DNCB Outing No. 2016-34 to Iona Regional Park

Ten DNCBers spent a very enjoyable, but frustrating Wednesday morning at Iona Regional Park and the adjacent sewage ponds.  We saw lots of neat species, but we had a frustrating time trying to identify the different warblers, sandpipers, flycatchers and even sparrows.  Check out Glen’s photos on our new DNCB Flickr site at: https://www.flickr.com/groups/DNCB, and help with ID’s if you can.  Other photos by Chris, Uma and others will be on our website with this report, and hopefully soon everyone will be putting their shots on our new Flickr site.

Four DNCBers (Glen, Mike B, Marian P and Chris McV) left Petra’s at 7:30 a.m. and met me, and my son’s Jeep, at the Templeton Canada Line Train Station, where I picked up newbie Cynthia C.  With Cynthia bubbling with excitement riding in my “toy”, we convoyed to Iona where Jean G, another newbie Margaret P and Uma were waiting at the washroom parking lot.  The tide was way out, so we couldn’t see any Shorebirds, and the pond was bare until a flock of about 15 Red-breasted Mergansers landed, then took off before most could see them.  Following intros of the Newbies, Uma took the Group Photo of eight of us.  Time-challenged Biker Liz joined us later and “lone wolf” Alberto was on the jetty searching for the Wandering Tattlers, and Ruddy Turnstones.

We started our regular walk toward the north pond which was full of ducks that all looked the same (non-breeding plumage).  Upon scanning closely, mostly via Jean’s scope, we picked out a Pied-billed Grebe, some Gadwalls and Green-winged Teal among the Mallards.  Lots of Swallows flying around, mostly Tree and a few Barn, and probably other Swallow species we couldn’t ID.  Along the trail were a couple of Cedar Waxwings, then we got excited by several Flycatchers, which I couldn’t ID.  Glen thinks they were Alder Flycatchers.

We entered the back gate to the Sewage Lagoons where several swarms of Peeps were majestically weaving over the ponds.  We think they were Semi-palmated Sandpipers, but could have been Westerns or Least, or all three.  We saw Yellowlegs (Greater or Lesser?) along the shore, and it could have been the Stilt Sandpiper seen at Iona last week.  There were a few other Sandpipers sporadically feeding around the edge of the ponds.  We did confirm a bobbing Spotted Sandpiper and a Pectoral Sandpiper in the middle, and of course, Killdeer.  We cannot confirm seeing a Buff-breasted or Solitary Sandpiper, which were seen there this week.  Among the mostly Mallard and Gadwall ducks were a few Northern Shovelers.

In the trees and bushes near the back entrance, Mike B first sighted a Warbler, and then we saw several more.  Again ID frustration caught us; non-breeding plumage.  We’re fairly certain one or two were Yellow Warblers.  Some think an Orange-crowned was there too.  Probably Common Yellowthroat too.

We exited via the back gate and followed the trail toward the Fraser.  We began seeing Sparrows, which weren’t all Song Sparrows.  One had yellow markings on its head, and it wasn’t a Savannah Sparrow, although we did see several Savannahs.  One of Chris McVie’s shots looks like a Lincoln’s Sparrow.  A Brewer’s Sparrow was seen here later on Wednesday.  Several flocks of Double-crested Cormorants flew south in V’s above us, and pterodactyl Great Blue Herons were everywhere, and we had no trouble identifying these.  A few Purple Martins were still around too.

As we got back to the beach behind the washrooms, the tide was in, and we guessed that the Shorebirds were now in the sewage ponds; good timing by us (not).  Someone commented that we hadn’t seen a raptor, then a Merlin flew by and our almost-competent photogs had already put their cameras in the car.  Meanwhile, I scoped Uma who was at the end of the jetty photographing the Wandering Tattlers.  We discussed, for about three seconds, walking out the jetty, and decided instead to go to the Flying Beaver for beer and lunch.  We can see the Tattlers in Uma’s, Glen’s and Roger’s photos.

I dropped the effervescent Cynthia at the Templeton station, then wolfed down the delicious Beef Dip, Salad, and 1516 Beer at the Beaver.  And I got home with Sandra’s Iced Capp at a decent 1:30 p.m.  Another awesome outing, despite the frustrations.

Next Wednesday, August 31, Mount Baker outing CANCELLED (unless weather forecast changes); new destination Blaine, Washington (Drayton Harbor & Semiahmoo Spit).  We will leave Petra’s at 7:00 a.m. leave Peace Arch parking at 7:30 a.m.

