More photos at our DNCB Flickr site
Most of the photos of this Outing are on our Flickr website at: www.flickr.com/groups/dncb, then click the magnifying glass icon in the “Photo Pool” row, and add 2017-16 to “DNCB Photos” in the Search box at the top of the page.
24 people met at the Royal Oak parking lot to explore Deer Lake on a nice day—no rain and sun eventually appearing. A pair of Wood Ducks entertained the early birds while we waited for the rest of the group to arrive.
During our time, we saw or heard many commonly found birds, American Robin, Song Sparrow, Black-capped Chickadee, Spotted Towhee, Crow, Northern Flicker, which I will not mention again.
On the first leg of the walk, we found Yellow-rumped Warblers, Audubon sub-species, Orange-crowned Warblers, Ruby-crowned Kinglets, Pine Siskins (an identification challenge solved by Kirsten), 6 Cowbirds (thanks Brian), and eventually a small flycatcher, which again presented an ID challenge. After much debate and switching back and forth, we consulted our guru Anne Murray, who thought it was likely a Pacific-slope Flycatcher (vs Hammond’s) based on pictures of the bill size, but she said that the only way to be certain with Flycatchers is to hear them. We heard Common Yellowthroat and Black-throated Gray Warblers in this section but were unable to see them.
The next section which we passed by twice, included the lake, which held Double-crested Cormorants, Ring-necked Ducks, Gadwall, Mallards, Wood Ducks, Goldeneye, and American Wigeon. We also saw 3 Wood Ducks up very high in a tree, which was an unusual sighting. A large turtle siting on a log on first pass of this section, became 4 turtles on the way back, all Red Sliders, and all doing very well in this lake.
As we entered a wooded section, someone spotted a very large bird landing in the conifers there, so we spent some time searching for a Barred Owl that had been seen close to there a day previous. No luck, but we did produce a female Downy Woodpecker, a Huttons’s Vireo, Brown Creeper, Bushtits and some heard a Bewick’s Wren and Golden-crowned Kinglets.
On to the Burnaby Great Blue Heronry, which is busy with numerous nesting herons, some with hatched young and some without. Others of the group were distracted by a pair of mating raccoons up high on a branch. A Pacific Wren provided enthusiastic background music for the raccoons.
We made our way back to the west end of the lake, passing a beautiful male Ring-necked Pheasant, who was happily feeding and remarkably unbothered by the many photographers who were taking its picture. I did not know that male pheasants in breeding plumage have “horns”. Two Canada Geese foraged in the field across from him.
Along the west end of the lake, a male Anna’s Hummingbird sat in his usual perch in a tree that has been occupied by a Hummer for years. Several swallows, mostly Tree Swallows, were hawking insects along the lake edge, but Tom had seen a Violet-green Swallow earlier. A work crew with loud hedge trimmers likely scared off other birds that locate in that area, but after they left, we found Savannah Sparrows singing and flitting from tree to tree as we made our way westward. The walk was quiet with the occasional Orange-crowned Warbler and Song Sparrow heard.
Heading northward, we spotted a Red-tailed Hawk sitting high in a snag. The Barn Owl boxes were noted, but no owls seen. At least two Common Yellowthroat Warblers were heard in this area. As we turned westward, Tom found several American Goldfinches. We heard another Black-throated Gray Warbler, and some gave chase until they managed to spot it.
As it was close to noon, we called it a day, and part of the group went to a local eatery, where they satisfied their hunger and thirst.
Report by Marion Shikaze