DNCB Outing No. 2016-28 to Alaksen and Reifel

Twenty-two DNCBers (see names at end) enjoyed a very pleasant Wednesday morning outing to Alaksen National Wildlife Area (NWA) and then in our DNCB Mecca, Reifel Bird Sanctuary.  Although Summer birding in Delta is not as prolific as in Winter, we had a lot of neat sightings, many of which can be viewed on our DNCB Picasa site where 10 (wow-ten) DNCB Photogs have posted their beaut shots of the day.

Leaving Petra’s at 7:30 a.m., Roger led the group to Tsawwassen Ferry Causeway where I met them, in my son’s Jeep (my “Toy”) with our Ten Thousand Dollar Scope.  Several Black Oystercatchers on shore, but we didn’t see any young (but know they’re there).  Not a lot of birds in the Bay, but we saw clearly through the scope a Bufflehead, female Common Goldeneye and lots of Cormorants and Great Blue Herons.  The Tsatsu Shores GBH colony seems to have been quite successful this year.  The drive through the TFN land and the Ladner fields to Alaksen was uneventful, but still pretty.

Many DNCBers met us at the Alaksen parking lot.  Following introductions and registering in the Environment Canada Office, we checked in vain for the Barred Owls (and young) in the Cedar trees.  Lots of Common Yellowthroats singing behind the Reifel “mansion”, near the old booze storage cellar.  Vaux Swifts circled above us.  Fish were jumping in the slough too; nice to see since there was an apparent “die-off” last year.  We wandered around a few trails, trying to avoid the Canada Goose scat, and saw Cedar Waxwings, a Brown Creeper, later identified Yellow-rumped Warblers, Bushtits and other regular common stuff (blanked on Barn Owls).  A very active Paper Wasp Nest intrigued a few.  A young Wood Duck in the slough almost looked like a Pied-billed Grebe.

We left Alaksen around 9:30 a.m., as scheduled, to meet at Reifel where White Rock Al was waiting.  Reifel’s always affable Varri took our Group Photo at the entrance with both Maureen’s and Roger’s cameras.  Both Anna’s and Rufous Hummingbirds were feeding at the entrance feeder.  Too many Brown-headed Cowbirds and House Sparrows around.  Interesting that a Red-winged Blackbird was seen feeding a Cowbird.  We followed the west trail in search of the Great-horned Owls, also with young.  Blanked on GHO’s, but saw lots of Wood Ducks, Green-winged Teal and Greater Yellowlegs.  Sandhill Cranes were at the Tower; the local pair with their now large Colt were on an inland trail.  Most of the Barn and Tree Swallows have finished nesting but lots of them around.  We saw a couple of Purple Martins which, according to Reifel Manager Kathleen, nested successfully in an old marsh box, but no action in the new PM Condo.

At 11:00 a.m. I left for a Doctor’s appointment (all good) and the group continued on the outer trail to see the Long-billed Dowitchers and Greater Yellowlegs.  Lots of resident Marsh Wrens singing and brilliant American Goldfinches posed.  Check out some of the neat flower and plant sightings on our Picasa site too.  Eight DNCBers I’m told, including Rose, stopped for a delicious lunch at the Landing Pub in Ladner.  Sorry I missed it.

The DNCBers:  The ten Photogs were: Roger M (and Rose), Denise K (aka Uma), Ladner Jack McD, Richmond Brian A, sisters Pat S & Maureen S, Liz S, Glen B, Marion S and Chris McV.  Other participants included: Hans-Ulf, Margaretha, Jean G, Marylile (w/o Rob), Mike B, WR Al & Alice, Richard H, Barb M, Kirsten W and me.  That’s 22.

Next Wednesday, July 20, we are scheduled to go to Manning Park.  Neither I (walking prohibited) nor our “alternate” leaders (Roger M, Anne M, WR Al S, Terry C) are going, so if anyone goes to Manning Park, they are “on their own”.  I will go to Petra’s at 7:30 a.m. for coffee, and perhaps go somewhere local for a short outing.  The following Wednesday, July 27, the DNCB Destination is Burnaby Mountain/SFU.

