DNCB Birds on the Bay Outing No. 2018-24 in Boundary Bay Regional Park

A dozen brave souls, plus six, enjoyed a rainy relatively “birdless” morning in Boundary Bay Regional Park on our quarterly Birds on the Bay outing.  Check out the photo evidence on our DNCB Flickr site.

It was pouring rain at 9:00 am when Terry and Roger led the 11 “keeners” from Cammidge House on the walk toward Centennial Beach.  I had an Eye Doctor appointment so didn’t join the group until 9:45 am when they had reached the Lookout.  David took the second of his two group photos here as the rain had stopped and, as always, the sun began to shine in sunny Tsawwassen.

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BOTB participantsa at Centennial Beach Lookout – photo by David Hoar

We continued along the dike path toward the PumpHouse, past our DNS Bird Boxes, some unfortunately occupied by invasive House Sparrows.  Terry’s List of sightings included: mallards, herons, gulls, red wings, starlings, song, savannah & house sparrows, barn & tree swallows, lots of hummingbirds (Anna’s & Rufous), yellowthroats, harriers, eagles, house and gold finches, gadwall, killdeer, cedar waxwing.  Despite the few exciting sightings, the Newbies, Beach Grove’s Jennifer and Hilary, seemed to enjoy the outing, especially the Chatfest nature of casual birding.

We saw from the Pumphouse Lookout, and later met, our Bird Box Team (Jessy, Chris McV, Peter W and his neighbour), examining our Tree Swallow boxes.  We chatted a bit about the successful TS boxes with babies, then continued on the walk back to CH.  We added Flickers, Marsh Wrens, Towhees and  Eurasian Collared-Doves to Terry’s list.

Delta Nats Ladies, Elizabeth P and Jennifer M-R, met us sharply at 11:30 am at CH with their traditional array of scrumptious home-made delicacies, including Sandra’s renowned Egg Salad sandwiches.  Although we were only a dozen, all the goodies were wolfed down quickly by the seemingly-starving mob. The dozen were: Roger, Mike, Terry, Glen, Ladner Jack, Margaretha, PB Lorna, photog David H, Elizabeth, newbies Jennifer G & Hilary R, and me, plus later-arriving Boundary Bay Valerie W, Jennifer M-R, Jessy, Chris McV, Peter and his “I forget her name” neighbour making a total of 18.  Although not a particularly “birdy” morning, it was super fun as always.

As dessert to the outing, I met the Bird Box Team (Chris & Marlene, Peter and the lovely “unnamed” neighbour) for their lunch and my Canadian Lager at the Rose & Crown Pub, prior to my Tsawwassen Men’s Golf Club meeting. The tardiness of this report is a result of Busy Times” with Ontario relies visiting, grandparenting, golfing, etc., but all good, including a visit to Reifel to see the newly-arrived Sandhill Crane Colts born this week and, of course, a fresh 2018 Strawberry Ice Cream Sundae at Emma Lea’s.

Next Wednesday, June 20, is our outing to Pitt Lake, leaving Petra’s at 7:30 am.  Meet at Parking lot (end of Rannie Rd) at about 8:40.  Check out our website for previous outings to Pitt Lake, plus earlier reports and info on other Delta Nats stuff.

Don’t forget our annual Fathers Day Pancake Breakfast at Centennial Beach (9:00 am to Noon) this Sunday (tomorrow), with entertainment including our Delta Nats Display.

As always, your comments are welcome, and please let me know if these boring, long-winded missives are so annoying that you want off my email list.  Cheers: Tom

Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists Society

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Posted in *DNCB, BBRP, Birds-on-the-Bay, Boundary Bay, Centennial Beach | Leave a comment

DNCB Outing No. 2018-23 to Colony Farm Regional Park

A big crowd (around 25, most listed below) joined me on another beautiful Wednesday morning at Colony Farm Regional Park (CFRP) in Coquitlam.  We saw lots of neat species, up-close-and-personal, and you can see the spectacular photo evidence on our DNCB Flickr site at: our DNCB Flickr site (just click on this).

Ten of us car-pooled from Petra’s and drove smoothly via Highway 17, through Surrey, across the Port Mann Bridge to Coquitlam and CFRP, arriving in less than an hour.  We met the hordes at the Community Garden parking lot, including my hockey friend Fireman Darrin and his three new birding colleagues (with their Fire Truck), as well as the CFRP Bird Guru, Larry Cowan, and his protégé Richard.  David took the obligatory Group Photo of 23 including these six (see on our Flickr site).

