DNCB Outing No. 2015-16 Brunswick Point from Delta Port Way

See photos at DNCB Picasa website

Report on Outing will be posted SOON!


Next Week Wed. April 29 we will go to Minnekhada Regional Park, Coquitlam, leaving Patra’s at 7:30 am, arriving at Minnekhada Lodge car park shortly after 8:30 am.

from Petra’s to Minnekhada Lodge
via Patullo Bridge
via Port Mann Bridge

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Watershed Park Fish Release and Nature Walk

Part  of the Scattered Group (RM)

Watershed Nature Walkers – part of the group (RM)

On a gorgeous Sunday, April 19, Delta Nats participated again in Delta Corp’s annual Fish Release at Watershed Park in North Delta.  It was a very successful event with hundreds of kids, parents and grandparents participating.  Terry, Marylile & Rob and their team of Roger, Joyce and Lorna set up our renovated “hands-on” Display at 11:00 a.m. at the Old Pump House area where the fish release takes place.  Lots of other exhibitors there too including OWL and Delta Corp.  You can see from Terry’s and Roger’s photos on our DNCB Picasa site that our Nats Display was awesome.  Note Marylile’s new tablecloths, her refurbished Boundary Bay poster and colouring sheets, and Jim K’s more stable Info/Photo Panels.  We also had some new “real” exhibits and info pamphlets.  Our Display team (Terry, Marylile, Rob, Joyce & Lorna) did masterful jobs explaining, educating and entertaining the hordes of kids and adults that visited our booth.

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Tom (me) along with Roger, Johnny Mac and Otto met at Pinewood Elementary School around 11:00 a.m. to lead a Birding/Nature Walk down the Park trails to the Fish Release site.  At the 11:30 a.m. departure, the group of participants numbered somewhere between 30 and 40, and ranged in age from newborn to 75+, with kids 10 and under being the majority.  I registered some (copied) and gave a brief introduction about the Walk and the Park.  As we wandered down the trail toward the Meadow, the group developed massive breaks from front to back.

Although the Leader obviously lost control, there were a few birds singing that aroused interest in a few of the participants.  We saw some flitting birds in the canopy of the second/third growth conifers.  We identified Black-capped Chickadees, and suspect that there were Kinglets there too.  A Brown Creeper gave a brief appearance “creeping” up a trunk.  The unflappable and tremendously voluble Otto claimed hearing an Orange-crowned Warbler.  Pine Siskins and common species like Song and White-crowned Sparrows, Spotted Towhees, American Robins and Dark-eyed Juncos were heard and occasionally seen.  We blanked on Raptors/Hawks, Thrushes and even Woodpeckers, although the resident Pileated Woodpeckers were seen earlier in the morning.  Roger also pointed out some of the interesting plant species in the park.

We got to the Meadow area and Roger took the Group Photo (of the half that was left) as we gazed out onto Boundary Bay.  An immature Bald Eagle gliding by thrilled a few of us.

Nurse stump (RM)

Nurse stump (RM)

We continued on, noting the Woodpecker trees and the Nurse Stumps, some very “artistic”.

It was Noon so we didn’t expect to see many birds, and we didn’t.  I suppose the most excitement was when we got to the end of the Walk at the OWL Exhibit, and participants finally got to see some birds, a Barred Owl and a Merlin.

Nonetheless, it was a very enjoyable Walk on a beautiful day in very pleasant surroundings.  And the apple and hot chocolate at the finish line were tasty too.

Other Notes: The Girl Guides did a super job coordinating the Tree Planting, and the kids really enjoyed releasing the Fry into the stream.