Also check out earlier outing reports and photos, and my recent report on our two DNS Display events, Starry Night at Deas Island and the Ladner Animal Expo.  This Sunday, August 29, we will have our Nats Display at the annual Richmond Raptor Festival at Terra Nova Park.  Join us if you can.

As always, comments encouraged, and let me know if this repetitive drivel annoys you and you want off my e-mail list.  Cheers: Tom

Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists Society

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Filed under *DNCB, Alder Flycatcher, Iona, Merlin, Pectoral Sandpiper, Pied-billed Grebe, Purple Martin, Red-breasted Merganser, Spotted Sandpiper, Wandering Tattler

Starry Night at Deas Island Park & Ladner Animal Expo at Memorial Park

Delta Nats: Your fantastic DNS Display Team had our hands-on, educational and very popular Display at two events this past weekend.  We participated in Metro Vancouver’s annual Starry Night at Deas Island Park on Saturday evening, August 20, then again on Sunday, August 21 in the annual Ladner Animal Expo at Memorial Park.  The weather was super and both events were well attended, although I think both had fewer attendees than last year.  Tonnes of adults and kids visited our booth; check out Terry’s photo evidence at:  https://goo.gl/photos/QfaYXLdxrrBaWkfv8.  Roger’s, Marylile’s and other’s photos will be on our DNCB website once Webmaster Ken posts this report.

Starry Night at Deas Island Park (Saturday 20 August)
At 5:45 p.m. on Saturday evening, Display Team Coordinator Terry Carr, along with the always-dependable Roger Meyer and Mike Betts, loaded our exhibit stuff from our locker at Centennial Beach into Roger’s van.  They set up our Nats tent in our regular spot in Deas Island Park, with four tables of material, plus two smaller tables behind.

The exhibit material on the four tables was arranged masterfully, with some new and improved material, thanks in large part to Terry and Marylile.  We had lots of Volunteers showing and explaining stuff to the visitors.  Joyce & Boudi did yeoman service at both events.  Marian P, Mike B and Donna T were awesome, too, entertaining the public.

The two smaller tables behind our Nats tent were for colouring and our new “Vomit Exhibit”.  Interestingly, the Colouring Table was not only popular for the kids, but several adults spent 20-30 minutes sitting there colouring owls and other species we offered.  Apparently Adult Colouring is a new fad.

However, our Nats “Featured Performance” was Roger cutting up Owl Pellets at the Vomit table.  He was surrounded for hours by kids and adults, fascinated with his demonstrating, and their participation, in dissecting these pellets.

MV Parks staff were even intrigued with one of Roger’s pellets that contained a shorebird/sandpiper skull and bill.  I think our Booth was the most popular of all at Starry Night.  And we even saw a few Bats at sunset, leaving the attic of the historic Raymond Burr House.

Ladner Animal Expo at Memorial Park (Sunday 21 August)
On Saturday, around 9:00 a.m. Roger, Mike and Terry again unloaded the exhibit material from Roger’s van at Memorial Park for the Animal Expo, around the same spot where we set up last year.  Our Display wasn’t quite as large as the night before, but no less interesting, educational and fun.

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While I was there, there was a steady stream of visitors, and they all seemed impressed and intrigued with our exhibits.  Our enthusiastic Nats Volunteers, namely Val, Anita, Joyce & Boudi, Marylile & Rob and our Animal Expo liaison Elizabeth, continuously regaled our visitors with brilliant commentary that elicited smiles and gasps of amazement.  Some kids enjoyed our Colouring Table too, despite being surrounded by a bunch of Dog Houses, part of our neighbouring booth’s Paint a Dog House Competition.  Margaretha brought her delicious homemade Plum Pastries to treat the late shift Volunteers.

Around 3:30 p.m., we tore down the Display in quick and organized fashion and loaded it into Roger’s van.  He and Mike returned it to our Centennial Beach locker.

These were two very successful events where I felt very pleased and proud to be a Nat.  Our Display is first class with its variety of nests, bones, skins, artifacts, posters, photos and hands-on stuff that entertain and educate kids and adults.  And our Display Team of Volunteers led by Terry and Marylile is Top Class.  Like me, I think other Nats volunteers get a nice feeling of accomplishment after serving at these events.  The promotion of Nature Education is an important aspect of our Nats club.

Our next event is the Richmond Raptor Festival on Sunday, August 28 and our final 2016 event is Day at the Farm on Sunday, September 10.  Hope to see more Nats participating.

Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists Society

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Filed under *DNS, Animal Expo, Deas Island, Memorial Park, Starry Night

DNCB Outing No. 2016-33 to Cypress Mountain Park

Cypress Bowlers (RM) - click on photo for large version

Cypress Bowlers (RM)click on photo for large version

Eleven DNCBers spent a glorious Wednesday morning walking the trails of Cypress Mountain Park.  Along with the spectacular vistas and exhilarating mountain walk to Bowen Lookout, we also had a few neat sightings of flora and birds.  Check out the photo evidence on our website.  We are “working on” a new DNCB photo site to replace our “lost” Picasa site.  (see Maureen’s photos on FLICKR)

Five of us (chauffeur Glen, Roger, Mike, Margaretha and me) left Petra’s shortly after 7:30 a.m. and drove leisurely, but very comfortably in Margaretha’s van, through Vancouver and up Cypress Mountain.  Morning traffic was heavy and it was almost 9:00 a.m. when we arrived at the Olympic parking lot.  Pat & Maureen and Marion & Jean were patiently waiting.  We cajoled a nice lady with a dog to take our Group Photo.

Our Photographer (RM)

Our Photographer (RM)

Only nine of us as time-challenged Pascale & Alberto met us on the trail an hour or so later.  While taking the photo, a couple of Turkey Vultures and some Vaux’s Swifts swirled high above us.  Tree Swallows flew lower for interesting comparison.

We took the Yew Lake trail, and were surprised to see more bird species than we normally see on this outing.  Several Red-breasted Nuthatches followed us for a while.  Lots of Steller’s Jays and a few Ravens.

Northern Flickers were accompanied by a couple of Red-breasted Sapsuckers.

Red-breasted Sapsucker juv. (RM)

Red-breasted Sapsucker juv. (RM)

Plus Dark-eyed Juncos, Finches and Bushtits.  And near the Old Growth Loop, Roger and Marion pointed out some neat plants, including the carnivorous Sundew.  It was pleasantly cooler walking among the trees and Yew Lake was so tranquil and picturesque.  The 2 kilometre trail to Bowen Lookout was a bit strenuous, but arriving at the magnificent panoramic viewpoint over Howe Sound and the Sunshine Coast was well worth it.  Approaching the lookout, I saw a gorgeous male Western Tanager who was joined by a pair of Evening Grosbeaks.  No one else saw these, so you’ll have to take my word for it.

At the lookout, all of us were entertained feeding the Gray Jays.

While I was feeding peanuts to one in my hand, a Sharp-shinned Hawk whizzed by my ear and almost caught the Jay, but quickly turned and flew off.  In hindsight, we had heard a “warning call” from the Jays just before the hawk’s arrival.  Unfortunately, our Photogs were too busy feeding the Jays or too excited by the Hawk, so they got no photos.

Band-tailed Pigeon (RM)

Band-tailed Pigeon (RM)

A Band-tailed Pigeon posed and another Red-breasted Sapsucker showed up, as Roger was intrigued by some interesting cones that looked a lot like Sawhet Owls.

An American Robin was the only sighting on the “chatfest” walk back down the trail.  We stopped as six young Mothers with pack sacks of new babies embarrassingly raced up the hill past us.  It was shortly past Noon when we got back to the parking lot, and the Cypress Creek Lodge Bar was open.  I had one of the most delicious jugs of beer ever as we nine sat on the patio and exchanged stories of our weddings, most in the 60’s or early 70’s.  I sat in the very back seat alone on the ride back to Tsawwassen, serenely sleeping so missed Roger & Mike’s continuing saga of their misspent youth even in North Van and the Islands.  It was an awesome outing, and I got home at a reasonable 2:30 p.m., with a Timmy’s Ice Cap for Sandra.

Next Wednesday, August 24, we are changing our outing destination to Iona Regional Park.  We’ll leave Petra’s at 7:30 a.m. and expect to be at the Iona washrooms before 8:15 a.m.

We had our Nats Display on Saturday evening at Starry Night on Deas Island Park (very successful), and on Sunday, Aug. 21 we will be participating in the Ladner Animal Expo in Memorial Park, 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.  Hope to see some of you there.