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23 DNCB at Colony Farm – photo by David Hoar

Wandering among the gardens, we saw lots of Tree, Barn and a few Violet-green Swallows; then we began our walk toward the Metro Vancouver work shed in search of a Lazuli Bunting.

Along the trail we saw Savannah Sparrows, Common Yellowthroats, and some saw Rough-winged Swallows.  Finally, at the yellow gate, just like Guru Larry had advised, we saw our Target Bird, the gorgeous Lazuli Bunting singing loudly at the top of a tree.  By now, renowned BC birders, Peter Candido and Jonathan Mwenifumbo, had joined us and they helped us find Willow Flycatchers and Eastern Kingbirds, plus an Olive-sided Flycatcher that turned into a Western Wood-Pewee.  It was a super sighting start to our outing, and it wasn’t over by any means.

We followed the Garden Trail along the Coquitlam River.  More Willow Flycatcher sightings, along with the regular Sparrow and Finch species (including brilliant American Goldfinches for the Candy Birders), plus both Rufous and Anna’s Hummingbirds, and a Yellow Warbler.  Several duck families (i.e. babies) in the river including Hooded Mergansers, Wood Ducks and Mallards, excited many of us too.  A Peregrine Falcon gave a flypast and Red-tailed Hawk circled above with a couple of Bald Eagles.

At the Millennium Bridge, while looking at a Mourning Dove, eight Band-tailed Pigeons alighted at the top of a tree.  Then, shortly thereafter, the Green Heron landed and posed in the same tree, arousing even more excitement.  Then a singing Black-headed Grosbeak posed in another nearby tree.  Cedar Waxwings and Brown-headed Cowbirds in neighbouring trees were practically ignored.

We continued on to the Pumphouse Trail, getting more good looks at Eastern Kingbirds, but were blanked on the Western Kingbird.  At the Grebe Pond, we didn’t see a Pied-billed Grebe which normally nest there, nor did we see a Sora or Virginia Rail.  A few nest boxes were occupied with Tree Swallows, but the boxes did not seem as successful as other years we have visited here.  We heard a Warbling Vireo, but I didn’t see it.  It was nearing 11:30 am when we headed back to the parking lot, the return walk being more like a chat room of elated birders, interrupted by a few flower and butterfly sightings, and the Green Heron again.

Several of us had “domestic responsibilities”, so we didn’t go en masse to a restaurant. It was smooth sailing for Chris, Jim, PB Lorna and me back to Tsawwassen, where we three guys enjoyed Lovely Leila’s service at the Rose & Crown Pub.  As always, the Roast Beef Sandwich & Salad Special was delicious, along with two pints of Canadian.  And granddaughter Juliette was awesome at her Gymnastics class. Another amazing DNCB outing.

We 25 were: Roger M, Mike B, our Guru Anne M, photogs Glen B, David & Noreen, Richmond Brian, Pat S and Chris McV, PB Lorna (Thanks for the delish sandwich), Johnny Mac, Manli S, Marion S, Jean G, Kirsten W, Van City Lidia J, late-comers Peter C and Jonathan M, my hockey-playing Firefighter friend Darin and his three colleagues (I forget their names), local Guru Larry C & Richard, and me.

Next Wednesday, June 13, is our quarterly Birds on the Bay outing in Boundary Bay Regional Park.  We will meet at and leave from historic Cammidge House (CH) at 9:00 am, returning to CH at 11:30 am for home-made goodies provided by Delta Nats Ladies.

Our first of seven bi-monthly Car Boot Sales is tomorrow morning (Saturday, June 9) at Centennial Beach.

For more info, reports and photos, visit our website.  As always, your comments are encouraged, 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

Posted in *DNCB, Bald Eagle, Band-tailed Pigeon, Cedar Waxwing, Colony Farm, Eastern Kingbird, Green Heron, Hooded Merganser, Lazuli Bunting, Mourning Dove, Northern Rough-winged Swallow, Peregrine Falcon, Red-tailed Hawk, Warbling Vireo, Western Wood-Pewee, Willow Flycatcher, Yellow Warbler | Leave a comment

DNCB Outing No. 2018-22 to Semiahmoo Fish & Game Club & Park

Twenty-two DNCBers spent another gorgeous Wednesday morning around the Little Campbell River Hatchery at the Semiahmoo Fish & Game Club (SFGC) in Surrey.  We saw lots of neat species and you can see some amazing photo evidence on our Flickr site.

