DNCB – Small Group Birding

As the COVID response measures have limited our ability to have large group outings, a few small informal groups have formed within the DNCB community. These small groups typically have about 6 people, and they meet at a prearranged place without carpooling and they keep suitable distancing during the outing.

The last official DNCB Outing was on 10 March 2020 (2020-10 to Iona Regional Park)
Here is a summary of some individual and small group outings since then. We will continue to add to this list.

    • 27-October-2020 to Tsawwassen Ferry Causeway, Reifel & Alaksen. There were many of the usual suspects at the ferry causeway – wigeon, pintail, scoters, mergansers, cormorants, loons, oystercatchers, herons and passing flocks of shorebirds. Reifel highlights were a Redhead, three Ruddy Ducks and large patches of Amanita mushrooms. There were also the usual suspects – cranes, herons, mallards, wigeon, pintail, shovelers, teal, gadwall, ring-necks, hooded mergansers, bufflehead, chickadees, sparrows, kinglets, creepers, wrens, blackbirds, flickers, dowitchers, eagles and hawks. Large flocks of snow geese flew overhead. Some of us saw a mink. We did not see any owls. A brief stop at Alaksen did not produce any owls either. We did see several Hooded Mergansers there. Photos at (Flickr)
    • 20-October-2020 to Brunswick Point. Six ladies gathered at Brunswick Point on a lovely dry morning. We saw some 23 species, including the Ash-throated Flycatcher that has been seen there lately. Other highlights included 4 Fox Sparrows that sang beautifully, a pair of Northern Harriers, Lincoln’s Sparrow, American Goldfinches, a Great Blue Heron catching and eating a vole, a Virginia Rail calling in the marsh, a Downy Woodpecker, four Golden-crowned Kinglets cavorting very close to the dike, and Bushtits eating from weed-seed heads and a Cooper’s Hawk; all as thousands of Snow Geese streamed overhead. We had hoped the geese had all escaped the hunters that were blasting away on the foreshore, but one hapless immature Snow Goose that we assumed had been wounded, ended up grounded in the grass below the dike, separated from its flock and likely suffering. We had a hard time bringing ourselves to speak to the hunters, when they tried to be friendly on the dike. Photos at (Flickr)
    • 20-October-2020 to Stanley Park. 7 people. Traffic was very light. We zipped through the tunnel and arrived in well under an hour. Although the tide was high there were only a few wigeon on English Bay. We had expected to see scoters and goldeneye too. There were large flocks of Pine Siskins flying about. The diving ducks were also missing from Lost Lagoon. But at both Lost Lagoon and Beaver Lake there were many Wood Ducks. Red-breasted Nuthatches and Brown Creepers entertained us. Other sightings included hummingbirds, flickers, Steller’s Jays, cormorants, herons, chickadees and a Merlin. At Beaver Lake there was a very noisy Virginia Rail deep in the bushes. It was a very pleasant fall outing with sunshine, colourful leaves, birds and mushrooms. Photos at (Flickr)
    • 17-October-2020 Global Big Day with David Hoar & Noreen Rudd. Global Big Day is an opportunity to celebrate the birds here and around the world. It is sponsored by eBird (The Cornell Lab), and coincided with the 1st Global Bird Weekend whose goal is to support BirdLife International’s appeal to end illegal bird trade. After 9 hours, 11.5 km, 17,300 steps and some consultations with Melissa Hafting, David and I had a tally of 75 species seen! We had been encouraged to participate in this global endeavour by Rockjumper, our African birding travel company. We kept score on eBird, sharing our list with Team Rockjumper at the end of the day. At last report, their global score was over 1700 species. We started our day at the ferry causeway, seeing 3 Grebe species, a Marbled Godwit, Caspian Terns, Black Turnstone and Common Loons. En route to Reifel, we added Eagles and Red-tailed Hawks. Reifel, as usual, yielded over 40 species in 5 hours. Highlights were a male Redhead, a female Canvasback, a White-throated Sparrow, Ring-necked Ducks and Pied-billed Grebes. A trip to Brunswick Point yielded several additional species including the special Ash-throated Flycatcher. Our final stop was 64th Ave. where we walked as far as the ponds. Although we did not find the Black Phoebe on this trip, we did add a Lincoln’s Sparrow and 11 Yellow-rumped Warblers. We ran out of daylight before we could check for the Western Scrub-Jay at Highway 10 at 92nd. As much as we love birding, it is particularly satisfying to be part of a global push to end the illegal bird trade. Photos at (Flickr)
