Casual Birders go to Campbell Valley Park ~ outing#72

Seven of us (Rochelle, Val, John & Kay, Terry, Roger and me) went to Campbell Valley Park in Surrey this morning in search of the Great Gray Owl that Roger had seen yesterday. It was overcast and rainy when we left Petra’s at 9:00 a.m., but it turned out to be a gorgeous sunny and warm (plus 50’s F) morning. We drove some back roads to highway 10 then 99 and noted that the Bald Eagles have certainly returned to the area.  At CV Park, we walked the “Circle Trail” from the parking lot and it was very quiet. On a boardwalk over a marshy area we ran into some activity. Chickadees, both Black-capped and Chestnut-backed were abundant.  We were all entertained as they ate out of our hands (as is normal practice, my pockets were full of peanuts in the shell). Val even got a Red-breasted Nuthatch to eat from her hand.  A Brown Creeper climbed a trunk beside us, and a Hermit Thrush dropped by for a few fleeting moments on the boardwalk (I saw it and it’s the only spotted thrush species that hangs around here in Winter). Several Spotted Towhees also posed for us. Further along we watched a Douglas Squirrell (native squirrel, not the ones that empty your feeders) scurry along a fallen log; we almost pursuaded him/her to return for some peanuts.  A pair of Ravens called and circled overhead, displaying their features (ie differences from Crows). In an open pond we saw a beautiful pair of Common Goldeneye with six Ring-necked Ducks, mostly males and also brilliant. We crossed the highway, back and forth, and roamed the field where Roger had seen the Great Gray Owl yesterday, but we were blanked. We only saw a Stellers Jay and a beautiful Belgian Horse (the jockey wasn’t bad either).  Roger saw the GGO yesterday afternoon (Sunday) get aroused by an aggressive photographer and then it was hit by a van as it flew across the highway. He subsequently photographed the bird sitting in a tree (see attached); hopefully it’s okay.  Back at the parking lot we enjoyed some delicious nut and Smarties mixture and a photo op. The other photos attached are a few of several taken by Rochelle and Terry.

After returning to Petra’s at 12:30 p.m., I went to Point Roberts for gas. On a 15 minute stop at Lighthouse Marine Park, my up-close-and-personal sightings included: six Black Turnstones with a flock of 20 Sanderlings, several Horned Grebes, Red-breasted Mergansers, Common Loons, Surf Scoters, Common Goldeneye, Bufflehead and both Common and Pelagic Cormorants. Meanwhile, Roger and Rose photographed a sleeping Barn Owl at Brunswick Point this afternoon (Let me know if you want a copy).  So it was another grand day for us DNCBers.

Tom Bearss

About dncb

DNS: Delta Naturalists are a group of nature lovers whose aim is to foster interest in the natural history of the Fraser delta by sharing and enjoying nature and promoting environmental awareness and conservation. DNCB: Delta Nats Casual Birders is a group of Casual Birders who go Birding at different locations each week, usually within the Lower Mainland or in nearby Washington State.
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