DNCB Outing No. 2016-17 to Brydon Lagoon & Hi-Knoll Park


DNCB at Brydon Lagoon (KB)

Twenty-two DNCBers (see names at end) enjoyed another gorgeous Wednesday morning wandering around Brydon Lagoon and Hi-Knoll Park on the Langley-Surrey border.  It was meant to be a Wildflower outing, however, with the earlier Spring weather in BC and our outing being a bit later than last year’s, the Fawn Lilies and Trilliums had finished flowering.  But check out many other beaut photos of plants, fungi, people and birds by our Photogs Ken B, Brian A, Roger M, Liz S, Jack M, Marion S, Terry C and Pat S on our DNCB Picasa site.

Nine of us car-pooled nicely in three vehicles from Petra’s at 7:30 a.m., arriving on time before 8:30 a.m. at the designated Brydon Lagoon parking lot.  Lots of folk waiting for us including White Rock Al who gave some brief comments on the area, which many ignored as they were more interested in the getting to the Shorebird pond below the path.  About 30 Long-billed Dowitchers and three Least Sandpipers, in breeding plumage, took precedence over Al’s (and my) briefing.  We heard later from nature photographer John Gordon and his sidekick Coz that nine Wilson’s Snipe had been seen in this pond this past week; we were blanked.  This area at the park entrance was a real birding bonus as a pair of Common Yellowthroats cavorting in a bush seemed unconcerned with the horde of photogs surrounding them.  Savannah Sparrows posed too.  And on the telephone wire we saw four species of Swallows; Tree, Barn, Violet-green and Northern Rough-winged, all up-close-and-personal for clear identification.

Before heading to the Brydon Lagoon, we gathered for Ken to take the obligatory Group Photo (22 in it but somehow Mike B counted 26?).  Only Gadwall, American Coots and Mallards seen in the Lagoon with lots of little birds in the surrounding bushes; Bushtits, Song and Golden-crowned Sparrows, Spotted Towhees, Red-winged Blackbirds, and a couple of Brown-headed Blackbirds.  At the end of the lagoon a Mallard pair with nine tiny ducklings was heart-warming to some.  The Anna’s Hummingbirds were flitting in the same place as other years on the trail leading to Hi-Knoll; saw Rufous Hummers too.  Lots of Marsh Wrens calling, and we heard Bewick’s Wrens later in the woods.  The little bridge over the Nicomekl River was as idyllic as always and several wildflower species were in colourful bloom along the way (see Picasa photos).

At the road parking lot and entrance to Hi-Knoll Park, a Northern Flicker was in the dead tree where we saw the Hairy Woodpecker last year.  We wandered up the trail into the forest park, mostly second and third growth but still pretty and serene.  A quiet walk, I didn’t even hear Pacific Wrens.  At the trail end in the open area of hydro lines, the White-crowned Sparrows were there again.  A Cooper’s Hawk swirled above us showing his banded tail.  And a Pileated Woodpecker posed briefly on a tower for Liz to take a silhouette photo.  We were blanked on Orange-crowned Warblers, but some were very pleased that we found a washroom.

We walked back along a different trail, more Hummers, some brilliant American Goldfinches.  As always, the group was very spread out.  One splinter group took a wrong trail where, fortuitously, Ken spotted a Barred Owl roosting beside a tree trunk.  We got excited and while many were fumbling for their cameras it flew off right over our heads.  Terry was the only successful photog, getting a shot on the wing as it flew by.  The Owl pair called to each other, but we weren’t able to find them again.

On return in the marsh area, we took the trail past the Bald Eagle’s nest with Mom sitting on eggs.  The Snipe were not at the tree where we saw them last year, but we found an Anna’s Hummingbird sitting in her nest, well camouflaged by leaves.  A juvenile Red-tailed Hawk (without a red tail) circling above was impressive.  The trail back around the other side of the Lagoon was eventful with more baby ducklings, several Red-eared Sliders on logs, and a couple of young tattooed chicks smoking on a bench.  No Green Herons.

Back at the parking lot, being 11:30 a.m. we decided to go just down the road to Samz Neighbourhood Pub for lunch.  Another good decision; my Turkey Clubhouse Sandwich and pint of Canadian was delicious (note: only one pint of beer as I was feeling the brunt of a couple of heavy Rum-swilling days of birthday celebrations).  On the ride back to Tsawwassen, I napped with Hans in the back seat as Roger and Mike reminisced about their misspent youth.  Another awesome DNCB outing.