    • 14-October-2020 to Reifel. 5 people. Five keen people met at Reifel, having gone thru the new admission regime of registering, cancelling because of weather, and reregistering, and spent an enjoyable several hours in the sun. I will only comment on what we thought were the highlights. Between the office and kiosk, we saw one Black-crowned Night Heron, Cedar Waxwings, and two Pied-billed Grebes (in the water). On our expedition along East Dike, we stirred up a Marsh Wren, and enjoyed a side trip to look at the Fly Amanita mushrooms. From that vantage point, we noticed a large flock of Pine Siskins that we found eating seeds from small cones, closer and a little later. Back on East Dike, a Downy Woodpecker didn’t seem to mind the audience he gathered. A Red-tailed Hawk put in an brief appearance. On West Field dike, we noticed many Bushtits on the fluffy weeds in the marsh, eating seeds and probably bugs. Many Virginia Rails called out along the dike and some even answered to a human imitation. We only heard one Sora. A large flock of Long-billed Dowitchers and two Yellowlegs, one Greater and one Lesser, the size difference being obvious, relaxed in the slough beside the dike, until scared up by a passing Eagle. Northern Harriers cruised over the marsh. A large flock of dark geese flew over, sounding not quite like Canada, and definitely not Snow Geese—we wondered if they were Cackling Geese. The highlight of the day was a female Canvasback duck, hanging around with the usual Gadwalls. A small group of 4 Hooded Mergansers was busy catching tiny fish. We saw the many small birds that can usually be seen, but the Sandhill Cranes were spending their time elsewhere today, heard later on but not seen. It was a good outing. Photos at (Flickr)
    • 13-October-2020 to Brunswick Point. 7 people. It was wet and windy in the morning but the wind cleared the clouds away. So we met at Brunswick Point at 1pm. Some of us saw the target bird – Ash-throated Flycatcher. There were also flickers, harriers, bushtits, finches, juncos, towhees, sparrows and Yellow-rumped Warblers. Photos at (Flickr)
    • 6-October-2020 to White Rock & Blackie Spit. Six of us met at White Rock Pier. It was very foggy making it difficult to see the birds. There were many Surf Scoters, Red-necked Grebes, Horned Grebes and Common Loons. One Black Turnstone flew in. We moved on to Blackie Spit which was completely fogged in as well. The second Tuesday small group of 5 people was already there and we crossed paths a few times. There were 2 Marbled Godwits in the usual spot. There were several Common Loons close to shore. A mixed group of Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs landed in the water at the Rene Savenye area. We also saw finches (House, Purple, Gold), Sparrows (Fox, Golden-crowned, White-crowned, Savannah), Flickers, Chickadees, Hummingbirds, Ruby-crowned Kinglets and a Kingfisher. A spider eating a grasshopper was an interesting sight. Photos at (Flickr)
    • 29-Sep-2020 to Iona, 6 & 5 people. Two small groups went to Iona Beach Regional Park an hour apart. Because the tide was out we did not see anything at the beach. The bright sun made it difficult to see what was on the outer pond. The next pond had Gadwall, Mallards, Coots and a Pied-billed Grebe but the tall reeds made it difficult to see them. There were some ducks on the inner ponds but the only shorebirds were on the far northeast corner of the northeast pond. They included about 20 Pectoral Sandpipers, 1 Dowitcher and 1 Yellowlegs. We did not see the recently observed Sharp-tailed Sandpiper. A Peregrine Falcon flew over but luckily did not scare the shorebirds. Along the way were sparrows (Song, Savannah, White-crowned, Golden-crowned), blackbirds (Red-winged & Brewer’s), Yellow-rumped Warblers, Northern Harriers, a Downy Woodpecker, hummingbirds and Ravens. When we returned to the outer pond, the light was a bit better and we saw Scaup, Mergansers, Shovelers and 2 Bonaparte’s Gulls. The second group also heard a Virginia Rail in the first outer pond. Photos at (Flickr)
    • 22-Sep-2020 to Terra Nova, 4 people went out in spite of showers forecast, and were very glad we did. Our target bird was the lingering Green Heron at the pond, spotted by Kirsten from the top of the hill next to the dike (Kirsten’s brilliant idea of a vantage point), that entertained us by moving around and hunting. A Great Blue Heron sitting on a picnic table, seemed to be waiting for dinner to be served. We moved on thru the path next to the dike, and found sparrows (White-Crowned, Golden-Crowned, Song) Orange-Crowned Warbler, and two Hermit Thrushes who may have been having a territorial dispute. We walked the dike, spotting American Crows, Flickers, many House Finches everywhere, and went out to the sea side of the dike, where a beautiful Northern Harrier scared up many small birds and posed on a stick in front of us. We continued on the circular path back to Westminster Hwy, and while observing a small tree with common birds (Towhee added), Margaretha asked “What’s That?” It turned out to be a quiet Warbling Vireo, that again, entertained us for quite a long time, and was not worried about people walking quite close to it. We all had great looks. It’s behavior was so calm compared to breeding season. A flock of juvenile Cedar Waxwings were gorging on partially dried berries. A Barn Owl perched in tall trees out in the open (if you happened to be standing in the right place), and we were appreciative of the help we had in lining him up. The community gardens were intriguing, with many squash we had never seen before. On our way back past the pond, eagle-eyed Margaretha spotted a Belted Kingfisher, also quite still in a tree. Among our sightings/hearings were Bald Eagle, Ruby-crowned Kinglet (h), Nuthatch (h), Robins, Chickadees, Bushtits, and likely something else I have forgotten. It was an excellent day. Photos at (Flickr)