We (10) car-pooled from Petra’s at 7:30 am, drove smoothly against traffic, and met our organizer Ken Borrie at 8:00 am in the SFGC parking lot in Surrey.  The large group of over 20 folk spent the next 15 minutes with the usual introductions, bonding, and idle chatter.  Some watched both Tree and Barn Swallows feeding young in nest boxes and mud nests respectively.  Others read the info on various signs about the SFGC’s Hatchery and Salmon trapping.  Then David took the obligatory Group Photo in front of the hatchery sign.

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Photo by David Hoar

As we began our walk along the Forest Trail, we noted the impressive Signage everywhere, describing the flora, fauna, the history, and everything found along this river and in the woods.  It was a beautiful walk in an idyllic setting.  Langley Tom kept track of our bird sightings and he recorded over 40 species (see List below).  Being casual birders, most of us were pleased with seeing some of the “candy” birds that we don’t often see.  For example, some “up-close-and-personal” sightings included: several Black-headed Grosbeaks, Western Wood-Pewee, Pacific-slope Flycatcher, Wilson’s & Yellow Warblers, Hutton’s Vireo, Swainson’s Thrush, Rufous Hummingbirds, White-crowned and Savannah Sparrows, Juncos with young, Cedar Waxwings, American Goldfinches & Purple Finches.  Our intrepid Roger even found a Purple Martin.

Great Horned Owls didn’t nest here this year, but we saw the adult Barred Owl, and SFGC’s Roy Thompson later saw the two owlets.  Another exciting find was a pair of Red-breasted Sapsuckers regularly going in and out of their nest cavity in a dead tree trunk, obviously feeding young.  Then Roy took us into the Barn Owl Barn, just after someone scared Mom out and into a nearby tree.  We got to look at the two baby Barnies in the nest box, probably born around May 5, according to Roy.  We didn’t stay long so as not to agitate the concerned Mom.

Some had a brief tour of the Hatchery and saw the 30,000 Coho salmon fry in the two new tubs.  SFGC members have a super education program, which even includes school classes hatching eggs and raising fry which are later released.  It was almost 11:30 am when we said goodbye and thanks to Roy, and we decided to go directly to lunch, postponing our visit to Redwood Park for another day.

Sixteen of us dined at 50’s & 60’s memorabilia-filled McJac’s Roadhouse Grille on King George Highway.  Ken had it all organized for us, and Owner Sharon and Server Rachael gave us exceptional attention in our own enclave of the restaurant.  My Cordon Blue Burger and Salad Special with a pint of Steamworks Kolsch lager was scrumptious, however Mike B wouldn’t have liked the automatic Service Charge for a large group requesting single bills.  I got to granddaughter Juliette’s gymnastics class before 2:00 pm; it was another glorious DNCB outing.

We 22 were: Outing Organizer Ken B, DNCB Administrator Terry C, Rare Species Sighter Roger M, David & Noreen, Guru Anne M, Annieville sisters Maureen & Pat, Boundary Bay’s Mike B2 & Valerie W, Roger Two, Marion S, Johnny Mac, photogs Glen B & Ladner Jack, PB Lorna, Richmond Brian, Langley Bob M & Langley Tom W, Galapagos Jim K, SFGC’s Roy T and me.

Next Wednesday, June 6, we will leave Petra’s at 7:30 am for Colony Farm.  We expect to meet at the Community Gardens parking lot at 8:30 am.

Don’t forget our last 2017-18 monthly DNS meeting on Tuesday, June 5 at 7:30 pm at the Benediction Lutheran Church in Tsawwassen.  All welcome to hear David & Diane Reesor’s presentation on the Birdlife and Sloth Bears in Sri Lanka.  Also, join Terry and our Nats Display at the Delta Landfill Open House this Saturday, June 2, 9:30 am to 2:30 pm.

More info on these events is on our website.  As always, your comments are welcome, and let me know if these weekly missives annoy you and you want off my email list. Cheers: Tom

Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists Society

Langley Tom W’s List for SFGC (May 30, 2018)
American Robin Common Yellowthroat
Barn Swallow Northwestern Crow
Tree Swallow Brown-headed Cowbird
Purple Martin Spotted Towhee
Canada Goose Bewick’s Wren
Mallard Pacific Wren
Gadwall Starling
House sparrow Dark-eyed Junco
Savannah Sparrow Hutton’s Vireo
Song Sparrow Barred Owl
White-crowned Sparrow Barn Owl
Black-capped Chickadee Red-tailed Hawk
Great-blue Heron Bald Eagle
Cedar Waxwing Red-breasted Sapsucker
Black-headed Grosbeak Swainson’s Thrush
American Goldfinch Hermit Thrush
House Finch Western Wood-Pewee
Purple Finch Pacific-slope Flycatcher
Brown Creeper Anna’s Hummingbird
Yellow Warbler Rufous Hummingbird
Wilson Warbler Gull Species
Posted in *DNCB, Barn Owl, Barred Owl, Cedar Waxwing, Hutton's Vireo, Pacific-slope Flycatcher, Purple Finch, Purple Martin, Red-breasted Sapsucker, Semiahmoo Fish & Game Club, Swainson's Thrush, Western Wood-Pewee, Wilson’s Warbler, Yellow Warbler | Leave a comment