Next Wednesday, May 4, we will leave Petra’s at 7:30 a.m. on a new outing to Pt. Whitehorn and Tennant Lake in Washington State, led by White Rock Al Schulze.  We will meet at the Peace Arch Park parking lot (behind Duty-free shop) at 8:00 a.m. to car-pool across the border.  Then we will meet in the Blaine Harbor Marina parking lot (at washrooms) on Marine Drive at 8:30 a.m. to car-pool from there https://goo.gl/2BxIgb.

Don’t forget our Delta Nats monthly meeting next Tuesday, May 3, at 7:30 p.m. at the Benediction Lutheran Church in Tsawwassen where Peter Ward will give a scintillating presentation on his birding and water adventures in Chile and Argentina.  As always, comments encouraged, check out the earlier reports, photos and additional info on our website, and let me know if you want off the List to receive these scintillating (twice, I like the word) reports.  Cheers: Tom

Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists Society

The Twenty-two were: Ken B & Anne A, Roger M, Maureen S & Pat S, Terry C, Marion S, Richmond Brian A, David & Noreen, Ladner Jack M, Liz S, WR Al, Rob & Marylile, Roger (Two) K, Mike B, Johnny Mac, Hans-Ulf, Richard H, Margaretha S and me.

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Filed under *DNCB, Bald Eagle, Barred Owl, Brydon Lagoon, Cooper's Hawk, Hi-Knoll Park, Least Sandpiper, Long-billed Dowitcher, Northern Rough-winged Swallow, Pileated Woodpecker, Red-tailed Hawk

DNCB Outing No. 2016-16 to Several Ladner Parks


DNCB at Ladner Harbour (photo by TC)

Twenty-six DNCBers (names at end) enjoyed a record hot (28 degrees) Wednesday morning of birding in three Parks in Ladner.  Lots of neat sightings; check out photos by Brian BA), Liz(LS), Jim (JK), Terry (TC), Pat (PS) and more at our DNCB Picasa site.

Nine of us car-pooled nicely from Petra’s in three vehicles at 7:30 a.m. driving straight through the Ladner farm roads and town to Ladner Harbour Park.  On arrival at 8:00 a.m., most of the rest were there trying to find calling Wilson’s and Orange-crowned Warblers in the trees around the parking lot.  We joined them and found a singing Bewick’s Wren (one of many on the day) and a cavity-nesting Black-capped Chickadee.

The construction to install the recently-arrived Heritage Home transported from North Delta to house the Park Manager raised a few enquiries as we started our march into the park.

Some tried listening for birds/warblers in the trees, but as regularly occurs on our “casual“ outings, the focus on chatting and re-acquainting with friends takes precedence over bird searches.  So, before the group broke off into chat groups, Terry took a Group Photo (22) as the brilliant warming sun shone down on us.  Although there was nesting material at various spots under the roof of the Picnic Shelter, there was no evidence of successful wren nesting (see last year’s DNCB Outing 2015-13 report).  An active Bushtit nest entertained us for a while as parents flew in and out.

The trail was peaceful and cool as we ran into the occasional dog walker.  We saw normal stuff like Northern Flickers and Downy Woodpeckers, Robins (but no Swainson’s or Varied Thrushes), House Finches and both Rufous and Anna’s Hummingbirds.  We finally got a nice view of a Yellow-rumped Warbler (Audubon) near the marina.

We walked off trail to the river where lots of Marsh Wrens were chattering.  Pairs of Green-winged Teal and Mallards were lingering near shore.  The cat tails were high so we only saw one Greater Yellowlegs fly up.  Time-challenged Liz met us at the infamous non-Lookout and a friendly dog walker took another Group Photo with Liz and “Robinson” (dog’s name?) included in it.

DNCB Group with dog (LS)

DNCB Group with dog (LS)

We saw a few Tree Swallows as Guru Mary T led us back to the parking lot through the Dog Pound.  Lots of Bald Eagles (one Red-tailed Hawk) circling above and Great Blue Herons posing, even on branches over the slough.  Kirsten tried in vain to turn a Song Sparrow into a Flycatcher.

