Casual Birding Outing #103
Seven participants (John & Kay, Rick & Marg, Lorna, Roger and me) spent a quite warm but comfortable and very enjoyable morning wandering around Burnaby Lake Regional Park. Don & Rochelle joined us at Petra’s but could not participate in this “away trip”. Roger (aka Benson Hemphill with the Renton Bird Nuts) drove, and after 50 minutes via some circuitous route around and through Vancouver, we got to the park. Seeing the colourful “Burnaby Eagles” in front of the Sports Complex took the sting off the laborious ride. Roger helped develop Burnaby Lake RP and is very familiar with it, so we benefited from his expertise, especially regarding the variety of flowers and plants there. Check out Rick’s photos of today’s outing at http://picasaweb.google.com/crossfyre/DNCBBurnabyLake#.
From the Nature House and “park garden”, we took the path to the lake and saw a couple of Wood Ducks among the Mallards and Canada Geese. The water was very low; there were about a dozen Long-billed Dowitchers feeding in the mud. A paddle-wheel boat was busy towing dredges to clear a channel, I guess for the kayakers and canoe racers. We heard the “ritz-bew” call of the Willow Flycatcher and finally got good looks at several, especially from the Cadillac of lookout towers (made of cast iron with glass sides). Along the path were lots of Cedar Waxwings, both House and Purple Finches, and warbler-like American Goldfinches feeding on the variety of berry bushes. A good bird for us today was seeing clearly a couple of Red-eyed Vireos (Roger also saw a Warbling Vireo later). We were also entertained by several Brown Creepers and Downy Woodpeckers. Walking the mostly manicured paths (Piper Mill and Conifer Loop Trails), we had to avoid several mounds of Coyote scat, as well as a number of scantily-clad runners, and interestingly we found and examined a dead Mole. We heard several Swainson’s Thrushes, and some saw one or two. A Rufous Hummingbird gave us a fly-past and a brilliant Wilson’s Warbler (first year male without the black cap) sparkled for a few seconds viewing. While watching a Bald Eagle circling above, a Swift (likely Vaux’s) flew into my bins’ view above the eagle.
We drove to the Rowing Pavilion at the other end of the lake where one of the two Osprey was searching for food and flew right over us. There were hundreds of Swallows on and around the pavilion; we saw four species, Barn, Tree, Cliff and Violet-green. A Spotted Sandpiper was sitting on one of the log booms, that we were told was separating and enclosing an area for fish. Female and juvenile Red-winged Blackbirds gave us some identification conversation, while a singing Common Yellowthroat finally showed himself in the reeds, as did his mate. We took the obligatory group photo before I enjoyed a nice nap on the ride back; my snoring having little impact on Roger and Lorna’s frivolous conversation.
Following a 3:00 p.m. meeting at The Coast Tsawwassen Inn regarding Delta Nature hosting BC Nature’s (BCN) 2011 Fall General Meeting (FGM), Anne and I went to Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal to search for the Ruddy Turnstone and Surfbird. We were blanked on both, but on our walk along the causeway, we saw the resident Willet, several Black Oystercatchers including two fluffy young birds closely guarded by their parents, a stinky Sea Lion carcass, about a dozen Harlequin Ducks (female and juveniles), a Pigeon Guillemot, a Belted Kingfisher, one of the four Whimbrels, four Killdeer, several Common Loons and several Gull species (Mew, Ring-billed and Glaucous-winged).