And Angela did yeoman’s work repetitiously explaining and demonstrating the damage that people do to our landscape, while Erin wandered around looking, and being important.  We closed down at 2:00 p.m. and the Team loaded Roger’s van for return of our Display material to our locker at Centennial Beach.  I, and I think other Nats too, always feel good after events like this.  It’s the fulfillment of actually realizing one of our DNS mandates “to promote nature education at public events”.  Check out our website for more info and photos at.  Cheers: Tom

Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists’ Society

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DNCB Outing No. 2015-15 to Drayton Harbour & Semiahmoo Spit

DNCB at Drayton Harbour (RM) click on photo to see large version

DNCB at Drayton Harbour (RM) click on photo to see large version

photos by Terry (TC), Glen (GB), Marion (MS), Pascale & Alberto (P&A) at DNCB Picasa site

Seventeen DNCBers enjoyed another gorgeous Wednesday morning in Blaine, Washington, circling Drayton Harbour.  Hi-lites included many Grebes and other Waterfowl in beautiful breeding plumage and some Whimbrels too.  Check out the photo evidence on our DNCB Picasa site.
 
Fifteen of us met at the Blaine Harbour Park after car-pooling from Peace Arch Memorial Park at 8:00 a.m. and passing through an unusually-quiet Border.  The tide was out, but we had our first glimpses at Shorebirds in breeding plumage.  Black-bellied Plovers had black bellies.  Lots (hundreds) of Dunlin and other Peeps (Sanderling, Western Sandpipers, etc.) in the distance and a couple of Killdeer close to us in the mud.  While Roger took the Group Photo with the Peace Arch behind in the distance, a Cooper’s Hawk flew past and House Finches, Song and White-crowned Sparrows sang in the bushes.  Time-challenged Alberto and Pascale arrived to make 17 as we moved to the Marina parking lot; the short walk to the Semiahmoo Lookout at the entrance to Drayton Harbour took us past a beaut singing Savannah Sparrow on the grass.

A flock of Brant flew by as we struggled to ID the Peeps through our single scope.  Then we got excited with our first looks at Red-necked Grebes, then “puffy-headed” Horned Grebes in beaut breeding plumage.  Lots of Pelagic and Double-crested Cormorants around and both Surf and White-winged Scoters were in rafts and flying by.  We also saw Bufflehead, some Scaup and a couple of Long-tailed Ducks, but disappointedly quite far out.  I saw only one Caspian Tern fly by.  Common Loons were scattered about in various plumages, but we saw no Pacific or Red-breasted Loons this day.  Back among the boats in the Marina were a Red-breasted Merganser and Common Goldeneye with more beaut Grebes and Loons, up-close-and personal.
 
Next stop at the foot of the Marina, we saw Green-winged Teal and Northern Pintail before being held up from proceeding into Blaine by a train heading north, that stopped and started annoyingly for seemingly hours, but really only minutes.  Our in-car conversation was getting boringly repetitious.  Fortunately, Marg C joined us today for a celebrity appearance and briefed us incessantly on the innumerable, humongous events that her Friends of Semiahmoo Bay are undertaking this year.  Very impressive List.  We eventually got across the tracks and drove through Blaine to our next new stop at Dakota Creek Kayak Launch.  At this interestingly-treed area, we saw the Belted Kingfisher, several Yellowlegs (including perhaps Lesser Yellowlegs passing through, but mostly Greater),  and Pine Siskins and Golden-crowned Sparrows at the feeder.
 
We drove on to the Semiahmoo Museum and looked at both the Bay and Harbour sides.  On the Bay side were 7 Whimbrels and about a dozen Black Turnstones neatly camouflaged among the stones, but all close for excellent viewing.  Harlequin Ducks were resting on a rock in the water near a flock of Mew Gulls.  On the Harbour side, the ducks were way out and we couldn’t ID any Canvasbacks.  Lots of Bald Eagles and Great Blue Herons around which I don’t normally mention because they’re so common now, but the photogs like them.  At the Museum stop were up-close Black-bellied Plovers, and Sanderlings.  The Museum signage and an early mechanical fish processor (named the Iron Chink) used at Fish Plants there at the turn of the 19th century were interesting.  An Anna’s Hummingbird posed for brief look.
 
