DNCB Outing No. 2018-16 to Queen Elizabeth Gardens

Photos at our DNCB Flickr site


DNCB at Q.E. Park – photo by David Hoar

Eighteen DNCBers enjoyed a beautiful Wednesday morning wandering around the gardens of Queen Elizabeth Park in Vancouver.  Lots of gorgeous photos of the flowers, blossoms, birds and folk on our Flickr site at: https://www.flickr.com/search/?group_id=3027315%40N23&text=2018-16&view_all=1.

Some left Petra’s at 7:30 am (I was picked up by David) and we all met at the QE Park Golf Course office at 8:30 am.  David took the Group Photo while we watched a pair of Red-breasted Nuthatches cavorting above us.  Then we walked our normal route past the Bowling Green and down the hill.  There was lots of little bird activity in the trees and around the many different flowers, especially Kinglets.  We got good looks at both Ruby- and Golden-crowned Kinglets, Bushtits (making a nest), Sparrows (Song, Fox, White- and Golden-crowned), Anna’s Hummingbirds (feeding two babies in a nest), and Hutton’s Vireos, which were a real test of our identification skills (thanks, Anne).  We may or may not have seen a Flycatcher.

We were a large group, got separated many times, but the inane chatfests carried on regardless, often even when no one else was nearby to hear.  Everyone mentioned how pleasant is this outing in the Spring when the weather is so nice, many flowers are in bloom, the manicured trails and gardens are immaculate, and the views of the city and mountains are glorious too.  During our three plus hours spent wandering, we also saw more neat birds including mating Northern Flickers (yes, see photo evidence), Varied Thrushes, Downy Woodpeckers, Gadwall and other common ducks in the pond.  One of our esteemed participants was enchanted by the sighting of a Northwestern Crow.  We were inundated by Kinglets, and finally found some Warblers in the tree blossoms.  We got good views of Yellow-rumped, and some saw Orange-crowned.  We heard Pacific Wrens and Brown Creeper, but I didn’t see them.  We were blanked on owls too, but saw lots of other common species that I haven’t mentioned.

The Park was filling up with visitors when we decided to leave just after Noon for lunch at the Locus Restaurant on Main Street.  We had been here before and the seven of us really enjoyed the service, food, and weird décor.  The Beer and Seafood Special I had was one of the tastiest meals I have had on a DNCB outing, and inexpensive too.  And I got home by 2:00 pm in time to watch granddaughter Juliette at her gymnastic class in Ladner.  It was truly an awesome DNCB outing.

We eighteen were: Roger with Terry & PB Lorna, David & Noreen with Glen & Mike B2, Marion S, sisters Maureen & Pat, Johnny Mac, Aussie Nance, Van City Lidia, Fisherman Roy & Solveig, Richmond Brian, Crow Aficionado Peter W and me.

Next Wednesday, April 25, we will leave Petra’s at 7:30 am for Ladner Parks, meetig first at the Ladner Harbour parking lot around 8:00 am.

Apologies for this tardy report, life got in the way with theatre (Shakespeare in Hollywood at Metro Theatre featuring Erica Bearss as the trollop Lydia), hockey, golf, grandparenting, doctor’s appointments, strata meetings, taxes, etc.  Get the gist?  Check out our website for more info, reports and photos.

As always, your comments are welcome, and let me know if this whining drivel annoys you and you want off my email list.  Cheers: Tom

Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists Society

Posted in *DNCB, Brown Creeper, Hutton's Vireo, Orange-crowned Warbler, Queen Elizabeth Park, Yellow-rumped Warbler | Leave a comment

DNCB Outing No 2018-15 to Brydon Lagoon and Hi-Knoll Park

Eighteen DNCBers, including several Langley Field Naturalists, enjoyed an overcast but comfy and dry Wednesday morning wandering around Brydon Lagoon and Hi-Knoll Park in Langley.  We had lots of neat sightings of birds and wildflowers and people as evidenced in our Flickr photos at: https://www.flickr.com/search/?group_id=3027315%40N23&text=2018-15&view_all=1.

As is customary, eight of us car-pooled from Petra’s at 7:30 am, beautifully in only two vehicles (Roger took returnee Gerhard, Terry C, BB Valerie & Roger Two, David & Noreen rode with me).  We forgot to tell Gerhard not to park behind Petra’s – he got a ticket!

Following Roger’s “scenic” route, we eventually got to Brydon Lagoon around 8:20 am, where the crowd was waiting patiently: a nice mixture of Langleyites including renowned photog John Gordon, Bird Box Guru Gareth P, Yachter Ralph B, Recorder Tom W, newbie Bob C, Leader & Legend Anne G, Wolfman Wim, along with other Nats North Delta’s Johnny Mac and Jean G, and Richmond Brian (that’s 18 total; they love their names in print).