    • 22-Sep-2020 to Boundary Bay Dike at 104th, 8 people. The forecast showers did not materialize. In fact the sunshine was so bright that it was difficult to take photos over the bay. The tide was higher than 2 weeks ago so that the shorebirds eventually came closer to shore. A bit before 9, two Black-bellied Plovers were close to shore along with Killdeer and Yellowlegs. Later hundreds of Black-bellied Plovers came close, including at least one in breeding plumage. When flying they showed their black armpits. There were smaller shorebirds as well as a flock of Pectoral Sandpipers and a godwit. The experts on the dike identified it as a Hudsonian Godwit but it was difficult to get good photos of it. There were lots of American Pipits on the shore. Northern Harriers were patrolling both sides of the path and there were warblers and other songbirds in the bushes. Photos at (flickr)
    • 21-Sep-2020 to Brunswick Point, 2 people. A White-throated Sparrow was the best sighting but several warblers (Black-throated Gray, Orange-Crowned, Yellow-rumped) and Lincoln’s Sparrows livened up the trip. There may have been other sparrows not recognized but I haven’t found any in the photos yet. Total of 33 species which is good for this season here. (eBird)
    • 16-Sep-2020 to Boundary Bay Dike at 104th, 3 people, meeting around 2, had a nice juvenile Semi-palmated Plover, along with Pectorals, Killdeer, Greater Yellowlegs, Dowitchers, Least, and Pipits.
    • 16-Sep-2020 to Reifel, 5 people. We saw a Peregrine Falcon near the beginning and again near the end. There was a Great Horned Owl at owl corner and Harriers were cruising the marsh. Most of last week’s shorebirds had gone but we did see Dowitchers and one Yellowlegs. A very entertaining Orange-crowned Warbler hopped around in the open for great extended viewing. A Lincoln’s Sparrow stopped long enough for a photo. Photos at (Flickr)
    • 10-Sep-2020 to Deas Island, 9 people. We saw a few Warblers (Yellow-rumped, Yellow, Orange-crpwned), Great Blue Heron, Black-capped Chickadees, Sparrows (Song and White-crowned), Common Raven, Spotted Towhee and at one point watched two very small birds that resembled each other, except that one never stopped moving whereas the other one stopped and posed. The former was a Ruby-crowned Kinglet, the latter a Hutton’s Vireo. Bewick’s Wrens called back and forth and preened in the sun. We also heard Northern Flicker, and at least one bird we couldn’t identify. It was a beautiful day, and we enjoyed a distanced picnic in the park. Photos at (Flickr) (eBird)
    • 08-Sep-2020 to Boundary Bay Dike at 104th, 7 people. The high tide was a low high tide and most of the birds were far away. One small flock of Pectoral Sandpipers was fairly close but a Cooper’s Hawk soon sent them farther out. There were at least 4 warblers (Yellow, Yellow-rumped, Yellowthroat, Orange-crowned), Hutton’s Vireo, American Pipits and Horned Larks. Photos at (Flickr)
    • 08-Sep-2020 to Boundary Bay Dike at 104th, 6 people. We started from the airpark lot and walked toward the mansion expecting the tide to be in fairly close, but it was way out, and the birds with it. Sightings on the way to or from the pilings were sparrows (Lincoln’s, Song, White-crowned, and Savannah), finches (Goldfinch, House Finch), warblers (Yellow-rump, Orange-crowned). There were other birders out enjoying good sized flocks of American Pipits and Horned Larks which were moving around in and out of the harvested potato fields.  Also seen from the dike, were 2 Golden Plovers, Killdeer, Northern Harrier, Peregrine Falcon, Great  Blue Heron, many gulls, distant ducks, and shorebirds in flocks flying or resting, and Pectoral Sandpipers up close. Eventually the 8 and 9 o’clock group merged, and we discovered it was easy to space ourselves out on the dike.
    • 01-Sep-2020 to Brydon Lagoon & Hi Knoll Park, 5 people, Barred Owl, Green Heron. When we arrived at Brydon Lagoon we were told that the Green Heron usually appeared very early and that we were probably too late. So we were not surprised when we did not see it  as we walked along the lagoon. There were very few birds on the path through Hi Knoll Park. In the forest on the other side of the power line we saw a Barred Owl fly by. We walked back to where it disappeared – and there it was posing on a branch. It posed on 2 more branches before we left it. Other birds seen on the way back were Cedar Waxwings, Bushtits, Hermit Thrush, Olive-sided Flycatcher, Flickers, Chickadees, Wood Duck and Pied-billed Grebe. We looked for the Green Heron again as we walked back along the lagoon. It was nearly noon and we had given up on seeing it when we noticed it sitting on a branch back at the very beginning of the lagoon loop. Almost immediately it flew to the other side of the lagoon. Some walked back around the lagoon and found it posing on a log close to shore at the other end of the lagoon. Photos at (Flickr)