DNCB Outing No. 2018-21 to Minnekhada Regional Park

Twenty-three DNCBers enjoyed another glorious Wednesday morning wandering along the trails of Minnekhada Regional Park in Coquitlam.  Lots of beaut photos of the birds, bears, flowers, vistas, and people seen on this popular outing are on our Flickr site.

Ten of us car-pooled nicely from Petra’s at 7:30 am in three vehicles.  The hour-long drive following Mike B was smooth as we arrived at the Lodge parking lot at 8:35 am to the smiles of the horde of others waiting.  The big group (23) took some time for their obligatory bonding before we descended along the driveway to the Lookout for the also obligatory Group Photo.

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DNCB at Minnekhada – photo by Dave Hoar

Pacific-slope Flycatchers and Wilson’s Warblers were singing everywhere in the Park.  Following David’s photo shoot, we decided to reverse our normal walk and start along the Fern Trail.  Not far along, we found the family of Sandhill Cranes in the marsh reeds just off the trail.  I think everyone eventually got a glimpse of the single tiny Colt following Mom very closely.

The group performed like expert birders because we heard and identified many species, including, Pileated Woodpecker, Black-headed Grosbeak, Black-throated Gray Warbler, Pacific, Bewick’s & Marsh Wrens, Warbling & Cassin’s Vireos, Brown Creeper, and Red-breasted Sapsuckers but didn’t actually see them.  While distinctly hearing and searching for the Pacific-slope Flycatcher and the Wilson’s Warbler, a Swainson’s Thrush surprisingly landed in my binoc’s view.  It found me, I didn’t find it. Nonetheless, a nice sighting.  Some did eventually see a Pacific-slope Flycatcher, Wilson’s & Orange-crowned Warblers, and Bushtits.  Our biologists identified the several Fern species along the trail, and Glen saved a cute miniature frog from being trampled.

We got close to the off-shoot trail to Low Knoll lookout when someone spotted a Black Bear.  The Bear crawled onto the trail, then meandered past us down to where we had come.  Of course, we were cautious, but this juvenile, probably a year or two old, was seemingly not concerned about us, just sniffing its way along the trail.  We left the Bear to his wandering and we continued climbing to the Lookout.  (“Minnekhada Encounters” video by David Hoar has Sandhill Cranes w. colt, then Black Bear footage)

The view from the Lookout was magnificent.  Few birds, but still awesome.  An Anna’s Hummingbird posed, and some saw the pair of Western Tanagers high in the tree tops.  The descent along the Mid-Marsh trail seemed easier than our other visits here.  In the Upper Marsh we saw a Pied-billed Grebe, Wood Ducks, perhaps a Merganser, but mostly just Canada Geese and Mallard families, and the photogenic Great Blue Herons.  We didn’t see the other Sandhill Crane, but heard it calling to the family we had seen earlier in the Lower Marsh.  Lots of Tree, and a few Barn Swallows around.

We followed the Lodge Trail back on the other side of the Lower Marsh.  Lots of Common Yellowthroats around, and the regular Sparrow and Finch species and Red Slider Turtles.  We were blanked on Roger’s Townsend’s and MacGillivray’s Warblers.

It was 11:30 am when we got back to the Lodge.  Begrudgingly, I left for home and grand-parent duties while the group continued on to the new nearby Blakeburn Lagoons Park.  They saw nesting Killdeer here before going to lunch (16 dined) at the Arms Pub in Port Coquitlam.  Mike B was ecstatic with the Steak & Spaghetti lunch with two Guinness pints.

After my directionally-challenged drive home via Port Moody, Burnaby and New Westminster, and Juliette’s gymnastics, Sandra and I ate Steak Pho at the new Vietnamese Phamtastic Pho restaurant in Ladner.  Delicious, but no liquor licence.

