DNCB Outing No. 2019-11 to Iona Regional Park

Twenty-eight DNCBers enjoyed a record warm (24˚C) Tuesday morning at Iona Regional Park.  There were tonnes of birds around on this gorgeous walk, many in beautiful breeding plumage; check out some spectacular photos on our DNCB Flickr site.  Hi-lite, less common, species seen today were Mountain Bluebirds, Say’s Phoebe (BBRP), Canvasbacks and Northern Shrike.  Roger saw an American Bittern at Reifel.

Some car-pooled from Petra’s at 7:30 am and others drove directly to the Iona RP parking lot.  Traffic was light, it being Spring Break, and the horde of folk were almost all there by 8:15 am.  The beautiful weather seemed to stimulate the Chatfest and it was a real test to herd the group for Jim’s mandatory Group Photo. 


DNCB at Iona – photo by Jim Kneesch

As the photo was being taken, a flock of Trumpeter Swans V’d along the Fraser, and newly-arrived Tree and Violet-green Swallows hawked insects around us.  Among the raft of Lesser Scaup in the front pond were Bufflehead, Ring-necked Ducks and entertaining Hooded Mergansers.  One of many small flocks of Lesser Snow Geese flew over too for their photo shoot.  It was a magnificent start to the day.

We started our walk to the path between the two ponds.  Lots of little birds around and we got excited to see Marsh Wrens and American Goldfinches (almost a Western Tanager), as well as the regular common sparrow and finch species (Juncos, Towhees, etc.).  A Pied-billed Grebe was in the north pond and some saw Brewer’s Blackbirds among the many Red-winged Blackbirds, and Northern Flickers.  Sadly, we were blanked on Warblers this day, a bit early for them.

We entered the back gate to the Sewage Ponds and there were large numbers of waterfowl in all four ponds.  The odour didn’t bother them.  Among the rafts of Lesser Scaup and Northern Pintail were lots of other species: Northern Shovelers, Green-winged Teal, Gadwall, American Coots, American Wigeon and Mallards.  Someone probably picked out a Greater Scaup among the Lessers.  A perched Northern Shrike pleasantly surprised us.  Then we found four Canvasbacks in the southeast pond.  The only shorebird seen today was a Killdeer in the southwest pond where, interestingly, there were at least four Raccoons snuggled together in the crotch of the Bald Eagle nest tree.

We left the “Lagoons” and walked the path along the Fraser.  I enjoy seeing the log booms, tugs and barges along this working river, which didn’t phase the Snow Geese and gulls along the shore. Roger photographed a Cooper’s Hawk which no one else saw. Others got shots of a gliding Northern Harrier.  Back at the Bay, the tide was way out now so the birds were far out too. Approaching 11:00 am, I left the group for my 12:25 pm Tee Time for Opening Day of the Men’s Club at Tsawwassen Springs Golf Course.

Some of the group carried on at Boundary Bay Regional Park in search of the Mountain Bluebirds which arrived this past weekend.  Surprisingly, they found a Say’s Phoebe before 14 stopped for lunch at the Rose & Crown Pub.  Apparently the Guinness Draught left over from St. Paddy’s Day was a hit, along with the soup & sandwich special.  According to Brian’s eBird List (see below), we saw 41 species at Iona.  Although I left early, it was another glorious DNCB outing.

The twenty-eight were: Roger M & Mike B, returning “Afrikaners” David & Noreen, Guru Anne, WRS Liz, Richmond’s Brian A & Angela A, Vancouverites Kirsten W & newbie Margaret P, Aussie Nance, Ladner’s Bryan & Masae & Jack Mac, North Delta Pat S & Johnny Mac, North Van Richard, Boundary Bay Val W, White Rock Colin, Nats Bird Box Team’s Peter W, Jim K, Mike B2, Roger 2K & Saskatchewan Syd, our Organizer Terry C, our Flickr Magician Glen, our other Guru Mary T and me.

Next Tuesday, March 26, being Spring Break we changed our destination to Stanley Park.  We’ll leave Petra’s at 7:30 am and meet others around 8:15-8:30 am at the Second Beach/Swimming Pool parking area.

For more info, reports and photos, check our website.  As always, your comments are appreciated, and let me know if these weekly moronic missives make you miserable, and you want off my email list.  Cheers: Tom

Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists Society 

eBird Checklist Summary for: Mar 19, 2019 at 7:00 AM to Mar 19, 2019 at 11:00 PM
Number of Checklists: 1. Number of Taxa: 41

Checklists included in this summary:
(1): Iona Island (general)
Date: Mar 19, 2019 at 7:46 AM