    • 01-Sep-2020 to Campbell Valley Regional Park, 5 people went to Campbell Valley, 16th St parking lot, and walked as directed, in one direction. There were not many birds singing, but the tame and hungry chickadees, both Chestnut-backed in abundance and Black-capped, made up for the lack of other sightings. We were stopped in our tracks by Gabriele who watched a Barred Owl land beside us. He was co-operative until he eventually flew deeper into the woods. Another grouping of mixed chickadees included at least two Nuthatches, all of which were happy receiving nuts from us. Along the way, were Song Sparrows, Spotted Towhees, and many Dark-eyed Juncos, along with Douglas Squirrels and Townsend’s chipmunks. We heard a strange call several times, and were stumped until Lidia got home, and in the process of labelling the chipmunk, discovered that the noise we were hearing is an autumn “wood-knocking” call the chipmunks produce. Most of the warblers have left, but we saw Bushtits, and heard Goldfinches, Pacific-slope Flycatchers, Brown Creeper, Golden-crowned Kinglets, Swainson’s Thrush. We tried to spot something that had a warbler-like call, but were unable to find it high up in the trees. A small flock of Mallard ducks preened by the last bridge—one of them was a hybrid of some sort. It was a slow and lovely walk in the woods.
    • 31-Aug-2020 to Centennial Beach for seashore brochure photos, 7 people, crabs, clams, shrimp, sand lance, anemone. Photos at  (Flickr)
    • 30-Aug-2020 to Reifel, 1 person, Long-billed Dowitchers, Kingfisher, Harrier, Yellow-rumped Warbler Photos at (Flickr)
    • 28-Aug-2020 to White Rock Pier, 2 people, 6 Black Turnstones
    • 28-Aug-2020 to Reifel, 2 people, 43 species including Pied-billed Grebe, Long-billed Dowitcher, Red-necked Phalarope, Peregrine Falcon, Warbling Vireo, Yellow-rumped Warbler. Photos at (Flickr) (eBird)
    • 27-Aug-2020 to Blackie Spit, 2 people, Shorebirds
    • 25-Aug-2020 to Godwin Farm Biodiversity Preserve, 4 people, started of with a Barred Owl roosting, then at least one family of Red-breasted Nuthatches who were busy with pine cones, and were joined by Black-capped and Chestnut-backed Chickadees. While watching at least one hawk in the sky, a Peregrine showed up to chase a Cooper’s Hawk, a Northern Harrier up high, a juvenile Bald Eagle, and a Red-tailed Hawk at first being pursued by a flock of Crows. Bewick’s Wrens called from more than one location. Saw Northern Flickers and heard Pileated and Downy Woodpeckers. Our sightings included American Robins, Song Sparrows, Goldfinches (mostly heard), Dark-eyed Junco, Brown Creeper (heard), Steller’s Jay, Anna’s Hummingbird. A lovely small park, tons (an understatement) of Sequoia trees and orchards, Stink Currants in a patch by the park kiosk – a new plant for most of us. No dogs or washroom, but it is close to Tynehead Park.
    • 25-Aug-2020 to Blackie Spit, 7 people, Yellowlegs, Purple Martins, Herons, Hummers, Cooper’s Hawk Photos at (Flickr)
    • 23-Aug-2020 to Brunswick Point, 2 people, 2 Sandhill Cranes, 2 Trumpeter Swans
    • 18-Aug-2020 to Iona, 4 people, it was sunny but quite windy. Birds were scarce with Cedar Waxwings and swallows (a LOT) being the most abundant. Spotted and identified a Kestrel hunting and eating dragonflies in the inner ponds. Only one pond had water and very few ducks. By the logs that obstruct the path close to the parking lot, we saw a juvenile Yellow-rumped Warbler chasing bugs in a pine, and a very photogenic flycatcher, probably a Willow. A few sparrows, Song, Savannah, Towhee, Chickadees, an eagle and a couple of herons rounded out the meagre selection.
    • 18-Aug-2020 to Godwin Farm Biodiversity Preserve and Tynehead, New trail, 7 people, planned to start at Surrey Lake but parking lot and trails were closed for maintenance so drove to Godwin Farm Biodiversity Park. Spent a pleasant hour walking a loop through a redwood forest, past a small pond, beside fields and an orchard. Didn’t hear or see many birds. Next went to Tynehead Park and walked a longer loop along the Serpentine River. A cool walk in the forest but didn’t hear or see many birds. Photos at (Flickr)
    • 13-Aug-2020 to Elgin Park, 8 people, Bushtits. Photos at (Flickr)
    • 10-Aug-2020 to Brunswick Point, 2 people, Merlin, Bushtits, Bullock’s Oriole (Flickr) (eBird)
    • 04-Aug-2020 to Blackie Spit, 2 people, 12 Greater Yellowlegs
    • 04-Aug-2020 to Colebrook Park, 4 people, New trail, Pileated Woodpecker and others. Photos at (Flickr)
    • 04-Aug-2020 to Panorama Ridge, 6 people, New trail, Willow Flycatchers and others. Photos at (Flickr)
    • 02-Aug-2020 to Huston Rd, Tilbury, 2 people, Pacific Slope Flycatcher (Flickr) (eBird)
    • 28-Jul-2020 to Terra Nova, 6 people, Usual suspects, very few birds on a hot day (Flickr)
    • 26-Jul-2020 to Huston Rd, Tilbury, New trail, 2 people, Bullock’s Oriole and Pacific Slope Flycatcher (Flickr)
    • 24-Jul-2020 to Reifel, 2 people, It’s open again but nothing unusual (Flickr)
    • 21-Jul-2020 to Iona, 3 people, Killdeer, very few birds, dragonflies (Flickr)
    • 14-Jul-2020 to Colony Farm, 3 people, Lazuli Bunting and nesting Eastern Kingbirds (Flickr)
    • 09-May-2020 to Iona, 2 people, Usual suspects (Flickr)
    • 07-May-2020 to QE Park, 1 person, Chipping Sparrow, Warbling Vireo (Flickr)
    • 01-May-2020 to Boundary Bay, 2 people, Cinnamon Teal + usual suspects (Flickr)
    • 17-Apr-2020 to Beach Grove, 1 person, Great Horned Owls (Flickr)
    • 09-Apr-2020 to Beach Grove Park, 1 person, Hummingbird Nest (Flickr)
    • 08-Apr-2020 to Boundary Bay Dike, 1 person, Warblers and Harriers (Flickr)
    • 31-Mar-2020 to Brunswick Point, Usual suspects (Flickr)
    • 18-Mar-2020 to Boundary Bay, 1 person, Mountain Bluebird and the usual suspects (Flickr)

