DNCB Outing No. 2011-29 to Iona Island

This Wednesday saw a small turnout with Mike, Lorna, Marian and Roger meeting at Petra’s and being joined at the Iona parking lot  by Ken and Anne, their daughter Christie, and a new participant, David, who added some humor and experience to the group.  We had been orphaned again with Tom volunteering at the Canadian Open RBC Golf Tournament and Anne M. busy with guests.  Strangely enough, we were able to see the golf course across the river from where we were and saw an individual, through the telescope, wearing an official’s shirt. Looking at his knobby knees, Lorna said, “I think that’s Tom”.

birdie finder for the pros

Lorna, not wanting to ever miss a session, was there nursing a pinched nerve in her neck but persevered to the end… way to go Lorna!  The weather was cool with an overcast sky and a slight breeze but, at least, the forecast rain never materialized.

Considerable time was spent at the outer pond where young Cliff Swallows were being fed on the railings of the viewing platform.  (Note: clicking on a photo will enlarge it.)

Cliff Swallow

On the pond were young Mallards, a Pied-billed Grebe, some Gadwall, some eclipse plumage Northern Shovellers, and a single Lesser Scaup.  What was most interesting about the north, outer pond, was the complete absence of Yellow-headed Blackbirds which seemed to be very early for their having left.  A few Spotted Towhees, Red-winged Blackbirds, and Marsh Wrens were seen and heard.  There was no sign of any recent banding at the several stations.  In the inner ponds we observed several Spotted Sandpipers,

Spotted Sandpiper

three Long-billed Dowitchers, some Northern Shovellers, a Green-winged Teal, Canada Geese, Mallards, some Caspian Terns flying over, and some Brewer’s Blackbirds.  The highlight for most of us was the circling Osprey doing it’s hovering and landing in a tree over our heads.


Of course, we paused for the obligatory group photo.

The Usual Suspects

Leaving the ponds we paid close attention to the bird boxes along the river but found only one occupied by a Purple Martin family.  Most seemed to be home to starlings.  Back at the vehicles we were treated to wonderful peanut butter cookies provided by Marion!  After the others left, Mike, Lorna and Roger went down to the beach where a Greater Yellowlegs was seen digging in the mud and some Caspian Terns resting on shore.  At that point we met Richard Swanston who kindly explained, and showed us through his scope, how the banding on the tern legs is interpreted.  Always an excellent learning experience when Richard is around.  Thanks, Richard!

Caspian Terns

Ken, and Anne, expressed concern about coming south through the tunnel in the mornings and, perhaps, in the future if we are heading into Richmond and other northern areas we can have some sort of communication which would allow us to meet them at our destination to save them that inconvenience.  Hopefully, David will join us on future trips as it was a pleasure to have his participation.

At this moment, we can assume a 7:00am  meeting at Petra’s next week with  a 7:30am departure for another exciting outing.

Roger Meyer
Acting Undersecretary to Absentee President Tom Bearss

About dncb

DNS: Delta Naturalists are a group of nature lovers whose aim is to foster interest in the natural history of the Fraser delta by sharing and enjoying nature and promoting environmental awareness and conservation. DNCB: Delta Nats Casual Birders is a group of Casual Birders who go Birding at different locations each week, usually within the Lower Mainland or in nearby Washington State.
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