1 Snow Goose — (1)
6 Canada Goose — (1)
45 Trumpeter Swan — (1)
12 Northern Shoveler — (1)
12 Gadwall — (1)
100 American Wigeon — (1)
150 Mallard — (1)
250 Northern Pintail — (1)
4 Green-winged Teal (American) — (1)
4 Canvasback — (1)
3 Ring-necked Duck — (1)
600 Lesser Scaup — (1)
1 Bufflehead — (1)
4 Hooded Merganser — (1)
1 Pied-billed Grebe — (1)
5 American Coot (Red-shielded) — (1)
2 Killdeer — (1)
1 Mew Gull — (1)
1 Ring-billed Gull — (1)
1 Glaucous-winged Gull — (1)
27 Great Blue Heron (Blue form) — (1)
2 Northern Harrier — (1)
2 Bald Eagle — (1)
2 Northern Flicker — (1)
1 Northern Shrike — (1)
1 Northwestern Crow — (1)
1 Common Raven — (1)
30 Tree Swallow — (1)
1 Violet-green Swallow — (1)
X Black-capped Chickadee — (1)
4 Marsh Wren — (1)
12 American Robin — (1)
100 European Starling — (1)
3 House Finch — (1)
5 American Goldfinch — (1)
1 Fox Sparrow (Sooty) — (1)
4 Golden-crowned Sparrow — (1)
12 Song Sparrow — (1)
10 Spotted Towhee — (1)
24 Red-winged Blackbird — (1)
3 Brewer’s Blackbird — (1)

Posted in American Bittern, Canvasback, Cooper's Hawk, Hooded Merganser, Iona, Lesser Snow Goose, Mountain Bluebird, Northern Harrier, Northern Shrike, Pied-billed Grebe, Raccoon, Ring-necked Duck, Say's Phoebe, Trumpeter Swan | Leave a comment

DNCB Birds on the Bay Outing No. 2019-10 in Boundary Bay Regional Park

A large group of 35, including several Newbies, participated in our quarterly Birds on the Bay outing in Boundary Bay Regional Park on Wednesday. It was a bit overcast, but a very pleasant walk in the park with lots of waterfowl and a few neat sightings. Check out the photo evidence on our DNCB Flickr site.

We met at historic Cammidge House at 9:00 am, registered the Newbies, I gave a brief introduction to our paradisiacal park, Jim took one of several mandatory Group Photos, then we started the masses on the amble toward the beach.

BOTB starting group, at Cammidge House photo by Jim Kneesch

Debbi H saw a Wilson’s Snipe earlier around a condo pond near the Park entrance. Tonnes of Bald Eagles around, and hundreds of ducks and geese in the Bay, but not a lot of little birds seen. The native plant pond near the picnic shelters was crowded with Mallards, American Wigeon, a pair of Northern Shovelers and one Northern Pintail. Someone saw a Eurasian Wigeon. Lots of vividly-coloured European Starlings and Redwing Blackbirds there too, and the resident Brewer’s Blackbirds were seen later.

The tide was very high at the beach and no shorebirds seen (some saw Sanderling later). There were several large rafts of birds in the distance. We recognized Surf Scoters and Greater Scaup, along with many Brant, with the aid of Newbie Chris’s scope.  A pair of Red-breasted Mergansers and a Bufflehead were a bit closer to shore.

We walked the trail looking for song birds and it was very quiet, except for the drone of the continuous chatfest. I have learned over years of Casual Birding that many participants enjoy discussing, travels, recipes, grandkids, shopping bargains, weather, sports and politicians as much as seeing a bird. It’s all good.

We did see some little birds: Anna’s Hummingbirds, Song & Golden-crowned Sparrows, Spotted Towhees, American Robins, Northern Flickers to name a few. A couple of Northern Harriers glided by. Jim took another group photo at the Lookout, with an adult Bald Eagle perched in a tree and fantasizing over us.

BOTB at Lookout – photo by Jim Kneesch

We finally found shorebirds, four Greater Yellowlegs near the Pump House, with a bunch of Green-winged Teal (no Common Teal found today).

Greater Yellowlegs – photo by Jim Kneesch

Lots of gulls there too including: Mew, Ring-billed, Glaucous-winged and Iceland (aka Thayer’s).  Fly-overs of a few Trumpeter Swans and a V of Lesser Snow Geese was impressive. Check out Richmond Brian’s sightings of 30 species on our eBird DNCBlist.

We were unusually quicker on this outing and several got back to Cammidge House before 11:30 am. About half the group didn’t want to rush the lunch ladies, so returned to the pond and then the beach… in addition to great looks at the Brewer’s Blackbirds, there were about 60 Sanderlings further up the beach, Terry got pics & Brian recorded them on eBird (see list below, which is also at https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S53799868).

The Delta Nats Ladies (Rochelle, Jennifer & Elizabeth) were waiting at Cammidge House, smiling with their array of scrumptious home-made goodies (Jennifer’s scones, Elizabeth’s cake & cookies, Sandra’s legendary egg salad sandwiches), all wolfed down in typical DNCB fashion, along with Rochelle’s fruits, cheeses, crackers and drinks (no beer).  The comradery continued around the table until everyone was gone by Noon.  I even made my Wednesday Noon Hockey at Richmond Ice Centre, albeit a bit late. Another awesome BOTB outing.

