On a not too promising day with much rain forecast, four members, Lorna, Hans, Terry and Roger, met at Petra’s and decided to take a chance on the weather and try Deer Lake for a change. Parking off Royal Oak Avenue in Burnaby, we had good luck at the start of the trail in the densely wooded area where we saw a Winter Wren, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, a Golden-crowned Kinglet, a Spotted Towhee, and a few Black-capped Chickadees. Where the trail splits and crosses the old Oakalla prison farm fields, a Red-tailed Hawk was spotted in a tall snag. Well camouflaged, a very healthy looking coyote was skulking along the meadow looking for voles. Several Gadwall were in a ditch on the east side of the trail and a second Red-tail flew across the path. A few Song Sparrows were seen, and heard, in the bushes and a Steller’s Jay flew by.
At the junction where a trail loops back north across the meadow we decided to push on eastward instead to the east end of the lake. On the way, two Belted Kingfishers flew by and two Common Mergansers were diving on the west end of the lake. At the beach on the east end of the lake were a number of Ring-billed, Herring, and Glaucous-winged gulls. In the water were several Gadwall, Mallards, American Coots, Hooded Mergansers (mostly male), and at least a dozen Ring-necked Ducks. The north side of the lake yielded many more Hooded Mergansers, Common Mergansers and Ring-necked males. Taking over for eagle eye Kay, Lorna spotted a beautiful Golden-crowned Kinglet with a prominently displayed crown, and a Varied Thrush in a cedar tree. Lorna also saw the only Brown Creeper of the day… a good day for a first year birder.
There were lots of chickadees on the way back to the car. As we saw at Lost Lagoon last week, again the number of Hooded Mergansers seemed unusual as was the large number of male Ring-necked Ducks. We lucked out on the weather as the rain held off until we were back at the parking lot. A good day of birding and a bit of exercise with the circumnavigation of the lake and we were back at Petra’s by 12:30.
Depending on the weather, next week we may do the ferry jetty, Robert’s Bank, Reifel Island route as Bohemian Waxwings are said to have returned to Reifel.
Photos by Terry Carr. More photos at http://picasaweb.google.com/terrancecarr/