All in all, it was another fantastic DNCB outing.  The 23 were: Roger & Terry who did a tonne of the organizing, David & Noreen, Burnaby Roy & Solveig, sisters Pat & Maureen and Manli, Marion & Kirsten, Ladner Jack, Tsawwassen Glen, Richmond Brian, VanCity Lidia, North Delta Liz & Alan, PB Lorna (Thanks again for the sandwich), Boundary Bay Valerie, Mike B & Mike B2, returning DNCB veteran New Westminster Jonathan, and me.

Next Wednesday, May 30, we will leave Petra’s at 7:30 am for Semiahmoo Fish & Game Club (8:15-10:15), then Redwood Park (10:30-11:30) in Surrey.  Lunch at Roadhouse Grille, 1781 King George Blvd.

For more info on this outing, and other reports and photos, visit our website.

As always, your comments are welcome, and let me know if these long-winded, weekly tirades give you grief and you want off my email list.  Cheers: Tom

Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists Society (1:30 am and time for bed)

Posted in *DNCB, Black Bear, Black-throated Grey Warbler, Blakeburn Lagoons Park, Brown Creeper, Cassin's Vireo, Minnekhada Park, Orange-crowned Warbler, Pacific-slope Flycatcher, Pied-billed Grebe, Pileated Woodpecker, Red-breasted Sapsucker, Sandhill Crane, Swainson's Thrush, Warbling Vireo, Western Tanager, Wilson’s Warbler | Leave a comment

DNCB Outing No. 2018-20 to Pt. Roberts, USA

Nineteen DNCBers enjoyed another gorgeous Wednesday morning birding at some new and old spots in Point Roberts, USA.  Check out the photo evidence of the place, the people, and some amazing birds and flowers on our Flickr site.

We (9) gathered at Petra’s, car-pooling prudently (3 vehicles) at 7:30 am and very smoothly across the Border.  First stop was Kiniski’s Reef Tavern.  Pacific Loons were everywhere this morning, and one in breeding plumage was close to shore.  A huge Sealion (Steller?) cruised by, appearing to almost gobble it down, for an exciting sighting.  A female Belted Kingfisher posed on a pylon, also exciting PB Lorna.

We moved on to our regular meeting spot at Lighthouse Marine Park where the nineteen of us assembled for David’s Group Photo.  Meanwhile, the scopes were very useful in seeing and identifying the Scoter, Cormorant and Loon species in the distance.  We saw one or two Common Loons, but interestingly there were hundreds of Pacific Loons in the Strait.  The Scoters were mostly Surf, but some saw both White-winged and Black. The Cormorants seemed to be mostly Pelagic, but we saw both Double-crested and the elusive Brandt’s, occasionally even flying together.  Pigeon GuillemotsHarlequin Ducks and California Gulls were in close too, and some saw Rhinoceros Auklets and perhaps a Common Murre.  We were blanked on Caspian Terns and Jaegers, seen earlier this week.

We met Tsawwassen Birder Ken Klimco at the Lighthouse Point and he told us about earlier sightings here, including the Terns, Jaeger, Murres, Eastern Kingbird, as well as other spots in Pt. Roberts to see Great Horned Owls, Bullock’s Orioles and House Wrens.  He was very helpful.  As we walked along the trail, a flock of Sanderling whizzed by, and Roger saw a Black Turnstone.  We couldn’t find House Wrens on the inland trail, but did see the regular Sparrow species (mostly White-crowned), lots of Barn and Tree Swallows (Ken had a Cliff Swallow earlier), and both Anna’s and Rufous Hummingbirds.  Brown-headed Cowbirds were hanging around singing Common Yellowthroats, probably preparing to predate their nest (i.e. lay their eggs in it).   A nice silver male Northern Harrier cruised by a few times.

Near the parking lot, we saw the Great Horned Owl family, Mom and two young, roosting in the Cottonwood Trees.  We tried not to bother them, but a flock of Crows wasn’t as understanding as they continually harassed them.  Fortunately Mom was a good protector, for now.  We left Lighthouse Park to the PR Marina.  We were hoping to see Grebes, Scaup, Bufflehead and Mergansers among the boats, but apparently they have all gone to their breeding grounds.  Even the washrooms were locked, so this was a very unsuccessful stop. Our convoy of about 8 vehicles (poor car-pooling too) moved on to the south side of the Marina.