The 35 were: Delta Nats Ladies Rochelle, Elizabeth & Jennifer, our Organizer Terry C, Photogs Jim K, Glen B, sisters Pat & Maureen with Manli, Newbies Coquitlam’s Chris & Evelyn, Ladner Julia, Tsawwassen Rene, Ladner Bryan & Masae, Richmond Brian (our eBird Lister), Debbi H and daughter & international birder Kathryn, Richmond Angela A, our website guru Ken & Anne, cyclist Margaretha & Gabriele, Mike B & Mike B2, Burnaby Marion S, Langley Field Naturalists Anne G & Joanne R, returnees Marylile M & Rob M,  North Van Richard, Roger K, Tsawwassen Pam, Boundary Bay Valerie W and me.

Next Tuesday, March 19, we’ll meet at and leave from Petra’s at 7:30 am for Iona Regional Park, meeting others at the washroom parking lot at 8:15 am.

For more info on outings, reports, events 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 this annoying weekly drivel. Cheers: Tom

Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists Society

eBird list by Brian Avent

Location: Tsawwassen–Centennial Beach Boundary Bay, Metro Vancouver District, British Columbia, CA ( Map ) ( Hotspot )
Duration: 2 hour(s), 6 minute(s) Distance: 4.844 kilometer(s)
Date and Effort: Wed Mar 13, 2019 9:08 AM
Species: 30 species (+1 other taxa)

40 Snow Goose flyover
500 Brant (Black)
9 Trumpeter Swan flyover
3 Northern Shoveler
300 American Wigeon
100 Mallard
1 Mallard x American Black Duck (hybrid) Question as to whether this bird can be considered a pure Black Duck
X Northern Pintail
4 Green-winged Teal (American)
200 Greater Scaup several large flocks lifting off water in AM
X Surf Scoter large flock on bay in distance, probably mostly surf scoter.
2 Red-breasted Merganser
2 Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon)
4 Anna’s Hummingbird
60 Sanderling
1 Wilson’s Snipe
X Mew Gull
X Glaucous-winged Gull
2 Great Blue Heron (Blue form)
2 Northern Harrier
15 Bald Eagle
3 Northern Flicker
X Northwestern Crow
1 Black-capped Chickadee
10 American Robin
2 European Starling
1 Golden-crowned Sparrow
5 Spotted Towhee
18 Red-winged Blackbird
4 Brewer’s Blackbird
4 House Sparrow
Additional species seen by terrance carr:
2 Greater Yellowlegs
Posted in Bald Eagle, BBRP, Birds-on-the-Bay, Centennial Beach, Eurasian Wigeon, Mew Gull, Northern Harrier, Red-breasted Merganser, Thayer's Gull, Wilson's Snipe | Leave a comment

DNCB Outing No. 2019-09 to De Boville Slough and Pitt Meadows

It was another cool but gorgeous Tuesday morning when 18 DNCBers walked the dyke trail along De Boville Slough in Coquitlam, then drove somewhere in Maple Ridge to see the Northern Hawk Owl.  Check out the photo evidence on our DNCB Flickr site.

Eight of us left Petra’s at 7:30 am and the drive to Coquitlam was uncharacteristically smooth and fast via highway 17 and the Port Mann Bridge.  We got to the new washroom parking lot at the entrance to De Boville Slough at 8:30 am, right on time.  We met the others, and, following the introductory chatfest, we started our walk along the Port Coquitlam Dyke Trail toward Pitt River.  First priority was the mandatory Group Photo, which, after the usual guffawing, Roger took it, not including time-challenged Jean G nor the wayward Maureen on the other trail.


DNCB at De Boville – minus Jean G & Maureen – photo by Roger Meyer

Not a lot of bird activity, but the walk in the sun with the Blueberry fields and tidal marsh slough on each side of the trail, and the snow-capped mountains in the distance, was magical.  We did see about 30 species on the day (check Richmond Brian’s eBird report below for details).  Initial sightings were common birds such as Anna’s Hummingbirds,

Northern Flickers (four together), Green-winged Teal, sparrows, blackbirds, robins, etc.  A Muskrat aroused some interest, as did Coyote scat, but no Bear scat yet.


Muskrat (BA)

When we reached the Pitt River, 1.5 miles according to Roger’s Walk Calculator, there was some neat waterfowl among the pylons in the water: Common Goldeneye, Bufflehead and Hooded Mergansers, and a Harbour Seal.

The walk back was uneventful until we reached the large water pipes at the entrance.  Two American Dippers were “dipping” among the rocks at the pipe entrance for beaut views and photos.


American Dipper (TC)

Roger’s Bird of the Day.  We drove a long convoluted drive through Coquitlam to somewhere else and the Northern Hawk Owl location.  As per Birding Protocol, the location of the bird remains a secret.  When we arrived at this secret location, the Photogs were in attendance as we made the 20 minute trail walk to them and the Bird.  The sloughs between the trail and Cranberry fields had interesting activity too:

Hooded Merganser (male) (BA)

pairs of Hooded Mergansers, Pied-billed Grebes, colourful Eurasian Wigeon among the American Wigeons, and Terry spotted a Golden-crowned Kinglet.  The Hawk Owl was magnificent, posing in a tree, then on a post next to the Blueberry fields, both spots only 20 feet from the trail.