We drove on to park at the Semiahmoo Marina.  Lots of Harbour Seals on the dock and more of the same waterfowl.  A couple of Black Oystercatchers were feeding along the shore.  My hockey friend BobbleHead Craig was working on his sailboat home in the marina as we walked by.  No new stuff as we wandered past more heritage stuff and the Blaine Summer Ferry terminal, but the sunshine was glorious.  Local Birder and Semiahmoo Resort employee, Cliff told us he hadn’t seen the Eared Grebes for a while, nor Western Grebes, and we probably missed the Black Scoters between here and the Museum.  Just past Noon, it was time for lunch in the re-opened Semiahmoo Resort restaurant.  The “Koelsch” draught and pepperoni Pizza were scrumptious, and the view out onto Semiahmoo Bay and across to White Rock was magnificent.  Pascale let our waiter “Handlebar” Roger take our lunch photo.  Another awesome DNCB outing.
 
Next Wednesday, April 22, we will leave Petra’s at 7:30 a.m. for Brunswick Point via Deltaport way (click HERE for more details) to see the thousands of migrating Shorebirds and hopefully meet Mark Drever and his Western Sandpiper Survey folk.

Don’t forget Delta’s Watershed Park Fish Release this Sunday, April 19 which includes a Birding/Nature Walk (led by me) at 11:30 a.m. from the Pinewood Elementary School entrance down the Park trails to the Fish Release site.  Your Nats Display will be set up at the release site.

As always, your comments are encouraged, check out Ken’s DNCB website (surely you know the coordinates by now) for more info, reports (e.g. White Rock Al’s report on last week’s outing to Brydon Lagoon & Hi-Knoll Park) and photos and, don’t hesitate to let me know if you want off my List to receive this drivel.  Cheers: Tom

Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists’ Society

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Filed under *DNCB, Bald Eagle, Black Oystercatcher, Black Turnstone, Black-bellied Plover, Blaine Marine Park, Caspian Tern, Cooper's Hawk, Drayton Harbor, Harbour Seal, Harlequin Duck, Long-tailed Duck, Red-breasted Merganser, Red-necked Grebe, Semiahmoo Spit, Whimbrel

DNCB Outing No. 2015-14 to Brydon Lagoon & Hi-Knoll Park

DNCB at Brydon Lagoon (missing latecomers Otto, Alberto & Pascale)

DNCB at Brydon Lagoon (missing latecomers Otto, Alberto & Pascale) (KB) click on photo to see large version

Photos by Terry (TC), Glen (GB), Liz (LS), Marion (MS), Ken (KB), Roger (RM), Pascale & Alberto (P&A) at DNCB Picasa site

At about 8:20 on that glorious Wednesday morning, twenty-one birding brigade members assembled in the Langley parking lot for an outing around Brydon Lagoon and through Hi-Knoll Park.  While waiting for the masses to arrive, several early birders surveyed the muddy little pond adjacent to the parking area but saw only a few Green-winged Teal floating about next to a discarded tire.  However, a male Common Yellowthroat was observed and photographed in a small roadside tree.

Bob Puls (KB)

Bob Puls (KB)

Langley Field Naturalists’ President Bob P. informed those who would listen that prior to 1960, when Langley was connected to the MV sewer system, the Lagoon served as the City’s sewage settling pond.  After that, it languished as a swampy area until LFN in the 1990s took steps to reclaim it for nature.  A setback occurred in August 2014 when an unusual hot spell together with an oxygen depletion caused by a low water level resulted in a disastrous fish kill (see Langley Times article).

After the obligatory group photo was taken, the 21 participants proceeded to the main lagoon which appears to have recovered fully from the calamity.  Squadrons of almost domesticated Mallards including an intergrade male were waiting for a handout, and other waterfowl observed included many Coots, several Buffleheads, Gadwalls, Common Goldeneyes, Pied-billed Grebes, a couple of Hooded Mergansers, Pintails and one Scaup.  A log in the middle of the pond served as a perch for three disparate twosomes – a pair of Mallards, a couple of Glaucous-winged Gulls and a duo of Red-eared Sliders.

Also sighted were latecomers Pascale and Alberto, newbie Laurie K. from the far east of Langley and – need I say it – the routinely unpunctual Otto, bringing the total to 25 trippers for the day.  Perhaps listing those appearing in the group photo is now called for, lest they be disappointed.  Camerists Marion, Roger, Terry, Glen, Liz and Ken with Anne were in the picture along with Kirsten, Kathy, Lidia, Langley’s Bob P. and Anne G., newshow Laurel A., Rob & Marylile, Gerhard, Mike, John, Tom, Wayne and I, the lone individual from White Rock/Surrey.