New Trails

  • Huston Road, Tilbury Islandpark here then walk along the Fraser, going West from the parking lot till you find the road out into the river – this is Fisherman’s Bar – and you can go further West along the river till the trail dead ends.
  • Panorama Ridgepark here – officially this is all part of the Delta-South Surrey Regional Greenway and it can be accessed from several places. From this parking spot head East along the trail. West would take you back in to Watershed Park. There are some trail markers and maps along the way and many choices for how to proceed. Can head down to Colebrook Road then back up and and over to Joe Brown Park and up the ridge to New McLellan Road.
  • Colebrook Parkpark here – this park has an interesting half hour loop through thick forest, an open area and a wetland.
  • Godwin Farm Biodiversity Preservepark here – wonderful trees, small pond, decent trails, only 30-60 minutes.

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Tom Bearss 1945-2020

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

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

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

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

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


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

tom-bearss

Tom Bearss – Photograph COURTESY OF DELTA NATS

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

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

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

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

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

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

After the first year, Tom was encouraged to put his literary masterpieces on a blog, which soon became the go-to-place for photographs (always including the group photo), birding links, and other Delta Naturalist news.  You can see the blog at www.dncb.wordpress.com and on the Delta Optimist website (https://www.delta-optimist.com/authors?author=tom%20bearss)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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DNCB Outing No. 2020-10 to Iona Regional Park

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

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

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

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

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

2020-10_Iona Birders_Roger

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

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

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

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

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

IMG_1665IMG_1668

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

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

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

Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists Society

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2020-09_DNCB_roger

DNCB at DeBoville Slough – photo by Roger M

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

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

Varied_Thrush_Roger

Varied Thrush (RM)

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

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

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

Next Tuesday, March 10, we’ll leave Petra’s at 7:30 am for Iona Regional Park, meeting others at the washroom parking lot around 8:15 am.

 

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

Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists Society

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

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

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

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

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

Photos are on the DNCB flickr site
https://www.flickr.com/search/?group_id=3027315%40N23&view_all=1&text=2020-08

DNCB Reifel 2020-02-25.JPG

DNCB at Reifel – photo by Roger Meyer

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Terry Carr

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

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

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

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

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

DraytonHarbour[2]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists Society

eBird List will be posted HERE

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

DNCB Outing No. 2020-06 to Serpentine Fen and Surrey Lake

Nineteen DCNBers had an enjoyable and productive outing to four Surrey Parks on Tuesday.  It was a dry day with high overcast.  The stops included Serpentine Fen, Surrey Lake and two new stops recommended by Ken and Anne A. – Goldstone Park Elementary School and Cloverdale Youth Park.  Debbi’s ebird lists for the four stops showed that we saw a total of 48 species (see below).  A highlight was a female Redhead at Cloverdale Youth Park.

You can enjoy the photo evidence on our DNCB flickr site.

The first stop was Serpentine Fen on King George Blvd.  We saw many waterfowl species there, including Common Goldeneye, American & Eurasian Wigeon, Northern Shovelers, Mallards, Northern Pintail, Green-winged Teal, Scaup, Hooded & Common Mergansers, Bufflehead, Canada Geese and Cackling Geese.  There was evidence of fresh beaver activity and Pat and Glen took photos of a beaver.  Marion  and Glen took photos of a seal eating a very large salmon.  A Peregrine Falcon posed on a radio tower and Northern Harriers cruised by.  Debbi saw a Wilson’s Snipe fly up.  We were entertained by crows dive bombing a juvenile Bald Eagle while Jim tried to take the group photo.

DNCB2020.02.11c

DNCB at Serpentine Fen – photo by Jim Kneesch (not in photo!)

The next stop was a small pond beside Goldstone Park Elementary School on 146th St at 64th Ave.  This is actually part of Sullivan Heights Park.  Ken and Anne said that it has been a reliable spot to see Ring-necked Ducks up close and personal.  And as predicted, 7 Ring-necked Ducks were there.  A Greater Scaup, without the ringed bill and with his green head, was hanging out with them.  The pond also contained Mallards, Bufflehead, Gadwall, a Hooded Merganser and an American Coot.  A Song Sparrow sitting on the cattails pretended to be a wren.

Our third stop was Surrey Lake Park.  As we left the parking area we were greeted by a Varied Thrush.  As usual this small lake contained a variety of water birds.  There were Green-winged Teal, Mallards, Wigeon, Bufflehead, Hooded and Common Mergansers, Scaup, Ring-necked Ducks, Northern Pintail, Gadwall, Coots and Pied-billed Grebes.  We were blanked on Canvasbacks and Ruddy Ducks that are often seen here.  After hearing a Belted Kingfisher we finally saw him land on a Wood Duck box at the far end of the lake.  As we headed back to the parking lot a Red-tailed Hawk flew over and Steller’s Jays made a noisy appearance.

Our fourth stop was at a small pond behind Cloverdale Youth Park where a female Redhead has been seen for a few weeks.  She appeared on cue along with Hooded Mergansers, Gadwall, Wigeon and Mallards.  These small city ponds are important winter habitat for ducks.  Two Belted Kingfishers were flying around and a Wilson’s Snipe appeared briefly.

Ten of us stopped for a very tasty lunch at Big Ridge Brew Pub at 152 St and Highway 10. However trying to find a place to park there was an adventure.

The 19 were Ken, Anne A, Roger M, Mike, Debbi, Bryan D, Pat, Jack, Margaretha, Gabriele, Jonathan, Lorraine, Johnny Mac, Pam, Glen, Marion, Jim, newcomer Langley Todd and me (Terry). Tom should be back from his Ontario adventure on Thursday.

Next Tuesday, February 18, the outing will be to Blaine, USA.  We will leave Petra’s at 7:30, cross the border at Peace Arch and meet at Blaine Marine Park on Marine Drive at 8:15.  Drayton Harbor and Semiahmoo Spit are favorite birding hot spots.

Report by Terry Carr (Tom is in Ontario)