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When the NHOW flew from the tree across the trail to the post, the photogs raced to get closer.  Our Nats yelled protective instructions, and they stopped, except one photog who proceeded to set up his huge lens about four feet from the bird.  He hid his face with his hood as the curses came from others.  Fortunately the bird stayed perched and, approaching 12:30 pm, we decided to leave for home.

The drive back was quicker and smoother than expected too, as I got back to Tsawwassen and entered the Rose & Crown Pub at 1:30 pm.  The Lunch Special of Grilled Ham & Cheese & Vege/Rice Soup, with the two Mikes (I shared their chips), and served by the lovely Leila, was delicious, of course along with two pints of Canadian Lager, also on Special.  I got home in time to take Sandra to Walmart and then pick up grandson Thomas at DayCare, before attending our informative and interesting Nats meeting and Misty MacDuffee’ s presentation on Resident Killer Whales.  Another awesome DNCB Day.  Plus, as I’m typing this, I learned I have another Grandson born 20 minutes ago.

We 18 were: Roger & Rose, Bryan & Masae, Pat & Maureen, Liz & Mary T, Marion, Kristin & Jean G, Mike B & Mike B2,  Terry & Valerie W, Glen B, Richmond Brian and me.

Going to Wednesday Noon Hockey, will complete this report later.

Now Thursday afternoon, March 7, I’m pleased to report that 2nd grandson Callum Scott Bearss Malcolm arrived at 10:49 am yesterday, 8.1 lbs, all healthy and happy.

Next Wednesday (not Tuesday), March 13 is our quarterly Birds on the Bay outing in Boundary Bay Regional Park.  We will meet at and leave from Cammidge House at 9:00 am on our 2 ½ hour amble around the Park.

For more info on our outings, reports and photos, check out our website.  As always, your comments are welcome, and let me know if these homely missives annoy you and you want off my email list.  Cheers: Tom

Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists Society

Combined eBird List (Brian Avent)

Number of Checklists: 2
Number of Taxa: 28

Checklists included in this summary:
(1): Maple Ridge CA-BC
Date: Mar 5, 2019 at 11:36 AM
(2): DeBoville Slough, Coquitlam
Date: Mar 5, 2019 at 8:45 AM

1 Canada Goose — (2)
1 Eurasian Wigeon — (1)
20 American Wigeon — (1)
18 Mallard — (1),(2)
7 Green-winged Teal — (2)
7 Green-winged Teal (American) — (1)
2 Bufflehead — (2)
3 Common Goldeneye — (2)
6 Hooded Merganser — (1),(2)
1 Common Merganser (North American) — (2)
2 Pied-billed Grebe — (1)
7 Anna’s Hummingbird — (2)
1 Glaucous-winged Gull — (2)
3 Great Blue Heron (Blue form) — (2)
1 Northern Harrier — (2)
1 Northern Hawk Owl — (1)
7 Northern Flicker — (2)
10 Northwestern Crow — (1),(2)
1 Common Raven — (2)
8 Black-capped Chickadee — (2)
1 Pacific Wren — (2)
2 American Dipper — (2)
1 kinglet sp. — (2)
24 American Robin — (2)
12 European Starling — (2)
1 Dark-eyed Junco (Oregon) — (2)
10 Song Sparrow — (2)
12 Spotted Towhee — (2)

Posted in *DNCB, American Dipper, DeBoville Slough, Eurasian Wigeon, Harbour Seal, Hooded Merganser, Muskrat, Northern Hawk Owl, Pied-billed Grebe | Leave a comment

DNCB Outing No. 2019-08 to Tsawwassen Ferry Jetty, TFN and Reifel Bird Sanctuary

With a weather report of a strong wind from Squamish producing a minus 13 degree wind chill, I was amazed to find Petra’s DNCB table crowded with 10 dedicated birders.  It was mind-numbing just to picture us on the unprotected ferry jetty trying to hold our binoculars steady!  However, when we reached it we found a light breeze but a bit of a chop on the water and a workable plus 3 degree temperature.

Check out the photo evidence on our DNCB Flickr site.
Now, up to 12 participants, we scanned the north side of the jetty where most of the birds were on the spit enclosing the compensation pond.  Huddled together was a mat of several hundred Dunlin, scattered American Wigeon, Pintail, Gadwall American Coots, Mallards and a Brant Goose.  On the water were a number of  scattered Bufflehead.  Crossing over the highway to the south side we found a single Black Oystercatcher and a few Harlequin along the shore line with small flocks of Surf Scoters, a few Common Loons and Double-crested Cormorants.  The angle of the morning sun, low above the water made if very difficult to determine other species.  Also seen were Canada Geese, Brant and Snow Geese.  (Check the link to Brian’s e-Bird report for a full listing of the species seen… I’m not going to include all the Robins, Starlings, House Sparrows and such.  Not that I don’t like those birds, but let’s assume they are everywhere we go!)