As always, your comments welcome, and let me know if you want to be removed from my e-mail list to receive these “delightful deliberations”. Cheers: Tom

Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists Society

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Filed under *DNCB, Band-tailed Pigeon, Cypress Mountain, Evening Grosbeak, Gray Jay, Red-breasted Sapsucker, Sharp-shinned Hawk, Turkey Vulture, Vaux's Swift, Western Tanager, Yew Lake

DNCB Outing No. 2016-32 to Salt Spring Island

DNCB on the Ferry (RM)

DNCB on the Ferry (RM)

Eleven DNCBers enjoyed our Gulf Island Ferry outing to Salt Spring last Wednesday.  Check out the photo evidence on our website at www.dncb.wordpress.comNote: Our Picasa site is not working; we are working on other methods of posting photos.

We all met on the 10:20 a.m. Gulf Island Ferry that stops at Galiano, Mayne and Pender before arriving at Salt Spring around 1:35 p.m.  From the waiting room at the Tsawwassen Ferry terminal, activity among the docks was interesting including lounging Harbour Seals, Black Oystercatchers, rafts of Surf Scoters and Harlequin Ducks, and three Cormorant species.  Roger got a photo of a Brandt’s Cormorant on the breakwall as we were leaving.  Around this time, we (Roger and newbie Claudio) also took the mandatory Group Photo.  We eleven were: Roger & Mike, Ansa & Claudio, White rock Al with Alice & Maggie, New Yorkers Chief Bill & Christine, Margaretha and me.

It was a beautiful day and we spent most of it outside on the deck.  The Georgia Strait crossing to Galiano was a bit uneventful, so a number of us (one is a number) enjoyed the White Spot Special breakfast on board.  Entering the Active Pass there was a flock of Gulls feeding in the distance that were perhaps Bonaparte Gulls.  At Sturdies Bay, we saw our first Belted Kingfisher; they seem to be at all Island ports.  A pair of Purple Martins had nested in a pipe right where the ferry docks.  We got good shots of the parents feeding a young bird in the pipe.  Two Turkey Vultures cruised above us.  A few Pigeon Guillemots were in the water near their nesting cliff on Galiano.  At Village Bay on Mayne Island, Mew Gulls were resting on the dock among the Glaucous-winged.  Some weird looking Jelly Fish were in the water; Roger said the brilliant orange one was dead.  At Otter Bay on Pender, the entertainment was a River Otter wandering along the rocky shore.

We got to Long Harbour on Salt Spring around 1:35 p.m. and, of course, the shuttle bus wasn’t there.  We continued “bonding” for more than half an hour until it arrived and took us to Ganges.  Then we realized that in order to catch the 5:00 p.m. ferry to Tsawwassen, we had to leave Ganges on the next bus (3:05 p.m.) to Fulford Harbour.  So we had about 20 minutes to eat lunch in Ganges.  Bad planning; we’ll change itinerary for next Island outing.  I “smelled” a beer in the Local Pub and had a renowned Salted Caramel Ice Cream Cone for lunch.  Interestingly, as only Roger, Mike, Margaretha  and I were boarding the bus to Fulford, Carolyn and Chief Bill raised their beer to toast us in the hotel across the road.  They, along with future Salt Spring land barons, Ansa & Claudio, and White Rock Al and his “girls” Alice & Maggie, decided to stay in Ganges and have a decent lunch.  They caught the 7:00 p.m. ferry back to Tsawwassen.

Salt Spring was packed with tourists and the shops at Fulford Harbour were busy too.  We caught the little Schwartz Bay ferry, buying our return ticket on board (Cheaper, the whole outing including Salt Spring bus was less than 20 bucks, for old, BC retired folk).  I saw a Harbour Porpoise, and a couple of Whale Watching boats sped by us, but we didn’t see the Orcas they were chasing.  Margaretha left us at Swartz Bay to visit friends in Victoria.  Mike and Roger entertained me again on the trip home with their tales of camping, climbing and carousing on the various Islands back in the 50’s and 60’s.  This was just what a needed to enjoy a nice nap as they rambled.  We got back to Tsa at 6:45 p.m., picked up Roger’s car at the TFN parking lot ($11.00), and after dropping Mikey, I got home at 7:30 p.m.  Not a lot of sightings, but it was another glorious day wandering among the spectacular Gulf Islands.