Separate clusters of chattering participants continued along the side of the pond through the bog area to the footbridge spanning the Nicomekl while seeing but not necessarily hearing the noisy Red-winged Blackbirds, the usually encountered Sparrow species, a perched Violet-green Swallow

and a number of prattling Marsh Wrens.  Both Rufous and Anna’s Hummbug males were flashing their colourful uppers while buzzing about along the trail and later in the park.

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Three species of raptors were sighted – a soaring Harrier, a perched Red-tailed Hawk and the resident pair of Bald Eagles on and near their enormous nest in the tall Poplar.

The large moss-encrusted Oregon Maple and adjacent trees next to the small parking area at the entrance to Hi-Knoll harboured both kinds of Chickadees, several Bushtits, an Orange-crowned Warbler, and “Hairyette” the Woodpecker.

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In the Park and in the forest west of the hydro lines, members of the troupe heard, and some even got glimpses of, the other two Wren species, a Downy and a Pileated Woodpecker, a Raven as well as a Kingfisher.  However, what most attracted the photoists and delighted everyone’s sense of sight were the target wildflower species, the exceedingly rare Fawn Lilies, which are said to grow in only a few locations on the BC mainland.  Both the white and the rarer pink species were in full bloom, and there were other blossoms such as Trillium, Scylla and wild Bleeding Heart to admire.

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After the uneventful walk back down from the knoll through the bog area to the Lagoon, it was decided to look for Wilson’s Snipes encountered on a previous occasion near the Bald Eagles’ nest.  Although that quest did not meet with success, everyone agreed that it was another fabulous DNCB outing.  After all, the weather had been excellent, the wildflowers were gorgeous, the scenery was great and roughly 40 avian species had been seen and/or heard.

As a finale to a great day, several participants decided to have lunch and probably a barley beverage at Big Ridge Pub in Surrey.

at Big Ridge pub (P&A)

at Big Ridge pub (P&A)

They then visited the family of Great Horned Owls residing near Tom’s home in Ladner.  Photos taken depict an adult and two fluffy chicks, one in the nest and the other exploring the tree on foot and beak.

Report by Al Schulze

Next DNCB Outing Wednesday, April 15th to Blaine Harbor & Semiahmoo
– leave Petra’s at 7:30 am, some will carpool from Peace Arch parking lot behind Duty Free 8:00.  In Blaine, RIGHT at first roundabout, park on Marine Drive ~8:30 am (see MAP)

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Filed under *DNCB, Bald Eagle, Brydon Lagoon, Great Horned Owl, Hi-Knoll Park, Northern Harrier, Red-tailed Hawk

DNCB Outing No. 2015-13 to Several Ladner Parks in Delta

DNCB at Ladner Harbour Park (KB) click on photo to see large version

DNCB at Ladner Harbour Park (KB) click on photo to see large version

Photos by Terry (TC), Glen (GB), Marion (MS), David (DM), Alberto (P&A), Ken (KB) at DNCB Picasa site

Another large, eclectic group of 28 DNCBers enjoyed a gorgeous April Fool’s Day outing in Delta at three/four Ladner Parks.  Hi-lites included, many nesting birds, early Warbler sightings, Kinglets everywhere, and a very pleasant lunch at the Rusty Anchor Pub.  Check out the array of splendid photos of birds, flowers, vistas and people by Marion S, Dave M, Terry C, Roger M, Ken B, Glen B and Alberto and Pascale on our DNCB Picasa site.

Thirteen car-pooled from Petra’s at 7:30 a.m. (note earlier time) and after driving through the Ladner farm fields, we met most of the others at Ladner Harbour Park parking lot at 8:00 a.m.  It was sunny and warm and the birds were singing in the surrounding trees.  We saw the first of many Ruby- and Golden-crowned Kinglets here.

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Lots of common birds too; House Finches, Dark-eyed Juncos, Song and Golden-crowned Sparrows.  We heard a Ring-necked Pheasant too.  To get the Group Photo burden off my mind, Roger took a shot of 20 plus of us near the picnic shelter.  It’s a nightmare corralling obstreperous birders for a photo (I love big words, even when I don’t know what they mean).

