DNCB Report No. 2017-32 to Point Roberts, USA

On another beautiful Wednesday morning, 15 DNCBers enjoyed an exciting birding outing at several spots in Point Roberts, USA.  Check out the photo evidence of our sightings, some uncommon like Heermann’s Gulls, “electronic” Caspian Terns and a Marbled Murrelet, and the beautiful people and scenery on our Flickr site at: https://www.flickr.com/search/?group_id=3027315%40N23&text=2017-32&view_all=1.

Eight of us left Petra’s at 7:30 am, car-pooling nicely in 3 vehicles, crossing the Border smoothly, and meeting at Lighthouse Park parking lot before 8:00 am.  The other seven were waiting here, except time-challenged Liz who joined us shortly later.  The new dock at the boat ramp looked much stronger and more secure than the previous edition.  The water was a bit choppy and not much bird life here except flyby Pelagic and Double-crested Cormorants.  A Belted Kingfisher posed on a telephone wire. Following the “bonding chats” we started our walk toward the “lighthouse point”.  A lounging bird cruising close to shore surprisingly, after some discussion, turned out to be a Marbled Murrelet.  Then we saw Common Murres and Pigeon Guillemots near a Gull feeding frenzy.  Both Harbour Porpoises and Harbour Seals were seen in the vicinity too.

Finally reaching the Point, a trio of Black Turnstones were very difficult to spot as they blended so well in the stones, only about 20 feet in front of us.  Terry took the Group Photo from the beach after photographing the turnstones.  Then we started examining the flock of Gulls on shore in front of us.  This was a very interesting experience.  First we noted that they were mostly California Gulls, not the common Glaucous-winged Gulls.  Then we identified a smaller Bonaparte’s Gull among them. Then we noticed two Caspian Terns in the flock, one of which we noted later from the photos was banded and had a “wire” attached to it (We later advised Oregon State University which is leading a Caspian Tern Satellite Tagging Project.  They sent us tracking info on this Tern and other info on their project).  Then we picked out a Ring-billed Gull in the flock.  Then we noticed two darker birds, which we first thought were immatures, but were orange-billed Heermann’s Gulls.  I felt very proud of our Casual Group going through this ornithological exercise and really discovering the fun of birding.

We continued south along the trail, marvelling again at the Marbled Murrelet, seeing some not-so-pretty Harlequin Ducks and a Killdeer.  Glen and others saw White-crowned Sparrows and Rufous Hummingbirds in the bushes.  We returned to the parking lot via the inland trail.  It was quiet bird wise, but busy with lots of campers.  We saw other common stuff too, but I forget what.  We got back to the parking lot and decided to move on further down the beach toward the marina.

We drove to the walkway between cottages to the beach (where we regularly stop).  The mixed Gull flock had moved down so we saw it again, but nothing new. So we drove to the Marina.  A couple of Black Oystercatchers were the only new species seen here.  Another Kingfisher was seen, and the Blackberries were tasty.

We left the Marina and drove up the hill to Lily Point Park and parked by the washrooms.  A Brown Creeper flitted among the trees as we walked to the Lookout.  As usual, the view from the Lookout across the Bay to White Rock, Mt. Baker and the Olympic mountains was spectacular.  We used our three scopes here (Thanks Jean, Brian & Roger) to spot some Scoters, Common Loons and Harlequin Ducks in the bay below.  Rather than walk the “quiet” trails of the Park, we decided to check out Maple Beach down the hill near the Border.  It was quiet, too, except for a flock of 8 Caspian Terns resting on a sandbar not far out.  It was approaching 11:30 am, so we decided to abort the outing and return to Canada for lunch.

Five of us (Chris, Jack, Mike, Viv & me) enjoyed Shelley’s and Leila’s attention at the Rose & Crown Pub.  My Lunch Special of spicy Vege Soup and Roast Beef Sandwich, of course with a pint of Canadian, hit the spot.  I picked up the Onion Soup mix at Thrifty’s next door, as instructed by Sandra for her Shepherd’s Pie, and surprisingly was home before 1:30 pm.  Another successful and enjoyable DNCB outing.

We 15 were: Roger M, Terry C, Mike B, Chris McV, Ladner Jack Mac, Richmond Brian A, North Delta’s Jean G and Liz S, SLB Vivian B (w/o Syd), Photog Glen B, Jim K, White Rock Al S, sisters Pat S & Maureen S, and me.

Next Wednesday, August 23, we will leave Petra’s at 7:30 am for the Boundary Bay dike path, meeting others at the Delta Heritage AirPark at 104th St. at about 8:00 am.  Should be lots of shorebirds, including Godwit species seen there now.

Don’t forget Starry Night event this Saturday night, August 19, 7:00 to 10:00 pm, at Deas Island Park.  We will have our Delta Nats Display there.