Next Wednesday, August 17, we will leave Petra’s at 7:30 a.m. for Cypress Mountain and an outing on the trails past Yew Lake.  We plan to meet at the Cypress Bowl Olympic parking lot around 8:30 a.m.  Park at the far west end of the parking lot as close to the lodge as possible and we meet at the lodge itself.  (see route map from Petra’s)
see Reports on previous outings to Cypress Bowl

As always, comments encouraged, and let me know if you want off my List to receive these reports.  Cheers: Tom

Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists Society

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Filed under *DNCB, Black Oystercatcher, Bonaparte's Gull, Brandt's Cormorant, Harbour Seal, Harlequin Duck, Mew Gull, Pigeon Guillemot, Purple Martin, River Otter, Salt Spring Island, Thayer's Gull, Turkey Vulture

DNCB Outing No. 2016-31 to Cheam Lake

DNCB at Chema Lake (RM) - click on photo to see large version

20 DNCB at Cheam Lake (missing photog. RM) – click on photo to see large version

Photos by Roger (RM), Brian (BA), Chris (CM), Terry (TC) from DNCB Picasa site

Twenty-two folk met at Cheam Lake Wetlands Regional Park (CLRP) to spend a glorious Wednesday morning walk, and we saw a few birds too.  Check out the photo evidence on our DNCB Picasa site (hopefully more to come).

Eight of us left Petra’s at 7:45 a.m. (someone was late) and car-pooled in three vehicles on the 1 ½ hour drive to Cheam Lake.  New Highway 17 and then Highway 1 were not terribly busy and my ride with the local legends, Roger & Mike, was fascinating as they recounted a few of their 1950’s adventures in the Fraser River delta.

We got to the CLRP parking lot at 9:25 a.m. where the other 16 were waiting (Janice since 8:15 a.m.).  They had already seen a couple of Green Herons and were watching the Ospreys feeding at least one chick on a distant nest across the lake, I think on BC Nature Trust property.  Following introductions, especially of the Newbies, including the three members of the local Chilliwack Field Naturalists (CFN) club, the three young ladies with the Nature Trust of BC, White Rock Al’s friend Maggie H, and Carolyn & Chief Bill, the Queen’s New York visitors, Roger and Nature Trust Maria took our Group Photo.  Then we conscripted Janne P, local CFN expert, to lead us on our outing (thanks, Janne).

It was overcast, but not raining as we wandered toward the floating bridge and lookout.  Lots of beautiful flowers in and around the “study” pond, including Wapato Arrowhead (apparently not often seen in bloom), yellow Water Lilies, Daisies, Tansey, Yarrow, etc.

For the longest while, we neophytes focused on a bird posing on a branch near the floating bridge until finally Sammy, our Nature Trust expert, identified it as a Red-eyed Vireo.  Of course, Roger said he knew it all the time.  Lots of Cedar Waxwings around, some feeding young.  Janne saw Swainson’s Thrushes (perhaps a Hermit too) from the Lookout.  Others saw Ring-necked Ducks in the lake.  Broadening our horizons, some focussed on small Fry in the water, possibly Cutthroat Trout.  I think Richmond Brian and I were the only ones to see a Western Tanager.  We were blanked on the Bullock’s Oriole.

Continuing back, most of us followed Janne along a new (to us) Creek Trail.  We had some neat sightings along this one kilometre circle/loop trail, including Red-breasted Sapsuckers and Downy Woodpeckers, Willow Flycatchers, both Black-capped and Chestnut-backed Chickadees, and Pine Siskins.

Some missed seeing the Red-breasted Sapsuckers, adult and juvenile, as they were busy focussing on a Crayfish in the creek.

Several Western Wood-Pewees were calling, but we couldn’t find them.  Others were thrilled with the Pacific Sideband Snails on the path, which are native to BC, but “Blue Listed” Species at Risk.  A number of participants learned a lot from Janne and Nature Trust Sammy as they pointed out and described much of the flora and fauna along the trail (Note: one is a number).

We got back to the parking lot where other directionally-challenged DNCBers were waiting.  We then took the Loop Trail where several (i.e. more than two, possibly a family) Belted Kingfishers were noisily flitting above the pond, perhaps catching Dragonflies (my guess).  They had earlier been aroused by a Cooper’s Hawk.  A tiny Rabbit at our feet on the path, was unfazed by us and the camera clicks as it wolfed down a Dandelion.

We saw more Willow Flycatchers and Chris photographed a MacGillivray’s Warbler.

CM_MacGillivrays_Warbler_DSC_2368_edited-1It had warmed up nicely, and the fog had lifted, giving us a beautiful view of the Bridal Falls as a Turkey Vulture cruised by.