As always your comments will be appreciated, check out our website for more info, reports and photos and, let me know if you want off my e-mail list to receive this drivel. Cheers: Tom

Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists Society

View Roger’s Green Heron video from Hastings Park (July 14th)
– click on full screen icon full_screen_icon (bottom right)

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Filed under *DNCB, Alaksen WMA, Brown Creeper, Purple Martin, Reifel, Sandhill Crane, Vaux's Swift, Yellow-rumped Warbler

DNCB Outing No. 2016-27 to Victoria

Eight DNCBers (Marylile, Rob, Chris, Gerhard, Pat, Maureen, Lorna, Terry) met at Tsawwassen on the 8am ferry and enjoyed another gorgeous Wednesday in paradise, riding the ferry to Vancouver Island and double-decker bus to Victoria.  Mike met the bus and the group wandered through Beacon Hill Park and along the beach.  Check out photo evidence on our Picasa site at:

There were Glaucous-winged Gulls nesting on the outside of the Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal building.  Some nests had very large chicks.  Only gulls and cormorants were seen as the ferry departed.  The only other birds seen on the sailing were Pigeon Guillemots.

It was a sunny, smooth crossing.  The real highlight of the ferry trip was a pod of Orca Whales, including a calf, swimming quite close to the ferry.  The captain slowed down to give everyone a good look.

In Beacon Hill Park we saw three kinds of swallows (Tree, Violet-green, Barn), a nesting colony of Great Blue Herons, large Red-eared Slider Turtles, Mallards with ducklings, dragonflies, Peacocks, Towhees, hummingbirds, Red-breasted Nuthatches and many colourful flowers.

After walking up to the Lookout we had lunch at The Beacon Drive-In on the edge of the park.  It was very busy but the service was extremely fast – especially compared to the service on some recent outing lunches.

After lunch we went down to Fonyo Beach for a short walk along the water.  There were nice views, flowers and sunshine – but no birds.

Pat and Maureen drove to Clover Point were they saw a Black Oystercatcher, Yellowlegs and Western Sandpipers.
When we walked back to Beacon Hill Park along the path above the beach, we passed “Mile zero” of the Trans Canada Highway and the world’s fourth-tallest totem pole (38.8-metres – 127 feet).  It was erected in 1956 when it was the world’s tallest free standing story pole.  The plaque said it was dedicated to the “Indians who died in the First and Second World Wars”.  It was restored in 2011.

On the walk back through the park we spotted a sleeping Barred Owl sitting quite low in a tree.  It woke up, lowered its head, and peeked at us from under a branch.  When we walked around to the other side of the tree, it swivelled its head to watch us on that side.  It was very curious but did not seem spooked by us.

We returned on the 3:40 bus for the 5pm ferry.  Some of us wanted to partake of the buffet dinner which was not going to be on the 6pm ferry.  There was a River Otter swimming near the ferry in Swartz Bay.  On arriving back to Tsawwassen at 6:45 we saw that the gull chicks were out of the nests and begging for food.  One parent seemed to be feeding them a feather.

Although we missed our leader and we did not see many birds, we had a very enjoyable day.  The weather was perfect.  The killer whales and owl were real highlights.

 Next Wednesday will be a local outing to Alaksen and Reifel, leaving Petras at 7:30 am.  Reifel opens at 9 am.
Terry Carr

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Filed under Barred Owl, Beacon Hill Park, Black Oystercatcher, Orca, Pigeon Guillemot, River Otter, Victoria

DNCB Outing No. 2016-26 to Campbell Valley Regional Park


DNCB on the bridge at Campbell Valley Park (KB) – click on photo to see large version

More photos at the DNCB Picasa site.

While their beloved leader was at home nursing the wound received the previous day as he languished on that cold steel table in the big house – rapid healing be upon him – twenty two of his faithful followers were enjoying a glorious, sunny day along the Little Campbell River.  The eager participants began piling out of their vehicles in the surprisingly busy parking lot at 16th Avenue at around 8:15.  After the customary hellos and my expected, habitual elucidatory babble about the outing location which, to my surprise, most paid attention to, we headed toward the eastern side of the Little River Loop in anticipation of finding many of the 174 avian species and 44 types of mammals on record for the area.

Immediately upon entering the forest, the calls and songs of several Wilson’s Warblers, Swainson’s Thrushes, a Towhee or two and both kinds of Chickadees were audible to most.  However, because of the exuberant foliage along all the wooded trails in the park, it was difficult to spot and photograph the little buggers.  That became a bit easier on the boardwalk across the wetland where Song Sparrows, Common Yellowthroats and a Willow Flycatcher were sighted.  And Ken had no difficult squeezing everyone onto the bridge for the customary group snapshot. Fortunately, no one fell off into the almost dry rivulet – Roger was most in jeopardy – and the structure did not collapse due to the weight.