Also, anyone wanting to see my Diary of Hernando Island last week, let me know.  As always, for earlier reports, photos and club info, check out our website, and let me know if you want off my list to receive these annoying missives.  Cheers: Tom

Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists Society Continue reading

Posted in *DNCB, Black Oystercatcher, Black Turnstone, Bonaparte's Gull, Brown Creeper, California Gull, Caspian Tern, Common Murre, Harbour Porpoise, Harbour Seal, Harlequin Duck, Heermann's Gull, Lighthouse Marine Park, Lily Point Park, Marbled Murrelet, Pelagic Cormorant, Pigeon Guillemot, Point Roberts | Leave a comment

DNCB Outing No. 2017-31 to Reifel Via Ferry Jetty and TFN Lands

DNCB at Reifel – missing Maureen – photo by Roger Meyer

Photos by Brian Avent (BA), Chris McVittie (CMcV), Jim Kneesch (JK), Pat Smart (PS), Maureen Sinilaid (MS), & Terry Carr (TC)

More photos at our DNCB Flickr site

With a balmy summer’s morning and a light breeze off the water, six dedicated birders left Petra’s for the day’s outing.  With Mike, Roger 2, Terry and Roger 1 in one car, and Jim and Chris in the other we headed out along the ferry jetty to the parking pull-out on the north side.  Birds seen along the way included several Black Oystercatchers, a few Greater Scaup, a large flock of Caspian Terns on the point across the compensation lagoon, a few GBHs and Pelagic Cormorants and gull species.

Check out the photos on our Flickr site at: www.flickr.com/groups/dncb, then click the magnifying glass icon in the “Photo Pool” row, and add 2017-31 to “flickr_search_dncb-photosDNCB Photos” in the Search box at the top of the page.

Dodging traffic, we crossed the highway to the south side, where a GBH posed on a stump, and we could see a flock of Harlequin along the shore in the distance.

After making the turn at the terminal and returning on the south side, we were able to see several more Oystercatchers but there was no sign of the posted Whimbrel or Black Turnstones from the previous day.

A ferry began offloading so we had to hustle down to the light and make the turn onto the TFN road where we stopped at Kingfisher Slough and, although no Kingfishers were seen, we went around the fence and along the slough to photograph a pair of Spotted Sandpipers (check out Terry’s beautiful shots on our Flickr site).

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Spotted Sandpiper (TC)

Although it has nothing to do with birds, we were puzzled to find a dozen or more golf balls along the slough, but we left them there for Tom to pick up later.

At the south end of the road prior to leaving the TFN lands, a female Merlin flew alongside, and then over a dirt pile and landed, allowing a quick photo before it was spooked by a female Northern Harrier.  We found out later that Maureen and Pat had seen a Pied-billed Grebe in the pond at that location.

We moved on to Reifel arriving as Susan was opening the gift shop.  Here, waiting for us, we met Whiterock Al, and Richmond Brian, and decided to head directly to the south-west pond where phalaropes had been seen on previous days.  Along the way were joined by Liz, Pat and Marion.  We were rewarded almost immediately with a mixture of Dowitchers (nobody was willing to commit to species but I’m guessing Long-billed), Red-necked and Wilson’s Phalaropes and three Stilt Sandpipers!!!

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It doesn’t get much better than that!  We had heard reports that a Stilt had been visiting at high tides, but finding three and getting good photos was a definite bonus.

We made a circuit of the pond climbing the tower on the way but there was nothing much more to report.  We did have a Belted Kingfisher fly by, see a few Cedar Waxwings, Wood Ducks, Mallards, and Jim saw a large owl fly by but we couldn’t find it roosting.

At the tower we took the group photo, missing only Maureen who was looking after the birds around the entrance to the reserve and probably saw more than we did in the field.  After one circuit, we made a second trip down to where we saw the shorebirds earlier and found the light was better for photographs.

We returned to the parking lot via the south-east pond where there were large numbers of duck and Canada Geese.  Of course, there were lots of the regular Red-winged Blackbirds, Brown-headed Cowbirds, House Sparrows, Eurasian Collared Doves, House Finches, etc.

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Finishing at 11:30, we decided to call it a day.

Hopefully, our leader Tom – who is shirking his duty by basking in the sun of a private desert island with cold beer in hand – will be back next week to give us guidance.

