  (see Response from Australia below).  Sorry for the lackluster report but we’ll try to find a better victim next week.

Next Wednesday 25th October we will meet at Petra’s at 7:30 am for our regular outing to Reifel passing by the ferry terminal, TFN lands, and then to Reifel for a 10:00 AM meeting with the Pender Island birders.

Roger Meyer

Response from AustraliaWhat an awesome report, Roger.  Lots of super sightings, and a fun group too.  You have set a high level of literary genius, so I hope you’re successful in recruiting future reporters.

Meanwhile, it is 8:00 am on Wed. Morning here and I am watching gorgeous Splendid (Fairy) Wrens in our yard, as I gaze out at sunrise over the calm Indian Ocean.  I golfed yesterday and enjoyed the common Red Wattlebirds, New Holland Honeyeaters, Galahs and Magpie-larks, but was surprised by a flock of endangered Red-tailed Black Cockatoos (Carnaby).  Lunch was a huge “loaded” steak sandwich and chips with two pints of Swan Lager (draught) in a real Aussie Pub called Nag’s Head (15 bucks, no tip or tax).  A very enjoyable day, but I wish (sort of) that I was with you guys.  Enjoy next week’s outing with the Pender Island Naturalists.  DNCBers are awesome.  Cheers: Tom

Posted in *DNCB, Bald Eagle, Black-bellied Plover, Brunswick Point, Dunlin, Least Sandpiper, Northern Harrier, Pectoral Sandpiper, Peregrine Falcon, Western Meadowlark | Leave a comment

DNCB Outing No. 2016-41 to Iona Regional Park & Sewage Lagoons

DNCB at Iona - photo by Roger M - click on photo to see large version

19 DNCB at Iona – photo by Roger M click on photo to see large version

See photos at DNCB Flickr site

Twenty-seven DNCBers (names listed at the end of this Report) enjoyed a beautiful, sunny autumn morning at Iona Regional Park.  The air was crisp and clear, the mountains were spectacular, and the tide was out.  Early arrivers to the park were rewarded with the sight of a large flock of Snow Geese resting on the tidal mudflats and four River Otters frolicking in the lagoon opposite the car park.  A Bald Eagle fished overhead and a Merlin (perhaps a Peregrine Falcon?) flashed by in the distance, creating havoc amongst a flock of small waders.

The other lagoons and settling ponds provided us all with a great opportunity to hone our waterfowl identification skills; a Pied-billed Grebe, four Hooded Mergansers, a few Ruddy Ducks and Ring-necked Ducks, some Gadwall, Green-winged Teal and American Wigeon, along with numerous Northern Shovelers and Northern Pintails, swam and dabbled in the water.  One lonely hybrid, probably a Mallard/domestic duck cross, stood on the water’s edge.  Small flocks of Ring-billed and Mew Gulls also shared the ponds, along with some Glaucous-winged Gulls and a few American Coots.  A flock of four Long-billed Dowitchers and another of five Pectoral Sandpipers worked tirelessly, probing the muddy edges.  Thirteen Killdeer called out to each other as they flew overhead and a couple of Great Blue Herons looked on.  Double-crested Cormorants and Canada Geese were seen in flight toward the river.

While making our way between the ponds and lagoons, down to the south arm of the Fraser River and back to the parking lot, we listened to American Robins, Chickadees, Song Sparrows, Northern Flickers, a Western Meadowlark and Red-winged Blackbirds.  We also saw a House Finch, a Spotted Towhee, an Anna’s Hummingbird, a Wilson’s Warbler, a Pacific Wren, a Hermit Thrush, some Dark-eyed Juncos, a few Golden-crowned, White-crowned, Fox and Savannah Sparrows, and a small flock of Ruby-crowned Kinglets.  A few of us were lucky enough to catch a brief glimpse of a Northern Shrike as it flew from one bush to the next.  A Northern Harrier and a Red-tailed Hawk flew overhead.

Northern Shrike (RM)

Northern Shrike (RM)

Peter Ward told us a bit about the nesting boxes in the park which he has built and installed around the edges of the ponds over the past seven years.  Apparently these boxes have been highly successful – all of them have been inhabited by Tree Swallows and “no sparrows!”  Now that some of the blackberry bushes have been pruned back from the edges of the trails around the lagoons, he is hoping to install a few more.  Peter is also part of the Delta Nats Nest Box team at Boundary Bay Regional Park.

