Only six stalwart birders (Lorna, Kathleen, Valerie, Lorna, Bill, Anne and me) braved another rainy Monday morning parading through the woods at Ladner Harbour Park and then the South Arm Marshes Wildlife Management Area. Hi-lites of the outing were: several Mourning (not Eurasian-collared) Doves, three Wren species, Yellow-rumped Warbler, both Kinglets, some gorgeous Wood Ducks in breeding plumage and lunch at the Rusty Anchor Pub. See Bill’s photos on our Picasa site at http://picasaweb.google.com/dncbirding.
On arrival at Ladner Harbour Park, a Cooper’s Hawk posed for us in a tree overlooking the Fraser River. Then a few trees down we saw a similarly posing Red-tailed Hawk. We walked along the muddy trails, enjoying the common LBJ’s, when a flock (6-8) of cooing Doves intrigued us. Following intensive examination, they were determined to be Mourning, rather than the now more common Eurasian Collared-Doves. Trudging through the marsh to the river’s edge, we saw some Green-winged Teal, American Wigeon and a Double-crested Cormorant catching and swallowing an enormous Flounder. The huge fish stuck in its throat resembling a cobra (at least to me). We wondered whether he would choke to death. Other interesting sightings along the path were: American Goldfinch, a neat Brown Creeper singing as it climbed up the trunk, a not-so-common Hairy Woodpecker as well as several Downy’s and Northern Flickers, a flashy Golden-crowned Kinglet among the Black-capped Chickadees and Pacific (Winter) Wrens calling. At the new Lookout we had a good look at the condo across the inlet, but no birds seen from this unusual location for a Lookout. At the other end of this Park, on the path where the bridge has been removed, we were surrounded by a cacophony of Marsh Wrens singing. A Ring-necked Pheasant called. Several flocks of Northern Pintail flew over us, heading south (?).
On the short drive to the adjacent South Arm Marshes Park, some stopped near the Mute Swans to watch a flock of Steller’s Jays acting funny, especially when a Red-tailed Hawk came by. We were joined at the SAM Park by Bev and golfer-turned-birder Doug, who immediately impressed the group with his identification of a pair of Mallards. Near the entrance, we saw a Bewick’s Wren, our third wren species. No Virginia Rail was heard or seen. Further along another muddy trail, we saw both Ruby and Golden-crowned Kinglets, and high in the tree was a Yellow-rumped Warbler (Myrtle) singing like crazy. The Viewing Tower over the Fraser was nice; we tried to turn some American Robins and immature Bald Eagles into rare sightings, but to no avail. At least four pair of gorgeous Wood Ducks were in the streams and a couple in the trees hanging around the nesting boxes. Hopefully we will have another successful breeding season in this park.
Soaked again, but smiling, we (me and three chicks, Lorna, Valerie and Kathleen) retired to the Rusty Anchor Pub where “Canadian” was on special. Another not very productive, but enjoyable morning.
I will be at Petra’s next Monday, March 28 around 7:30 a.m. for departure at 8:00 a.m. somewhere around the Bay. Again, comments welcome and let me know if my verbiage annoys you.
Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists’ Society