The leisurely walk on the path from there to the Listening Bridge took close to an hour, as we stopped often and tried to find, with increasing success, the sources of the chirps and twitters in the greenery.  Several of the previously heard only species came into view; also seen and photographed were an Orange-crowned Warbler, a Golden-crowned Kinglet, a juvenile Red-breasted Sapsucker and a Cedar Waxwing.  A Townsend’s Chipmunk and a number of Douglas Squirrels were munching on handouts along the route.  On the bridge, both male and female Black-headed Grosbeaks, adult and juvenile Brown-headed Cowbirds, a Yellow Warbler and a Goldfinch posed for great snapshots.

While several participants headed south up the hill to check on the Red-eared Turtles and the Bullfrogs in the ponds at the park’s Nature House, the rest of us decided to stay on level ground and connected with the narrow Vine Maple Trail.  Again several additional species such as Bewick’s and Pacific Wrens, Purple Finches, a Pacific-slope Flycatcher, a Wood Peewee as well as a Western Tanager were heard but none were sighted.

The outing ended back in the parking lot at 11:30.  In spite of missing their esteemed doyen and the less than hoped for bird count – just 30 or so species were observed or heard only – everyone agreed that it was another worthwhile DNCB sortie.  We enjoyed a great day with fine spring-like weather, good fellowship, and the trees, bushes and groundcover were in their finest green.  Check out the photo evidence by Liz, Pat, Ken, Glen, Terry, Brian and Roger at the DNCB Picasa site.

Al Schulze


Next week, Wed July 6, we go to Victoria; meet on the 8am ferry at Tsawwassen; return on the 6pm ferry; more info on DNCB outings page.

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Filed under *DNCB, Campbell Valley, Douglas Squirrel, Orange-crowned Warbler, Red-breasted Sapsucker, Townsend’s Chipmunk, Western Tanager, Wilson’s Warbler, Wood-Peewee, Yellow Warbler

DNCB Outing Report No. 2016-25 to Maplewood Flats

DNCB at maplewoods (minus photographer Marion)

DNCB at Maplewood Flatas (minus photographer Marion) – click on photo for large version

Nineteen DNCBers (names at end of this report) enjoyed a beautiful weekly Wednesday walk on the renovated trails of Maplewood Flats Conservation Area in North Vancouver.  We were accompanied and led by renowned Maplewood’s expert, Derek Killby, a Director of the WBT Wild Bird Trust of BC.  Pictorial evidence of the outing, including some beautiful flora shots, are on our DNCB Picasa site.

Six of us car-pooled nicely in two vehicles (one electric) from Petra’s at 7:30 a.m.  The ride was very slow and tedious, fighting morning traffic through Vancouver, so we arrived late at 8:45 a.m. at the park entrance and Welcome Hut.  Derek and the other DNCBers were patiently waiting and had already seen the Miniature Huts and some neat birds (e.g. Swainson’s Thrush).  Following introductions and Derek’s spiel, we started our walk through the woods toward the “flats”.  Lots of singing birds but only common stuff (Chickadees, Towhees, Robins, Song Sparrows, House Finches) on this leg.  At the shore, we saw the many Purple Martins hawking insects; Derek said most of the 95 nest boxes on the pylons are used so they’ll need more boxes added next year to accommodate this successful and growing colony.  The resident Bald Eagle nest had two juveniles posted beside it.  Lots of Canada Geese in the bay with a few Common Loons and both Pelagic and Double-crested Cormorants.  One parent Osprey was on its nest on a distant pylon and we saw at least one baby via the scope.  No migratory Ducks or Shorebirds around like we’re used to seeing here in the Winter, or even Spring and Fall.

So we continued along the wooded trails in search of other birds.  Both Tree and Violet-green Swallows around.  We heard and/or saw a few Flycatcher species including Willow, Pacific-slope, and Western Wood-Pewee.  Warblers seen (not by me, as usual) or heard were: Yellow, Wilson’s and Black-throated Gray.  Most of us casual birders were content to get good looks at the Cedar Waxwings and entertaining Rufous Hummingbirds.   Some DNCBers are getting very competent at identifying and photographing flowers and other plants, some of which are gorgeous; see photos on our Picasa site.

