Eight birders (Terry, Hans-Ulf, Lorna, Marion, Gord, Alan, Mike and me) met at Alaksen National Wildlife Area (NWA) to begin a gorgeous Wednesday morning of birding on Westham Island. Hi-lites were: Willow Flycatcher, Yellow-rumped Warbler and a Merlin munching on a Barn Swallow, plus lots of Shorebirds at Reifel. Check out Terry’s action-packed photos on our Picasa site at: http://picasaweb.google.com/dncbirding and past reports and photos on our Blog at: https://dncb.wordpress.com/.
We all arrived at Alaksen at about 8:00 a.m. and spent the next hour being entertained by the “single tree” behind the Bird Studies Canada office. First Song Sparrows, House Finches and speckled, winter-plumage European Starlings landed in it. Then came a Rufous Hummingbird; then a few little Warblers, including a still colourful Yellow-rumped (Audubon) and a Common Yellowthroat. Cedar Waxwings were posing at the top when a Willow Flycatcher snuck in at the bottom. We checked out the lane for owls (Barred, Barn and Great Horned nest at Alaksen), in vain of course. A Northern Flicker’s red shaft shone as a Cooper’s Hawk flew by, then a Red-tailed Hawk. We returned to the “Tree” to watch a Merlin snatch a Barn Swallow and enjoy his breakfast right in front of us. You can see a photo sequence of the Merlin Meal episode (Terry took 600 shots on the outing including 200 of the Merlin) on our Picasa site.
The group continued on to Reifel Bird Sanctuary while I left to participate in a Community Gaming Grant Review Forum in Surrey to push for continuing the program and get a grant for our Delta Nats. Terry reports that Reifel was its usual productive birding spot with lots of Shorebirds in the ponds. Western Sandpipers are going through the area now, and among them they saw lots of Dowitchers (both Long and Short-billed), Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs, Red-necked Phalaropes, Semi-palmated Sandpipers (Stilt Sandpipers were there on Sunday). A Peregrine Falcon gave a nice pose, as did several Northern Harriers. They took the obligatory Group Photo, which I missed along with Lorna’s PB sandwiches.
Next Wednesday, September 14 is our quarterly Birds on the Bay event at Boundary Bay Regional Park. We meet at Cammidge House at 9:00 a.m. and following our outing around BBRP we will savour some goodies prepared by the Delta Nats Ladies at historic Cammidge House (CH). And don’t forget our first 2011/12 Delta Naturalists’ Society monthly meeting this Monday, September 12 at 7:30 p.m. at CH. David Drummond will give a Presentation on Urban Merlins (nicely coincidental after our Merlin Munching outing). Delta Nats will also have their Display booth at the Day on the Farm event, 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., this Saturday Sept. 10 (tomorrow) at the herb farm on Westham Island. Lots of neat stuff, eh? Join us if you can and, let me know if you want off my list.
President, Delta Naturalists’ Society
Photos of Merlin and Barn Swallow by Terry Carr