After three hours of great birding, we drove to The Flying Beaver Bar on the river overlooking the Richmond float plane terminal.  There we ate lunch, enjoyed a few beers and bid farewell to our long-suffering leader, Tom, who is abandoning us for two months to enjoy the dazzling sun, big surf and brilliant colours of Western Australia.  He will return on December 8.  In the meantime, Terry and Roger have generously agreed to coordinate our DNCB outings.

Next week’s outing on Tuesday, October 18, will be to Brunswick Point near Ladner.   The group will meet at Petra’s coffee shop in Tsawwassen at 7:30am and will arrive at west end of River Road at 8:00 am.

Nance Forster

DNCB in the photo are:  Dave & Donna Hilton, Richmond Donna & Angela, sisters Pat & Maureen, Julie & newbie Heather, Jim K, Dave M, Terry C, Mike B, West Van Richard H, Bryan & Janet, Jean G, Kirstin W & Marion S, Nance, Tom; photog Roger M makes 20.  Time-challenged late comers included: White Rock Al & Alice, Bird box Peter Ward, Debbi H (and daughter Kathryn for lunch), Margaretha S., and Richmond’s Carol Rennie, a total of 27.

From Debbi and Kathryn:  upon return to Iona Park Kathryn and I did see the Pacific Wren a few feet from the bird banding shelter.  Also an active Garter Snake and Woolly Bear Caterpillar were out and about on the trail – pretty amazing for Oct. 11, at 15˚C today!

Posted in *DNCB, Bald Eagle, Garter snake, Hermit Thrush, Iona, Long-billed Dowitcher, Merlin, Mew Gull, Northern Harrier, Northern Shrike, Pectoral Sandpiper, Pied-billed Grebe, Red-tailed Hawk, Ring-necked Duck, River Otter, Ruddy Duck, Sewage Lagoons, Western Meadowlark, Wilson’s Warbler, Woolly Bear Caterpillar | Leave a comment

DNCB Outing No. 2016-40 to Queen Elizabeth Park

Fourteen DNCBers spent an overcast but dry and comfortable Tuesday morning wandering around the gorgeous flower beds of Queen Elizabeth Park in downtown Vancouver.  There seemed to be a “fallout” of Warblers in the trees so we had lots of neat sightings; check out the photo evidence on our DNCB Flickr site and Roger’s Flickr site.  Also, check out other reports with photos included on our Delta Nats website.

Four of us (I drove Roger, Terry & Mike) left Petra’s shortly after 7:30 am on a long and tedious drive through humungous rush hour traffic to the Golf Course parking lot at QE Park.  We benefitted from the HOV lane but still only arrived approaching 8:45 am (wow: one hour driving) to the patient and prompt others; Pat & Maureen, Kirstin & Jean, Chris McV  and South Surrey Newbie Julie J.  We got Golf Course Jack to take our first Group (10) Photo at the entrance under the inactive Hummingbird Feeder.

We started our walk through the brilliant flower gardens and were surprised by good looks at a Ruby-crowned Kinglet and a Bewick’s Wren in a tree just above our heads.  By now time challenged Roy & Solveig and locals Bryan & Janet had arrived, so a very pleasant dog-walking local resident took our second Group (14) Photo, then invited us for breakfast.  Although Roger was keen, we respectfully continued our outing.

Regular sightings at QE Park began as Anna’s Hummingbirds flashed their iridescent throats, Northern Flickers screeched from their perches around us, and Golden-crowned and Song Sparrows foraged among the flowers.  A Northern Harrier cruised by and later a Cooper’s Hawk was mobbed by Crows.  A few Dark-eyed Juncos still around and lots of Bushtits, but what surprised us was the large numbers of Warblers flitting in the tree tops.  A “fallout” perhaps as they were pushed down by the earlier rain.  It was very frustrating trying to ID the many birds, but we were able to see, and photograph, Orange-crowned and Yellow-rumped Warblers.  I suspect there were other species too.