Approaching 12:30 p.m., since I had another Drs. appointment (hopefully the last), some of us ended the outing and drove back to Tsawwassen.  Others continued birding for a while and then split up, a few dining on home-made pie at the Chilliwack Airport, and a group of eight at a local Chilliwack restaurant.  Sorry, no details on their menu.  I had Swiss Chalet chicken in Surrey after my Dr. appointment and watching our granddaughter at her first swimming lesson at Sungod Pool (riveting stuff, eh).

Another awesome DNCB outing, with some new faces and the occasional tidbit of interesting conversation.

The twenty-two were: Roger & Mike, half-Ontarian Janice, Margaretha, Photogs Terry, Chris McV, Richmond Brian, sisters Maureen & Pat with Manli (or Jennifer, not sure of her name), New Yorkers Chief Bill & Carolyn, BC Nature Trust Newbies Maria, Candy and my new BFF Sammy who carried our Scope, White Rock Al with Alice & Newbie Maggie, and our three local CFN experts Janne, Bona and “I forget” (help pls Janne), and me.

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Next Wednesday, August 10, we will do our annual Salt Spring Island Ferry Outing, taking the 10:20 a.m. ferry from Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal, arriving at Long Harbour at 1:35 p.m., and returning to Tsawwassen on the 5:00 p.m. ferry from Swartz Bay.

Check our website for more outing information, and previous reports and photos.  As always, your comments are encouraged, and let me know if you don’t want to receive these weekly annoying ramblings.  Cheers: Tom

Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists Society

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Filed under *DNCB, Cedar Waxwing, Cheam Lake Regional Park, Cooper's Hawk, Crayfish, Green Heron, MacGillivray's Warbler, Osprey, Pacific Sideband Snail, Red-breasted Sapsucker, Red-eyed Vireo, Turkey Vulture, Western Tanager, Willow Flycatcher, Wood-Peewee

DNCB Outing No. 2016-30 to Burnaby Mountain and SFU

RM_Burnaby Mountain 2

DNCB at Burnaby Mountain (minus photog. Roger M) – click on photo for bigger picture

Photos by Roger (RM), Brian (BA) & Terry (TC)

Fourteen DNCBers (named at the end of this Report) enjoyed a gorgeous Wednesday morning on top of Burnaby Mountain, wandering the trails to Simon Fraser University (SFU).  Some neat sightings, including Western Tanagers, and spectacular views as you can see in our DNCB Picasa photos.

We car-pooled from Petra’s shortly after 7:30 a.m. and I lucked out with Rambling Roger.  We took another of Roger’s Shortcuts, across the Knight Street Bridge to Burnaby.  Then I think we criss-crossed on every street in Burnaby as Roger showed us his “life”.  We saw the woods where as a youngster he was held at gun point by three escaped convicts.  We saw the now vacant lot where his grandfather lived, and the High School where he taught for 35 years, yes 35.  It was a fascinating tour, but we got to the Horizon’s Restaurant parking lot on Burnaby Mountain approaching 9:00 a.m., almost ½ hour after everyone else.  As we introduced each other, including our New York visitors, Bill & Carolyn and new BC resident, Ontarian Janice, a couple of Black-headed Grosbeaks flew into the trees above the Japanese Totem Poles.

This beautiful Japanese Garden, including large floral Cranes, commemorates the twining of  two cities, Burnaby and Kushiro.

We were awe-struck by the spectacular vistas of downtown Vancouver, the three ski slopes Cypress, Grouse and Seymour, and the views up Indian Arm.

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Roger took the Group photo in this beautiful setting.  Small birds were flitting around and we saw Dark-eyed Juncos, Purple Finches,  Black-capped and Chestnut-backed Chickadees, heard Golden-crowned Kinglets.  A Raven called and a Northern Flicker posed.

Then Mike spotted our Bird of the Day, an adult Western Tanager.  A youngster was following it and Terry even got shots of it feeding the young bird.

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We started up the trail toward SFU, through the mixed conifer/deciduous woods.  A very pleasant but relatively quiet walk; we heard Swainson’s Thrushes, Pacific Slope Flycatchers and Pacific Wrens, but weren’t able to spot them.  Lots of evidence of Pileated Woodpeckers, but alas, unseen.

When we got to SFU, Roger suggested it was a “short walk” further to the Quadrangle where the Cliff Swallows were nesting.  We followed Roger like sheep, up 809 stairs through SFU, finally reaching the Quadrangle, exhausted.  No Cliff Swallows, but there were remnants of where they nested under the walkway.