Serpentine Fen, Feb 11, 2020, 8:10 AM – 11:00 AM
40 species (+1 other taxa)
Cackling Goose  45
Canada Goose  300
Northern Shoveler  14
Eurasian Wigeon  1
American Wigeon  150
Mallard  150
Northern Pintail  500
Green-winged Teal  21
Greater Scaup  18
Bufflehead  3
Common Goldeneye  26
Hooded Merganser  4
Common Merganser  2
Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon)  16
American Coot  1
Wilson’s Snipe  1     flew up from cattail marshes & over hwy.
Ring-billed Gull  5
Glaucous-winged Gull  3
Double-crested Cormorant  1
Great Blue Heron  3
Northern Harrier  2
Bald Eagle  7
Red-tailed Hawk  1
Barn Owl  2     seen by Roger, Jim, Mike & myself
Peregrine Falcon  1     perched on radio tower
Steller’s Jay  1
Northwestern Crow  2
Black-capped Chickadee  4
Bushtit  2
Golden-crowned Kinglet  1
Marsh Wren  3
Bewick’s Wren  1
European Starling  14
American Robin  5
Fox Sparrow  1
Dark-eyed Junco  12
Dark-eyed Junco (Slate-colored/cismontanus)  1    seen by moi in blackberries, at start of trail – all black, grey & white
Golden-crowned Sparrow  4
Song Sparrow  4
Spotted Towhee  3
Red-winged Blackbird  2     probably more – heard, not seen
—————————————————————————-
Sullivan Heights Park, Feb 11, 2020, 11:30 AM – 11:42 AM
13 species
Gadwall  1
Mallard  4     2 on pond, 2 in stream/deciduous grove
Ring-necked Duck  7
Greater Scaup  1     sun shining on its green head!
Bufflehead  1
Hooded Merganser  1
Anna’s Hummingbird  1
Glaucous-winged Gull  1
Bald Eagle  1
Northwestern Crow  12
Black-capped Chickadee  2
Song Sparrow  3
Spotted Towhee  1
—————————————————————————-
Cloverdale Youth Park,  Feb 11, 2020 12:30 PM – 12:50 PM
14 species
Canada Goose  2
Gadwall  1
American Wigeon  2
Mallard  4
Redhead  1     continuing female, seen by many, photos by Delta Nats Bird group
Hooded Merganser  2
Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon)  5
Anna’s Hummingbird  1
Wilson’s Snipe  1
Glaucous-winged Gull  2
Belted Kingfisher  2
Northwestern Crow  7
European Starling  8
Red-winged Blackbird  1

 

Posted in *DNCB, Bald Eagle, Beaver, Belted Kingfisher, Cackling Geese, Cloverdale Youth Park, Eurasian Wigeon, Goldstone pond, Hooded Merganser, Northern Harrier, Peregrine Falcon, Pied-billed Grebe, Red-tailed Hawk, Redhead, Ring-necked Duck, Serpentine Fen, Surrey Lake, Wilson's Snipe | Leave a comment

DNCB Outing No. 2020-05 to Brunswick Point

Ten DNCBers braved the elements on Tuesday for an outing to Brunswick Point in Ladner, where we saw 26 species.  Check out the photos on our DNCB Flickr site.

We left Tsawwassen at 7:30 in light rain.  And it was still only rain when we returned to Tsawwassen.  However for our 2 hours at Brunswick Point it was snowing and very cold. Our leader, Tom, is in Ontario with cold weather but no snow.

We saw several ducks along the way, including Bufflehead, American Wigeon, Mallards, Northern Pintail, Green-winged Teal and Red-breasted Mergansers.  There were thousands of Snow Geese offshore, some Trumpeter Swans and one Brant.  We saw several Northern Harriers, Bald Eagles, Double-crested Cormorants, Northern Flickers and Great Blue Herons.  A murmuration of thousands of Dunlin was a spectacular sight.  Two Wilson’s Snipe appeared briefly.  Two Western Meadowlarks were moving around in the fields.  As the snow/sleet was getting heavier and we were getting colder, we turned around sooner than we usually do.  Just before reaching the cars we were entertained by 3 Peregrine Falcons in one tree.

Since the tide was high we were hoping to see Virginia Rails.  But they did not appear.  We were also blanked on the Short-eared Owls that we usually see here.

At 10am, all ten of us drove in a blizzard to the Skyhawk Restaurant at Boundary Bay Airport where we got warmed up with coffee and breakfast.  The ten were Pat, Margaretha, Colin, Warren, David, Noreen, Glen, Anne, Mike and me (Terry).  When we left the restaurant the cars were covered with snow and the roads had several more inches as well.

Next Tuesday, February 11, we will leave Petra’s at 7:30am for an outing to Serpentine Fen, Surrey Lake and possibly the small pond at Cloverdale Youth Park (176th St just south of 64th Ave) where Redheads have been seen recently.  Meet at Serpentine Fen at 8am.  NOTE the 44th Ave parking lot is CLOSED permanently.  Meet at the parking lot on King George Blvd, 600m north of Art Knapp, just south of the bridge, west side of King George Blvd, (access is easier from the north).

Also on Tuesday, February 11, there will be a (rescheduled) DNS monthly meeting (cancelled Feb 4 because of snow).  Feb. 4 featured speaker Martin Gregus is not available that day, but our very own Delta Nats. member, Alan Stewart will give us a presentation on his adventures, Canoeing and Birding in Saskatchewan.  Northern Saskatchewan is rich in waterways and lakes and harbours some species which we do not see here.   Come and share in learning something more about this country we call Canada.

Report by Terry Carr (Tom is in Ontario)

Posted in *DNCB, Bald Eagle, Brunswick Point, Dunlin, Northern Harrier, Peregrine Falcon, Trumpeter Swan, Western Meadowlark, Wilson's Snipe | Leave a comment

DNCB Outing No. 2020-04 to Point Roberts, USA

Twenty-three DNCBers enjoyed a rainless, almost comfortable, Tuesday morning birding the hotspots in Point Roberts USA.  Our photogs got some great shots, but our Flickr site is “down” at the moment.  I’m providing links here to our DNCB Flickr “Pool”, and to some of our Nats photog’s individual sites: Glen, Terry, David, Noreen, Pat and Brian.  You’ll see brilliant photos on all these sites.

The 10 folk in Petra’s at 7:30 am all left for the Border in their own cars to buy the cheap gas.  Border was smooth for the convoy; we stopped at Kiniski’s Reef Tavern first.  It was very cool, cloudy and windy; water was high and wavy in the Salish Sea.  Lots of neat birds south of the Ferry Terminal, but required patience and a scope to spot, for example Common Goldeneye, both Horned and Western Grebes (further out), Bufflehead, probably all three Cormorant species flying by (Double-crested, Pelagic & Brandt’s), Red-breasted Mergansers, Surf & White-winged Scoters, and Common Loons.