We “convoyed” from Ladner Harbour Park to Ferry Road and the park behind Chesapeake Condos next to the slough.  I counted 16 vehicles in this convoy, almost all singles; not commendable car-pooling.  In the slough were pairs of American Wigeon, Gadwall, Mallards and thankfully, beautiful Wood Ducks.  Marion heard a Pacific-slope Flycatcher and we had Sparrow species (White-crowned, etc.), but we couldn’t find our target White-throated Sparrow near Tree No. 112.  Lots of commentary, mostly positive, about the tree and plant removal and re-planting of Cedars, Fir and other trees.  Interestingly, several dead 15 foot trunks were cut near the base, we think to stop any re-growth on them, and to save them as useful sources of bugs for food and future cavity nests.



Since Stormcat Paula volunteered to carry our $6000 Scope, we used it on the bridge over the slough to spot Wood Ducks, House Sparrows and a Racoon sleeping high in a tree.

On return down the trail, Rob M got excited when a pair of Downy Woodpeckers briefly mated above us.

Next stop, about 100 yards further down Ferry Road, was the South Arm Marshes Wildlife Management Area.  Not much new stuff as we wandered down the peaceful main trail.  We stared down an American Robin sitting on eggs in her nest right next to the trail.  At the Lookout, Gerhard won the lottery as there was a bagful of beer cans for his Boy Scout collection.  The view over the marsh back to Ladner and out over the Fraser (obviously the south arm) was brilliant.  We left the lookout for the trail’s end and right next to the river.  Here we finally saw our Shorebirds, up-close-and-personal.  Long-billed Dowitchers (in reddish plumage) and both Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs were feeding in the mud.  A flock of Dunlin, several with black bellies, were close by too.

Red-tailed Hawk (TC)

Red-tailed Hawk (TC)

Also, a pair of stunning Common Mergansers and Green-winged Teal.  Wandering back to the entrance, Jonathan spotted a juvenile Red-tailed Hawk roosting just above us on the trail.

We also saw another Robin staring back at us from her nest.

Now 11:30 a.m. a dozen (Baker’s dozen as Paula joined us late) of us decided to have lunch at the Rusty Anchor Pub, at the marina down the road.  Another good decision as my Steak sandwich and two pints of Canadian were scrumptious, and Julie & Claire really looked after us.  Following lunch, several came to my home at RiverWoods to check out the nesting Great-horned Owls.  Bob & Claire welcomed us behind their home for good views of the two “fuzz balls” in the trunk cavity nest with Mom standing guard on a branch a meter away.

Great Horned Owl (f) in nest hole (PS)

Great Horned Owl (f) in nest hole (PS)

We were rushed so I didn’t find Dad, but I know he was roosting in the trees nearby in full sight of his spouse and kids.  A vivid American Goldfinch and nesting Northern Flickers also entertained us here.

American Goldfinch (BA)

American Goldfinch (BA)

We got back to Tsawwassen around 2:00 p.m., another super DNCB outing.

Next Wednesday, April 27, we’ll leave Petra’s at 7:30 a.m. for Brydon Lagoon and Hi-Knoll Park in Langley.  We expect to meet others at the parking lot on 53 Ave., at bottom of 198A St. around 8:30 a.m. (or earlier, depending on whether Roger drives).  Hopefully some Langley Nats will join us on this outing.

As always, comments welcome, check out our website for more info, earlier reports (including on the Watershed Park Fish Release event last Sunday), and let me know if you want to be removed from the List to receive these long-winded, weekly tirades.  Cheers: Tom

Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists Society

The 26 were:  Terry C, Liz S, Brian A, Rob & Marylile, Mike B, Jonathan & Lorraine, Marion S, Jim K, Johnny Mac, Jean G & Pauline O, sisters Pat & Maureen, Mary T, Roger Two K, Ray & Stormcat Paula, Sheila Y, David & Noreen, Kirsten, Gerhard, Richard H and me.