The large group was a bit unwieldy, so we wandered along the not-too-muddy paths in scattered groups, avoiding off-leash dog walkers as much as we could.  Both Anna’s and Rufous Hummingbirds were seen, occasionally flashing their brilliant gorges.

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Bushtits were fascinating as they fabricated their hanging nests, seemingly unaware of us nosy birders.

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Varied Thrushes occasionally made an appearance.  A pair of Bald Eagles was breaking and collecting sticks for a nest, which we think may have been started, and perhaps used by Red-tailed Hawks we saw there last year.

Two Mourning Doves caught our attention.  We don’t see many Mourning Doves anymore as the Eurasian-collared Dove has taken over.  We saw Mourning Doves at Ladner Harbour Park last year as well, and it is one of the few places in Delta where this once-common species is still seen.

Mourning Dove (DM)

Mourning Dove (DM)

We wandered on a narrower path through trees and bushes to the marsh and shore of the south arm of the Fraser River.  The tide was out and the water was like glass.  Marsh Wrens were building nests in the bull rushes.

Duck species in the river included Common Mergansers, Green-winged Teal, Gadwall, Greater Scaup, Northern Pintail, Northern Shoveler, American Wigeon and Mallards; several Greater Yellowlegs too.  Lots of Woodpeckers around, mostly Downy and Northern Flicker.

At the end of the Park trail, at the “Ludicrous Lookout”, Ken took another Group Photo of all 28 of us.  On the walk back to the parking lot, we heard Pacific Wrens singing and then Ken & Anne found a nesting pair in the roof of the picnic shelter.  Fantastic sighting, but we didn’t bother them for long.

Next stop, with contumacious Roger (look it up) leading from the rear, was the Cove Links Slough Trail (my name for it) off Ferry Road, where both Harris’s and White-throated Sparrows have been reported.  On entering the trail we were thrilled as Yellow-rumped Warblers were easily seen low in the trees.  Lots more Kinglets and several Brown Creepers around too; a pair of Creepers was building a nest in a hole in the trunk of a tree.

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This happened to be near another American Robin pair nesting.

American Robin (MS)

American Robin (MS)

We saw our third Wren species here when a Bewick’s Wren appeared.

Bewick's Wren (DM)

Bewick’s Wren (DM)

In the slough, a female Hooded Merganser seemed to follow us as we strolled down the path.  A couple of pairs of beautiful Wood Ducks were also in the slough; hope they nest in the boxes on shore and don’t get raided by Racoons as happened last year.  While enjoying the sun and view on the walking bridge over the slough, we spotted a Cooper’s Hawk posing for us on a stump; neat sighting.

DM_COHA_DSC_3206

Cooper’s Hawk (DM)

Anne M and Roger eventually saw the White-throated Sparrow, but not the Harris’s Sparrow.

Approaching 11:00 a.m. we moved on to the third Ladner park, South Arm Marshes Wildlife Management Area, just a bit further down Ferry Road.  We walked the trail to the Lookout and saw several of the same species as earlier.  We heard a Common Yellowthroat Warbler but couldn’t find it.  The view and warm sun at the Lookout were both dazzling; however the Eagles and Red-tailed Hawks circling above us and our grumbling stomachs told us it was time to leave.  Ten of us went down the road to the Rusty Anchor Pub where my Clam Chowder soup, Beef Dip and two pints of draught beer hit the spot.P&A_DNCB_ladner2  Others went to Reifel (4th Ladner park); check out Marion’s photos on our Picasa site.  We got back to Tsawwassen around 2:00 p.m. without using a drop of gasoline in Anne’s new electric Volt.  Another awesome DNCB outing.

Next Wednesday, April 8, we will meet at and leave from Petra’s at 7:30 a.m. for Brydon Lagoon and Hi-Knoll Park in Langley.  For those joining us there we expect to be at the parking lot by Brydon Lagoon (on 53 Ave between 198 St & 199 St) about 8:15 a.m.