We drove to the Lighthouse Marine Park where the others were waiting.  As the chatfest lingered on, the resident Black Turnstones were feeding up close on the limited bit of shoreline.  We walked toward the Point, getting good looks at several pairs of spectacular Harlequin Ducks.  Got brief looks too at the heads of a couple of California Sealions. We picked out a few Pacific Loons, and some saw Common Murres and Pigeon Guillemots.  Noreen took the Group Photo at the Point, surprisingly with a bit of sun shining on us.

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DNCB at Lighthouse Marine Park, Point Roberts – photo by Noreen Rudd

I/we couldn’t find a Rhinoceros Auklet or any other uncommon pelagic species.  David listed 40 species seen on his eBird list (see below) for this morning.

The inland trail back to the parking lot was relatively quiet too.  Sparrows (Song, Golden- & White-crowned) and House Finches were flitting in the bushes, but no Wrens seen today.  Anna’s Hummingbirds were entertaining.

Next stop was the north-west side of the Marina.  The resident Belted Kingfisher was there, and caught a little fish for us.  Between the moored boats were Lesser Scaup, Bufflehead, and both Common and Barrow’s Goldeneye doing their neck-breaking ritual.  On the drive to the south side of the Marina, a perched Red-tailed Hawk was the only raptor we saw other than the Bald Eagles which are everywhere this Winter.  More Harlies, Scaup and Goldeneye here; the immature Goldeneyes arousing discussion as to whether they were Barrow’s or Common.  Killdeer were in the field, but no Meadowlarks.

We bypassed Sea Bright Farm and drove directly to Lily Point Park.  We went to both Lookouts in the park, and there were lots of “dots” in the Strait below.  We could ID, with our scopes, many of the same species already seen, but nothing new (e.g. Murrelets, Auklets, Murres).

It was just after Noon when we left Lily Point, stopped for cheap gas, and drove to the Rose & Crown Pub in Tsawwassen for lunch.  Most of the 10 of us had the Lunch Special of Vegetable/Potato Soup and an Egg/Cheese/Ham Sandwich, and it was delicious served by the always lovely Leila.  And my pint of Original 16 Lager, also on Special, hit the spot too. It was another fantastic DNCB outing.

The 23 were: Guru Anne, Organizer Terry, Photog/eBirders David & Noreen, Flickr Guru Glen, almost Delta residents Jonathan & Lorraine, White Rockers Colin & Wazza, Ladner Pam, our garrulous Germanics Gabriele & Margaretha, North Deltans Pat & Jean, Drop-in Pt. Bob’s Paul, historian Mike B w/o Roger, recovering Limper Mike B2, Richmond Brian & Louise, Ladner Bryan w/o Masae, ILB Tony M, our Moneyman Jim, and me.

Next Tuesday, February 4, our outing is to Brunswick Point, leaving Petra’s at 7:30 am and meeting others at the River Road entrance in Ladner at about 8:00 am.

And don’t forget our Nats monthly meeting on Tuesday evening, Feb. 4, at 7:30 pm at the Benediction Lutheran Church in Tsawwassen with Photographer Martin Gregus presenting on Snowy Owls and other raptors.  All welcome, Free.

Sandra and I leave on Monday, Feb 3, for Ontario to visit with friends and relatives, and my 61st annual UpSouth outing to Dorset with about ten of my Niagara Falls primary school buddies.  So I’ll miss the next two weekly outings, but you can find info on these outings, other reports, photos and events on our website.  As always, your comments are welcome, and let me know if this weekly drivel ruins your otherwise exciting life, and you want off my email list.  Cheers: Tom

Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists Society

Beach at Kiniski’s Reef Tavern, Point Roberts 28-Jan-2020
10 species
Surf Scoter 10
White-winged Scoter 4
Bufflehead 1
Common Goldeneye 2
Red-breasted Merganser 8
Horned Grebe 4
Western Grebe 10
Glaucous-winged Gull 16
Common Loon 1
Double-crested Cormorant 384

Lighthouse Marine Park, Point Roberts 28-Jan-2020
23 species
Brant 2
Harlequin Duck 3
Surf Scoter 4
Long-tailed Duck 1
Common Goldeneye 1
Red-breasted Merganser 4
Horned Grebe 3
Western Grebe 15
Anna’s Hummingbird 1
Black Turnstone 48
Common Murre 2
Pigeon Guillemot 2
Glaucous-winged Gull 12
Red-throated Loon 2
Pacific Loon 10
Common Loon 2
Brandt’s Cormorant 20
Pelagic Cormorant 9
Double-crested Cormorant 80
Bald Eagle 2
Northwestern Crow 5
European Starling 4
White-crowned Sparrow 3
Golden-crowned Sparrow 1

Point Roberts jetties 28-Jan-2020
16 species
Snow Goose 120
Canada Goose 12
Harlequin Duck 2
Bufflehead 2
Common Goldeneye 4
Barrow’s Goldeneye 1
Red-breasted Merganser 1
Horned Grebe 1
Glaucous-winged Gull 2
Bald Eagle 1
Belted Kingfisher 1
Northern Flicker 1
Northwestern Crow 2
European Starling 5
American Robin 1
Red-winged Blackbird 2

Point Roberts jetties 28-Jan-2020
17 species (+1 other taxa)
Canada Goose 12
Greater Scaup 10
Harlequin Duck 3
Surf Scoter 3
Bufflehead 5
Common Goldeneye 5
Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon) 1
Anna’s Hummingbird 1
Killdeer 3
Glaucous-winged Gull 4
gull sp. 22
Great Blue Heron 2
Red-tailed Hawk 1
Belted Kingfisher 1
Northwestern Crow 5
House Finch 4
Song Sparrow 1
Red-winged Blackbird 9