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Filed under *DNCB, Bald Eagle, Dunlin, Great Horned Owl, Ladner Harbour Park, Ladner S.Arm Marsh, Long-billed Dowitcher, Pacific-slope Flycatcher, Red-tailed Hawk, Yellow-rumped Warbler

Delta’s Annual Fish Release & Nature Walk at Watershed Park

On Sunday, April 17, your Delta Nats set up their “hands-on” Display at Watershed Park for the 14th annual Delta Corporation Fish Release.  It was a gorgeous day and hundreds of kids and adults enjoyed the event from 11:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.  Continue reading

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DNCB Outing No. 2016-15 to Bowen Island

Sixteen DNCBers had a ball on Wednesday riding the ferry and walking around Killarney Lake on Bowen Island. We saw a few neat birds, but mostly just enjoyed the serenity of a forest walk at a place where most of us had never been before.  Check out the photo evidence by Jonathan, Roger, Pat and others on our DNCB Picasa site.

As per our original plan, at 6:30 a.m. eight of us car-pooled (Mike had Sheila and the two Germanic Canadians Hans & Margaretha, Roger took Ladner Jack, Johnny Mac and me) from the Ladner Bus Exchange to the Horseshoe Bay Ferry Terminal.  We could not believe how little traffic there was for a weekday morning.  Even with Roger’s “short-cuts” and grandmother driving we got through downtown Vancouver to the ferry terminal in less than an hour.  Of course, Mike and his carload were already there as were Jonathan & Lorraine.  The early arrival was fortuitous because we learned that our scheduled 9:00 a.m. ferry was designated as the weekly “Dangerous Cargo” run with no passengers allowed on board.  So, we ten took the earlier 8:00 a.m. ferry, a very pleasant 20 minute ride to Snug Cove on Bowen island, and it only cost 6 bucks return (half price for BC Seniors).

Horseshoe Bay is a gorgeous little harbour.  From the outer deck, as we departed we saw Surf Scoters, Pelagic and Double-crested Cormorants, and Jonathan saw some Harlequins.  We conned a passenger into taking the first of several Group Photos.  We marched off the ferry at Snug Cove, lingered for a moment taking in the scene, then walked up towards the entrance to Crippen Regional Park.  Here, a sort of majestic, dilapidated shack with a pen of three loveable Chickens in front impressed Roger to the nth degree.  We followed the Alder Grove Trail, stopping frequently to identify the flowers, trees, mushrooms, fungi, “nurse” stumps, and few birds (Towhees, Pacific Wrens and other common stuff).  The walk down to the Bridal Falls and Fish Ladder was interesting and worthwhile; no fish seen though.  We crossed Millers Road to the Killarney Creek Trail.  By now I’m getting phone calls from other DNCBers at Horseshoe Bay waiting to take the scheduled 9:00 a.m. ferry.  These six had to wait for the 10:00 a.m. run and we would meet them eventually on the Killarney Lake trail.

The trail around the lake was brilliant too.  A pair of Wood Ducks near shore welcomed us.  Then several pairs of Bufflehead and Ring-necked Ducks diving a bit further out were entertaining.  Jonathan saw a Lesser Scaup there too.  Lots of Tree and Violet-green Swallows hawking insects over the stumps in the water.  Pied-billed Grebes were there too, all up-close-and-personal.  Evidence of Woodpeckers on the many dead tree trunks was rampant.  Some saw and photographed a Red-breasted Sapsucker.  We found the Pileated Woodpecker cavity nest, but didn’t see the birds.  Heard Downies pecking too.  Fortunately there were a few benches along the way at some of the Viewpoints which afforded a few of us less-fit birders a chance for a breather.  To avoid embarrassment, we arose quickly when 85 year-old dog-walkers pranced by.

Approaching the Dam, we met the late ferry group, Roy & Solveig, Richard H and Stormcat Paula.  Following another Group Photo, they decided to continue around the lake and meet us later for lunch.  We learned that sisters Pat & Maureen were hanging around Snug Harbour taking photos.  Pat even took the eastern Dorman Point Trail and got some nice shots, including of a pair of Common Mergansers and several Barrow’s Goldeneye.  We continued past the Dam and back toward town and got to Doc Morgan’s Restaurant & Pub at 1:00 p.m.  According to Roger’s measuring instrument, we had walked 7 miles which is more than 10 kilometres.  I think I deserved the two pints of Whistler Lager and plate of fish & chips.  The “on special” Chicken wings were tasty too.  We lost Pat & Maureen at another restaurant, but the 14 of us posed again for another GP.

