Alaksen NWA ~ Casual Birding outing # 87

John & Kay, Lorna and Jim joined me this morning on an outing to Alaksen CWS (Canadian Wildlife Service) Wildlife Refuge.  On the way there, we stopped at the Tsatsu Shores Heronry where we found the “guardian” Bald Eagle’s nest among the 400 Great Blue Heron nests.  Dad was roosting nearby and made the shift to take over from Mom who was sitting in the nest (we assume on eggs).  Interesting exchange while we watched.  The surrounding nesting herons seemed nonplussed. Behind the condos, we briefly looked out at the Bay and saw lots of ducks far out and a Double-crested Cormorant. Yesterday here (near the Ferry Terminal) I saw 8 Black Turnstones, two Oystercatchers, 3 beautiful pair of Harlequin Ducks and several Surf Scoters.

 We stopped at Canoe Pass Floathomes and saw a couple of Mute Swans as well as two Western Grebes in the river. A flock of Snow Geese was resting near the Brunswick Point river entrance. We saw several thousand more Snow Geese later in the fields.  We talked to Peter Davidson in his CWS office at Alaksen and he told us what to look for on the grounds. We heard the Common Yellowthroat continuously singing behind the main building, but we could not raise him up to see.  A gorgeous Rufous Hummingbird posed on a branch for us.  Many Tree Swallows were hawking insects, but we did not see any Barn Swallows. Owl pellets and scat were under the entrance trees, but as Peter said, the Barred Owls have not been seen there for a couple of weeks. As we started our walk into the refuge, we saw in the bay: a Greater Yellowlegs, Red-breasted Merganser, Pied-billed Grebe, a few Bufflehead and many Green-winged Teal. Meanwhile a couple of rather large River Otters entertained us on the other side of the path. A Peregrine Falcon flew over us, as did a Red-tailed Hawk.  On the trail some of the little birds that caught our attention included: Golden-crowned Kinglets, Yellow-rumped Warblers (Audubons), pair of Brown Creepers, Dark-eyed Juncos, male Downy Woodpecker, House Finches and a couple of American Goldfinches, and too many Robins.  Near to where the CWS students set up the Mist Nests to capture the little birds, we watched a Marsh Wren gathering bulrush material to build one of his nests. On the way home on Westham Island Road, we were searching for the American Kestrel, but instead a Northern Shrike posed for us in a tree between Reynolds and Emma Lea Farms. We searched in vain for the Western Meadowlarks on 46A Street. With several grumbling stomachs, we got back to Petra’s around 2:45 p.m. Photos forthcoming as received from Jimbo.

 Our Delta Nats meeting is tonight at Cammidge House at 7:30 p.m.  Kate Hagmeier is presenting on Brant Geese.

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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