Just for those interested in shorebirds:  Right now is a great time to hit the shores of Boundary Bay and Brunswick Point.  Check the tide forecast for the day on-line, or in the newspaper, and plan to be at the shore a few hours prior to the printed high tide.  The best places are the foots of 104th and 96th.  You can park at the Delta Airpark on 104th and walk east towards 112th (where there is no parking), or west to 96th and the Mansion.  You can drive to the foot of 96th but there are signs that say “No Parking” and Metro Vancouver has been giving out warning tickets.  The Mansion, large house seen west of 96th, is alongside a pump house where the outfall is great for water birds.  Right now birds that are passing through include Black-bellied Plover, Bar-tailed Godwits, Baird’s Sandpipers, all three of the “peeps” Western, Semi-palmated, and Least Sandpipers, Sanderlings, and others like Red-knots, American and Pacific Golden Plovers, and gulls like the recently seen Franklin’s.  At Brunswick you want to be around the picnic table area in front of the farm where the incoming tide forces the shorebirds into the last bit of shore in a small bay.  Enjoy.  Roger 1
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There was some discussion re the next few trips, and the schedule has been amended as follows:

Next week, Wed Aug 16 Point Roberts – leave Petra’s 7:30 am

Wed Aug 23 – Boundary Bay (Delta Heritage Air Park on 104th St) – leave Petra’s 7:30 am
Wed Aug 30 – Iona – leave Petra’s 7:30 am

On Sunday, August 13th, DNS will have their educational display at Richmond Raptor Festival, Terra Nova Park, from 11 – 4 pm.

Posted in *DNCB, Black Oystercatcher, Caspian Tern, Cedar Waxwing, Harlequin Duck, Long-billed Dowitcher, Merlin, Northern Harrier, Pelagic Cormorant, Pied-billed Grebe, Red-necked Phalarope, Reifel, Spotted Sandpiper, Stilt Sandpiper, TFN, Tsawwassen Ferry Port, Wilson’s Phalarope | Leave a comment

DNCB Outing No. 2017-30 to Manning Park

Photos by Brian Avent (BA), Maureen Sinilaid (MS), Pat Smart (PS), Terry Carr (TC)
More photos at our DNCB Flickr site

Eleven DNCBers enjoyed a hazy Wednesday wandering the trails of Manning Park (MP) on our annual birding and wildflower outing.  Check out the photo evidence of our sightings, magnificent vistas, and interesting people on our Flickr site at: www.flickr.com/groups/dncb, then click the magnifying glass icon in the “Photo Pool” row, and add 2017-30 to “flickr_search_dncb-photosDNCB Photos” in the Search box at the top of the page.

Also check out previous year’s outing reports and photos on our Delta Nats website at: https://dncb.wordpress.com/category/locations/manning-park/.

Four of us (Gerhard drove Terry, Richmond Brian and me) left the Ladner Bus Exchange at 6:30 am as the brilliant orange sun rose in the hazy, smoky sky.  It was a long but smooth ride (2hrs & 20 minutes) to the MP Lodge parking lot where we met Denise (aka Uma), Tofino guests Robinson, Mary and their daughter and our “expert” Cedar, and Pat, Maureen & Manli.

DNCB at Manning Park Lodge – photo by Terry Carr (not in picture)

The resident Columbian Ground Squirrels and Clark’s Nutcrackers welcomed us too as they gorged peanuts from our hands.

After mustering and introducing everyone, we started our drive up the mountain to the Lookout.  We stopped for our first of several Grouse sightings, a mother Blue (Sooty) Grouse with three chicks crossing the road.

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It was hazy at the Lookout too, but clearer than earlier days as we could see the snow on Mount Frosty and the MP Lodge below which apparently weren’t visible two days earlier.  Feeding the Cascade Golden-mantled Ground Squirrels here was fun as Terry took the mandatory Group Photo.

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Common Raven (TC)

We fed Gray Jays (a.k.a. Grey Jay, Canada Jay, or Whisky Jack) here too, as a Common Raven watched.

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We continued up the dirt road to the parking lot at Blackwell Peak, blanked on Marmots and Picas on the way.  We took a brief jaunt down the Heather Trail, looking for Mountain Bluebirds, then decided to take the Indian Paintbrush Trail.

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Among the Western Anemones (TC)

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Yellow-rumped Warbler (PS)

It was a lot warmer than other year’s outings, but certainly not uncomfortable.  It was quiet bird wise, but we had some neat sightings, including Chipping Sparrows, Juncos, Pine Siskins, a soaring Cooper’s Hawk and some brilliant butterflies.

We thought we didn’t see warblers, however, on examining photos of a flock of siskins, we found that they were Yellow-rumped Warblers.  Some saw Townsend Warblers too.  We had more grouse families on the trail too, including Spruce Grouse families, spotted by keen-eyed Cedar.

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Maybe I’m becoming a curmudgeon as I age, but I didn’t think the Wildflowers were as plentiful and brilliant as they were in previous outings here.  Check out the photos of Indian Paintbrush, Anemones and many other species whose names I have forgotten.

As always here, the vistas were stunning.