Following introductions and some almost-humorous chatter, David took the obligatory Group Photo as we gazed over the new construction onto the entrance pond.  Several Ring-necked Ducks, Northern Shovelers, Green-winged Teal and Mallards in the pond, all in nice breeding plumage.  John G spotted a Common Yellowthroat, one of many seen this morning; he said he counted at least 30 nests there last year.  We were all in awe of our hero John, then he scared off two Wilson’s Snipe (sub species of Common Snipe as of 2003) before most of us saw them.  How quickly one can fall from the podium.

We followed the path toward Brydon Lagoon. Lots of Swallows flying above, mostly Tree, but some Violet-green too.  Hopefully they fill the bird boxes there soon.  The entrance to the Lagoon had been cleared of many bushes, mostly invasives like Blackberry I suspect, and the trails were well-maintained, more for the school kids rather than us birders.  The usual suspects were in the pond: Bufflehead, Scaup (mostly Lesser, but probably Greater too; our analysts are suspect – that’s 3 “suspects” in a row), Pied-billed Grebe, and more Ring-necked and Shovelers; no Mergansers or Green Heron seen today.  The “inland” Langley folk were excited about Double-crested Cormorants and Glaucous-winged Gulls flying overhead.

The bushes along the trail had several beauties, including brilliant Yellow-rumped Warblers, Sparrows (Song, Golden- & White-crowned), plus the common Towhees, Juncos, Chickadees, Red-winged Blackbirds, etc.  We also saw both Anna’s and Rufous Hummingbirds.

We left the Lagoon and walked across the marsh toward Hi-Knoll Park. Marsh Wrens were gathering nesting material.  A Northern Harrier cruised by and some saw a Sharp-shinned Hawk.  This crossing to the bridge over the Nicomekl River was fairly dry in comparison to our earlier very muddy outings here.  The huge, shapely, Big Leaf Maple trees, covered with Moss and Licorice ferns are always eerie but exciting to see. We were blanked on Pileated and Hairy Woodpeckers, but heard Flickers and saw a Downy.  David took another Group Photo at the Colebrook Road Park sign, unfortunately before we ran into Langley Legend Anne Gosse.


DNCB (minus Anne G) at Colebrook Road sign – photo by David Hoar

Crossing the road and entering Hi-Knoll Park, we saw our first Fawn Lilies, and lots of them, both White and the rarer Pink.  Lots of Trilliums in bloom too, arousing interest with a few Ontarians.  The trails here were manicured too, and the walk beneath the beautiful old trees was exhilarating, although we missed White Rock Al and his informative commentary.  Purple Finches were singing, and some heard Pacific Wrens.  At the power lines, a Common Raven posed in a tower while more sparrows, warblers and Bushtits (including a pair entering their hanging nest) flitted in the bushes.  We all finally saw one of a few Orange-crowned Warblers, and a Bewick’s Wren, and a Steller’s Jay too.

We walked back through the park and over the Nicomekl to the grove of trees before the Lagoon.  Here John G led us through the grove in search of Barred Owls, none seen.  Then, at the corner where we regularly see the Snipe, four were again roused by John and we all got glimpses as they flew off.   Then he led us into another grove where a Great-horned Owl was roosting above two people sleeping at the base of the tree (Homeless?).  We searched in vain for the GHO’s nest and mate.

We finished off by returning to the parking lot at Noon, via the trail on the other side of the Lagoon, enjoying more warblers along the way.  Langley Tom counted 41 species seen today, but he missed a couple.  So it was another grand DNCB outing.

Eleven of us went for lunch at Samz Pub on 56th Ave. in Surrey where John G’s daughter works.  The Chicken Pot Pie with Salad Special was delicious, of course with a couple of “almost-full” pints (unlike in Oz) of Granville Island Honey Lager.  I hardly snoozed at all on the drive back to Tsawwassen, helped by David and Noreen’s chatter.

Next Wednesday, April 18, we will leave Petra’s at 7:30 am for Queen Elizabeth Park in Vancouver.  We expect to meet others at the Pitch & Putt parking lot before 8:30 am.

Don’t forget that your Delta Nats Display will be at Delta’s annual Fish Release event at Watershed Park this Sunday, April 15, 11:30 to 2:30 pm.  Nats are leading a Nature Walk to the event at 11:30 am from Pinewood School.  Join us if you can.

