Thirteen “lucky” DNCBer’s enjoyed another gorgeous Wednesday morning in our Delta paradise on an outing to Brunswick Point and Reifel Bird Sanctuary. Hi-lites were: newly-arrived Western Meadowlarks and Sparrow species, roosting Peregrine Falcon and lots of other different species (e.g. Pine Siskins). Check out photos on our Picasa link (first link in the right column) when you go on our DNCB Blog at www.dncb.wordpress.com.
We were: Ken & Anne, Bryan & Janet, Mike & Lorna, Hans & Kay, Annie K, Donna T, Jackie D, and me. We left Petra’s at 7:30 a.m. and drove leisurely through the Tsawwassen First Nations (TFN), stopping to photograph a Red-tailed Hawk on the Long House where Bald Eagles usually roost.
Several Eurasian Collared-doves around and lots of newly-arrived Golden-crowned Sparrows in the bushes along with Savannah, Song and White-crowned Sparrows and Spotted Towhees. We continued through the farmer’s fields (active with potato harvesting) to our regular stop at the float home lookout near the mouth of the south arm of the Fraser River. The water was flat, the fog was lifting under the warm morning sun, and the vista was awesome. Killdeer and Yellowlegs were on the mud flats on the other side. Three juvenile Mute Swans glided by us.
We parked next at the entrance to Brunswick Point and walked the path toward the grove of trees, looking for the reported Great-horned, Barn and Barred Owls (blanked on these). More Sparrows around and a number (one is a number) of us saw a Lincoln’s as well as an Orange-crowned Warbler, Bewick’s Wren and a passing Caspian Tern. Then Photogs Terry and Bryan got great shots of a Western Meadowlark while others missed the sighting as they were gossiping about the theatre, or hockey, or spilling peanuts in my car, or some other important topic.
Out in the distance on the low tide mud flats were flocks of Shorebirds which we guessed were Black-bellied Plovers and Western Sandpipers. We entered the grove of trees and searched in vain for the owls. Fortunately, some ladies were able to fill their pockets or bags with rotten apples, plums, blackberries, and then potatoes from the adjacent ploughed field.
I felt like I was with my wife at a farmers’ market, not on a birding outing.
We left Brunswick around 9:30 a.m. and stopped just down the road to see several Western Meadowlarks flitting and foraging in a field. An adult Mute Swan and more Killdeer were under the Westham Island Bridge. We got to our Reifel “Mecca” and started our walk after cleaning up the peanut shells. Water was back in the office pond where we saw our first of many Northern Pintails. Other ducks seen at Reifel included several gorgeous Wood Ducks in plumage, American Wigeon, Gadwalls, Northern Shovelers, Green-winged Teal, Hooded Mergansers and Mallards, including a leucistic one. A Cooper’s Hawk gave a fly-past. Along the west dike path were tonnes of little birds. While feeding the Chickadees from our hands we saw a large flock of Pine Siskins. Also got a nice look at a Yellow-rumped Warbler and a Brown Creeper, and some saw Kinglets. Lots of Red-wing Blackbirds, Cedar Waxwings, Finches (House and American Goldfinches) around too.
Along the outer path we heard several Marsh Wrens and a Virginia Rail, but we could not find it. The invasive Blackberry bushes were slashed back all along the outer dike creating some discussion. A few thought it was harmful habitat destruction while others thought it was not that bad. There is lots of habitat left for the wintering birds, the bushes will grow back and we could see the ponds better. The tide was out so there were no Shorebirds in these ponds now. In the south east pond we did find several Long-billed Dowitchers resting on logs with the ducks and Canada Geese.
Some heard but we did not see the Sandhill Cranes (17 were there on the weekend). Ken took the Group Photo (without Donna) on a bench around Noon as we fed nuts to a small Cackling Goose.
A beaut Peregrine Falcon was looking down at us from his roost in a dead tree.
We left Reifel around 12:30 p.m. exchanging comments about how lucky we were to be enjoying such a beautiful morning in paradise.
I’m leaving this morning on the ferry for the BC Nature FGM in Parksville. Next Wednesday, October 3, we will leave Petra’s at 7:30 a.m. for an outing “somewhere around the Bay”, perhaps Iona.
Comments encouraged, and tell me if you want off this insidious List (I don’t know what that means, but I wanted a big word). Cheers: Tom
Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists’ Society
Update (Sept. 30): We will be going to Iona on Wednesday morning’s outing. We will bird the ponds and the sewage lagoons there, but we will also look for Peter and Ken Hall cleaning Bird Boxes. As you know, Peter is organizing Workshops at his home to build new Bird Boxes for us in Boundary Bay Park. Several Delta Nats offered to volunteer to help out at these Workshops, which he will have on Thursday evenings during October, and on a weekend morning. I guess the best way to coordinate these Thursdays is for you to contact Peter (home or work phone) and tell him which evenings you can come to help. Please volunteer. We may put a blurb seeking Volunteers in our October Newsletter (Mary?). See (some of) you on Wednesday morning. Cheers: Tom (just returned from a fun BC Nature weekend in Parksville)