Approaching Noon, we gathered back at the peak’s parking lot, before descending to Lightning Lake for lunch.  Before leaving the peak, some saw Mountain Chickadees and Northern Flickers.  At Lightning Lake, I forgot to bring beer, but Mary’s fresh Watermelon along with peanut butter & crackers hit the spot.  Steller’s Jays were around and the hordes of Ground Squirrels were very entertaining, especially for Cedar.

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Quite hot now, I really felt like joining the paddle boarders in the lake, but didn’t.  Instead we drove to a new-to-me Strawberry Trail.  It was wooded and the tiny strawberries along the way were tasty.  More Juncos, and lots of Woodpecker activity, but we didn’t find a Three-toed Woodpecker.  Approaching 2:00 pm we were about to turn back when Brian spotted a Black Bear in the bushes.  It stared at us photographing him; he had a brown back, almost like a Spirit Bear.  This was a nice sighting to climax our outing.

Back at the vehicles, we said our good byes to the Forest family who were continuing on their BC camping holiday, and to Manli and the Sisters who were going to Beaver Lake before returning to Vancouver.  The drive home was peaceful as I snoozed in the back seat, and the stop for Milkshakes at MacDonald’s in Hope was a real treat.  We got to Ladner around 5:00 pm, spent, but feeling super after another awesome DNCB outing.

Next Wednesday, August 9, Terry and Roger will meet at and leave from Petra’s at 7:30 am on a local outing including to Reifel Bird Sanctuary.

Next week I will be holidaying on Hernando Island with my son and his family.  As always, your comments are welcome, and let me know if these reports are annoying and you want off my e-mail list.  Cheers: Tom

Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists Society

Posted in *DNCB, Black Bear, Blackwell Peak, Blue Grouse, Cascade Golden-Mantled Ground Squirrel, Chipping Sparrow, Clark's Nutcracker, Columbian Ground Squirrel, Cooper's Hawk, Gray Jay, Heather Trail, Indian Paintbrush Trail, Lightning Lake, Manning Park, Spruce Grouse, Strawberry Trail, Townsend's Warbler, Yellow-rumped Warbler | Leave a comment

DNCB Outing No. 2017-29 to Minnekhada Regional Park

More photos at our DNCB Flickr site

Thirteen DNCBers had a ball on another gorgeous Wednesday morning wandering the pristine trails of Minnekhada Regional Park in Coquitlam.  Check out the photo evidence on our Flickr site at: www.flickr.com/groups/dncb, then click the magnifying glass icon in the “Photo Pool” row, and add 2017-29 to “flickr_search_dncb-photosDNCB Photos” in the Search box at the top of the page.

Eight of us car-pooled from Petra’s at 7:30 am; Mike took, Roger, SLB Syd took Viviane, Glen and Johnny Mac, and I drove Gerhard in our “toy”, Scott’s Willy’s Jeep.  It was a pleasant hour plus ride via the SFPR and then through Coquitlam; at least the traffic wasn’t horrendous like previous week’s outings.  We met the other five; Pat & Maureen, Marion, Jean and Richmond Brian at the Lodge parking lot around 8:45 am.

The Lodge grounds were well-groomed and the 1930’s estate Lodge itself looked magnificent, but unfortunately was closed so I couldn’t show the newbies the impressive historical interior.  We strolled down the driveway to the lookout and took the mandatory Group Photo before starting our walk along the Lodge Trail, around the Lower Marsh to the Low Knoll Lookout.

Pacific-slope Flycatchers were calling all along the trail, but we never did see one.  We did see Willow Flycatchers, Red-breasted Sapsuckers (target bird here), Chestnut-backed Chickadees, Juncos and other common stuff.  One sapsucker that Brian and I saw could have been a Red-naped, however the photo is inconclusive.  Two pairs of Sandhill Cranes were strolling along the edge of the Upper and Lower Marshes, respectively, but we didn’t see any colts.  We saw bear evidence (scat), but no bears, probably scared away by Marion’s Bear Bell.  Lots of Cedar Waxwings around, and we heard Western Tanagers and Pacific Wrens.  We heard Warblerish calls, but I couldn’t specifically identify any.  On the Mid-Marsh Trail, between the two Marshes, we saw a family (5) of Pied-billed Grebe, and a couple of Lesser Scaup (first looked like Common Goldeneye), Wood Ducks, and of course lots of Canada Geese, Mallards and Great Blue Herons, and several Red-eared Slider Turtles.

We met lots of other runners, walkers, some with dogs, along the trail, but we all often repeated how glorious and pleasant the walk was in this beautiful forest park.  Roger pointed out the different plant species, the Salal Berries were ripe and delicious and the flowering Hydrangea were brilliant.  The view from the Low Knoll Lookout was spectacular; we took another Group Photo there.  A tiny Tree Frog hopping on the trail fascinated some as they held him in their hand for photos. We got back to the Lodge parking lot around Noon and eleven of us decided to go for lunch at a Pub in Coquitlam.

