Eleven birders (Anne M, Jane Z, Lorna C, Marion S, Bryan without Janet, Gerhard L, Richmond’s Donna T & Alan P, newbie Jackie D, Mike B and me) enjoyed a gorgeous Summer morning wandering around Iona Regional Park. Hi-lites included: Killdeer family, Spotted Sandpipers and other Shorebirds, and Marion’s Banana bread and Jane’s fresh Okanagan cherries. Check out Marion’s and Bryan’s photos on our DNCB Picasa site (right column, first link under “Blogroll”).
Our fleet of vehicles left Petra’s at 7:30 a.m. on Wednesday. Rush hour traffic was minimal as many other “workers” must also have decided to enjoy the weather at places other than driving to downtown Vancouver. The tide was coming in when we got to the Iona Beach parking lot, so we decided to walk west/north along the spit between the Fraser River and the Strait of Georgia. We stopped often along the trail to see Rufous Hummingbirds, White-crowned Sparrows, Cedar Waxwings, Spotted Towhees and Finches (House and American Goldfinches) in the bushes. Purple Martins, Double-crested Cormorants, and Barn, Tree and Violet-green Swallows circled above us. A Spotted Sandpiper posed on a log near to where we think it was nesting in the grass. Our Nest Police warned Gerhard to watch his step.
We were entertained by several tugs in the Fraser and their log workers mending and tightening the booms along the river’s edge. We searched in vain for the Osprey nest on a pylon; Roger M found it later along with one chick. On the Strait side, a Killdeer family was squawking while guarding a cute chick as it raced along the beach. We also avoided stepping on a Killdeer egg very close to the path. We walked to the end of the northern grassy portion (new area for me) to where the rock jetty/barrier leads out to the lighthouse, and Bryan took the obligatory Group Photo, without time-challenged Ken & Anne, Roger M and Kay, who were wandering aimlessly somewhere else in Iona. Among a flock of Ring-billed Gulls on the beach was a couple of California Gulls and several Caspian Terns. We did not see the reported Franklin’s Gull, nor a Wandering Tattler.
We marched back to the parking lot and it was approaching Noon. Jane brought out her Okanagan Cherries and Marion her home-made Banana Bread to feed the starving mass. The treats were awesome, and being refreshed, some of us decided to continue on to the Sewage Lagoons. We were blanked on the Yellow-headed Blackbirds and Pied-billed Grebe family, but heard the many Common Yellowthroats, Marsh Wrens and a Yellow-rumped Warbler. Inside the sewage lagoon we finally saw some of the Shorebirds we had expected to see more of all morning. Several Lesser Yellowlegs, three Long-billed Dowitchers and a small flock of Peeps (Leastand Semi-palmated Sandpipers) were feeding on the sludge. Anne tried in vain to show and explain to us the different ID markings. We met Brian Self’s group, again, who had seen the Blue-winged Teal in another pond. A Red-tailed Hawk gave a fly past, and Anne saw a Merlin as well. We meandered back to the parking lot at 1:30 p.m., exhausted but content following a magnificent morning of birding and lots of dreadfully repetitious and meaningless conversation.
Regarding next Wednesday, July 31, I am not available (entertaining guests from the UK), however, a number of others including Roger Meyer (tel. 604-940-3960, cell 604-842-2776) have indicated that they will be at Petra’s for departure at 7:30 a.m. on a DNCB outing “somewhere around the Bay”. Bug Roger for the destination. Again, comments welcome, and tell me if you want off the list to receive this weekly rubbish. Cheers: Tom
Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists’ Society