We stopped at other lookouts and Derek often shared his wealth of knowledge of the area.  An interesting sighting was a row of “sticks” in the bay that were put there as a weir to catch fish about 900 years ago by the Tsleil-Waututh First Nations people.  At the bridge, there was no Kingfisher, but Derek’s tadpoles were an interesting substitute, along with a lone Garter Snake lying in a flower bed.  An American Goldfinch was colourful, and we heard both Warbling and Red-eyed Vireos.  I had a fleeting look at a Black-headed Grosbeak, and a Killdeer was our sole Shorebird seen.  One of a few Band-tailed Pigeons hung around in a tree for a photo op arousing a bit of excitement.  Northern Flickers and Downies were the only Woodpeckers seen.

In the marsh area were several baby Wood Ducks and Mallards, while a pair of noisy Red-winged Blackbirds were in and out of their nest feeding young.  We annoyed a pair of Tree Swallows trying to bring food to their young in a box right beside the marsh lookout. We got back to the entrance around Noon and thanked Derek for a brilliant and very interesting outing. On his direction, 12 of us drove to the nearby Narrows Pub for lunch.  My Fish & Chips were tasty, and the “three” pints of beer were delectable too.  However, the reason for the three beer was that we waited nearly two hours for our food orders, and some of our members walked out because their food had not arrived after two hours.  Although the lengthy “birding bonding” was enjoyable, the frustration was unacceptable.  However, a happy ending was that the Pub Manager apologized (short staffed) and complimented everyone’s food costs.  You can’t beat a Free Lunch.  I think it was a sluggish drive home but Anne didn’t complain about my snoring, as she and newbie Barb continued bonding.  I got home at 4:00 p.m. which meant a longer than usual outing, but nonetheless another very enjoyable DNCB outing.

Next Wednesday, June 29, our outing will be to Campbell Valley Park (CVP), leaving Petra’s at 7:30 a.m.  Hopefully, around 8:15 a.m., CVP Expert Al Schulze will meet and lead the group from the 16th Avenue Entrance parking lot.  I am having minor surgery on the 28th so won’t be participating.

As always, your comments are welcome.  Check out our website for more info and directions, earlier reports and photos.  And let me know if you want of my e-mail List to receive this weekly drivel.  Cheers: Tom

We 19 were: Chris McV drove Glen and Margaretha, Anne M took newbie Barb M and me Others met us there including: Rob & Marylile, Marion S, Richmond Brian, North Van locals Ray & Stormcat Paula and Richard H, Langley Tom with Alberta Jack, Maureen & Pat with their newbie friend Tiffany, and Maplewood Derek K. Misguided Lidia J called us from Campbell Valley Park, next week’s destination.

Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists Society

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Filed under *DNCB, Band-tailed Pigeon, Osprey, Pacific-slope Flycatcher, Red-eyed Vireo, Warbling Vireo, Willow Flycatcher, Wilson’s Warbler, Wood-Peewee, Yellow Warbler

DNCB Outing No. 2016-24 to Pitt Lake

About 22 (I lost count; guesstimate participant list at end) DNCBers enjoyed some beautiful vistas and interesting sightings on our Wednesday morning walk in the Pitt-Addington Marsh Wildlife Management Area.  Check out lots of photos on our DNCB Picasa site.

Eight of us left Petra’s at 7:30 a.m., car-pooling nicely in two vehicles, and made great time on the SFPR and Golden Ears Bridge, arriving at the Boat Launch parking lot (filled with a new TV Series (?) film vehicles) on time at 8:30 a.m.  Local Bird Guru Larry Cowan, along with Ed the Park Caretaker, welcomed us, along with other DNCBers.  We had passed a few others along the road at the Catbird Slough.  That was a good location to see our Target birds, the Gray Catbird, Bullock’s Orioles, Eastern Kingbirds and Black-headed Grosbeaks.  I introduced Larry, and Roger took a Group Photo before we started our single-file march along the over-grown and wet trail around the Katzie Marsh.  Interestingly, as Roger took the photo, Yellow Warblers were in full view and both Orioles and Grosbeaks were singing above us.