Our web gurus found The Arms Pub on Coast Meridian Drive, and it was a treasure.  I had Steak & Prawns (most expensive menu item) with roasted potatoes and veggies, along with two pints of Canadian, and my bill was only 27 bucks.  The food was delicious and the service superb (Tell Laura I Love Her) in this friendly local pub; Mike B was so thrilled he wanted to return for dinner that night.  Although I felt like it, I couldn’t sleep driving home; thankfully, the open air and Gerhard’s direction kept me awake.  Home around 3:00 pm in time to pick up the grandkids at DayCare School.  Another awesome DNCB outing!

Next Wednesday, August 2, is our annual outing to see the wildflowers in Manning Park.  We will meet at and leave from the Ladner Bus Exchange at 6:30 am, then meet others at the Manning Park Lodge around 8:30 am.

Check out our website for more outing information, reports and photos.  As always, comments welcome, and let me know if you want off my e-mail List to receive these mindless missives.  Cheers: Tom

Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists Society

Posted in *DNCB, Cedar Waxwing, Minnekhada Park, Pacific-slope Flycatcher, Pied-billed Grebe, Red-breasted Sapsucker, Red-naped Sapsucker, Sandhill Crane, Tree Frog, Western Tanager, Willow Flycatcher | Leave a comment

DNCB Outing No. 2017-28 to Victoria

More photos at our DNCB Flickr site

Ten DNCBers rode ferries and double-decker buses, and strolled among flowers beds, trees and on beaches on our annual outing to Victoria last Wednesday.

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DNCB on Ferry to Victoria (missing Gerhard) – photo by Terry Carr

We ten were: Organizer Terry C, Richmond Brian A, local Expert & Historian Mike B, Pat & rookie Manli, Gerhard, our new SLB’s Syd & Viviane B, White Rock Al and me.  Not a lot of birds seen, but a very relaxing and wonderful way to spend a beautiful Summer day in BC.  Check out the photo evidence on our Flickr site at: www.flickr.com/groups/dncb, then click the magnifying glass icon in the “Photo Pool” row, and add 2017-28 to “flickr_search_dncb-photosDNCB Photos” in the Search box at the top of the page.

We all met at the Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal to catch the 8:00 am ferry to Swartz Bay, only $8.35 for us frugal BC Seniors.  Lots of smiling faces and nonsensical chatter with the pre-boarding excitement.  Before departing, we were entertained by several multi-coloured Glaucous-winged Gull chicks on nests only a few feet from the Waiting Room’s outside lookout.  On board, as is tradition, we took the Group Photo facing the sun at the bow of the Coastal Celebration.  Cormorants, both Pelagic and Double-crested, were diving in the harbour as we departed.  The view back toward the city and surrounding mountains was spectacular, and we determined that the haze along the mountains was from the interior forest fires.  I passed on the Traditional on-board Breakfast and enjoyed the pleasant ride across the Strait, along with the seemingly thousands of tourists.

Active Pass wasn’t too active either.  We saw lots of the nesting Pigeon Guillemots off Galiano island.  Harbour Seals were napping on small islands.  We saw other Gulls including Ring-billed, but not sure of other species.  No black headed Bonaparte Gulls seen.

We arrived at Swartz Bay on time at 9:40 am and, as instructed by our Ferry Guru Mike, got to the front of the line to ensure good seats on the Bus to Victoria.  We were first on the No. 70 “express” Double Decker bus, paid our 5 bucks for a Day Pass, and got the front seats up top.  An awesome scenic ride through Sydney and into Victoria.  Some thought the sighting of the day was an antlered Deer on the roadside; others, an abandoned Pot Grow-up Building.  We disembarked at the last stop beside the BC Legislative Buildings, and took another Group Photo, including the phantom Gerhard.

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DNCB at B.C. Legislature (photographer Terry not in photo, but Gerhard is!)

Under Terry’s leadership, we headed toward Beacon Hill Park and it’s manicured flora gardens.  The park also boasts wondrous displays of exotic and native trees, including Garry Oak, Arbutus, Douglas Fir, Western Red Cedar, birch, willow and maples – to name just a few.  Our Tree Guru, WR Al pointed out many of these before he got tired and went to the Empress Hotel for a “spot of tea”.  Some Great Blue Herons were still hanging around their heronry in the Douglas Fir grove.  Lots of Red-eared Turtles in the ponds with families of Mallards.  The park’s history, including prior to Confederation in 1867, was fascinating as depicted in old photos on the historic “octagon” building (which was also once an Aviary).  As for birds, we saw Red-breasted Nuthatches, Chestnut-backed Chickadees and Bushtits.  Approaching Noon, we decided to stop at the Beacon Drive-In restaurant for lunch.

