Casual birding outing #91
Ten participants (Roger, John & Kay, Don & Rochelle, Hans, Terry, Anne, Eleanor and me) spent a gorgeous morning wandering around Maplewood Flats in North Vancouver this morning. It was an hour’s drive to get there (a bit longer for us with our Librarian Navigator) in our two vehicle convoy, but the travel conversation was almost stimulating. A Killdeer (our only Shorebird of the day) flew past our vehicle on highway 17 approaching the 99 junction. Maplewood Flats is a trailed, woodland park bordering on Burrard Inlet. I think it gets funding from Wild Bird Trust of BC and many volunteers help look after it and do bird surveys there. They have a “Watch Out for Bears” sign, but we did not see any, although a passing walker saw a Raccoon. We were looking for Spring migrants, especially songbirds/warblers. We heard lots of songs from various Sparrow (e.g. Song) and Warbler (e.g. Yellow-rumped) species, Winter Wren and Black-headed Grosbeaks (I have a pair regularly visiting my backyard feeder). We finally had good looks at a brilliant Wilson’s Warbler and its black cap, and a Chipping Sparrow. A posing Rufous Hummingbird excited Hans who surprisingly discovered it. Two Red-tailed Hawks were soaring above us as a couple of Band-tailed Pigeons flew by.
We stopped at various spots to look out at the river, and do some sun bathing. Two pair of Ospreys are nesting on pylons (posts in the river, I forget their proper name [dolphins, Ed.]). I could not tell whether they were sitting on eggs, or whether there were small babies in the nest. Terry Carr got some photos. One adult left its perch on a neighboring pylon to capture a fish and then eat it back on his perch. There are many numbered Bird Boxes on the pylons, and we saw Tree Swallows, and Purple Martins hanging around them. A flock of about 10 Purple Martins was chasing a “whiter” bird, either a female PM or a Tree Swallow. That excited Roger.
No Shorebirds were on the “flats”, but we saw several Cormorants (Double-crested and Pelagic), Great Blue Herons and Bald Eagles. Glaucous-winged Gulls were dropping shells to crack them on the rocks to access their food. A couple of Common Mergansers were in the distance. We were blanked on Caspian Terns, Cliff Swallows, Swainson’s Thrush and flycatchers, all of which have been seen there. Nonetheless, another glorious outing. Don took a Group Photo.