Don’t forget our Delta Nats monthly meeting on Tuesday, April 7 at 7:30 p.m. at the Benediction Lutheran Church in Tsawwassen.  Larry Cowan will be giving a pictorial Presentation on “A Peruvian Birding Adventure – Lima to the heart of the Amazon”.

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

Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists’ Society

P.S. Because the DNCB participants love their name in print, the 28 were (without my Descriptors): Jean G, Marion S, Mike B, Marian P, Roger K, Fern F, Anne M, Alberto & Pascale, Terry C, Liz S, Pauline O, Donna T, David M, Otto S, Kirsten W, Kathy E, Al S, Hans-Ulf S, Gerhard L, Bryan & Janet, Ken & Anne, John Mac, Glen B, Roger M and me.

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Filed under *DNCB, Bald Eagle, Cooper's Hawk, Ladner Harbour Park, Ladner S.Arm Marsh, Mourning Dove, Red-tailed Hawk, Ring-necked Pheasant, White-throated Sparrow

DNCB Outing No. 2015-12 to Queen Elizabeth Park, Vancouver

DNCB at QE Park (photo by Roger) click on photo to see large version

DNCB at QE Park (photog. Roger not in photo) click on photo to see large version

Photos by Marion (MS), Jim (JK), Liz (LS), Terry (TC), Glen (GB), David M (DM) and Pascale & Alberto (P&A) at Picasa website

Twenty-two DNCBers enjoyed our last Tuesday morning of birding (Wednesdays next month) at Queen Elizabeth Park and the Bloedel Conservatory in Vancouver.  Hi-lites included a Barred Owl, beautiful Spring blossoms and early flowers, about 50 new species on our tour of the Bloedel Conservatory, and a lovely lunch at Cravings.  Check-out the very colourful photos on our DNCB Picasa site.

Nine of us car-pooled from Petra’s at 8:00 a.m.  Rush hour traffic was a bit heavy, especially on Cambie St., but we got to the tennis court parking lot just after 8:45 a.m.  The rest of the group were already studying the Ruby-crowned Kinglets and Pine Siskins in the conifers next to the parked vehicles.

Lots of evidence of Red-breasted Sapsuckers too, but we couldn’t locate any on our search of its normal hang-out trees.  We did see Downy Woodpeckers and Northern Flickers.

We started our walk through the flower beds from the golf shop.  No hummingbirds at the feeder (workers were there), but we saw several Anna’s during the morning, but no Rufous Hummingbirds.

After finally corralling everyone from their wanderings and “courtesy” breaks, Roger took the obligatory Group Photo by the golf shop.

We proceeded along the “lower trail” and Hutton’s Vireos along with Fox and Song Sparrows were in the bushes.  Robins around too and a couple of Varied Thrush gave us some nice poses.

Varied Thrush (TC)

Varied Thrush (TC)

We saw several pairs of Bushtits making nests which thrilled Liz (and others).  Pacific Wrens were buzzing too and some even saw and photographed one or two.

We saw more Kinglets and Mary heard Golden-crowned but no one was able to photograph them.  Although we were early for most of the flowers, several species were in full bloom and the gardens were gorgeous.

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It’s amazing what has been done to this former quarry.  And the view from the hilltop of the city and mountains behind was exhilarating, despite it being a cloudy morning.

We searched the big trees at the bottom for the Barred Owl, in vain, but heard Brown Creepers.  Most then just wandered the paths aimlessly, chatting predictably about their “amazing” sightings on other days.  Meanwhile Keener Kirsten found the Barred Owl, so we traipsed down to see it.

TC_Bloedel_Conservatory_IMG_2059

(TC)

Roger opened a few pellets below it and noted that this owl was feeding on rats, unlike our Delta owls that eat mostly smaller voles.  We got back up to the top in front of the Bloedel Conservatory at about 11:30 a.m.

(RM)

(RM)

 

Although not planned, we decided to take advantage of the Group Rate and 14 of us toured the Conservatory.  About 200 exotic birds live inside and you can see some beaut photos on our Picasa site, and in the slideshow below.  The Bird Watcher’s Check List was very helpful in identifying these brilliant parrots, macaws, finches and other exotic species from Africa, Asia, Australia and South America.  Mike even had a friendly chat with Kramer, the Moluccan Cockatoo.