Leaving the ferry jetty, we wound our way through the TFN lands where we saw little until we reached the recently constructed ponds at the north end just before the overpass to the Super Port.  The ponds contained numerous ducks including Northern Shovelers, Mallards, Buffleheads, Gadwall, Green-winged Teal and some coots.   In the rushes we could see the Red-winged Blackbirds which were calling.  Debbi sighted a Northern Shrike on a wire and we all managed a good look at it.  Northern Harriers were cruising over the marsh, and the Bald Eagles were everywhere.  Across the road from where we had parked we noticed a hawk sitting on a dirt pile.  It was partly  camouflaged by tall grass but when it was spooked by us trying to get a good angle for a photo it flew and we could see it was a juvenile Red-tailed Hawk.  Notice I’m not mentioning Robins, and the different sparrows that are in all the locations we visited!

Moving on, we crossed the Delta Port highway and turned left onto 33A Ave.  This was where Terry and Mike had seen the Rough-legged Hawk the previous week and, sure enough, it was there again.  We watched it for a few moments and lots of photos were taken.

As it was getting close to 9:00 am, we had a very quick look out on the river from the viewpoint on River Road…saw nothing…and carried on to the Westham Island Bridge.  Mike 1 saw two Mute Swans below as we crossed  the bridge.  Nothing of note was seen the rest of the way to Reifel.

Delta Nats at Reifel photo by Jim Kneesch

Arriving at the sanctuary parking lot, we were met by the remaining 6 of our group bringing us up to the 18.  We were very fortunate to be joined by Mary Taitt who has an incredible knowledge of the sanctuary flora and fauna and she was able to point out features we would never have recognized by ourselves.  As usual, with a large number of participants, we managed to get spread out so those at the front may have seen birds those at the back did not, and vice-versa.  Again, see Brian’s e-Bird list for a full account of the birds seen.

Right at the entrance though, a male Anna’s Hummingbird was displaying.  In the yard between Kathleen’s house and the office/gift shop  there were 9 Sandhill Cranes feeding from a bucket of food hanging from the  office wall.  Two Black-crowned Night-Herons were resting in their usual tree and the hoards of ducks, sparrows, pigeons, and blackbirds were mobbing anyone with food.  With us being there at opening time, and the cold weather, the birds were ravenous to the point where some of us were walking about with Red-winged Blackbirds on our  head, shoulders and eating from our hands (I hope someone has posted  photos of this.)  Even the Wood Ducks were sitting on our hands!

Although the slough was partially frozen, we did see a few Common Mergansers in the distance.  Along the trails we came up with all the usual sparrows; Song, Golden-crowned (lots), a Lincoln’s (ouch… I missed that one), lots of Spotted Towhees (more than I’ve ever seen), Dark-eyed Juncos, more Red-winged Blackbirds, a Killdeer (I missed that one as well).  Mary had seen, briefly, a Red-breasted Nuthatch and Anne Murray found a Purple Finch for us.  A Brown Creeper and two Golden-crowned Kinglets were also seen… other ones  I missed.  At Owl Corner (end of the East Dyke path), Mary located three Saw-whet Owls.  Even when pointed out, they were still virtually invisible, and if their pictures are posted I’m sure it will be like “Looking-for-Waldo” trying to separate owl from holly leaves!  I don’t think we would have seen any of them if it weren’t for Mary!

The blind at the end of the short walk left at the end of the East Dyke provided only two Common Mergansers in the distance… far distance.  Turning south we walked the path between the inner slough and the salt marsh looking out towards the ocean.  Brian lists 35 GBH (Great Blue Herons), in one of the little outer canals, and in one we saw a male and female Hooded Merganser. One of us mistook the female for a Ruddy Duck… (I’m too embarrassed to mention his name).  I mean, really, with it’s little tail sticking up and the body crunched in due to the cold… anyone could have made that mistake!  There were a few Northern Shovelers  there as well.  There was no Roseate Spoonbill, in my opinion, behind the tuft of reeds, by the outfall pipe.

The viewing tower showed no birds on the large pond, but looking out onto the shoreline there were spotted patches of Trumpeter Swans, Snow Geese, and large numbers of Dunlin and unidentified gulls.  Several Northern Harriers were cruising the outer marsh, and we had seen several inside the reserve as well.

The trail back on the outer dyke was uneventful except for a few Northern Flickers, however when we reached the pond in front of the viewing platform near the east end of the inner trail (we need a map for this report) there were lots of ducks and American Coots.  These included Hooded Mergansers, Ring-necked Ducks (I want their name changed to Ring-billed), Mallards, Northern Shovelers, etc.  Colin reports a Cooper’s Hawk on a tree in the inner ponds, seen by a trailing group of 4, or 5, near the end of the walk.