Mike’s recommended Cheeseburger & Fries hit the spot with a Root Beer and Banana Swirl Ice Cream Cone for dessert.  We then walked toward Mile Zero of the Trans Canada, passed the once tallest Totem Pole in the world (now 4th), to the path along the sea wall.  No shorebirds on the beach, but some DNCBers were entertained by the other “birds” sunbathing.  A few Hummingbirds in the bushes along the trail, and three Swallow species, Barn, Tree and Violet-green, were hawking insects beside the path.  We didn’t go as far as Clover Point, so didn’t see the Western Sandpipers, Brant and Heermann’s Gull, but re-entered the Park at its northern entrance.  The resident Peacocks were noisy but colourful.  We saw juveniles too, but did not see this year’s babies.  The Rose Garden was spectacular.

It was only 2:00 pm when we got back to the south end of the Park, so we decided to go to the Sticky Wicket Pub for a refreshing drink.  I think everyone had a beer, me two sleeves of “almost Happy Hour” Canadian (the waitress didn’t honour her offer for the lower price since we were there before 3:00 pm).  Anyhow, you could distinguish those who had beer as they were the ones snoring on the 3:40 pm Double Decker Bus on the return trip to Swartz Bay.

We caught the 5:00 pm Ferry to Tsawwassen, some had the Buffet, others cafeteria, and one person enjoyed an Apple, Costco Granola Bars and a smuggled pint of Coor’s Lager as the only person on the outside front bow.  A very pleasant but birdless trip back. I saw the fin of one Harbour Porpoise, a couple of Bald Eagles, and some wishful Brandt’s Cormorants on a faraway island.  On time again at 6:40 pm Tsawwassen arrival, everyone seemed happy as went our separate ways home; WR Al chauffeuring me. Another glorious DNCB outing.

Next Wednesday, July 26, we’ll meet at and leave from Petra’s at 7:30 am for Minnekhada Regional Park.  We should be at its historic Lodge parking lot by 8:30 am.

Apologies for this late report; busy times here with grand-parenting, golf yesterday, White Rock Theatre tonight, Car Boot Sale on Saturday, Invasive Species Removal at BBRP on Sunday, plus a seemingly too frequent $350 plus visit to Costco for milk & eggs.

As always, your comments welcomed, and let me know if this verbal diarrhea annoys you and you want off my e-mail List.  Cheers: Tom

Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists Society

Posted in *DNCB, Bald Eagle, Brandt's Cormorant, Harbour Porpoise, Harbour Seal, Mule Deer, Pelagic Cormorant, Pigeon Guillemot | Leave a comment

DNCB Outing No. 2017-27 to Bowen Island

More photos at our DNCB Flickr site

Our “away” outing on Wednesday to Bowen Island was an enjoyable, but epic outing for nine DNCBers.  Check out the few photos on our Flickr site at: www.flickr.com/groups/dncb, then click the magnifying glass icon in the “Photo Pool” row, and add 2017-27 to “flickr_search_dncb-photosDNCB Photos” in the Search box at the top of the page.

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Eight of us car-pooled nicely from Petra’s at 7:30 am with Roger M and Mike B volunteering to chauffeur.  They were veritable Martyrs, (Roger had Valerie W, White Rock Liz W and newbie German student Jan; Mike had our Guru Anne M, Gerhard and me).  Smooth sailing through the tunnel on 99 to Westminster Highway, then snail pace into Vancouver and over the Lion’s Gate Bridge to Horseshoe Bay Terminal.  A brutal two hours to get there, fortunately made a lot more comfortable with historians Mike and Anne in the car recounting their Vancouver experiences in the bygone era.  We met Rob M (without Marylile) at the terminal, and, after paying the horrific 19 buck fee to park, we were still in good time to take the 10:00 am ferry to Bowen Island (only 6 bucks for Seniors on weekdays).  We counted our first four species, Crow, Pigeon, Violet-green Swallows and Glaucous-winged Gull, while fellow-passenger Langley Susan took our Group Photo on the front bow as the ferry left the dock.

It was a beautiful Summer morning on the water, the views of the islands and mountains around us were incredible.  We even saw a couple of Pigeon Guillemots and Double-crested Cormorants in the Queen Charlotte Channel on the way to Snug Cove.  After landing at the marina, we gathered at the entrance to Crippen Regional Park, to begin our marathon walk through lush forests, then around Killarney Lake, and back to Doc Morgan’s Pub in Snug Cove.