For more info on Delta Nats outings, events, reports and photos, check out our website.  As always, your comments are welcome, and let me know if you want off my email list to receive these far-too-long and boring missives. C heers: Tom

Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists Society

Posted in *DNCB, Brydon Lagoon, Great Horned Owl, Hi-Knoll Park, Northern Harrier, Orange-crowned Warbler, Pied-billed Grebe, Pink Fawn Lily, Purple Finch, Ring-necked Duck, Sharp-shinned Hawk, Trillium, White Fawn Lily, Wilson's Snipe, Yellow-rumped Warbler | 2 Comments

DNCB Outing No. 2018-14 to UBC Botanical Garden & Pacific Spirit Park

Seventeen DNCBers had a glorious morning in UBC’s Botanical Garden, then a short walk in Peter Ward’s “Aussie” section of Pacific Spirit Regional Park, then visiting the Winter home in Vancouver of the rare (here) “deformed” Summer Tanager.  Check out the photo evidence of the birds, flora and people on our outing at: https://www.flickr.com/search/?group_id=3027315%40N23&text=2018-14&view_all=1.

Seven of us (Roger with Terry & PB Lorna, Boundary Bay Valerie took Glen, and David H with me) left Petra’s at 7:30 am in three cars.  The drive into Vancouver was smooth and quick (must be exam time at UBC); we arrived at the Botanical Gardens around 8:15 am and met several others.  The other 10 of the 17 were: Richmond Brian, Vancouver’s Lidia, returnee/newbies Pt. Roberts Fran & Adam, sisters Pat & Maureen, Johnny Mac, local Guru Peter W, Marion S and our time-challenged Leader Debbi H.

The Magnolia trees at the entrance were magnificent.  We walked to one beautiful tree at the end of the boardwalk for our first Group Photo.  In our haste, we surprised and roused a Barred Owl that was roosting in the tree (see Glen’s photo).  Our Leader Debbi had advised that she would not arrive until 9:30 am, so we decided to begin our walk now in the south area mostly along the Lower Asian Way trail.

It was quiet bird wise, with only common stuff such as Finches (House, American Gold, later Purple), Bushtits, Pacific Wrens, Juncos, Towhees, Chickadees, and we finally saw both Golden- and Ruby-crowned Kinglets and Anna’s Hummingbirds.  Being early Spring, many flowers were not yet in bloom, but lots were.  I’m not much of a botanist, so Terry gave me his list of some of the gorgeous flowers we saw, and photographed: Rhododendron, Magnolia, Camellia, Shooting Star, Primula, Trillium, Skunk Cabbage, White and Pink Fawn Lily, Hellebore.  A pair of Bushtits were gathering nesting material, and Marion heard a Bewick’s Wren.  An entertaining Raven harassed a pair of Bald Eagles off their, or his, roost on a dead tree.

The rain held off all morning and it was a very pleasant walk along the manicured trails beneath the Greenheart TreeWalk in the canopy of the many huge, old cedar, fir and hemlock trees.  The variety of trees, shrubs, plants and flowers was incredible; informative signage was everywhere.  The TreeWalk was closed, so we went through the tunnel to the north gardens where Debbi met us.  She led us through the Physic, BC Rainforest and Alpine Gardens.  The medicinal plants were fascinating, but the hi-lite was the Sleeping Bear in the Amphitheatre (Glen who?).  We gathered for another Group photo taken by Peter’s cousin Chris, an Agriculturist with the Gardens.

Approaching Noon, we decided to delay lunch and stop at Peter’s Aussie trail (off Tasmania Crescent) in Pacific Spirit Regional Park.  It is actually the Spanish Trail, but Peter said it is the best birding spot in the whole Park.  We saw Ruby-crowned Kinglets, up-close-and-personal, and heard a Cooper’s Hawk “squawking” but couldn’t find it.  We found a Brown Creeper that escaped us at the Botanical Garden.  It was a pleasant 30 minute walk in a new part of the park where most of us had never been.

At 12:30 pm, we decided to go to the home on/near SW Marine Dive where the Summer Tanager has been seen all Winter.  It was at the feeder, and we got lots of beaut photos, with American Goldfinches, House Finches and Hummers around too.  On examining the photos, we noted that this bird has a “crossbill” and wonder whether this is a sort of deformity.  Anyhow, this sighting was a fitting conclusion to another very enjoyable DNCB outing.

Now after 1:00 pm, we drove home to Tsawwassen, without lunch; thankfully PB Lorna’s sandwich filled a bit of the void.  I earned “points” as I was home in time to take granddaughter Juliette to her gymnastics class.

Next Wednesday, April 11, we will leave Petra’s at 7:30 am for Brydon Lagoon and Hi-Knoll Park in Langley.  We expect to meet others in the parking lot on 53 Ave at the bottom of 198A St at 8:15 am.

Also, don’t forget our two Birds in Focus events this weekend.  The Visual event with three incredible photographers presenting is on Saturday evening, April 7, at the Tsawwassen Arts Centre beginning at 6:30 pm.  The Workshop, with live raptors, is on Sunday morning at Cammidge House from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm.


