Thirteen birders spent a very pleasant Monday (Jan. 17) morning in Richmond at Terra Nova Park then at Garry Point Park in Steveston. We were: John & Kay, Rick & Marg, Bill & Mary, Ansa, Terry, Lorna, Anne, Roger, newbie Marian and me. Hi-lites included: many duck species in breeding plumage and up-close-and-personal including less common Ring-necked Ducks, Red-breasted Mergansers and a pair of courting Pied-billed Grebes. Check out photos (soon I hope) at http://picasaweb.google.com/dncbirding
At the Terra Nova parking lot we were welcomed by a dozen plus Great Blue Herons in the marsh in front of us as well as lots of Red-winged Blackbirds already establishing their territories. Not much in the river except some American Wigeons, Horned Grebes, Double-crested Cormorants, a few small flocks of Dunlin and Sanderling, but no geese, Snow or Canada’s. Before entering Terra Nova Park we walked the dike, saw lots of common stuff including Sparrows (Song, Fox, Golden-crowned) and House Finches, four Northern Flickers together, a Red-tailed Hawk and several Northern Harriers and Bald Eagles; nothing really exciting.
On entering the Park, in the first pond we saw a small group of about 20 ducks, but it included six species in breeding plumage: Mallard, American Wigeon, Ring-necked, Northern Shoveler, Green-winged Teal and Gadwall. Later, along the path in creeks and ponds we saw: Northern Pintail, Bufflehead, pretty Hooded Mergansers, Lesser and Greater Scaup and a Pied-billed Grebe. While looking at a lone Greater Yellowlegs (our only Shorebird seen in the park), a healthy looking Coyote sauntered among the reeds, occasionally pouncing on what we assume were moles or voles. Some of us (e.g. me) had never been to a large portion of this Park, including its Community Garden plots, and we found it an interesting and productive habitat.
After our Smoko (finally our timing allowed us to enjoy a morning tea break, albeit the leader was not supplemented with any tasty delights), the ten of us remaining drove circuitously to Garry Point Park in Steveston. In the pond in front of the parking lot, with the many Gulls (Glaucous-winged, Ring-billed, Mew and at least one Thayer’s) was one brilliant drake Eurasian Wigeon among the Americans. Several Brewer’s Blackbirds were among the Starlings and Red-wings. It was getting a bit chilly, so we walked quickly around the park, noting several Red-breasted Mergansers and a few Western Grebes in the river. A pair of Trumpeter Swans with two cygnets were feeding in the marsh. Then a pair of Pied-bill Grebes near the docked boats caught our attention with their bobbing and turning in unison, a sort of courting procedure we thought.
We got back to Petra’s well before Marian’s Physio appointment at 1:30 p.m.
Some other interesting sightings on the day included a Peregrine Falcon over Petra’s (Anne M), three Sandhill Cranes (probably the Reifel family, one was banded) in a field on 68th Street in West Ladner and the Pileated Woodpecker and Anna’s Hummingbirds at my backyard feeders everyday.
I will be at Petra’s around 8:00 a.m. next Monday, Jan. 24 for departure at 8:30 a.m. to another exciting spot, a bit further away from Delta. We are planning to go to DeBoville Slough Park in Port Coquitlam, and perhaps nearby Minnekhada Park. A Northern Pygmy Owl was recently seen at DeBoville.
As usual, comments welcome and let me know if you’re finally ready to cease receiving these ramblings.
Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists’ Society