Despite the wet walk through the shrubs, especially for several so-called knowledgeable naturalists (i.e. Dimwits) dressed in non-waterproof footwear and clothing, we saw some neat stuff.  We got great looks at Bullock’s Orioles, Willow Flycatchers, Rufous Hummingbirds, Cedar Waxwings.  Some saw the Swainson’s Thrushes and Black-headed Grosbeaks, both seemingly singing everywhere.  Some were ecstatic at seeing and photographing a posing Evening Grosbeak, uncommon here.  We all heard the winnowing flight, and some got a glimpse, of a Wilson’s Snipe.  Lots of Swallows hawking insects, pushed low down by the clouds and spurts of rain; we saw 5 species this day, Tree, Barn, Violet-green, Northern Rough-winged and nesting Cliff Swallows.  Swifts were also unusually close for viewing; we saw both Vaux and Black Swifts flying together for easy identification.  Our Guru Larry liked this.

As we continued on, some with completely soaked pants and feet, but still smiling, on a single branch we saw two flycatchers, an Eastern Kingbird and a Willow Flycatcher (or was it parent and young Easter Kingbird?). Common Yellowthroats were common and Marsh Wrens were in the marsh.  A flock of Band-tailed Pigeons flew by in the distance and a couple of Turkey Vultures were circling overhead.  Downy and Hairy Woodpeckers, Norther Flickers and Common Ravens around too.  Several Brown-headed Cowbirds seen, and Western Wood-Pewee and Wilson’s Warblers heard, but we were blanked on another Target, the American Redstart.  Larry said this warbler species is likely nesting along the trail to the Catbird Slough.

Lots of evidence of Beavers as we approached the Lookout, but we saw no Black Bears this day.  Following another Group Photo Op, most of us continued on the longer but open (i.e. drier) trail back to the parking lot. Several new, very young families in the marsh including Wood Ducks, Pied-billed Grebes, Mallards and Canada Geese.  A pair of resident Mute Swans was hidden in the reeds; we didn’t see the Trumpeter Swan, or any Rails.  A Belted Kingfisher flew by as we approached the rock face where the Cliff Swallows are nesting.  Lots of activity as parent birds were flying in and out of their holes in the “yellow” rock, assuming to feed young.  Arriving back at the path along the entrance to Pitt Lake, we saw the two active Osprey nests on pylons, one with a Mom and baby, and Dad on a pylon nearby.  A few Spotted Sandpipers were flitting along the shore and two people may have seen a couple of Black Turnstones.  Lots of Sparrows here too including Savannah, Song and White-crowned, but we were blanked on other warblers, including the once-seen MacGillivray’s.  Photogs got shots of as many as four Swallow species in a single frame.

It was 12:30 p.m. when most of the straggling group assembled back at the parking lot (>5km walk).  We decided to stop at the Catbird Slough for what else, Catbirds, before heading home.  Eastern Kingbirds, Yellow Warblers and Common Yellowthroats seen, but the Catbirds were napping.  Since some had time commitments, we ended the outing here, and following a serene and uneventful drive home, seven of us decided to dine at the Rose & Crown pub in Tsawwassen.  Good decision as Leila looked after us and my Roast Beef Sandwich and Salad was delicious, of course with a pint of Canadian.  The sun was shining now and the “Dimwits” had dried out.  Another awesome DNCB outing.

Next Wednesday, June 22, the DNCB destination is Maplewood Flats, where we expect to meet (…TBA…).  Check out directions, other info and reports and photos on our website.

Also check out photos on our Picasa site  of our annual DNS Garden Party held Thursday night at Cammidge House.  Over 40 Nats members enjoyed a sunny evening of great food, fun games and bonding.

Don’t forget the annual Father’s Day Pancake Breakfast at Centennial Beach this Sunday, June 19 from 8:30 a.m. to Noon.  There will be musical and other entertainment and your Delta Nats will have their “hands-on” Display.  As always, your comments are encouraged.  These weekly missives tend to be getting longer, more verbose, and perhaps more annoying to some recipients.  If hitting the Delete Button is onerous, please let me know and I will remove you from my e-mail List.  Happy Father’s Day.  Cheers: Tom

Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists Society

We 22 were: Roger drove Mike B, Hans & Guru Anne M, Chris McV drove Glen B, Gerhard & me; others included “local expert” Larry C, returnee Stanley Park Guru Greg H, Richard H, Richmond’s Brian A, Marion S and her visiting son Trevor, Lasquiti Island Marti, Pauline O & Jean G, WR Al & Alice, wandering Liz, sisters Pat & Maureen, and Debbie H (23) made a courtesy call at Petra’s.