More Scoters and Pacific Loons here, along with a mature Bald Eagle and an Osprey-like juvenile Baldy.  A Northern Flicker posed on a pylon while a Savannah Sparrow perched on a bush for us.  We convoyed from here to the Seabright housing development near Lily Point Park.  After aimlessly wandering the newly-constructed roads, we finally reached a Visitor parking area.  Friendly PR resident and expert gardener George Wright met us and gave us some interesting history of this area of the Point where most of us had not been.  We walked a trail along the top of the cliff in front of the new homes.  It was a magnificent view of the beach below, the Strait, and across to the Gulf Islands.  More Loons, Scoters, Sea-lion, Seals seen below, along with lots of Swallows, Hummers, Sparrows and Finches up top, including a brilliant American Goldfinch.  We walked among the trees, unable to find the Bullock’s Orioles.  However, we did find the pair of House Wrens who were very accommodating, one even feeding the other.  Other interesting sightings on this trail included: Orange-crowned Warbler, Eurasian Collared-Dove (I tried unsuccessfully for Mourning Doves), Brown-headed Cowbirds, Brewer’s Blackbirds and a Bewick’s Wren.  A pair of Killdeer appeared to be protecting a nesting spot somewhere in the undeveloped house lots.  In the Model Home, George played a Charleston dance song on a 78 RPM record on an antique pump-handle record machine.  It was a fitting end to a glorious DNCB outing as we danced to our vehicles and took off to the again, very smooth Border (although there was a huge queue of vehicles entering the US for the cheap gas).

It was about 12:30 pm when 8 of us gathered in the Rose & Crown Pub where lovely Leila served us their delicious luncheon Specials.  My Beef on a Bun (no mayo) with Salad (Balsamic Vinegar) hit the spot and met my new Diabetes directives, if you don’t count the two pints of Canadian.  We finished in time for me to pick up Sandra’s “required” Tim Horton’s Iced Cap and Sour Cream Glazed Donut, and be on time for granddaughter Juliette’s 2:00 pm Gymnastics class in Ladner.

The nineteen were: Roaming Roger M, Mike B, Mike B2, Guru Anne, our Organizer Terry, PB Lorna, Roy & Solveig, David & Noreen, Jean G, world traveler Kirsten W, VanCity Lydia, South Surrey Julie, Sisters Pat & Maureen, Liz S, photog Glen, and me.

Next Wednesday, May 23, we will leave Petra’s at 7:30 am for Minnekhada Regional Park, planning to meet at the Lodge parking lot around 8:30 am.

Check our website (wwwdotdncbdotwordpressdotcom) for more outing info and other reports and photos.  As always, your comments are welcome, and let me know if this rambling, incoherent verbiage annoys you and you want off my email list.  Cheers: Tom (quickest report ever)

Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists Society

Posted in *DNCB, Bald Eagle, Black Scoter, Black Turnstone, Brandt's Cormorant, California Quail, California Sea Lion, Common Murre, Harbour Seal, Harlequin Duck, Lighthouse Marine Park, Northern Harrier, Orange-crowned Warbler, Pacific Loon, Pelagic Cormorant, Pigeon Guillemot, Point Roberts, Rhinoceros Auklet, Sanderling, Steller Sea Lion | Leave a comment

DNCB Outing No. 2018-19 to Tennant Lake Park and Whatcom Museum, Bellingham, USA

Sixteen DNCBers enjoyed a clear, rainy, then clear again Wednesday morning at Tennant Lake Park in Ferndale, and then at the Whatcom Museum (new Audubon exhibit) in Bellingham.  There are some beaut photos of our sightings at the park and museum, and of the participants, on our Flickr site at: https://www.flickr.com/search/?group_id=3027315%40N23&text=2018-19&view_all=1.

Several left Petra’s at 7:00 am, and all 16 of us met at the Blaine Marina at 8:15 am.  The Border was smooth for non-Nexus, but a big line-up for the Nexus holders.  We toured the Marina looking unsuccessfully for Eared Grebes.  The Glaucous-winged Gull colony was nesting in full force on the breakwall, and two big “seized” fishing boats (one Canadian) were interesting sightings.  Following directional discussions, we car-pooled the “20 minute” drive to Tennant Lake.  Unfortunately, I was with Roy & Solveig “Magellan”, and we took a “Roger Shortcut” and got to the park in 40 minutes.  No harm though, because the pouring rain stopped as we arrived to the join the patiently-waiting others.  David took the obligatory Group Photo by the Park sign.