For more info on these events, and on our outings, check our Delta Nats website.  As always, your comments are welcome, and please let me know if this weekly drivel annoys you and you want off my email list.  Cheers: Tom

Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists Society (currently winding down after watching the Sedins Magic Show, their last home Canucks game)

Posted in *DNCB, Bald Eagle, Barred Owl, Botanical Garden, Brown Creeper, Cooper's Hawk, Greenheart TreeWalk, Pacific Spirit Park, Purple Finch, Summer Tanager, UBC | Leave a comment

DNCB Outing No. 2018-13 to Point Roberts, USA

Photos by Michael Audet (MA), Brian Avent (BA), Jack MacDonald (JMacD)

It was pouring rain on Tuesday morning, but eleven stalwart DNCBers showed up, surprising me, and enjoyed a decent and productive outing at various sites in Point Roberts.  Check out our photog wizards’ offerings on our Flickr site at: https://www.flickr.com/search/?group_id=3027315%40N23&text=2018-13&view_all=1, including Ladner Jack’s “Goldeneye Landing”.

Eight of us car-pooled from Petra’s at 7:30 am.  I forget who went with whom, but we were: Mike B1, Mike B2, PB Lorna, Ladner Jack, Boundary Bay Valerie, Richmond Angela A, our Guru Anne and me.  We met Richmond Brian, North Delta Jean and newbie Vancouverite and Photog Michael A at Lighthouse Marine Park (LMP).  The Border crossing was smooth, and we stopped first at Kiniski’s Reef Tavern for a quick look at the Georgia Strait before going to LMP.  Common Loons, Common Goldeneye, Bufflehead and Horned Grebes were close, and lots of fly-bys of Cormorants, Greater Scaup, and Scoters, mostly Surf.  We saw our first Sea Lions here, and we tried to determine whether they were California or Steller Sea Lions (aka Steller’s).  We think we saw both, but we certainly saw a group of five yellow female Steller Sea Lions.  We assumed a few Herring were around, although we didn’t see any piles of spawn/eggs on shore.

Moving on (a Cooper’s Hawk flew past our windshield) to LMP, more Sea Lions here (and Harbour Seals), as well as the Cormorants flying by.  With Anne’s guidance, three species were seen, Double-crested, Pelagic and the difficult-to-ID Brandt’s Cormorants.  A few resident Black Turnstones were on shore in front of us with several Sanderlings.  We introduced newbie Mike A to the group, then he quickly took the Group Photo.


DNCB at Lighthouse Marine Park (minus latecomer Roger M) – photo by Michael Audet

As I said earlier, the weather was miserable, and I was afraid we would lose participants early.  As we walked toward the Lighthouse (there really is no Lighthouse, so I don’t know why I continue to say this), other species popped up, such as Red-breasted Mergansers, gorgeous pairs of Harlequin Ducks and Brant.  The water was wavy so spotting and identifying was difficult, plus rain on our bins didn’t help.  Some saw Pigeon Guillemots and White-winged Scoters, but we couldn’t find any Murres or Murrelets.  The elusive Roger M came to LMP around 11:00 am, after we were gone, and saw Western Grebes.

To avoid the wind and cold, we decided to take the inland trail back to the car park.  Lots of clearing and construction going on at LMP, and we didn’t see anything exciting, perhaps an Anna’s Hummingbird and some regular Sparrow species.  So we left LMP and convoyed to the north Marina parking lot.  The rain had stopped, and it seemed to be milder now.  Between the parked yachts we saw: Pied-billed and Horned Grebes (but no Eared), Lesser Scaup, Bufflehead, Common Goldeneye (Ladner Jack got a neat photo of a male doing its neck-bending mating dance).  Some saw PB Lorna’s resident Kingfisher, and the brilliant red House Finches were in the same tree as our last visit here on January 30.

Next stop was the south side of the Marina where we saw more Harlequins, Goldeneye and Gadwall near the Marina entrance.  No Meadowlarks or Killdeer here this morning. Bald Eagles and Great Blue Herons sporadically perched or posing around the area.  We drove to Lily Point Park and walked to the point Lookout.  Tonnes of birds in the distance in the Bay/Gulf of Georgia as we looked across to White Rock and the San Juan Islands.  We saw lots of scoters, scaup, mergansers, cormorants, loons, but couldn’t identify anything different.  We walked to the second lookout and same here.  In the trees we heard little birds such as Kinglets, Purple Finches and Pacific Wrens, and got great looks at a Hutton’s Vireo in the parking lot.

Now approaching 11:30 am, and the sun finally appearing, we decided to leave PR for lunch at the Rose & Crown Pub in Tsawwassen.  Lively Leila looked after us (6) as most had the Soup & Sandwich Daily Special.  I had a pint of Canadian and took off to my second Men’s Club Golf outing for 12:45 Tee time at Tsawwassen Springs (shot a lower-than-normal, very pleasing 82).  I wonder if it was the pre-game beer, PB Lorna’s p-b sandwich, or my soaked clothing.  Nonetheless, it was a very enjoyable DNCB outing, especially with our Guru Anne back with us.