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Filed under *DNCB, Band-tailed Pigeon, Black Swift, Black Turnstone, Bullock's Oriole, Cliff Swallow, Eastern Kingbird, Evening Grosbeak, Northern Rough-winged Swallow, Osprey, Pied-billed Grebe, Pitt-Addington Marsh Wildlife Management Area, Spotted Sandpiper, Turkey Vulture, Vaux's Swift, Willow Flycatcher, Wilson's Snipe, Wilson’s Warbler, Wood-Peewee, Yellow Warbler

DNCB Birds-on-the-Bay Outing No. 2016-23 in Boundary Bay Regional Park

About 25 participants, including lots of Newbies, enjoyed our quarterly Birds on the Bay (BOTB) outing this morning in Boundary Bay Regional Park (BBRP).  There are not a plethora of birds in BBRP in June, it being nesting time and wintering Shorebirds and Waterfowl have gone to their northern, inland or Arctic nesting grounds, but we had a few neat sightings.  Check out the photo evidence by Jim (JK), Glen (GB), Maureen (MS) & Pat (PS) on our DNCB Picasa site.

DNCB at Cammidge House (JK)

DNCB at Cammidge House (JK) click on photo for large view

Before leaving on the Walk, and following introductions and distributing our 3 new pamphlets to the Newbies, Jim K decided to take the Group Photo on the historic Cammidge House (CH) steps.  It was a bit windy and overcast and we neither heard nor saw much on our way to the Pond and Native Species Garden at Centennial Beach.  A few tiny Mallard ducklings in the pond brought smiles to the DNCBers.

The tide was in but no Shorebirds seen or diving ducks in the Bay.  Only Glaucous-winged Gulls and a Kite Surfer to entertain us.  Mt Baker and the view across to the mountains is always a treat.

Continuing along the trail past the almost-always closed restaurant, we searched the very quiet shrubs and reeds for any activity.  We saw a few common species;

Savannah and Song Sparrows, House Finches, Red-winged Blackbirds and several Northern Harriers, male and female, gliding by.

A four-species aerial confrontation was kind of neat with harassments among a Bald Eagle, Northern Harrier, Northwestern Crow and a Red-winged Blackbird.  We heard Marsh Wrens and Common Yellowthroats and some got photos of the latter masked warbler.

At the Lookout we took another Group Photo including several time-challenged participants.

DNCB at Boundary Bay watchtower (JK)

DNCB at Boundary Bay watchtower (JK) click on photo for large view

On the dike path, lots of Savannah Sparrows caught our attention.  Barn Swallows were hawking insects over the mud and a few Tree Swallows were hanging around some of our DNS Nest Boxes, as were the invasive House Sparrows.  The colourful Sweet Peas were in full bloom, but the parasitic Dodder seemed more interesting to our group.

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A Killdeer was also foraging in the mud.

At the PumpHouse, more baby ducklings pleased Emma, while Scope Bearer Chris McV focused on a Long-billed Dowitcher from the Lookout.

A lonely Gadwall was in the slough.

On the inland trail back to CH, we saw both Rufous and Anna’s Hummingbirds flitting around, but not posing as we normally like.  Some saw American Goldfinches, Black-capped Chickadees and White-crowned Sparrows.  Anne pointed out a small flock of Black Swifts flying overhead under the clouds, a normal occurrence here in June.

We got back to CH, surprisingly right on time at 11:30 a.m.  The Delta Nats Ladies welcomed us with smiles and their array of scrumptious home-made delectables.  Eleanor’s double chocolate cookies, Elizabeth’s Ginger cookies, Jennifer’s Scones, and Sandra’s Egg Salad Sandwiches were wolfed down in the usual fashion by the starving mob.  I think everyone, including the Newbies, had a very enjoyable BOTB outing.

Next Wednesday, June 15, we will leave Petra’s at 7:30 a.m. for an “away outing” to Pitt Lake.  I expect to meet at the regular Rannie Road Park entrance parking lot around 8:30 a.m.

Check out our website for earlier reports (e.g. Al Schulze on Surrey Bend Park outing last Wednesday), photos, and more info on DNCB Outing Destinations.  If you haven’t registered for our Annual DNS Garden Party on Thursday June 16 at Cammidge House, please do so ASAP by contacting Elizabeth Perrin.