We continued past the Seasons in the Park Restaurant, enjoying the colours, the view of downtown Vancouver, and the Salamander Cactus Bed.  We were blanked on Western Tanagers, Barred Owl and Flycatchers (seen on other outings here), but when we got to the new Love Locks Sculptures, Bryan spotted a Hermit Thrush, and Terry even got a shot (photo, not gun).  A Lincoln’s Sparrow was also seen here among the Spotted Towhees.  We also saw a few squeaky Golden-crowned Kinglets flitting in the branches.  Only Mallards were in the lower pond.

We probably saw other stuff, but I forget.  It was approaching Noon when we got back to the parking lot, so eight of us (see Roger’s photo) decided to go for lunch to the “Main on Main” pub at 26th Street corner.  An excellent choice as the Lamb Shank (Greek House Specialty) was delicious, of course with a couple of Red Truck Lager pints.

The drive back to Tsawwassen was smooth, and typical, as Roger and Mike continuously reminisced/ranted about their 50’s & 60’s experiences at every completely-changed corner along the way (construction was everywhere) while poor world traveler Terry couldn’t get a word in edge-wise.  We all had a ball on another enjoyable DNCB adventure.

Next Tuesday, October 11, we will go to Iona Regional Park, meeting at the washroom parking lot around 8:15 am.

Tonight (Wednesday at 7:30 pm) at Cammidge House is the BCIT Presentation on Invasive Species in BBRP; all welcome as Scotch Broom Removal event is Saturday, October 22.

As always, your comments are encouraged, and let me know if you want off my list to receive these annoying tirades.  Sandra and I leave next week (Oct. 12) for our biennial visit to Western Australia, returning on December 8, so you will have to check out future outing reports by other DNCBers on our website.  I’m going to Wednesday Noon Hockey now.  Cheers: Tom
Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists Society 

Posted in *DNCB, Cooper's Hawk, Hermit Thrush, Lincoln’s Sparrow, Northern Harrier, Orange-crowned Warbler, Queen Elizabeth Park, Yellow-rumped Warbler | Leave a comment

DNCB Outing No. 2016-39 to Point Roberts, WA

DNCB at Point Roberts (RM)

DNCB at Point Roberts (photo by Roger M) – click on photo for large version

Around 20 folk (I lost count) enjoyed a gorgeous Wednesday morning of birding at Pt. Roberts.  Check out the photo evidence at our DNCB Flickr site.

We met at Lighthouse Park in PR shortly after 8:00 am and the Strait was quite rough, although it was sunny and mild (Orcas were seen day before).  Some sightings from the boat launch included: both Surf and White-winged scoters (Roger saw Black Scoters later), both Pelagic and Double Crested Cormorants, Three Grebe species (Horned, Red-necked and Western), Common Loons.  We took a Group Photo here and another later at the Tower after more folk arrived.

At the Tower a flock of Sanderling on the shore was entertaining (Did someone see a Dunlin?).  A Harbour Seal looked like a Sea Lion to some.  Some saw at least one Parasitic Jaeger (our Target Bird), although several were seen later in the day, around the large flocks of Bonaparte Gulls.  We also saw Mew, Ring-billed and perhaps California Gulls (Roger?), but no Heermann’s Gull.  The very attractive Harlequin Ducks were close to shore and Killdeer occasionally flew in. Did anyone see Rhinoceros Auklets, Pigeon Guillemots or Common Murres often seen there?

In the bushes some saw Savannah, White-crowned and Song Sparrows, both House and Purple Finches, Anna’s Hummingbirds, and Tall Rick saw a small flock of Warblers flit by.  Other common stuff around too, Northern Flickers, Towhees, Northern Harriers, photogenic Great Blue Herons.  The walk to the beach between the cottages produced more sightings of many of these same species, but nothing new.

At the Marina, no Western Meadowlarks yet (or Rock Wren), but Black Oystercatchers and at least a dozen Black Turnstones were up-close-and-personal.  I left here at 11:00 am to play Hockey, but many continued on to Lily Point Park.  A kettle of Turkey Vultures was seen there.  Not sure what else, or where people had lunch, and what they ate.  I had a couple of delicious cheap Keystone Beer after hockey (bought in PR with gas before hockey).

Next Tuesday, October 4, we will go to Queen Elizabeth Park, meeting at our regular spot near the Golf entrance parking lot around 8:15 am.