It’s really a magical walk.  We stopped at the Fish Ladder.  We heard and saw both Willow and Pacific-slope Flycatchers.  As for Warblers, we heard Yellow, saw Common Yellowthroats, and Anne saw a Wilson’s.  Other neat sightings (other than the common sparrows, towhees, herons, geese, mallards, etc.) included: Swainson’s Thrush, Cedar Waxwings, Belted Kingfishers.  Pacific Wrens were calling everywhere, and Woodpecker evidence was in many tree trunks.  We may have seen a Pileated, but certainly saw Northern Flickers.  Tree Swallows were nesting in the tall bare tree trunks in Killarney Lake.  We didn’t see any diving ducks in the lake, but pairs of Pied-billed Grebes were entertaining, one pair with four babies.  Young Wood Ducks were also nice to see.

We were worried about timing on this outing and making sure we caught the 3:00 pm ferry back to the mainland. So after initially leisurely wandering along the trail to about Noon, we then had to pick up the pace. The trail around the Lake was narrow, up and down, and with lots of roots growing in it. During this “race”, which included trampling over a group of visiting Richmond Seniors (some with canes), of course we didn’t see many birds.  Both Crows and Common Ravens were cawing and a Turkey Vulture symbolically circled above us.  A Deer crossed the road behind us.  Sweaty and exhausted, we got to Doc Morgan’s Pub at 2:00 pm, where the half-milers, Mike, Val and Rob, were already enjoying their libations.  Slouching in my chair, I can’t recall enjoying a Whistler Lager so much, along with their specialty Fish & Chips.

Wandering around the historic Union Steamship buildings in the Marina Park, a Root Beer Ice Cream Cone hit the spot before boarding the ferry.  Arriving at Horseshoe Bay about 3:30 pm, we said good bye to Rob, and the two carloads began the second epic journey back to Tsawwassen.  Traffic was horrendous.  The sign on highway 99 indicated a 50 minute wait on Lions Gate Bridge, so Mike decided to take the Second Narrows Bridge.  Roger, in his inimitable manner, tried several of his “shortcuts”.  It was still more than two hours for us to get back to Tsawwassen (normally less than an hour).  It’s now Friday, and for all I know Roger could still be on the road.  Seriously though, it was a very enjoyable outing, but we will have to re-arrange any future DNCB outing to Bowen Island.  For a nice comparison, check out my 2016 Bowen report.

Next Wednesday, July 19, is our annual Ferry outing to Victoria.  As always, we will meet at the Tsawwassen Terminal on the 8:00 am ferry to Swartz Bay, then take the double-decker bus to Victoria, and return to Tsawwassen on the 5:00 pm ferry.  The very-efficient Terry Carr has agreed to lead us again on this outing.

Note from TomWe are concerned about the amount of interest in participating in our “away” outings this Summer.  These outings normally take all day, rather than the local morning outings.  For our Victoria outing next Wednesday via the ferry, Terry Carr has agreed to lead it.  Plan is to take 8:00 am ferry to Swartz Bay and return on the 5:00 pm.  Before confirming this outing, we are asking that you let me/us know of your participation.  If little or no interest, we will change the destination to local and just decide at Petra’s on Wednesday where we go.       VICTORIA OUTING CONFIRMED.

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

Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists Society

Posted in *DNCB, Barrow's Goldeneye, Bowen Island, Cedar Waxwing, Mule Deer, Pacific-slope Flycatcher, Pied-billed Grebe, Pigeon Guillemot, Pileated Woodpecker, Swainson's Thrush, Turkey Vulture, Willow Flycatcher, Wilson’s Warbler, Yellow Warbler | Leave a comment

DNCB Outing No. 2017-26 to Surrey Bend and Tynehead Regional Parks

More photos at our DNCB Flickr site

Eighteen DNCBers (names at end) enjoyed a gorgeous Wednesday morning at Surrey Bend (SBRP) and Tynehead Regional Parks (TRP).  Check out the photo evidence on our Flickr site at: www.flickr.com/groups/dncb, then click the magnifying glass icon in the “Photo Pool” row, and add 2017-26 to “flickr_search_dncb-photosDNCB Photos” in the Search box at the top of the page.  Additional photos can be seen on Roger’s and Tony’s sites at: https://www.flickr.com/photos/145329204@N06/albums/72157685914102795 and https://www.flickr.com/photos/tonu/albums/72157683158542863 respectively.

Eight of us left Petra’s at 7:30 am in 3 vehicles (only “average” car-pooling).  Very pleasant drive on Highway 17, arriving at 8:20 am at the SBRP parking lot (little traffic as kids are out of school).  The smiling mob met and welcomed us, along with a singing Black-headed Grosbeak.  We introduced the Newbies, White Rock-Surrey Naturalists President Liz W and visiting German student Jan A, and welcomed back our gregarious Indian Land Baron (ILB), Tony M.  Following convoluted discussion on facing or not facing the sun, we decided to follow the river trail through the woods.