Back at the parking lot discussion revolved around lunch arrangements.  Tom, having completed his Flamenco lessons apparently was able to attend this event which I hear later was quote “very tasty”!  I can’t report on that as I was having a very “tasty” sushi lunch with Rose.

I apologize for missed sightings, but we had failed to conscript a blog writer at the time, so you’ve been stuck with me!  Again, thank you Mary Taitt for your wonderful help.

Next week TUESDAY March 5 we will be going to DeBoville Slough & Blakeburn Lagoons in Coquitlam.  We will leave Petra’s at 7:30 and meet at the intersection of Cedar & Victoria Drives about 8:30 am.

Also next TUESDAY March 5 is the DNS monthly meeting, with guest speaker Misty MacDuffee speaking on Southern Resident Killer Whales: Is their time running out?  (7:30 pm at Benediction Lutheran Church)

Roger Meyer

Posted in *DNCB, Bald Eagle, Black Oystercatcher, Black-crowned Night-Heron, Cooper's Hawk, Dunlin, Harlequin Duck, Hooded Merganser, Lincoln’s Sparrow, Mute Swan, Northern Harrier, Northern Saw-whet Owl, Northern Shrike, Purple Finch, Red-tailed Hawk, Reifel, Ring-necked Duck, Rough-legged Hawk, Sandhill Crane, Trumpeter Swan, Tsawwassen Ferry Port | Leave a comment

DNCB Outing No. 2019-07 to Blaine & Semiahmoo Spit, Washington

Twelve DNCBers saw a lot of neat birds in relatively miserable weather on our Tuesday outing to Blaine and Semiahmoo State Park in Washington, USA. Check out the photo evidence on our Flickr site at: https://www.flickr.com/search/?group_id=3027315%40N23&text=2019-07&view_all=1.  Also, you can see Colin’s list of sightings on our eBird DNCBlist.

Photo by Roger Meyer

Some left Petra’s at 7:30 am and all twelve of us eventually met at the Semiahmoo Bay Lookout, just passed the Fish Plant at the end of Marine Drive, at about 8:45 am. The Border was smooth sailing and we had about six vehicles so poor car-pooling. Before meeting at the Lookout, some of us checked out the Marina; very quiet with only a pair of Barrow’s Goldeneye and Glen’s photogenic Great Blue Heron. We blanked on Eared Grebes this day, occasionally seen here.

At the Lookout were lots of Pelagic and Double-crested Cormorants, Harbour Seals, Horned Grebes and Common Loons close by.  The channel was very busy with several boats passing by, loaded with Crab Traps, forcing the rafts of birds further out. Fortunately we had several good scopes. Other sightings here included: Red-throated Loons, Red-necked Grebes, Red-breasted Mergansers, Common Goldeneye, Long-tailed Ducks, Surf and White-winged Scoters, Bufflehead, and Brant Geese. Some saw Pacific Loons, and Mike B2 spotted Sealions lounging on the dock on the other side.

It was still dry, cool and overcast when we left the Lookout and drove through Blaine and around Drayton Harbour to Drayton Road. We stopped at Hillsdale where Colin spotted two weird geese with a Canada Goose; probably domestic hybrids. Green-winged Teal here too, There were tonnes of waterfowl in Drayton Harbour as we drove along to the Semiahmoo Park Museum parking lot where we finally all met again. It was a wayward, divergent group of drivers with us today.

The boardwalks were closed because of damage from last week’s storms, but we got to the shores on both sides of the Spit via side trails. On the Bay side were more of the earlier seen duck species plus a flock of Black Turnstones. On the Harbour side was a flock of Sanderling feeding along the shoreline with three Killdeer. We got good looks here at both Common and Red-throated Loons. It seemed to be getting colder here so I had to put on my new Christmas Fur Trapper Hat.

We continued on to the Semiahmoo Marina where we were entertained with Margaretha’s Muffins and a Belted Kingfisher. Then we walked the path back along the harbour. Both Lesser and Greater Scaup were in the marina, Black Oystercatchers and a Greater Yellowlegs on the shore, and a group of Ruddy Ducks was finally found huddled together among the many Scoters. A few gorgeous Harlequin Ducks were also posing nicely near shore. I felt like the inimitable Roger as I was the only one to see a Canvasback when I split from the group for a short spell.

We all met up again at the Marina and most went to the Resort parking lot. This Lookout was partially closed too as repairs were being made to the pylons, with divers. From the Lookout, we were surprised by a raft of Black Scoters sort of circling right in front of us. For Syd it was a Lifer sighting. Anne saw them “displaying”. We got better looks at Long-tails and Red-breasted Mergansers here too.

It was pissing down rain by now, very uncomfortable, so we entered the Resort for lunch. It was only 11:30 am, and the bonding was almost bearable as we waited for the Noon opening for food (fortunately for some, beverages were served earlier). My Fish & Chips and two Aslan Lager were delicious, but some were not pleased with the 18% Group Surcharge. However, the venue and view in this restaurant is worth it. Drive home in the rain, snow on White Rock hill, was smooth and I was home by 1:30 pm, in time to pick up grandson Thomas at DayCare, vacuum the house, chair a Nats Executive meeting, and then pick up son Scott and his family at airport, returning from their holiday in Palm Springs. Just another awesome DNCB day.