Don’t forget our monthly meeting and AGM on Tues. October 4 at Benediction Lutheran Church at 7:30 pm; guest speaker Emma Langson about “Devil in the Deep Blue Sea: Plastic!”  Also, today (Sunday) is our NatureKids event and Weiner Roast at Centennial Beach at 3:00 to 6:00 pm.  All invited.

Check out our website for more info.  Apologies for short report; I’m far too busy with golf, hockey, theatre, early Thanksgiving dinner last night, grand-parenting, etc.  Cheers: Tom

Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists Society

DNS Monthly Meeting (and AGM) on

Posted in *DNCB, Black Oystercatcher, Black Scoter, Black Turnstone, Bonaparte's Gull, California Gull, Harbour Seal, Harlequin Duck, Lighthouse Marine Park, Lily Point Park, Mew Gull, Northern Harrier, Parasitic Jaeger, Pelagic Cormorant, Point Roberts, Purple Finch, Red-necked Grebe, Turkey Vulture | Leave a comment

DNCB Outing No. 2016-38 to Blackie Spit & Rene Savenye Park

Over 20 DNCBers (see list below) enjoyed a gorgeous morning at Blackie Spit and Rene Savenye Park with many up-close-and-personal sightings of some neat species.  Check out photo evidence on our DNCB Flickr site.

Sightings included: Black Turnstone, Common Loons, Red-necked and Horned Grebes, Green Heron, Long-billed Curlew, three Marbled Godwits, Black-bellied Plovers, Greater Yellowlegs (maybe Lessers too), Long-billed Dowitchers, Savannah, Song and White-crowned Sparrows, Osprey, Peregrine Falcon, Cooper’s Hawk, Red-tailed Hawk, Northern Harriers, both Red and Yellow Shafted Northern Flickers, Downy Woodpeckers, Anna’s Hummingbirds, Ruby-crowned Kinglets, Yellow-rumped Warblers, House and Purple Finches, American Goldfinches, Bushtits, many Great Blue Herons, American Wigeon (no Eurasian ID’d), Northern Pintail, Green-winged Teal, Mallards, Ring-billed and Glaucous-winged Gulls, a few Bald Eagles, Double-crested Cormorants, herds of Harbour Seals, and other common stuff (e.g. Northwestern Crows).  (My Birds of the Day in Bold Purple.)

Roger took Group Photo.  Dave Mackie, White Rock Alice and new grandmother Marian Pastore came late. Nine of us had a super lunch (Omelette and Beer) at the Boundary Bay Airport restaurant (see Roger’s photo).  Hopefully someone (Debbi?) will do a more interesting report for our/Ken’s website.  I am leaving early Thursday morning for Prince George and the BC Nature Fall Meetings and Conference.

At Blackie Spit today were Roger, Roy, Mike, Marion, Rob & Marylile, Margaretha, Marian, Julie, Liz & Alan, Francine, Valerie, Alice, Brian, Chris, David, Debbi, Glen, & Joanne R from Langley Nats.

Next Wednesday, Sept. 28, DNCB outing will be to Point Roberts, leaving Petra’s at 7:30 am and meeting at Lighthouse Park around 8:00 a.m.

Cheers: Tom

Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists Society

Posted in *DNCB, Bald Eagle, Black Oystercatcher, Black-bellied Plover, Cooper's Hawk, Green Heron, Harbour Seal, Long-billed Curlew, Long-billed Dowitcher, Marbled Godwit, Northern Harrier, Osprey, Peregrine Falcon, Purple Finch, Red-necked Grebe, Red-tailed Hawk, Yellow-rumped Warbler | Leave a comment

DNCB Birds on the Bay Outing No. 2016-37 in Boundary Bay Regional Park

Under gorgeous sunshine this morning, we had more than 30 participants in our quarterly Birds on the Bay (BOTB) outing in Boundary Bay Regional Park (BBRP).  Check out photos (soon I hope) on our new DNCB Flickr site.  Also see this report and earlier reports and Delta Nats info on our website.