Before catching the 3:00 p.m. return ferry, we wandered around the harbour and marina, savouring the magnificent scenery.  We could envision this as a popular resort in the early 1920’s for visitors arriving on steamships.  A Mute Swan among the boats, and then a fly-over of a Turkey Vulture were almost exciting.  On the ferry back we saw a couple of Pigeon Guillemots in the bay.  The drive back to Ladner was smooth as well; Roger was not bothered by Ladner Jack’s snoring.  We got home before 5:00 p.m. having enjoyed another awesome DNCB outing.

Next Wednesday, April 20 will be a local outing, leaving Petra’s at 7:30 a.m. to visit several parks in Ladner.   We expect to start at Ladner Harbour Park around 8:00 a.m.

A reminder too of our Nats participation in Delta’s annual Watershed Park Fish Release this Sunday, April 17.  We (me and other Nats) will lead a Nature Walk at 11:30 a.m. from Pinewood Elementary School through the park to the Fish Release site where Delta Nats will have our Display set up.  All welcome.

As always, comments encouraged, check out our DNS website for more info, reports and photos, and,please let me know if you want off my List to receive these Literary Gems.  Cheers: Tom

Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists Society

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Filed under *DNCB, Barrow's Goldeneye, Bowen Island, Harlequin Duck, Killarney Lake, Pelagic Cormorant, Pied-billed Grebe, Pigeon Guillemot, Red-breasted Sapsucker, Turkey Vulture

DNCB Outing No. 2016-14 to Iona Regional Park

Richmond Seniors + Tom at Iona (photo by Angela B) click on photo to see large version

Richmond Seniors + Tom at Iona (photo by Angela B) click on photo to see large version 

Twenty-eight DNCBers plus 10 Richmond Seniors (see participant list at end) enjoyed a beautiful Wednesday morning of birding in Iona Regional Park and the adjacent sewage lagoons.  Check out the many beaut photos by Terry, Roger, Liz, Pascale & Alberto, Brian, Marion S, Richard H, Glen B and Pat on our DNCB Picasa site.

Nine of us car-pooled smoothly from Petra’s at 7:30 a.m. (note earlier time) and arrived, on time, at 8:15 a.m. at the Iona parking lot to meet the others.  Swallows were all around us hawking insects as I introduced Newbies and gave my introductory comments to the massive group of inattentive listeners.  Lots of Tree and Violet-greens, and some picked out a couple of Northern Rough-winged Swallows.  Marsh Wrens were chattering in the marsh along the boardwalk but not much activity in the pond except a lone Pied-billed Grebe.  We wandered to the second pond where Red-winged Blackbirds were staking out their territories; Yellow-headed Blackbirds have not yet arrived.  A River Otter caught and ate a fish for our entertainment.  Lots of little birds along the trail including Song and Golden-crowned Sparrows (one banded), Spotted Towhees and sparkling Rufous Hummingbirds.  An Osprey was seen earlier, but not by me.  We passed the Wild Research Mist Nets and banding shack but were blanked on seeing any warblers.

We entered the back gate to the sewage ponds and immediately spotted a Ruddy Duck.  Alberto then took the mandatory Group Photo of the 27 before Richmond Brian and I returned to the parking lot to meet the Richmond Seniors group at 9:30 a.m.  The DNCBers continued around the ponds and saw and photographed a beautiful Cinnamon Teal, Lesser Scaup, Northern Pintail, Northern Shoveler, American Coots, Green-winged Teal, Gadwall, American Wigeon, Mallards, plus some Shorebirds, Greater Yellowlegs and Long-billed Dowitchers.  The group followed our regular route along the Fraser trail and back to the bay and washrooms.  Other sightings included a family of Killdeer and some beautiful Wildflowers.

Meanwhile, Brian and I met the Richmond Group and duplicated the route taken earlier with the DNCBers.  We saw many of the same species plus a lone female Common Goldeneye in the second pond.  Not having time to enter the sewage ponds, we followed the back fence trail where Tree Swallows were hanging around most of the Nest Boxes.  We were blanked on earlier-seen Wilson Snipe and Caspian Terns, but Kris heard a Common Yellowthroat.  Juvenile Bald Eagles roosting above us impressed the rookies.  A large flock of Lesser Snow Geese rising above the shore on the other side of the Fraser was impressive too.  A dying Beaver lying beside the trail was a disturbing sight (Wildlife Rescue was advised).  We got back to the washrooms around 11:30 a.m. and Angela “one” took the Richmond Group Photo before Kris drove them off in the bus.  I think they all enjoyed the outing, learned a bit about Iona’s birds and beauty, plus had a ball with their morning chatfest.