Lily Point, Point Roberts 28-Jan-2020
10 species
Surf Scoter 3
White-winged Scoter 2
Common Goldeneye 3
Red-breasted Merganser 4
Glaucous-winged Gull 5
Common Loon 1
Bald Eagle 9
Belted Kingfisher 1
Northwestern Crow 3
Black-capped Chickadee 3

Total 40 Species

Posted in *DNCB, Barrow's Goldeneye, Black Turnstone, Brandt's Cormorant, California Sea Lion, Common Murre, Harlequin Duck, Lighthouse Marine Park, Lily Point Park, Pacific Loon, Pelagic Cormorant, Pigeon Guillemot, Point Roberts, Red-breasted Merganser, Red-tailed Hawk, Western Grebe | Leave a comment

DNCB Outing No. 2020-03 to Iona Regional Park

Twenty-four keeners enjoyed a fairly productive Tuesday morning in Iona Regional Park and the adjacent sewage ponds.  We only recorded 26 species (see David’s eBird list below), but saw tonnes of birds, and you can check out the brilliant photo evidence, including the Blue Goose, on our DNCB Flickr site.

Two vehicles left Petra’s at 7:30 am and the traffic to and through the tunnel was horrendous.  Some arrived at the Iona washroom parking lot before 8:00 am, others not until 8:45 am.  Surprisingly, the sun was out and it was relatively mild as we walked to the beach to check out the flock of Snow Geese.

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DNCB at Iona – photo by Glen Bodie

While taking the obligatory Group Photo, another huge flock cruised in right in front of us, and then newbie Christine spotted the Blue Goose among the 2000 birds.  Another very dark bird seen may have been a juvenile Blue Goose.  No shorebirds were seen, other than the resident Killdeer, as the tide was very high.  A raft of Common Mergansers was there too, and Marion spotted a Canvasback with them.

We moved back to the front pond where a small mixed group of Ring-necked, Lesser Scaup and Bufflehead were diving.  To take advantage of the brilliant sun rising in the east (for photogs with sun behind), we decided to walk around the southwest side of the pond, then into the sewage lagoons.  Of course, as we got to the backside, the clouds covered the sun.  And not many little birds were seen, so we were blanked on any of the three wren species (Bewick’s, Marsh, Pacific) and regularly-seen sparrow species.  Several Short-eared Owls were seen a few days ago.

On entering the sewage lagoons, the northwest pond was full of waterfowl.  Lots of Northern Pintail, Northern Shoveler, Green-winged Teal, American Wigeon (we couldn’t find the Eurasian), Lesser Scaup (Greater too, but no Tufted seen), Gadwall, and Mallards.  Sharp-eyed Mel with Metro Vancouver Parks, spotted a Blue-winged Teal, but we weren’t able to find it again.  No raptors (Peregrine, Merlin) were seen either, other than the resident Bald Eagles.

We left the sewage ponds and walked through the woods to the river.  Got nice views of a Ruby-crowned Kinglet, and lots of Coyote scat.  Some saw a Northern Shrike.  The group being so large got spread out, so we straggled back to the parking lot in stages, the rain pushing some to walk faster.  It was just after 11:00 am when we aborted the outing, and some left for the Flying Beaver Restaurant in order to get breakfast before 11:30 am.

Thirteen of us gathered for breakfast or lunch at the Flying Beaver (see David’s photos).

2020-03_DNCB_Flying Beaver

Lunch at the Flying Beaver – photo by David Hoar

I had Clam Chowder Soup, an exotic Garden Salad, and a tasty pint of Sapporo draught.  The veteran Jessica served us smiling, but Mike wasn’t happy with the 18% Gratuity charge.  Nonetheless, it was another super DNCB outing.

The 24 were: Organizer Terry, Guru Anne, MV’s Iona Park Manager Mel B, Richmond Brian & Louise, New West’s Jonathan & Lorraine, eBirder David & Noreen, Marion, Marti & Kirsten, Jim & Chris, Ladner Pam, North Delta Pat, White Rock Colin & Wazza, Mike B w/o Roger, Photog Glen B, Newbies Doug & Christine McG, Angela A, and me.

Next Tuesday, January 28, we’ll leave Petra’s at 7:30 am for Point Roberts, meeting others at Lighthouse Marine Park around 8:00 am.

For more info on this outing, other events, reports and photos, see our website.  As always, your comments are appreciated, and let me know if these boring missives annoy you and you want off my email list.  Cheers: Tom

Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists Society

Iona Island (general)  21-Jan-2020
27 species (+1 other taxa)

Snow Goose 145 One Blue Goose
Blue-winged Teal 1 Located with spotting scope in NW pond amongst Northern Pintails, Mallards and Green-winged teal
Northern Shoveler 18
Gadwall 6
American Wigeon 7
Mallard 53
Northern Pintail 500
Green-winged Teal 96
Canvasback 1
Ring-necked Duck 8
Greater/Lesser Scaup 22
Bufflehead 4
Common Merganser 22
Killdeer 1
Glaucous-winged Gull 7
Great Blue Heron 16
Bald Eagle 4
Northern Flicker 4
Northern Shrike 1
Northwestern Crow 11
Black-capped Chickadee 5
Ruby-crowned Kinglet 1
American Robin 1
Fox Sparrow 3
Golden-crowned Sparrow 4
Song Sparrow 11
Spotted Towhee 3
Red-winged Blackbird 6

Posted in *DNCB, Bald Eagle, Blue Goose, Blue-winged Teal, Canvasback, Iona, Northern Shrike, Ring-necked Duck, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Sewage Lagoons | Leave a comment