Casual Birders outing #93
Seven participants (John & Kay, Gord & Roberta, Ron, Roger and me) spent a very pleasant and fruitful Sunday morning birding at Iona Sewage Ponds and the neighbouring GVRD Park. We parked by the Sewage Plant and entered the gate there. The first pond was loaded with neat stuff, all up-close-and-personal. Blue-winged Teals (>100, more than I have seen in BC in one flock) swam away as we approached. Among them were two Cinnamon Teals (we saw at least four of these beauties throughout the morning), several Green-winged Teal (a neat photo at the end of our walk could have been with the three Teal species together, but Roger was too exhausted by then), Northern Shovelers, one American Wigeon, several Gadwall, a family of Mallards (10 chicks), a family of Canada Geese (8 Goslings) and one American Coot.
Feeding, flitting and bobbing along the shore of all four ponds were several Spotted Sandpipers. A Peregrine Falcon posed on a hydro tower behind the sewage plant. We meandered over to the next pond where several Brewers Blackbirds were feeding, and on the fence and in the shrubs were over a hundred recently-born European Starlings, all together. Looks like a successful breeding year for them. Along the middle path we saw a few more Shorebirds and when we got close to them, and following some expert birding analysis, the birds were: one Dowitcher (Short-billed), one Killdeer, one Semipalmated Plover and several Spotted Sandpipers.
On the Fraser River side of the ponds we saw the first of many Warbler sightings with a few Wilson’s Warblers. Later on in the Park we got good looks at pairs of Common Yellowthroats, Yellow-rumped and Yellow Warblers. A flock of colourful House Finches and a few American Goldfinches caught our attention in a bush. Only Starlings were hanging around the Purple Martin nesting boxes in the river. Lots of Swallows hawking insects everywhere; we identified Tree, Barn and Cliff, but likely Violet-green and Bank and perhaps Northern Rough-winged were there too. Several Black Swifts also flew closely over our heads. In the marshes of the Park Ponds, at least four brilliant male Yellow-headed Blackbirds sang and posed for us. We got very brief looks at a skulking female deep in the reeds. Lots of chattering Marsh Wrens nesting there as well, and of course, many noisy but flashy Red-winged Blackbirds. Roger got some super shots of most of the afore-mentioned birds; I am waiting for him to send me the photos which I will circulate to outing participants and others on request. And the “barley” lunch at Speeds Pub in Ladner was delicious, and the right price for me.