Approaching noon, Brian and I joined several of the DNCBers for lunch at the Flying Beaver.  While I was munching on a Beef Dip meal plus stealing others’ crabs, oysters, chips and salad, plus savouring a pint  of Okanagan Springs 1516 lager, the “real” DNCBers were at Beach Grove Park photographing the new Great Horned Owl family.  Iona is always a productive and exciting outing as it was again this day.

Next Wednesday, April 13, we will go on an “away” outing on the ferry to Bowen Island.  We will meet at and car-pool from the Ladner Bus Exchange at 6:30 a.m. to catch the 9:00 a.m. ferry at Horseshoe Bay.  Roger Meyer will lead us on the Island and we’ll take the 3:00 p.m. ferry back.  For more info, reports, photos and outing info, check our website.

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

Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists Society

The 28 DNCBers were:  Richmond Brian A, White Rock Al & Alice,  sleepyheads Roger & Mike, Roger Two, North Van’s Richard, Roy & Solveig, Pat S, Pauline & Jean, Rob & Marylile, Marion S & Kirsten W, Jim K, Guru Anne M, Gerhard, Margaretha & Hans, Alberto & Pascale, Glen B, Johnny Mac, Liz S, Terry C and me. The 10 Richmond Seniors were: Richmond’s Kris B, Lee M, Two Angela’s, Dorothy, Victor & Amy, Sharon, Sandra and one person I missed.

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Filed under *DNCB, Beaver, Cinnamon Teal, Iona, Long-billed Dowitcher, Northern Rough-winged Swallow, Osprey, Pied-billed Grebe, River Otter, Ruddy Duck

DNCB Outing No. 2016-13 to Brunswick Point

About 17 DNCBers enjoyed a gorgeous Tuesday morning along the Brunswick Point (BP) Trail.  Check out the beaut photos by Terry, Liz, Glen, Pat and Pascale on our DNCB Picasa site.

Five of us left Petra’s at 8:00 a.m. (note new time next Wednesday is 7:30 a.m.) and stopped at the Tsatsu Heronry where the 200+ pair (or is it 400?) of Great Blue Herons have started their colony again and many are already sitting on eggs.  We checked our DNS Bird Nest Boxes across the road at Tsatsu Shores and the Bewick’s Wrens have started a nest in a second box.  One wren posed and sang beautifully for us and we also saw a colourful Anna’s Hummingbird there (saw Rufous later at BP).  We didn’t stop as we drove through the Tsawwassen First Nations land and all the new development, arriving at Brunswick Point around 9:15 a.m.  A Western Meadowlark flew in a field near to where a flock of Lesser Snow Geese was feeding.  The Snow Geese entertained us throughout the morning, rising en masse and even landing on the trail for photo ops.

Since we arrived late to BP, many had already started walking.  They photographed a brilliant cock Ring-necked Pheasant near the beginning of the trail.  An active Bald Eagles nest (Mom sitting on eggs) in the first grove of trees was new since last year.  Lots of little birds seen: House Finches, the regular Sparrow species plus several neat Savannahs, Towhees, etc.  A Marsh Wren building a nest was a crowd pleaser.  Northern Harriers were cruising over the marsh where Red-winged Blackbirds had staked out their territories.  Through our KOWA Scope we saw lots of waterfowl along the shore including: Green-winged Teal, Northern Pintail, American Wigeon, Mallards and flocks of Dunlin and Black-bellied Plovers.  Some flocks of Plovers came to the fields for closer looks and photos of their black arm pits.  We saw Killdeer too and perhaps a Falcon species (I forget).

Pascale & Alberto finally arrived to take the Group Photo of 13 (attached), minus photog Alberto, Pat & Maureen and “Birder on Bike” White Rock Al.  Debbie caught a small Garter Snake which she used to demonstrate her Parks Interpreter skills.  I had to leave at 10:30 a.m. for my Tuesday golf at Tsawwassen Springs, but the group continued on until Noon.  Not sure where or what they ate for lunch, but I had a few tasty Red Truck lagers at the Pint Pub in Vancouver, following golf and before attending the Canucks-San Jose Sharks game at Rogers Centre.  It was an awesome ASD (All Sports Day).