Next Wednesday (yes WEDNESDAY, not Tuesday), April 4, Debbi H will lead us on our outing in UBC’s Botanical Garden.  We will leave Petra’s at 7:30 am, and expect to meet others at the Garden parking lot entrance off SW Marine Drive at 8:30 am.

Don’t forget our Delta Nats monthly meeting on Tuesday, April 3, 7:30 pm at the Benediction Lutheran Church, with Ross Dixon of the Raincoast Conservation Society giving a presentation on Safeguarding Coastal Carnivores (Wolves).

Check out our DNS for more information, reports and photographs. As always, your comments are appreciated, and let me know if you want off my List to receive these rambling and annoying missives.  Cheers: Tom

Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists Society

Posted in *DNCB, Black Turnstone, Brandt's Cormorant, California Sea Lion, Cooper's Hawk, Harlequin Duck, Hutton's Vireo, Lighthouse Marine Park, Lily Point Park, Pelagic Cormorant, Pied-billed Grebe, Pigeon Guillemot, Point Roberts, Purple Finch, Red-breasted Merganser, Sanderling, Steller Sea Lion | Leave a comment

DNCB Outing No. 2018-12 to Stanley Park

Photos by Brian Avent (BA), Terry Carr (TC), Glen Bodie (GB), David Hoar (DH), Jack MacDonald (JMacD), Maureen Sinilaid (MS), Pat Smart (PS) at our DNCB Flickr website.  Report also has photos by Marion Shikaze (MSh).

Sixteen DNCBers spent a very pleasant Tuesday morning wandering around Stanley Park.  And we saw some neat species, up-close-and-personal as depicted by the gorgeous photos on our Flickr site at: https://www.flickr.com/search/?group_id=3027315%40N23&text=2018-12&view_all=1.

We car-pooled from Petra’s Kafe at 7:30 am; Mike B1 had Roger, Johnny Mac & Terry, Glen took Mike B2, and I had Ladner Jack Mac and PB Lorna.  Nice, peaceful drive (Kids are off school) to the 2nd Beach parking lot, arrived at 8:15 am.  Richmond Brian was there, David & Noreen, Sisters Pat & Maureen, Marion S and Rupert Fisherman Roy (w/o Solveig) arrived shortly thereafter.  That’s our sweet 16.  Of course, the painful and frustrating Pay Parking machines were not working.  We/I calmed down and set the scope on the rafts of birds in English Bay.

About 300 Surf Scoters were packed together, cavorting and diving in unison.  Sort of weird to see (see photos and Ladner Jack’s video).

And rafts of Barrow’s Goldeneye together too.

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Also, sporadically around these, were a few Bufflehead, Horned Grebes, both Double-crested and Pelagic Cormorants, and a couple of Common Goldeneye.

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David H took the Group Photo before we strolled along the Seawall Path.


DNCB at Stanley Park – photo by David Hoar


Harlequin Duck (TC)

The tide was high, so we didn’t see Oystercatchers or other shorebirds.  The spectacular Harlequin Ducks were there in brilliant breeding plumage.

Three Western Grebes gave us a fleeting look before disappearing.  Great Blue Herons were there too from their recently-occupied Heronry in the Park.

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We didn’t go far along the Seawall and decided to turn around and do the Lost Lagoon Trail.

We saw most of the regular “little birds” on this park walk: Anna’s Hummingbirds, Sparrows (Fox, Song, Golden-crowned), Black-capped Chickadees (some saw Chestnut-backed), a flock of Bushtits, Spotted Towhees, Downy Woodpeckers, Northern Flickers, Finches, etc.

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The native Douglas Squirrels are neat too; we don’t see them in Delta.

A large raft of Lesser Scaup (~300 birds) landed majestically in the Lagoon.  Three Common Mergansers posed on a log, and many brilliant Wood Ducks were cruising among the bushes and reeds near shore.

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A few American Coots still here among the American Wigeon, Mallards and a few Green-winged Teal.  The regularly-seen Snow Goose was there too; we were unsuccessful in making it a Ross’s Goose.

Not sure whether we were successful in identifying any Greater Scaup among the Lessers.  Glen got some neat shots of some new Spring flora.  I enjoyed PB Lorna’s Peanut Butter sandwich on this peaceful stroll around the Lagoon.

It was approaching 11:00 am when I had to leave for Opening Day of Tsawwassen Men’s Golf Club at the Tsawwassen Springs course.