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We left the Park round 12:30 p.m. and nine of us went for lunch at Cravings Restaurant on 72nd Avenue near the Oak Street Bridge.  I splurged on the chicken & fig linguine with the mandatory pint of lager.  We got back to Petra’s shortly after 2:00 p.m.; another almost-fantastic DNCB outing.

Next Wednesday (not Tuesday), April 1, we will meet at and leave from Petra’s at 7:30 a.m. (not 8:00 a.m.) on an outing to Ladner Harbour and the South Arm Marsh Parks.  Check out our DNCB website for reports, photos and info on future DNCB Outing Destinations and other Delta Nats stuff.  As always, comments welcome and let me know if these meandering missives annoy you and you want off my list.  Cheers: Tom

Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists’ Society

P.S. Participants (21) were: Photogs Roger M, Terry C, Marion S, Liz S, Glen B , Alberto & Pascale, Jim K. Others included Guru Mary T, Rob & Marylile, David M, Richmond’s Bill and Donna, affable Otto, Mikie B, Patrick O G and garbling Gerhard, Keener Kirsten, Aussie Nance and me.

Next DNS Meeting: Tuesday April 7, speaker Larry Cowan on “A Peruvian Birding Adventure – Lima to the heart of the Amazon”, at Benediction Lutheran Church, Tsawwassen.

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Filed under Barred Owl, Bloedel Conservatory, Queen Elizabeth Park

DNCB Outing No. 2015-11 to Iona Regional Park

DNCB at Iona (minus wayward “Rail Searchers” & JB) (KB)

DNCB at Iona (minus wayward “Rail Searchers” & Janice B) (KB) click on photo to see large version

Photos by Glen (GB), Ken (KB) and Pascale & Alberto (P&A)

Almost 30 (actually 28-see names at end) DNCBer’s toured Iona Regional Park and the adjacent Sewage Lagoons on another dry and comfortable Tuesday morning.  Hi-lites included lots of Waterfowl species, a few Shorebirds, lots of idle chatter with Newbies, and a tasty lunch at the Flying Beaver on the Fraser.  Check out the photo evidence on our DNCB Picasa site.

Nine of us left Petra’s at 8:00 a.m. in three vehicles; good carpooling for using the HOV lanes.  Driving past the airport we saw a “non-tagged” Red-tailed Hawk and a couple of Ravens.  Mary T also saw a small flock of Dowitchers, and some others even saw a Short-eared Owl on the Airport fence.

jailbird – Short-eared Owl (KB)

We met the masses at the Iona parking lot at 8:40 a.m.  While giving the Intro Welcome, we watched three Common Mergansers and a few Lesser Scaup in the unusually flat and quiet front pond.  Lots of Marsh Wrens and colourful Red-winged Blackbirds around as well as Tree Swallows already guarding many of Peter & Ken H’s Boxes.

A few Violet Green Swallows were flitting over the pond too, but we did not identify any other Swallow species.  We meandered over to the beach and the Georgia Strait to check for Shorebirds.  None seen as the tide was low and the rafts of ducks (Northern Pintail, Surf Scoters) were far out.  We were aghast with the removal of the brush that used to cover this area and where we often saw rare “vagrants”.  There were two Bald Eagles on a log in the water.

Ken took the obligatory Group Photo here with the Strait behind and the brilliant morning sun facing us.  Of course, the wayward “Rail Searchers” Roger, Otto and Mike were absent as was time-challenged Janice B.

No Terns here either, so we began our walk back through the Park.  A Pied-billed Grebe was in the middle of the first pond and a Ring-necked Duck was skulking among the reeds.  Lots of Tree Swallows were pairing up on the nestboxes.

Virginia Rails were calling and some eventually saw one.  Both Ruby- and Golden-crowned Kinglets were seen as were other LBJ’s (Song, Golden-crowned and Fox Sparrows, House Finches, possible Savannah Sparrow).  The paths have been widened and cleared of Blackberry bushes by Metro Vancouver, so walking was very easy.  A large flock of Snow Geese flew over us and landed in its usual spot on the north side of the Fraser.