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DNCB at Tennant Lake – photo by David Hoar

The park gardens were beautiful and I chatted with two of the volunteer gardeners who recognized us from last year’s outing.  Some of us climbed the tower to enjoy the view over the lake, gardens and heritage building, which interestingly contained informative display material but, according to the gardener, is only open for visitors once a year. So we began our walk along the trail and then on the long circular boardwalk through the swamp.  A gorgeous walk when it wasn’t raining.  Our bird sightings included lots of Warblers (Yellow, Yellow-rumped, Common Yellowthroat) and we heard other warblers but couldn’t ID the calls/songs.  Singing and calling Marsh Wrens, Red-winged Blackbirds, Sparrows (Song, White-crowned, etc.) made warbler identification difficult for us “casual birders”.  Plus it was raining and often social chatter took precedence over birding.  We were blanked on Rails and Cinnamon Teal.

A pair of Ring-necked Ducks and a brilliant male Wood Duck were neat to see roaming among the dense cover of lily pads on the lake.  The yellow Water Lilies were brilliant. Lots of Tree Swallows around, and a few Double-crested Cormorants.  A female “Downy” Woodpecker was interesting, because on examining the photos later, it was a Hairy Woodpecker.  Similarly, on examining a photo of a female Red-winged Blackbird, it turned out to be a female Yellow-headed Blackbird.  That’s why I love to have photogs on our outings to confirm our/my misidentifications.  We finished our walk around 10:30 am and it was raining heavily now.  So we decided to abort the outing and go for an early lunch at the Chihuahua Mexican Restaurant in Ferndale.

A good decision; my Mexican Salad with Guacamole & Beef was delicious, washed down with a very tasty pint of Modelo Negra draught beer (suggested by “Magellan” Roy, and followed with a second pint of Bud Light).

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DNCB at Ferndale restaurant – photo by Roger Meyer

All thirteen of us (see Roger’s photo) at lunch enjoyed their individual Mexican Luncheon Specials, at reasonable prices served by a very friendly Edgar.  We finished lunch just before Noon so had time to go to the Whatcom Museum in Bellingham before returning home.  Our main attraction was the Museum’s impressive collection of 500 mounted birds on the third floor of the historic City Hall, built in 1892.  Some also found the historical exhibits (e.g. maritime, First Nations, etc.) on other floors interesting too.  The sun came out again as Roger dropped me at my Range Rover at the Blaine Marina, and I was home by 2:00 pm, in time to keep Sandra happy and watch granddaughter Juliette excel at her gymnastic class.  Not a lot of exceptional “live” bird sightings, but nonetheless a very enjoyable outing.

We 16 were: Roger drove Mike B, Boundary Bay Valerie, PB Lorna & Terry C, Roger Two drove Ladner Jack, David & Noreen, Pat drove sister Maureen and “welcome back” Manli, Van City Lidia drove alone, and Explorers Burnaby Roy & Solveig “Magellan” took me.

Next Wednesday, May 16, we will leave Petra’s at 7:30 am for Pt. Roberts, meeting at Lighthouse Marine Park parking lot before 8:00 am.  For more info on our outings, and reports and photos, check our website.

Don’t forget our Mothers Day/International Migratory Bird Day event at Cammidge House on Saturday, May 12, 12:30 to 2:30 pm.

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

Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists Society (now 1:00 am on Friday and I will be at BC Nature’s AGM at UBC Botanical Gardens for Early Morning Birding at 6:00 am: Crazy!!!)

Posted in *DNCB, Ring-necked Duck, Tennant Lake, Whatcom Museum, Yellow Warbler, Yellow-headed Blackbird, Yellow-rumped Warbler | Leave a comment

DNCB Outing No. 2018-18 to Whidbey Island, USA

Sixteen DNCBers really enjoyed our “away” outing to Deception Pass and Whidbey Island USA last Wednesday.  It was a gorgeous day and we saw lots of neat stuff.  Check out the photo evidence at: https://www.flickr.com/search/?group_id=3027315%40N23&text=2018-18&view_all=1.

Some left Petra’s at 7:00 am and we met at the Peace Arch Park parking lot at 7:30 am.  Marion had arrived early and spotted and photographed a Chipping Sparrow near the Duty-Free Shop.  Fifteen of us car-pooled brilliantly in 4 vehicles and we met the 16th, Van City Lidia at the Coupeville-Port Townsend Ferry terminal at 10:00 am.  The Border crossing was smooth, and the 2 hour drive through upstate Washington countryside was interesting and beautiful, especially for those of us who don’t go there often, and surprisingly, we all reached the ferry on time.

Our Ferry from Coupeville left at 10:15 am, so we had a few minutes to bond and wander around the terminal before departure.  Harlequin Ducks and Pigeon Guillemots in the harbour were the main attraction along with a flypast of PB Lorna’s Belted Kingfisher.  Anne tried unsuccessfully to describe and explain the hybrid Gulls to us (Thayer’s, Icelandic, Western, Ring-billed, Glaucous-winged).  On board, we gathered on the bow, and David took the obligatory Group Photo in the sun.

