DNCB Outing No. 2012-32 to Alaksen NWA

DNCB in front of Alaksen-Reifel “connector path” (click photo to see enlarged version)

Ten participants (Roger & Mike, Ken & Anne, Kay, Gerhard, Jane, holidaying returnees Anne M and Lorna, and me) enjoyed another gorgeous BC Wednesday morning at Alaksen National Wildlife Area on Westham Island.  Check out Ken’s and other’s photos on our DNCB Picasa site at http://picasaweb.google.com/dncbirding.

Since a few folk did not have Passports, at Petra’s we changed our destination from Pt. Roberts USA to Alaksen National Wildlife Area.  We drove through Delta’s farm lands and our first stop was the lookout on the Fraser River at Canoe Pass.  A singing Common Yellowthroat posed on the rocky shore.  Lots of Eurasian Collared-Doves and Cedar Waxwings around.  Anne M spotted a Cliff Swallow among the Barn and Tree Swallows flitting around us.  Roger identified a speck across the river as a Cooper’s Hawk.

Owl pellets (click photo to see enlarged version)

We continued on to Alaksen and searched in vain at the entrance for Barred Owls in the conifers.  Lots of pellets under the trees.  We followed the Loop Trail and heard many Swainson’s Thrushes, but could not spot any of them.

We did find lots of berry plants and cherry trees and I thought we were going to lose the insatiable Gerhard.

We reached the river side of the trail and a couple of Spotted Sandpipers (my Bird of the Day) caught our attention along the rocky shore.  Ken missed the photo opportunity as he was persistently posted by a Tree Swallow’s nest hole in a stump, waiting patiently, and in vain, for an action photo of a parent entering to feed young.  A nice male Black-headed Grosbeak gave us a treat.

We followed a new trail (to me), past the mist net set-ups, along a creek where we saw a few Mallards and Wood Ducks.  A sleeping Raccoon in the crotch of a tree was an interesting sight.  Large mixed flocks of Starlings and Red-winged Blackbirds were in the marsh with the occasional Brewer’s Blackbird there too.  A few Yellow-rumped Warblers seemed to be raised up by these marauding birds.  A Marsh Wren was building a nest in the reeds.  Some saw a Brown Creeper and heard a Red-breasted Nuthatch and Brown-headed Cowbirds.  Ken finally got an action photo of an American Goldfinch feeding a youngster.Roger assured us that this trail would get us around to the parking lot.  It didn’t, and Roger’s explanation that his memory cells had diminished over the last 40 years, although obviously true, did not cut it with us.  Ken took the Group Photo at the end of the trail, and we returned to the cars via the long and circuitous route.  We did not see any of the reported Greater White-fronted Geese among the flock of Canada’s lounging along the river’s edge.  We checked out the Barn Owl barn, but only pellets were in it.  Some did catch a glimpse of an owl, probably a Barn, as it flew into the trees.

We got back to the parking lot just after Noon where the trusty Jane unveiled her fresh Strawberries and PB & Jam sandwich for the leader.  This served as a nice appetizer prior to my Luncheon engagement, and interestingly, the already bloated Gerhard did not take any of Jane’s offerings.  I was time pressed to get to my Luncheon, so unfortunately we did not stop at Emma Lea’s; however, Mike’s car did, and they, especially Lorna, enjoyed a fresh raspberry and blueberry sundae.

We did not see a lot of birds this morning, but with the incessant chatter, we certainly learned a lot about England, Ontario and the Chilcotin.  And the walk through Alaksen NWA was very enjoyable.

I will be at Petra’s next Wednesday, July 25 for departure at 7:30 a.m. on an outing “somewhere around the Bay”.

July 24 email update: DNCB’s: The Shorebirds have started to migrate here.  I have spoken to a few DNCBer’s (e.g. Anne M) and we will be going to Iona Regional Park tomorrow (Wednesday) morning.  I will be at Petra’s for departure at 7:30 a.m.  I expect to be at the beach parking lot around 8:30 a.m. to meet those joining us there.  No return time is established, so if you have time commitments, you may want to drive.  I expect to leave the Park around 12:30-1:30 p.m.  Cheers: Tom

(I have had computer difficulties, so check out last week’s very interesting Report (which no one received) and other earlier reports and photos on our DNCB Blog at www.dncb.wordpress.com.  Comments welcome, and let me know if you want off my list to receive these missives.

Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists’ Society

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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