When we got to the Sewage Pond Gate a calamity occurred.  Our combination didn’t work, and the gate would not open.  Alberto & Anne A volunteered to walk around to enter at the front gate and then open this back gate for us.  Meanwhile, while waiting, we surveyed along the fence, saw a huge Painted Turtle, Marsh Wrens, Great-Blue Herons, Spotted Towhees, etc.  Our newbie “Monkey Wayne” decided to climb the fence over the barbed wire and tried the gate door from the other side.  It wouldn’t work.  So we adopted Plan B.  We left the Martyrs Alberto, Anne B and Wayne on the other side, and continued our walk back through Iona to the River.  Chivalrous Ken agreed to drive around to save them.

Not much seen in the treed area by the banding hut. We blanked on the Wilson’s Snipe although Monica saw it a little while later.  A few Gadwall, American Wigeons and Northern Pintail were around the log booms in the river.  No activity yet at the Purple Martin Boxes, and Yellow-headed Blackbirds have not yet arrived.  A glorious flock of Trumpeter Swans glided in to join the Snow Geese on the other side of the river.

We hurried back to the parking lot to drive to the front gate of the Sewage Ponds.

The combination worked at the front gate and the ponds were full of waterfowl.  Lots of Lesser Scaup (of course, only Roger saw a Greater Scaup among them), Northern Shovelers, Northern Pintail, Gadwall, American Coots, American Wigeon, Mallards and a few neat Ring-necked Ducks.  And Canada Geese, some threatening passersby on the path.  The Tufted Duck and Redhead have left the area.

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Marian found a Killdeer wandering among the ducks in the mud and near a few Brewer’s Blackbirds.  Someone saw Brown-headed Cowbirds too.  Lots of Bald Eagles still around, but we saw no falcons or other raptors.  As I am writing this, I have come to the conclusion that we didn’t see a helluva lot of exciting stuff this morning. I think our/my expectations are too high as Iona is always an exciting birding spot.  Nonetheless, the inane conversations were, as usual, inane.  And most seem to have a fun morning.  Frankly, I did, and that’s what counts.

We left the ponds just after 11:30 a.m.  (I wrote my gate frustration in the Birder’s Report in the boook at the Gate).  About 10 of us went to the Flying Beaver along the other arm of the Fraser near the South Terminal.  The Fish & Chips and two beer were magnificent as we sat on the outside patio in the sun.  A few Trumpeters, a lonely Mute Swan and a Double-crested Cormorant entertained Mary T as the Gulf Island Float Planes loaded and took off.  Another awesome DNCB outing.

Next Tuesday, March 24 we will leave from Petra’s at 8:00 a.m. for Queen Elizabeth Park.  I expect to be at the QE Park parking lot above the tennis courts by the Golf Course around 8:45 a.m.  As always, comments welcome and check out the other Reports and Photos here on our DNCB website, let me know if these long-winded, boring reports irk you and you want off my List.  Cheers: Tom

Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists’ Society

The 28 DNCBers were: Roger M, Mikie B, always loquacious Otto, Marian P, Jean G & Pauline O, time-challenged Janice B, our newbie “Monkey” Wayne G, White Rock Al and his single harem Alice, garrulous Gerhard, Pascale & Alberto, Martyrs Anne & Ken, Roger K, Aussie Nance, Kathy E, Richmond Donna, newbie Lidia, Dutch Tom and his friend Edmonton Joe, Johnny Mac (fitting appearance on St. Paddy’s Day), Guru Mary T, Kirsten W, Sheila Y, photog Glen and me.


Nature Vancouver Photo Competition Results
Annual Nature Vancouver photography contest will take place next Thurs, March 26 at Unitarian Church, 949 W. 49th, Vancouver, at 7:30.  Everyone is welcome, and the show is usually well attended.  There is a parking lot, and plenty of street parking if the lot is full.  Terry, Marion and Ursula usually enter a full slate of 10 photos.  It is a great learning opportunity as Ron Long gives out bits of constructive criticism during the show, plus you get to see what others are doing.  Marion Shikaze

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