At 9:00 am, we all gathered at historic Cammidge House (CH).  Following registration of the newbies and several Langley Field Naturalists, Roger spotted a raptor in the tree behind the house which we finally determined was a Northern Harrier (white rump).  Then we set out on our amble toward Centennial Beach.  Some small birds were in the bushes by the slough at the end of the driveway, possibly Marsh Wrens and Common Yellowthroats.  Some saw an Orange-crowned Warbler.  The pond by the new native species garden was unusually devoid of birdlife except for one Mallard and a Brewer’s Blackbird on the mud shore.  Following the usual frustration of “herding cattle”, we finally got everyone together for a Group Photo, taken by both Langley Anne G and Roger.

DNCB at Centennial Park pond - photo by Roger M (click on photo to see large version

DNCB at Centennial Park pond – photo by Roger M click on photo to see large version

At the beach, the tide was way out and we saw no shorebirds.  In the distance were rows of ducks, we think were American Wigeon, Green-winged Teal and Mallards, with lots of Canada Geese too.  Several Great Blue Herons there too, but interestingly, I didn’t see any Bald Eagles in the Bay today.  Most have gone fishing elsewhere in the province.  Newbie Langley Ralph (my new BFF) carried our priceless Scope and it was very helpful, but we still couldn’t ID the far out waterfowl.  We could identify the small flock of Cedar Waxwings in the Willow tree.  We heard a Greater Yellowlegs calling, but couldn’t find it.  Fortunately, we saw about 10 later in the 12th Avenue lagoon by the Pump House.  Leaving the beach, a Peregrine Falcon flew by, giving some of us a bit of a thrill.

We continued our walk along the trail, seeing Anna’s Hummingbirds, House Finches, Spotted Towhees, White-crowned and Song Sparrows, and trying to avoid being hit by the many cyclists.  Regarding the latter, we were 99% successful, the one crash scaring the cyclist more than the DNCBer.  Understandably, it’s very difficult for a cyclist to avoid a disjointed convoy of 30 aimlessly chattering birders whose least focus is on other traffic on the path.  At the Lookout Tower, we herded the group again for another photo; this amusement took the sting off not seeing many birds this morning.

Roger M (click on photo to see large version)

DNCB at Lookout Tower – photo by Roger M click on photo to see large version

Another Northern Harrier glided by, and we saw a Savannah Sparrow in the dunes.  At the Pump House a flock of Canada Geese and Mallards were close to shore.  We picked out a Greater White-fronted Goose among them (Bird of the Day for some) and we could see it clearly, especially through Ralph’s Scope.  House Sparrows were around, but since the tide was still way out, no shorebirds, other than the 10 afore-mentioned Yellowlegs.  We dreamed of seeing the Black-necked Stilt which for the last few days has been just across the Bay at 64th Street.

We took the inland trail back to CH, walking briskly to ensure 11:30 am arrival.  Some saw Downy Woodpeckers, a Northern Flicker, American Goldfinch, Barn Swallows, and a Song Sparrow that was almost an early-arrived Fox Sparrow.  Of course, Roger was the only person to see a Merlin flypast, and he searched in vain for the Yellow-breasted Chat (seen several years ago).

We got back to CH almost on time where the Delta Nats Ladies, Elizabeth, Jean and Jennifer welcomed us with a scrumptious array of home-made goodies.  When I arrived, there was only one of Sandra’s legendary Egg Salad Sandwiches left.  And Jennifer’s Scones, both cheese and sultana, and Elizabeth’s Double Chocolate Cookies, Blueberry Squares and Shortbread were wolfed down quickly by the starving scavengers.  I often wonder whether the large attendance at these BOTB events is to see the beauties of Nature in our paradisiacal Boundary Bay Park, or for the DNS Ladies’ Goodies.  Another awesome BOTB event.

Next Wednesday, September 21, we will leave Petra’s at 7:30 am for Blackie Spit (Tide is favourable).  We expect to meet at the Spit parking lot around 8:00 am, and perhaps do Elgin Park later in the morning.  Note this change from the Destination Schedule on our website.

Also, effective October 4, our outings will change to Tuesdays from Wednesday (I play hockey on Wednesdays).  As always, your comments are encouraged, and let me know if these weekly verbose reports are sufficiently irritating that you want off my List.  Cheers: Tom

Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists Society

Posted in *DNCB, BBRP, Birds-on-the-Bay, Boundary Bay, Centennial Beach, Greater White-fronted Geese, Merlin, Northern Harrier, Orange-crowned Warbler, Peregrine Falcon | Leave a comment