Brown Creeper (TC)

Meanwhile, the group continued on to Beaver Lake where they saw a Brown Creeper, leucistic Fox Sparrow and Varied Thrush along with many of the previous-mentioned species.

Then nine DNCBers went to Milltown Bar & Grill for lunch; sorry I missed that (I had Chicken Wings with three pints of Pat Quinn Lager after shooting 92; too many double bogies).  After lunch, some looked for the Summer Tanager on W 71 Ave.  They did not find it, but saw several Downy Woodpeckers and House Finches.  It was another awesome DNCB Tuesday.

Next Tuesday, March 27, we will leave Petra’s at 7:30 am for Point Roberts, expecting to meet others before 8:00 am at Lighthouse Marine Park parking lot.

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

Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists Society

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Thursday, March 22:  Sad news about Al Schultze

We just received news that Al passed away peacefully this morning at 8:00 A.M. at Peace Arch Hospital. The following is an excerpt from Tom’s email response to Fran:

WR Al was Champion to, with, and for us Delta Nats.  He was always so friendly, relaxed and cool, while walking, riding his bike, or leading our DNCB outings.  Everyone looked up to WR Al, and listened intently to his descriptions and explanations of the trees, flora, fauna and history of almost every park, marsh or habitat we visited.  All questions were directed at WR Al, because he knew everything.  We even listened intently to his tirades on ancestry, language dialects, and the evils of beer (only to his diet).

WR Al was the definition of a Team Member. He designed, organized, led, and reported on many outings for us.  I especially enjoyed his outings to the USA and Campbell Valley Park.  He always offered to transport others too.  I think his most endearing quality, to me, such as at the post outing gatherings, was that he was simply a lot of fun to be with.  Personally, Fran, I am devasted that WR Al has left us, but I feel really blessed to have known and hung around with such a pure, wholesome, and really nice guy.  We will certainly Toast WR Al on our next DNCB outing.  My thoughts, along with all us Delta Nats who knew and loved Al, are with you and your family.  Regards: Tom

Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists Society

More photos of Al on DNCB Outings at:
White Rock Al (archive compiled by Terry)
WR Al (Gallery compiled by Glen; click on thumbnail image to get bigger photo)
Extras (a few photos which could not be added to the WR Al Gallery, in a Google Drive folder by Glen)

Posted in *DNCB, Barrow's Goldeneye, Beaver Lake, Brown Creeper, Douglas Squirrel, Harlequin Duck, Lost Lagoon, Pelagic Cormorant, Second Beach, Stanley Park, Varied Thrush | Leave a comment

DNCB Outing No. 2018-11 Birds on the Bay in Boundary Bay Regional Park

Other photos by Terry Carr (TC) and David Hoar (DH) at DNCB Flickr website.

Twenty folk enjoyed another brilliant Wednesday morning on our quarterly Birds on the Bay outing in Boundary Bay Regional Park.  We saw some neat stuff, including tonnes of shorebirds and waterfowl.  Check out the photo evidence on our Flickr site at: DNCB Flickr website.

We met at historic Cammidge House and left at 9:00 am on our 2 ½ hour amble through the Park.  Terry took the first Group photo while I briefed them on the scenario of today’s outing.


BOTB at Cammidge House – photo by Terry Carr

Meanwhile, a posing Cooper’s Hawk in the back tree started us off in grand style.  We had six Newbies on this outing, including five Interpreters with Nature Vancouver Parks.  I mention the five interpreters not only because they brought youth, vitality and “good eyes” to the outing, but also because they shared responsibility for carrying our Scope, an integral part in ensuring the success of the outing.  Thanks Miki, Adria, Sam, Meghan and Sara.

Bald Eagles, Northwestern Crows and Red-winged Blackbirds were everywhere as we walked along the driveway toward the native plant garden beside the pond behind Centennial Beach.  Only Mallards and American Wigeon (no Eurasian Wigeon today) in the pond.

We are fairly certain there were Brewer’s Blackbirds among the Redwings and Starlings.  At the beach, the tide was in, but receding.

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Small flocks of Dunlin and Sanderling were feeding close to shore.  In the distance were several large rafts of waterfowl; we could identify shapes of Scaup, Scoters and Brant Geese.


Brant (TC)

Between the shore and the rafts were other birds which we saw more clearly through the scope; Common Loons, Bufflehead, Double-crested Cormorants and several Common Goldeneye.  I even saw a male Goldeneye doing his neck-wrenching mating behavior.

We left the beach to follow the path toward the Lookout.  We were hoping to see some early warbler migrants but lucked out.  We saw most of the “regulars”, Spotted Towhees, Juncos, Sparrows (Song, Fox, Golden-crowned), Anna’s Hummingbirds, Northern Flickers and a Downy Woodpecker.

A couple of Northern Harriers gave flypasts; too early for their mating rituals.  David H took the second Group Photo at the Lookout.


