Iona and Terra Nova

Attack pheasant on Casual Birding Outing #85

Five of us (John & Kay, Lorna, Val and me) enjoyed a weird morning of birding at Iona then Terra Nova Park in Richmond.  It was raining at 8:30 a.m., then on departure from Petra’s at 9:00 a.m. it was sunny with not a cloud in the sky.  We went to Iona Park in search of the pair of Mountain Bluebirds that were seen and photographed yesterday. We did not find the Bluebirds, but saw a nice pair of Greater (not Lesser) Scaup in the pond, along with several Bufflehead. Lots of Tree Swallows around as well as Marsh Wrens in the reeds, but no Yellow-headed Blackbirds yet.

We moved on to Terra Nova Park, where it was very windy and cold.  We walked the dyke for a short way, saw several flocks of Snow Geese, then entered the Park seeking shelter from the wind. There has been lots of construction work done on the trails and boardwalks in the Park. A nice pair of Hooded Mergansers was in the pond with the many American Wigeon. A few beautiful American Goldfinches were in the shrubs along with Robins and Spotted Towhees. It started to rain again just as we found a tree with several Warblers in it.  We had great looks at male and female Audubon Yellow-rumped Warblers. A black-throated Gray quickly flew by.  A small flock of Bushtits joined the warblers. We examined a couple of owl pellets under a tree; it started to pour so we went to my SUV.

On leaving the parking lot, we watched a young lady in a red coat walk along the road with what we thought was a pet Ring-necked Pheasant following her. The lady started to walk quicker and then seemed to kick at the beautiful male bird as it got closer to her.  We watched in amazement for several minutes then drove up to the lady. As I opened the window to talk to her, she jumped into the back seat on top of Kay, trembling in fear.  She could not speak English, but we could easily understand that she was terrified by this attacking Pheasant. Tarzan John got out of the vehicle and approached the assailant bird.  The bird backed off a little, but not much, and occasionally pecked at John’s boots and legs.  Between pecks, John sort of guided the bird backwards over the curb into a field.  What a hero!  When John got back into the car, we saw the bird come back toward our vehicle, but we left anyway.  We dropped the trembling lady off a few blocks down the road, where she felt safer.  Then we drove home, immersed in discussion of what just happened. Every DNCB outing is an adventure. Wish we had a photographer with us on this outing. 

Tom Bearss

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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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