Beautiful vistas from here too, and we saw Barn Swallows and perhaps a Cliff Swallow.  A Turkey Vulture cruised by in the distance.

We returned, using elevators, and the road sidewalk back to the Horizon’s Restaurant.  Not much seen on the return walk, basically just a chatfest of the usual inane conversation.

We got back to the parking lot around 11:30 a.m. and, since Sandra and I were hosting a 1:00 p.m. lunch for former DNCBer’s Rick & Marg Woolley (R&M), we decided to end the outing and return to Tsawwassen.  The ride back was uneventful, but riveting as Hans and I, sitting in the back seat, continued to be mesmerized by the historical memories of the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s shared by Roger and Mike.  We took the direct route over the Alex Fraser Bridge and I got home well before our 1:00 p.m. luncheon.  Meanwhile, Janice went to Port Moody in search of her Lifer, Band-tailed Pigeons, and several others dined at the Landing Pub in Ladner.

Our R&M Lunch included Curried Pumpkin Soup, Cheese & Onion Pie, Green Salad with fresh Berries, Mango Pudding (all home-made), and of course Anarchist Amber Ale for the men and Champagne for the ladies.  Delish!

The fourteen DNCBers were: Roger M, Mike B, Hans-Ulf, Barb M, Terry C, New Yorkers Bill & Carolyn, North Van Richard H, Richmond Brian A, new BC resident Janice M, Rob & Marylile, Chris McV and me.  Another super DNCB outing.

Next Wednesday, August 3, we will leave Petra’s at the regular 7:30 a.m. time on an “away” outing to Cheam Lake.  We would expect to meet at the Cheam Lake Regional Park parking lot about 9:00 a.m.  Check out our website for more info.

As always, your comments are encouraged, and let me know if you want off my e-mail list to receive these wearisome waxings.  Cheers: Tom

Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists Society

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Filed under *DNCB, Burnaby Mountain, Pacific-slope Flycatcher, Purple Finch, SFU, Turkey Vulture, Western Tanager

DNCB Outing No. 2016-29 to Iona & Manning Park

Report A:  Iona Regional Park

Only four of us, Roger, Mike, Chris and I, went to Iona Regional Park last Wednesday while several others (Kirsten, Marion & Jean, plus Pat & Maureen, Manli & Liz) spent the day at Manning Park.  Check out the photo evidence on our DNCB Picasa site.  Kirsten’s Manning Park report will follow (below).

The four of us left Petra’s shortly after 7:30 a.m. and had a leisurely but smooth ride with Roger to Iona.  We decided to park by the Sewage Lagoons and enter the front gate.  Not a lot of waterfowl in the lagoons, other than Mallards.  A flock of Peeps entertained us for the longest time.  They were mostly Least Sandpipers (yellow legs) with a few Semi-palmated Sandpipers (black legs).  Although these birds were very close to us, even at our feet, identification was difficult, even amusing.  Roger identified the same bird four different times as four different species.  We think we saw Western and Spotted Sandpipers too.  We did get one Pectoral Sandpiper in the northwest pond, near the white hybrid Mallard.  Both Lesser and Greater Yellowlegs were there too.  And we did see a few different ducks, Green-winged Teal, Northern Pintail, Northern Shoveler, Gadwall and American Wigeon.

Through the back gate we entered Iona RP and wandered the cleared trail along the fence toward the River.  Only Common Yellowthroat Warblers seen or heard.  The Purple Martin Colony seemed very successful in the nest boxes on the pylons in the Fraser.  Lots of young seen plus adults entering the boxes with food.  Tree and Barn Swallows around too.  We were blanked on our Destination bird, Yellow-headed Blackbird.  We saw a Pied-billed Grebe and other regular small birds (e.g. Finches, Sparrows) and Woodpeckers, but nothing exotic.  On the walk back through the sewage ponds, Roger flushed a Merlin.

Still relatively early (11:00 am), we decided to go to Reifel in search of the White-faced Ibis.  This bird was long-gone, and not at Alaksen either.  Roger took our Group Photo at Alaksen entitled The Boys of Summer.  Chris liked this casual shot.

We may have seen other stuff here, but I forget.  Anyhow, we got back to Tsawwssaen around 12:30 pm and Chris, Mike and I went to the Rose & Crown for lunch (Roger had domestic duties).  We all had the delicious Shrimp Sandwich served by the lovely Leila, and of course a pint of lager (I forget what kind, but I have rarely, almost never, had a bad one).  Although this report isn’t very exciting, it truly was a very enjoyable outing.