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I love ferries, and this 40 minute crossing of the Juan de Fuca Strait is exceptional.  The vistas of the surrounding Olympic mountains are spectacular, and we get great looks at pelagic birds we don’t see often: Rhinoceros Auklets, Common Murres, Pacific Loons.  We were blanked this trip on Ancient and Marbled Murrelets, Tufted Puffins and Gray or Humpback Whales, but did see Red-breasted Mergansers, Bufflehead, and three Cormorant species, Pelagic, Double-crested and Brandt’s.  Black-headed Bonaparte’s Gulls were among the several Gull/Auklet “feeding frenzies” we witnessed.  To maintain my image, I had to try a Port Townsend Gold Lager draught on the return trip, delish.

We arrived back at Coupeville around 11:30 and began our walk up to historic Fort Casey.  Along the way we saw a couple of California Quail, as well as Brown-headed Cowbirds, most of the regular Sparrow (including Savannah) and Finch species, a Chipmunk, and the lots of Swallows.  Brilliant Violet-green Swallows were nesting in (I guess) gun holes in the Fort.  A few Harbour Porpoises showed their fins cruising in the Strait.  We had our lunch at picnic tables on the Fort lawn.  I had already eaten my PB sandwich, so sponged Nance’s cookies, washed down with a G-Water (only Glen had beer), and a couple of miniature Tootsie Rolls.

We bought US State Park Passes at the office, then walked back down to the our vehicles at the ferry terminal.  Next stop was Deception Pass State Park.  Another gorgeous setting.  We saw more pelagic species, Common Loons, Harbour Seals, Horned and Red-necked Grebes, and several Nothern Rough-winged Swallows seemingly cavorting and fighting over a nesting cavity in a sand cliff close to shore.  Then Roger led us on another of his legendary “short-cuts” through the woods and camping sites.  Albeit an overly long walk, we saw lots of really neat stuff including a pair of Osprey (also “cavorting”), a Pileated Woodpecker (perhaps a pair), Brown Creepers, Pacific Wrens, Warblers (Orange-crowned, Yellow), Common Yellowthroat, at least), Rufous Hummingbirds, and a Canada Goose pair with nine babies.

Back at the beach, a pair of Killdeer were probably preparing to nest.  There were several other sightings by others that I didn’t see including, Red-throated Loons, Common Mergansers, Western Grebes, Bewick’s Wren.  It was around 4:00 pm when we decided to head home.  The drive back was serene as I snoozed with Richmond Brian in the 3rd seat of Roger’s van, under the drone of Roger & Anne’s chatter up front.  About 25 minutes at the Border, and I was home by 6:00 pm, another glorious DNCB outing.

The Sixteen were:  Roger M, Mike B, Guru Anne M, Richmond Brian, PB Lorna, Marion S, Burnaby Roy & Solveig, David & Noreen, VanCity Lidia, newbie South Surrey’s Julie J, Aussie Nance, Glen B, our Organizer Terry C and me.

Next Wednesday, May 9, we leave Petra’s at 7:30 am and go back to the US to Tennant Lake Park plus the Whatcom Museum in Washington. See 2018 DNCB Outings Page for more info and directions about this outing.

The BC Nature AGM and Conference also starts next Thursday, May 10, at UBC, and our International Migratory Bird Day event is at Cammidge House on Saturday, May 12, 12:30 to 2:30 pm.  There will be displays, Mother’s Day Tea with the Birds at Cammidge House, and a guided birding walk from 1:15 to 2:00, followed by refreshments.  More information at BBPA website.

As always, your comments are welcome, and let me know if you want off my email list to receive these repetitive, annoying reports.  Cheers: Tom

Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists Society

Posted in *DNCB, Bonaparte's Gull, Brandt's Cormorant, Brown Creeper, California Quail, Chipping Sparrow, Common Murre, Coupeville, Deception Pass, Fort Casey, Harbour Porpoise, Harbour Seal, Harlequin Duck, Northern Rough-winged Swallow, Orange-crowned Warbler, Osprey, Pelagic Cormorant, Pigeon Guillemot, Pileated Woodpecker, Port Townsend, Red-breasted Merganser, Red-necked Grebe, Red-throated Loon, Rhinoceros Auklet, Townsend’s Chipmunk, Whidbey Island, Yellow Warbler | Leave a comment