Next Tuesday, February 26, we are going to Tsawwassen Ferry Causeway and Reifel.
We will leave Petras at 7:30 and meet on the causeway at 7:45 and at Reifel at 9.
Our outing to Victoria has been changed to Wednesday, April 3.

Check our website at www.dncb.wordpress.com for more info on this outing, as well as for other DNS info, reports and photos. As always, your comments are welcome, and let me know if you want off my email list to receive these meandering moronic missives. Cheers: Tom

Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists Society

Posted in *DNCB, Black Scoter, Blaine, Blaine Marine Park, Drayton Harbor, Long-tailed Duck, Pacific Loon, Red-throated Loon, Ruddy Duck, Semiahmoo Spit | Leave a comment

DNCB Outing No. 2019-05 to Brunswick Point

Twelve intrepid birders set out in -6 degree weather, which warmed up to -1 before we left the dike. We were Mike B1, Richmond Brian, Glen B, Lasqueti Marti, Marion S., Pat, better-late-than-never Margaretha, Gabriele, Bryan and Masae, Roger 1, Rose-come-briefly, Terry.  (One of them found out he wasn’t as cold blooded as he thought, and had to call his self-sacrificing wife to bring his warm winter jacket, which she did.  He did however, offer me a list of insults that I could use on our absent leader Tom, which I politely declined).

DNCB at Brunswick Point_RM

DNCB at Brunswick Point – photo by Rose Meyer (not in picture)

Please check out the photos on our DNCB Flickr site.

The beginning of the dike offered up Eagles, many Double-crested Cormorants perched on the pilings, a Downy Woodpecker, a large flock of Northern Pintails, Trumpeter Swans and their young, a Red-breasted Merganser, a common Goldeneye, a Bufflehead, Dunlin flying in smaller flocks.

Advancing along the dike, we spotted many Bald Eagles out in the grass and flying over the marsh, which action caused large numbers of ducks to repeatedly fly up.  Some of the Eagles may have had something out there as they constantly went up and down in the marsh, but we could not see clearly what was going on.  We spotted Northern Flicker, many Song Sparrows and Towhees, a very large group of Trumpeter Swans (eventually approx 70+), and added Golden and White-crowned Sparrows as we travelled along the lower path a little closer to the water.  We also saw Northern Harriers, an unidentified falcon, Peregrine Falcons, Red-winged Blackbirds, Starlings, Great Blue Herons, many gulls, and thousands of Dunlin travelling back and forth in several different flocks which merged and separated in a graceful dance.

We turned around at the farmhouse, and found the return trip a lot warmer with the sun on our backs.  Approaching the final turn to the parking area, we spotted 7 Killdeer working their way along the shore, plus Green-winged Teal and American Wigeon.  Just by the pilings, a unidentified falcon surprised us when it emerged from the swamp and disappeared into the forested area – although it was close, we drew a blank on identifying it.  Next, an Eagle chasing a Harrier and vice versa, putting on a great show at a close distance.

The icing on the cake for two lucky birders was a Rough-legged Hawk that Terry and Mike spotted off 33A Ave on the return home.

All in all, it was a good chilly walk, with more raptors than we usually see.

Tuesday 12 February cancelled due to snow.

Tuesday 19 February,  we will be travelling to Blaine, Washington (Drayton Harbor & Semiahmoo Spit); leave Petra’s at 7:30; meet on Marine Drive in Blaine at 8:15 (turn right at the traffic circle and park on the right after the railway tracks).

Marion Shikaze

Posted in *DNCB, Bald Eagle, Brunswick Point, Dunlin, Northern Harrier, Peregrine Falcon, Red-breasted Merganser, Rough-legged Hawk, Trumpeter Swan | Leave a comment

DNCB Outing No. 2019-04 to Point Roberts, USA

Twenty-two DNCBers enjoyed a gorgeous sunny Tuesday morning roaming around Lighthouse Marine Park and other spots in Pt. Roberts, USA.  Check out the spectacular photo evidence on our DNCB Flickr site.

We left Petra’s shortly after 7:30 am and, following a brief stop at Kiniski’s Tavern (to see birds, not drink), we all met around 8:00 am at the Lighthouse Marine Park parking lot.  We shared the usual inane pleasantries, took the mandatory Group Photo, then set up the scopes to scan the Strait, enjoying the sunrise as much as the birds.