BOTB at the Lookout – photo by David Hoar

Following the dike path toward the Pumphouse, the Green-winged Teal (we couldn’t find a Common Teal) were feeding in the muddy area where we normally see Killdeer.  There was a Greater Yellowlegs there too (up-turned bill, longer than head).


Greater Yellowlegs (TC)

I pointed out our Delta Nats Bird Boxes (outing to prepare them for occupancy is this Sunday, March 18).  Early-arrived Tree Swallows (not expected until Mar 27) have already been seen scoping out our boxes.  At the Pumphouse Lookout were tonnes of Gulls; Roger identified Mew and Ring-billed among the Glaucous-winged.  Flocks of Brant Geese, Northern Pintail and Lesser Scaup were closer for good looks too.

We took the inland path back to Cammidge House, stopping to show off our new Barn Owl Box, DNS No. 17, just off the Raptor Trail.  This “Cadillac” BO Box even has two cameras for connecting to i-phones to look inside without disturbing the occupants.

Continuing on, some saw Marsh Wrens, and some brilliantly-coloured House Finches, but nothing else unusual.  Fortunately, the normal chatfest among participants kept everyone happy, despite the shortage of exciting sightings.

We got back to Cammidge House at exactly 11:30 am, the sun was shining, and the Delta Nats Ladies were there to welcome us.  Jennifer, Rochelle and Elizabeth had prepared their elaborate selection of home-made goodies including Scones, Ginger cookies, cakes, cheeses, fruits, etc., plus Sandra’s famous Egg Salad Sandwiches.  I know many participants feel this is the hi-lite and main attraction of these quarterly BOTB outings (Mike who?).  As I rushed out at 11:50 am to my Wednesday Noon hockey, a Red-tailed Hawk posed in the same spot as where the Cooper’s Hawk posed at 9:00 am.  A fitting ending to another enjoyable DNCB BOTB outing (don’t you just love initials?).

We 20 were: Roger, Mike B1, Mike B2, Terry, Elizabeth, Newbie Phyllis, accident-prone Pat S, David & Noreen (just back from Antarctica & Brazil), Johnny Mac, Valerie W, Margaretha, five MVP Interpreters named above, Jennifer, Rochelle and me.  Nicki(21) dropped by CH, but didn’t join the walk.

Next Tuesday, March 20, we will meet at and leave from Petra’s at 7:30 am for Stanley Park.  We plan to meet others at 8:15/8:30 am at the Swimming Pool parking lot (Second Beach), dependant on traffic.

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

Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists Society

Posted in *DNCB, Bald Eagle, BBRP, Birds-on-the-Bay, Centennial Beach, Cooper's Hawk, Dunlin, Mew Gull, Northern Harrier, Red-tailed Hawk, Sanderling | Leave a comment

DNCB Outing No. 2018-10 to Steveston Area

Fifteen DNCBers spent a beautiful Tuesday morning in several park areas along the south Fraser River between No. 5 Road and ending at Garry Point Park in Steveston.  Check out the, as always, scintillating photo evidence on our Flickr site at: https://www.flickr.com/search/?group_id=3027315%40N23&text=2018-10&view_all=1.

Eight of us car pooled in three vehicles from Petra’s at 7:30 am; Mike B1 took Terry C, PB Lorna & Mike B2, Glen B took Ladner Jack Mac, and I had Boundary Bay Valerie with me.  We drove smoothly through the tunnel and got to the designated meeting spot at Woodward’s Landing Campground at the end of No. 5 Road in Richmond at 8:00 am.  Others were there to meet us including Van City Lidia, the elusive Colin, Ken w/o Anne, Kirsten back from Rwanda, Langley Bob, “hide-and-seek” Roger, and time-challenged Margaretha; DNCBers lover their name in print.

Following preliminary gabble-gabble, we walked to the gate to the Girl Guides Camp where the Blue Jay has been seen all winter.  Beneath, and on, the Caretaker’s feeders were many species including four Sparrow (Song, Fox, White- and Golden-crowned), Juncos, Towhees, Chickadees, Robins, etc., but no Blue Jay.

Terry took the Group Photo,


DNCB at Woodward’s Landing – photo by Terry Carr

then we decided to follow the Richmond Park Trail along the creek toward London Drugs facilities (over 1000 employees there).  Several Steller’s Jays were screaming, and among them Roger spotted the Blue Jay.

We all got decent looks at this eastern bird, the only one I know of west of the Rockies.  Of course for Easterners, this sighting is no big deal.

We decided to walk further along this quiet and quaint trail, sort of secluded among the warehouses.  Several Green-winged Teal, Mallards and American Wigeon in the creek, and we also saw Downy Woodpeckers, Anna’s Hummingbirds, a Brown Creeper and a Varied Thrush.