Next Wednesday, April 6, we will leave Petra’s at 7:30 a.m. for Iona Regional Park, meeting at the Iona washroom parking lot around 8:15 a.m.

Don’t forget our DNS Monthly meeting on Tuesday, April 5, at 7:30 p.m. at the Benediction Lutheran Church in Tsawwassen.  Gwen Barlee of The Wilderness Committee will give a presentation on Why Are Our Bees Dying?  All welcome.  As always, comments encouraged, check out our website for more reports, photos and info, and please let me know if you want off my List to receive these moronic missives.  Cheers: Tom

Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists Society (P.S. Apologies for late report; too busy at meetings, installing Bird Boxes, playing hockey and golf, and a bit of Grandparent Daycare. What a Life!)


Reminder that DNCB outings are switching to WEDNESDAYs, leaving Petra’s at 7:30.

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Filed under *DNCB, Black-bellied Plover, Brunswick Point, Dunlin, Northern Harrier, Ring-necked Pheasant, TsaTsu Heronry

DNCB Outing No. 2016-12 to UBC’s Botanical Garden

Twenty-four DNCBers (named at end) enjoyed a gorgeous, uncharacteristically sunny, Tuesday morning wandering around UBC’s Botanical Garden.  The outing was organized and led by Debbi Hlady, a Delta Nat and an FOG (Friend of the Garden).  We saw lots of neat birds and plants, many of them pictured on our DNCB Picasa site.

Ten of us met at Petra’s and car-pooled very smoothly (Spring Break) at 8:00 a.m. to UBC.  We arrived shortly before the 8:45 a.m. scheduled arrival, and registered our vehicles, as instructed, to park for free for 3 hours.  The group huddled together at the entrance before moving under the Magnolia Tree for the mandatory Group Photo by West Van’s Richard H.

DNCB at UBC Botanical Gardens (RH) - click on photo to see large size

DNCB at UBC Botanical Gardens (RH) – click on photo to see large size

Debbi gave us some Introductory Remarks about the Garden before we entered through the turnstile; check out their very informative website at: http://botanicalgarden.ubc.ca/.   While Debbi spoke, many distracted listeners excitedly watched two Pileated Woodpeckers on a nearby dead trunk.

For the next two hours, everyone continuously commented on the gorgeous weather, the beautiful flowers and how fortunate we were to be in this paradisiacal garden today.  The trail signage was very helpful and Debbi and a few other “experts” in our midst helped guide us as well as we wandered through the various different sections of the Garden.  Splinter groups stopped occasionally to spot birds, but most often just to chat.  Some neat sightings included Varied Thrushes, Golden-crowned Kinglets, Hutton’s Vireo, Pacific Wrens, Hummingbirds, and flowers like Shooting Stars and Fawn Lilies (the only names I remember).  A comprehensive Bird Sightings List is at the end of this report.

We wandered by (as some of us did) the suspended rope walkways and tree platforms of the Greenheart Tree Canopy suspended 80 feet above the coastal temperate rainforest floor.  It would be an exhilarating way to view birds such as the Brown Creeper, sighted by one of the naturalists last summer.

Following the Physics Garden (medicinal plants), I had to leave early at 11:00 a.m. for Opening Day of my golf club at Tsawwassen Springs Golf Course.  Unfortunately, I missed the Beer Garden walk and the Barred Owl.  Debbi and others contributed reports on the outing which I have meshed together at the end.  Another awesome DNCB outing; a tonne of thanks to Debbi for organizing and leading it.

Next Tuesday, March 29, we will do a “local outing” to Brunswick Point leaving Petra’s at 8:00 a.m.  Note change from Tentative Schedule.  I have golf and a Canucks game next Tuesday; we change our DNCB outings to Wednesdays on April 6.  We will re-schedule Minnekhada to a later date in the Spring.  As always, comments encouraged, and let me know if this drivel annoys you and you want off my List.  Cheers: Tom

Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists Society

Outing Participants were: Organizer Debbi Hlady, experts Bev Ramey, Mary Taitt, Al Schulze, Anne Murray, Bikers Margaretha S and Peter W, sisters Pat & Maureen, West Van’s Roy & Gordon, photogs Liz S, Glen B, Terry C, Brian A, Jim K, Richard H, Jean G & Pauline O, WRSN Liz W, Mike B, Sheila Y and me (23, I missed someone).