Roger and the ILB took our mandatory Group Photo by the SBRP info sign.  Nice looks at a Willow Flycatcher and we eventually saw one of the many singing Swainson’s Thrushes.  The SBRP is a relatively new and well-maintained park among differing habitats with easily traversed trails, even with off-shoots to lookouts along the mighty Fraser River.  Tree and Barn Swallows were hawking insects above the river and the log booms, and Barnston Island on the other side looked very peaceful.  It was comfy and cool walking among the huge Cottonwood and Fir trees, with lots of birds singing, but we couldn’t find many of them.  We saw a Brown Creeper, Cedar Waxwings, Anna’s Hummingbirds, and others heard both Warbling and Red-eyed Vireos, Pacific Wrens, Pacific-slope Flycatchers, Western Wood-Pewee.  The young-eyed Nature Trust girls saw a Yellow Warbler, and Pat got an Orange-crowned Warbler.

As we were leaving the forested area, entering the open marsh Pacific Trail, Chris spotted the tail and bill of a Willow Flycatcher.  We all spent 15 minutes trying to locate his sighting, only to conclude that the “leaf” body of a bird does not count as a sighting.  Nice goin’, Chris.

We trudged back on the Pacific Trail, in the scorching sun to the pleasant sounds of singing Common Yellowthroats and Marsh Wrens, eventually getting some good views of the masked warbler, impressing our visitor Jan.  Some saw a Savannah Sparrow, and the resident Ospreys were entertaining in flight across the marsh over the Fraser.  A Garter Snake gave a brief appearance too.  Lots of colourful flowers, plants and bushes were identified by several “experts” among us, but I’ve forgotten their names (the plants, not the experts).  The Oregon Plum berries were as sweet as I have ever tasted them, and Roger was pleased with differentiating the wild Oats from the 4-row Barley.  Back at the picnic shelter around 10:30 am, after stealing some of Sammy’s carrots and tomatoes, we decided to drive to Tynehead RP.

The Tynehead Hatchery was closed, so we decided to walk the Birch Grove Hatchery Trail.  An idyllic stroll it was, as we followed and often crossed the Serpentine River (actually more like a stream here).  Some fed the Chickadees, mostly Black-capped, and we saw, or heard, many of the same species as at SBRP.  We heard a Western Tanager, and of course Roger saw it.  The Coho Fry were kind of neat to see, seemingly following their shadows on the rocky river bed, as we watched from the bridge above.

It was about 12:30 pm when we got back to the TRP parking lot where some (9) of us decided to go to the Baselines Pub on 166 St. in Surrey for lunch.  Unfortunately, following an Age Check, Chris, Glen and our young visiting newbie Jan had to leave.  Lunch conversation about archaic BC drinking laws prevailed, while I splurged on a delicious Surf & Turf meal of steak, prawns, mashed potatoes and string beans, plus of course two sleeves of Canadian, all for under 30 bucks, including tip.  Predictably, the ride back to Tsawwassen was very mellow, with Gerhard and I snoring in the back seat as Roger and Mike continued their reminisces of their misspent youth as we passed several of their earlier haunts along the way.  Back in Tsawwassen at 2:30 pm, it was another delightful DNCB outing.

We 18 were: Roger drove Mike B, Gerhard and me, Chris drove the Newbie Jan (another German), our returnee ILB Tony (Indian Land Baron) drove Glen B. We met others at Surrey Bend: Anne & Ken, Johnny Mac, White Rock Al & WRSN Prez Liz W, Langley Tom W. Three Nature Trust ladies, Sammy, Brittany & Terita, met us on the Trail, and Pat S, after waiting an hour for us at Tynehead, showed up for a few minutes at SB.

Next Wednesday, July 11, is our annual “Away” outing to Bowen Island, leaving Petra’s at 7:30 am.  We will park and join others at the Horseshoe Bay Terminal and take the 10:05 am ferry to Bowen as foot passengers.  We’ll have lunch somewhere on Bowen (pub?), and take an afternoon ferry back, probably 3:00 pm.

For more outing info, and earlier reports and photos (including last week’s by WR Al to Campbell Valley Park), check out our website.  Apologies for the tardiness with this late reporting; I have been busy golfing and grand-parenting.  As always, your comments are encouraged, and let me know if you want off my List to receive these long-winded and boring tirades.  Cheers: Tom

Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists Society

Posted in *DNCB, Brown Creeper, Orange-crowned Warbler, Pacific-slope Flycatcher, Red-eyed Vireo, Surrey Bend, Swainson's Thrush, Tynehead Park, Warbling Vireo, Western Tanager, Western Wood-Pewee, Willow Flycatcher, Yellow Warbler | Leave a comment