Back at the vehicle parking lot, a Cooper’s Hawk surprised and posed for us in a tree nearby, along with several Eurasian Collared-Doves.  We left here about 9:00 am and drove west along the Dyke Road toward Finn Slough, stopping occasionally to see


D-C Cormorants (KB)

Cormorants, Common and Red-breasted Mergansers, Bufflehead and Harbour Seals in the Fraser.

We parked at Finn Slough and walked through this eclectic community. They call it a Heritage and Wetland Society, who claim they are not Squatters because they pay taxes, voluntarily (?).  Anyhow, it is a really neat place.  Colin and I walked the “No Entry” path behind the “homes” which were habited but no one seemed to be around.

Most were decorated with weird and wonderful stuff, artistic treasures, fishing stuff, surrounded by dilapidated boats.  Fascinating, check out the photos.

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Only little birds were flitting in the bushes here (Sparrows and House Finches).

Race Car Roger led the convoy of ten vehicles (terrible car-pooling with far too many singles) from Finn’s Slough back out the farm roads and around to where the Dyke Road resumes further west along the river.  Of course we got lost, but finally found Roger at the Dog Walk Park at the end of No. 3 Road.  He was unconcerned as he set up his scope on a Red-throated Loon.  In trying to entice Golden-crowned Sparrows closer,


Rock Pigeons (KB)

Ken instead attracted hundreds of Pigeons which thrilled no one, while others looked at a Buteo on a tower on Kirkland Island that may have been a Rough-legged Hawk (or an immature Bald Eagle).

We continued west, Roger losing us again, but we met up at the Steveston Waterfront Park with the heritage fishing buildings, homes and museums.  Lots of construction here, but a fascinating walk along the boardwalk.  Among the old pylons in the harbour were a Pied-billed Grebe, Gadwall and Green-winged Teal.

Four Northern Flickers together in one tree was photogenic.  We met local Artist Alanna Victoria Hanson here, sitting at a picnic table in the middle of doing one of her renowned “storytelling” paintings.  We will anxiously look forward to seeing the finished version of her forest/Bald Eagle/Georgia Strait map montage.

Approaching 11:00 am, we tried, in vain again, to follow Roger through Steveston to Point Garry Park.  We eventually all got there, except Illusive Colin who must have given up.  It was warm and sunny as we strolled the circle trail past the Fisherman’s Memorial.  Lots of water in the centre where the kite flyers operate in the Summer.

Wigeons, including a number of Eurasian Wigeons were there, undisturbed by one weird Kite Flyer being pulled on his home-made three-wheeled cart.KB_kiter He quit after getting stuck in the mud several times.  Killdeer were there too, and we saw flocks of Brewer’s Blackbirds in the bushes (some hoped they were Brown-headed Cowbirds).  Interestingly, there was a big flock of Snow Geese (several hundred) lounging on and around the path as we made the circle.  They were unperturbed by us with no fear of humanity.

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A Red-tailed Hawk and Northern Harrier were in the marsh, as were about 50 Trumpeter Swans spread out along the shoreline.  We were blanked on PB Lorna’s Kingfisher, but a nice Hooded Merganser was in the slough, giving us our third Merganser species for the day.

We saw several Great Blue Herons too, and some of us wondered where they will nest, since the Tsatsu Shores Heronry doesn’t seem to be used this year, yet.

Approaching Noon, after heated discussion, 12 of us (see photo) decided to go to O’Hare’s Pub on Steveston Highway.  The array of food choices (our Aristocrat Glen had Shrimp Cocktail and Ale) was only exceeded by the 20 varieties of beer on tap.  Ken loved his Guinness, but I was very pleased with my Shepherd’s Pie and two pints of the House Lager (of course On Special).  It was another glorious DNCB outing.

Next Wednesday (not Tuesday), March 14, is our quarterly Birds on the Bay outing. We will meet at and leave historic Cammidge House at 9:00 am on our 2 ½ hour walk in Boundary Bay Regional Park, returning to CH at 11:30 am for the famous Delta Nats Ladies’ Goodies (see Rochelle’s poster below).

For more info, reports and photos, check out our website.  As always, your comments appreciated, and let me know if you want off my email list to receive these annoying missives.  Cheers: Tom

Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists Society (leaving now for Wednesday Noon hockey, grandparent duty tonight)


Poster and photos by Rochelle Farquhar

Posted in *DNCB, Blue Jay, Brown Creeper, Cooper's Hawk, Eurasian Wigeon, Finn's Slough, Garry Point, Harbour Seal, Hooded Merganser, Northern Harrier, Pied-billed Grebe, Red-breasted Merganser, Red-tailed Hawk, Red-throated Loon, Steveston, Varied Thrush | Leave a comment