Lucky thirteen again (Jane Z, Marion S, Ken & Anne, Director of Operations Roger, Mike B, Lorna, Hans-Ulf, Kay G, Guru Anne, new photog Leona B, local expert and leader Derek K, and me) enjoyed a very interesting and comfortable Wednesday morning of birding at Maplewood Flats park in North Vancouver. A few hi-lites of species we do not often see in Delta included: Turkey Vulture, Red Crossbills, Western Wood-Pewee, Warbling Vireo, Brown Creeper, Black-throated Gray Warbler, and the interesting (probable) sighting of a Black and White Warbler. Flowers included orchids with pinkish purple flowers (Helleborines Epipactus helliborine). The outing climax was delicious fish & chips at the famous Crab Shack. Check out Ken’s, Leona’s and other’s photos on our DNCB Picasa site at http://picasaweb.google.com/dncbirding.
Around 7:30 a.m., eight of us piled into Anne’s van at Petra’s and wound our way through most of the districts in metro Vancouver before crossing the Second Narrows Bridge and arriving at the Pacific Environment Science Centre and the adjacent Maplewood Flats Conservation Area a little over an hour later. Driver Anne and our inattentive navigator Roger chatted continuously while the rest of us wondered whether there was any street in Richmond, Vancouver or Burnaby that we had not seen on this convoluted route to North Van. Anyhow, we got there and the other five were patiently waiting for us. I introduced local naturalist expert Derek Kilby who led us around and explained the complicated history and operations of the “park”, and he even found a couple of neat species for us.
First stop was the Burrard Inlet shoreline overlooking the mudflats. The tide was out and there were lots of Purple Martins hanging around their numbered nesting boxes on the pylons. Adult Ospreys were on two pylon nests, but Derek said neither pair had young this year. A Bald Eagle pair was watching over their new juvenile. Lots of Barn Swallows, Cedar Waxwings, Song Sparrows, Double-crested Cormorants, GBH’s and a couple of Common Loons also around. A fly-past by a juvenile Turkey Vulture got us excited.
We followed the trail through the woods; heard several Swainson’s Thrushes and in a mixed flock high in the trees, some of us saw a Warbling Vireo and a Black-throated Gray Warbler among the Chickadees. Further along Derek pointed out a couple of Orange-crowned Warblers and then a posing Western Wood-Pewee.
A Cooper’s Hawk dropped by for some good looks. Back along the shore, Leona spotted our first of several Spotted Sandpipers. We heard Yellowlegs calling, but didn’t see them. On a small island were several Mew Gulls among the Glaucous-winged Gulls. Lots of Violet-green Swallows hawking insects overhead. Derek pointed out another interesting sighting; an inexplicable hanging Northern Flicker carcass in a tree.He then spotted a couple of Red Crossbills in a tree with an American Goldfinch. For several DNCBer’s, the Crossbill sighting was a Lifer. Roger took the mandatory Group Photo at this Lookout across the inlet to where Derek had some months earlier spotted a “hanging man”, and heroically exercised his civic duty by advising the police who removed the body.
Further along the trails, by the inland ponds, some saw/heard a Bewick’s and Pacific Wren, but we were blanked on seeing a Bittern or Virginia Rail. Several plant species were pointed out to us (and photographed), but I forget them already. We got back to the Wild Bird Trust of BC Nature Centre at the park entrance shortly after Noon. While chatting about Lunch, a flurry of species came into the trees above the nursery and near the three transplanted “dwarf squatter shacks”. Among an incoming flock of birds, we spotted a Yellow-rumped Warbler (Audubon), then a regal Pileated Woodpecker posed on a limb.
A Northern Flicker and a Downy Woodpecker also appeared along with the American Robins and Spotted Towhees.
Kay’s delicious pastries and Jane’s PB sandwich and dried Cranberries were a fitting appetizer before going to the nearby Crab Shack (Michael Buble’s and other Stars’ favourite eatery) for fresh and reasonably-priced fish & chips. A glorious ending to a very enjoyable and productive outing in a beautiful birder’s hotspot in North Vancouver.
The drive back to Delta was mellow and much quicker as I snoozed through the drone of mindless chatter and Hans snoring. (Note: Tom was not driving!)
Next week’s DNCB outing on Wed. Aug. 15 will be local (i.e. somewhere around the Bay) leaving Petra’s at 7:30 a.m. The following Wednesday, Aug. 22, we are considering going on an “away trip” to Manning Park. As usual, comments are encouraged, check out our DNCB Blog at www.dncb.wordpress.com for other Reports and photos, and please advise if you want off my List of report recipients.
Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists’ Society
Note: click on the text Manning Park to view a website with information about this location.