DNCB at Lighthouse Maqrine Park – photo by Jim Kneesch

The water was calm and flat with lots of species nicely viewed with bins and especially through our scopes.  Sightings here and at the Lighthouse Point included: Surf & White-winged Scoters, Bufflehead, Double-crested, Brandt’s & Pelagic Cormorants, Common Goldeneye (Barrow’s Goldeneye later at the Marina), Scaup (probably both Lesser & Greater), Common Loons, Horned & Red-necked Grebes, Red-breasted Mergansers and Long-tailed Ducks.  Western Grebes and lots of Brant Geese were in the distance.  A flock of Dunlin huddled on shore for close-up viewing.  At the Lighthouse (there really is no lighthouse there), we spent some time identifying Common Murres and Pigeon Guillemots and searching in vain for Red-throated Loons, Rhinoceros Auklets, Murrelets and Heermann’s Gulls.  Several Steller’s Sea Lions, passing Harbour Porpoises, and always welcome Harlequin Ducks entertained us as well.

We left the sun-baked dyke trail to follow the inland Park path.  Not a lot of little birds, but we did see Anna’s Hummingbirds, Golden-crowned & Song Sparrows, Juncos, House Finches, Northern Flickers and a neat Cooper’s Hawk, plus other common stuff.  Our eBird DNCBlist shows 46 species sightings.

Back at the parking lot, a fog bank had moved in and we couldn’t see anything out on the water.  We drove to the Marina where there was no fog, and interestingly, we watched that layer of fog rise behind us, never to be seen the rest of the day.

At the Marina, we got good looks at both Goldeneye species, Scaup, Bufflehead, RB Mergs, Pied-billed Gebes, and we discussed the differences between Horned and Red-necked Grebes.  A Red-tailed Hawk was perched along the road on the drive to the south side of the Marina, where some saw a Northern Shrike.  I was sorry to miss the Shrike, but was held up enjoying a tour of Mike B2’s elegant yacht in the marina (possible transport for a future DNCB outing in the San Juan Islands).  Many of the afore-mentioned waterfowl species were hanging around the breakwall and the marina entrance, along with the resident flock of Black Turnstones.  No Meadowlarks or Killdeer seen today.

We followed Edwards then APA Drive to the new Seabright Homes Loop.  We walked the trail above the cliffs, enjoying more magnificent views, and a few birds.  The House Wren has not arrived yet, but we saw some sparrows and a Ruby-crowned Kinglet.  The sun was beating upon us, so we took another Group Photo, some in short-sleeved shirts, mainly to piss off any freezing eastern Canadians reading this report.


DNCB at Point Roberts – photo by Jim Kneesch

Some descended the new sturdy stairs to the beach which was closed off at the bottom as a result of recent winter storm damage.  I was puffing, but exhilarated when I got back up to the top.  It was approaching noon, so we decided to end the outing and head to the Rose & Crown Pub in Tsawwassen for lunch.  However, some of us were late for lunch as we assisted our Drama Queen Pat to jump start her vehicle so she and sister Maureen could return home.  It was another awesome DNCB outing.

There were 10 of us for lunch at the R&C, all guys.  My Roast Beef Sandwich with a Fruit Bowl (I’m on a health kick) was delicious, of course with a pint of Canadian on special, and happily served by the lovely Leila.  Both Gareth and I saw flocks of Trumpeter Swans in Ladner fields on the drive home; they have returned from their stop in Skagit valley.

The twenty-one were: our Webmaster Ken B & Anne A, Pt. Bob’s Flautist Friend Paul F, Organizer Terry C, All-seeing Roger M, sisters Pat & Maureen, time-challenged Germanics Margaretha & Gabrielle, Richmond’s Brian (our eBirder) & Angela A, Langley Gareth, Pt. Bob Boaters Jim K & Mike B2, VanCity Lidia, reliables Jean G & Marion S, poser Glen B, historian Mike B, White Rock Colin, Ladner Jack Mac and me.

Next Tuesday’s outing, February 5, is at Brunswick Point, leaving Petra’s at 7:30 am and meeting at the end of River Road in Ladner at 8:00 am.

Also next Tuesday evening is our monthly Delta Nats meeting with Jocelyn Demers presenting his film on the Watershed Guardians of the Fraser River, 7:30 pm at the Tsawwassen Benediction Church.  Public welcome, free.

I’ll miss the next two outings as Sandra and I will be in Ontario visiting friends and relatives.  I’m looking forward to the 60th annual (yes 60) February UpSouth Weakend meeting at Wally’s cottage in Dorset (Paint Lake) with 10 childhood Niagara Falls friends to share the same stories, sports (pickleball has replaced hockey on the lake) and lies that I’ve heard a million times, and still love.  Meanwhile, I know other DNCBers will be fighting over who writes the reports on the next two outings.

As always, your comments are encouraged, check out other info, reports and photos on our website, and don’t hesitate to contact me if these drivelling missives annoy you, and I’ll remove you from my email list.  Cheers: Tom

Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists Society

Posted in *DNCB, Barrow's Goldeneye, Black Turnstone, Brandt's Cormorant, Common Murre, Dunlin, Harbour Porpoise, Harlequin Duck, Long-tailed Duck, Northern Shrike, Pelagic Cormorant, Pied-billed Grebe, Pigeon Guillemot, Point Roberts, Red-breasted Merganser, Red-tailed Hawk, Steller Sea Lion, Trumpeter Swan | Leave a comment