Next Wednesday, July 27, Roger will lead us around Burnaby Mountain and other neat spots in the area.  We will leave Petra’s at 7:30 a.m. and expect to be at the Horizons Restaurant parking lot on the mountain around 8:30 a.m. to start our adventures.

Apologies for the late report however I have been busy with doctors (all good), golfing, grand parenting, Car Boot Sale, Air Show, and blowing my pension at COSTCO.  As always, comments welcome, check out our website, and let me know if you don’t want to receive these annoying missives. Cheers: Tom

Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists Society


Report B:  Manning Park – Kirsten’s group

Three DNCB’ers, Marion, Jean and Kirsten, carpooled from Aldergrove to Manning Park and enjoyed walking in beautiful sunny weather.  Others who arrived at Manning were Maureen & Pat, Manli & Liz.  Unfortunately, the two groups were unaware of each other, and never met!

We (M, J & K) began at the Lodge, where the Clark’s Nutcrackers gobbled up the peanuts & almonds that we scattered.  We continued to Strawberry Flats, where the first highlight was seeing a female Spruce Grouse (Franklin’s Group) standing still on a log beside the trail; we soon counted 5 very cute babies feeding on the ground near her.  A family with 3 youngsters came along, and they were very cooperative in standing quietly and observing with us as the mama Grouse slowly led her family across the path right in front of us.  What a thrill for everyone!

Other birds seen and/or heard along this stretch included Clark’s Nutcracker, Raven, Crow, Yellow-Rumped Warbler (Audubon), American Three-Toed Woodpecker (only heard), Chipping Sparrow, Junco, and Spotted Towhee.  There were also lots of butterflies, dragonflies and other fancy bugs to catch our attention, plus beautiful wildflowers galore.  Check out Marion’s great photos on DNCB’s Picasa site!

Next we drove to Spruce Bay Beach and ate our lunches at the Amphitheatre.  We heard a Hermit Thrush, watched a Juvenile Swainson’s Thrush being fed, and enjoyed the antics of a Chipmunk scurrying around us to grab Marion’s sunflower seeds.  We continued our walk down the pretty trail to Rainbow Bridge over the outflow of Lightning Lake, enjoying the fragrant Bog Orchids at a damp spot.  Other birds seen included a female Barrow’s Goldeneye, Song Sparrow, Black-Capped Chickadee, and Red-breasted Nuthatch heard by some.

Our final walk was at Beaver Pond, where the Tree Swallows and Barn Swallows were hawking insects and American Goldfinches were chattering.  Other than a few Mallards loafing on a log, there was little else to be seen.

Back at the Lodge, we fed the Clark’s Nutcrackers again, this time seeing a Juvenile being fed by its parent.  Numerous Columbian Ground Squirrels also enjoyed the nuts, when they were able to grab them before the Jays swooped in to snatch them.  The other critter seen was a Douglas Squirrel.  Lots of Rufous Hummingbirds. (all females & juveniles) were busy at the feeders around the lodge.

We had an early dinner at the lodge restaurant before heading home, well-satisfied with our many sightings including 21 bird species.

According to the photo evidence by Pat & Maureen at DNCB’s Picasa site, the “other” group saw Mule Deer, Yellow-pine chipmunk, Gray Jay …

Kirsten Walsh


Report C:  Manning Park – Pat’s group

Maureen, Manli, and I had a slow start to the day and arrived at the lodge too late to meet up other ‘Nats’.  Later, we met Liz at the base of Blackwall peak, picnicked at the alpine meadows (no beer for Tom!), and travelled on to the Beaver pond.  Later, Liz may have ventured further to the east gate.  I was looking forward to her pictures as she reported seeing a number of interesting birds.  Unfortunately, we didn’t cross paths with Kirsten, Jean and Marion.

Pat Smart

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Filed under *DNCB, American Three-Toed Woodpecker, Barrow's Goldeneye, Beaver Lodge Wetlands, Blackwall peak, Chipping Sparrow, Clark's Nutcracker, Columbian Ground Squirrels, Douglas Squirrel, Gray Jay, Hermit Thrush, Iona, Least Sandpiper, Manning Park, Merlin, Mule Deer, Pectoral Sandpiper, Pied-billed Grebe, Purple Martin, Semi-palmated Sandpiper, Spotted Sandpiper, Spruce Bay Beach, Strawberry Flats, Western Sandpiper, Yellow-pine Chipmunk, Yellow-rumped Warbler