Debbi Reports: Total Species seen must total 45 – 50 species  – this is great start for the UBC Botanical Garden Bird Checklist!!!  Way to go Delta Naturalists – thanks everyone!  Bev also provided a copy of Vancouver Nature 2013 Greater Vancouver Checklist, and eBird info which has 84 species registered for the Garden.

Glen Bodie’s CheckList with additions from Liz Stewart, Anne Murray, Mary Taitt, Bev Ramey, Al Schulze, Terry Carr, Debbi and others; total 39.

–  Sparrows:  White-crowned, Golden-crowned, Song, Fox, House, American Tree (suspected sighting?)
–  Finches:  House, including a neat Yellow Variant
–  Thrush:  Varied, American Robin
–  Barred Owl
–  Hummingbirds:  Anna’s, Rufous
–  Kinglets:  Golden-crowned, Ruby-crowned
–  Chickadees:  Black-capped, Chestnut-backed
–  Woodpeckers:  Pileated, Northern Flicker
–  Wrens:  Pacific
–  Mallard Ducks (pair)
–  Swallows:  Tree, Violet-green (Barn Swallow nests)
–  Dark-eyed Junco
–  Spotted Towhee
–  Bushtit
–  Bald Eagle
–  Northwestern Crow
–  Raven
–  Red-winged Blackbird
–  European Starling
–  Pine Siskins
–  Canada Geese
–  Band-tailed Pigeon (i.e. some kind of Dove)
–  Steller’s Jay
–  Glaucous-winged Gull
–  Hutton’s Vireo
–  Belted Kingfisher

We heard that there was a Yellow-rumped Warbler around (Audubon), but none of us saw it.  Al Schulze saw a visiting lady’s picture on her camera.

Notes from Debbi include these Garden Key Points (based on the write up on the UBC Botanical Garden-see website):

ASIAN Garden (David. C. Lam Garden) – south of Marine Drive
– 12 hectares , alongside Pacific Spirit Regional Park
– collections of rhododendrons from China, Korea, Japan and the :Himalayas
– canopy of native Pacific west coast rainforest trees:: cedar, fir, hemlock with understory of exotic, non-indigenous rare trees and shading loving wisteria, rose, clematis

NORTH Gardens (Alpine, Garry Oak Meadow & Woodland Garden, Carolinian Forest, Food Garden, Physic Garden):

PHYSIC garden
– enclosed with traditional yew hedge
– design is based on 16thcentury Dutch engraving
– 12 concentric beds, encircling a sundial to showcase medicinal plants from medieval Europe

E.H. Lohbrunner ALPINE garden
– organized by continental regions
– one of North America’s largest alpine garden
– rock outcrops simulate nature montane and alpine habitats from around the world!

Garry Oak Meadows – reflecting native south coast, plants of Vancouver Island rain shadow climate (a lot of bulb species adapted to dry conditions) – we saw blooming Shooting Stars, Fawn Lilies, Giant Purple Camas (will be blossoming next)

BC NATIVE garden (which we didn’t walk to (northeast of the Alpine Garden) in the corner which has a pond surrounded by BC native plant, coastal  tree species (lots of frogs -heard them in chorus last night!)

There is also a large ARBOUR behind the FOOD garden, displaying a variety of climbing plants: clematis, wisteria, trumpet vine and bittersweet.

If anyone wants to pursue the garden anytime with me I have a permanent free guest pass ticket – let me know!  Perhaps another Delta Naturalists visit in May for migratory songbirds?
We can explore this NE corner of the garden, and Pacific Spirit Park since we didn’t get a chance yesterday.

I will continue to do walks Wednesday mornings 9:30-10:00am and 11:00am-12:00pm for the next 6 weeks before the Botanical Garden (& Wildlife theme this year) Plant Sale, Saturday May 7, if anyone wishes to return to the garden help spot the migrating songbirds.  The UBC Friends of Garden (FOG) presentations are from 10am-11am, and anyone is welcome to attend this too.
P.S. – too bad Tom left early for golf, and missed the “Beer Trail” and our sighting of the Barred Owl!!!

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Filed under *DNCB, Bald Eagle, Barred Owl, Botanical Garden, Hutton's Vireo, Pileated Woodpecker, UBC, Yellow-rumped Warbler