As always, your comments are encouraged, and let me know if you want off my List to receive these annoying missives.  Cheers: Tom

Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists Society

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Filed under *DNCB, Bald Eagle, BBRP, Birds-on-the-Bay, Black Swift, Cammidge House, Centennial Beach, Long-billed Dowitcher, Northern Harrier

DNCB Outing No. 2016-22 to Surrey Bend Regional Park


Bird’s-eye view of Surrey Bend Regional Park

At about 8:30 on another great Wednesday morning, twenty two DNC Birding Brigaders began assembling in the parking lot of Surrey Bend Regional Park, a new destination – although some in the group had explored a gravel access track, now called the Pacific Trail, two years ago after an outing to neighbouring Barnston Island.  The park, a huge new 860-acre protected natural area officially opened to the public only in April, contains one of the area’s largest bogs and one of the Lower Fraser’s last remaining non-dyked areas.  Its floodplain forests, marshes, and thickets, situated less than five metres above sea level and subject to tidal flows and seasonal flooding, are of high ecological significance.

The obligatory group portrait, albeit without camera man Roger and four late comers, was taken in the visitor area with its impressive picnic shelters and well designed playground, complete with climbing poles standing in a huge sandbox.  After the photo-op, everyone marched to a nearby viewpoint to gaze at Barnston Island across the side arm of the Fraser.  A Tree Swallow and a Flicker in a snag, a cherry-picking Downie Woodpecker and a Cedar Waxwing in a Crab-apple tree were seen and photographed, and then Tom hustled the troop off onto the Parson’s Trail through the riparian woodlands.  Soon everyone was spread out along the narrow 1.8km path; a couple of foot-sore stragglers including me, White Rock Al, made up the rearguard.  Due to the profuse foliage of the assorted deciduous trees and bushes, a number of Black-headed Grosbeaks, Yellow and Wilson’s Warblers, Willow and Pacific-slope Flycatchers could only be heard.  However, one of several Swainson’s Thrushes, an Olive-sided Flycatcher, a Wood-Peewee and a Cowbird were eventually spotted. On an ornate bench built into the railing of a bridge over one of the tidal channels, two resting unidentified individuals were also spotted.

After more than an hour of wandering in small clusters or all alone through the dense forest, everybody came together again at the northern end of the much wider Pacific Trail.  A quick headcount revealed that no one had been lost in the woods.  Because of the now open, unique wetland terrain, it became much easier to observe and photograph species encountered there such as witchying Common Yellowthroats, rattling Marsh Wrens, buzzing Rufous Hummers, soaring Eagles, a cruising Harrier and the usually encountered Sparrows.  Two cavorting Ospreys were declared the birds of the day until, toward the end of the walk, a Spotted Sandpiper was sighted.  Also admired were fluttering Anise Swallowtails and Lorquin’s Admirals.

Because more than 4km had been ambulated and the noon hour was approaching, it was decided to forego a quick look at a second site along the Fraser.  Instead, most of us settled on another visit to the Big Ridge Pub in Surrey to refuel and re-hydrate.  Lunches and brown or blonde beverages were great and the dropping by our table of Tom’s banker son was an added bonus.  While the bird species count at about thirty was not as high as had been hoped, it was nonetheless, in Tom’s words, an awesome outing to a new DNCB destination for the following 22 participants: Roy & Solveig, Pat & Maureen, WR AL & Alice, Pascale & Alberto, Debby H & Kathryn, Chris McV & Glen B, Roger & Mike, FIFO Richard H & Dave H, Ladner Jack Mac & Marylile, Jim K & Margaretha S, Richmond Brian A and Tom.

Al Schulze

Next Wednesday June 8th will be our quarterly Birds on the Bay outing around Boundary Bay (see poster).  Meet at Cammidge House at 9 am.

Don’t forget our monthly DNS Meeting on Tuesday, June 7th at 7:30 pm at the Benediction Lutheran ChurchThe featured speaker is Jim Morrison speaking on BC Nature – A Bright Future!

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Filed under Bald Eagle, Northern Harrier, Olive-sided Flycatcher, Osprey, Spotted Sandpiper, Swainson's Thrush, Wilson’s Warbler, Wood-Peewee, Yellow Warbler