Six jovial birders (Hans-Ulf, Roger, Mike, Lorna, newbie Peggy and me) spent a glorious Wednesday morning on an “away outing” at Yew Lake on Cypress Mountain. Hi-lites were a Merlin, feeding the Whiskey Jacks, Evening Grosbeaks, beautiful flowers and a stunning view from the new Bowen Lookout. Roger took some photos which I hope he will put on our Blog or on our Picasa site at http://picasaweb.google.com/dncbirding.
We left Petra’s around 7:30 a.m. and I religiously followed Roger on a tour of the Lower Mainland through North Delta, Surrey, Burnaby, New Westminster, North Vancouver and West Vancouver to get to Cypress Mountain. Roger is a veritable, but wayward Magellan and has an uncanny knack of finding new traffic jams when trying to avoid other reputed rush-hour congestion. The hour trip to Cypress took slightly longer than two hours. Fortunately, it was sunny and warm and my open sun roof drowned out the inane conversation between Peggy and Lorna in my SUV. We walked the Yew Lake Trail behind the new Olympic building and ski lifts. It is well maintained and even has a stand of some rare “old growth” Hemlock and Fir trees. Roger showed and explained lots of the flowers and plants. Interestingly, while we were surrounded, and bitten, by hundreds of “non-biting” gnats/mosquitoes, Roger was describing a carnivorous bug-eating plant (I forget the name) that was obviously starving.
Hans-Ulf had a certain affinity to the Slime Mold. Birdwise, it was quiet but we saw a few; Ravens, Steller’s Jays, Juncos, Woodpeckers and lots of cigar-like Vaux Swifts circling overhead. On the far side of the Yew Lake Trail was a new 1.5 km trail that went to Bowen Lookout. It was fairly steep and strenuous, but when we arrived at the Lookout, it was well worth it.
The view down onto Bowen and Gambier Islands and over to Gibson on the Sechelt Peninsula was awesome. And the snow-capped mountains to the north looked lower than us. Before taking the obligatory Group Photo, a flock of Evening Grosbeaks flew by, and a Red-breasted Nuthatch honked and posed for a look-see. On the walk back down, a flock of Whiskey Jacks (Gray Jays) entertained us by taking peanuts from our hands; good for photo ops.
Back at the parking lot, while enjoying Lorna’s egg sandwiches (away trips are different from the PB local outings), Roger spotted a flicker-sounding Merlin. A nice finish to the outing. We drove back to Tsawwassen in less than an hour, including a nice side trip through Stanley Park.
On return, the Tide was high, so I stopped at BBRP at the foot of 12th Avenue, and among the gulls, Canada Geese, Northern Shovelers were three Brant Geese and a Marbled Godwit (the Hudsonian and Bar-tailed Godwits were seen at the same time at 104th Street on the other side of the Bay). A Belted Kingfisher flew by as I was visiting (i.e. sponging a drink) with Geof & Jean Hacker.
I will be at Petra’s next Wednesday, August 31, for departure at 7:30 a.m. on a local outing “somewhere around the Bay”. Again, comments welcome and let me know if you don’t want to receive this rubbish. Have a nice weekend.
President, Delta Naturalists’ Society