Jim, Hans-Ulf, Lorna and I spent a lovely Monday morning at Reifel Bird Sanctuary. This was an “unscheduled” outing as we have our Birds on the Bay event this Wednesday. Reifel is always a good outing but in February it is especially good as all the winter residents are in beautiful breeding plumage, and very accessible. Some of our sightings included: three adult and one juvenile Black-crowned Night Herons (the only place in BC where they are at this time), Common and Hooded Mergansers, Lesser Scaup and a pair of Ring-necked Ducks, lots of Northern Pintail, Bufflehead, Northern Shovelers, Green-winged Teal, American Wigeon, Gadwall, Wood Ducks (my favourites) and Mallards including the pure white one that was born there this summer. We saw several hybrids of Mallard/Pintail/Shoveler/Moscovy.
A flock (7 birds) of Sandhill Cranes squawked and circled us before landing next to us, seemingly expecting us to feed them. Good photo op for Jim; I will circulate his photos on receipt. Lots of Sparrows were on the trails including: Fox, Song, Golden-crowned, White-crowned. House Finches, Spotted Towhees and House Sparrows were also abundant, along with many brilliant Red-wing Blackbirds. We had a nice look at a single Cedar Waxwing. We saw several raptors, Red-tail Hawks, Northern Harriers, Bald Eagles.
From the tower, a swarm of several thousand Dunlin swooping over Steveston entertained us. Smaller flocks (25-50 each) were flying/feeding along the outer shore. The tide was very high. Trumpeter Swans (only about 25) were also feeding along the outer shore; later, I saw a “regular” (i.e. often there) flock of 50 feeding in Reynold’s field on Westham Island Road. A Peregrine Falcon was roosting/posing beside the Bald Eagle’s nest at the Westham Island bridge. Four Western Grebes were under the bridge, along with some Mute Swans and one of the two “White Geese” (I forget what “domestic” species, but they have been hanging around there for a few years). The Eurasian (aka Common) Teal was in the slough along River Road just west of the bridge.
Bruce McDonald gave a very interesting and colourful presentation this evening at the monthly Delta Nature meeting at Cammidge House on “UBC’s Botanical Garden” where he was its Director for 30 years. Over 50 people attended. Please join me this Wednesday, February 10 for the 2nd Winter “Birds on the Bay” outing at Boundary Bay Park in Tsawwassen. We depart on our 2 1/2 hour walk at 9:00 a.m. from the parking lot at the foot of 12th Avenue. Then, goodies at Cammidge House at 11:30 a.m.