When nine regular DNCBs (Lorna, Marion S, Kay, Sheila, Mike B, Terry, Janet & Bryan, & Ken) met at Petra’s Café, designated leader Lorna’s first job was to assign Terry as trip leader and Ken as Blogmaster, thereby freeing herself for the important business of spotting birds. Highlights from the dyke at the end of 72 Street included 5 Snowy Owls, Long-eared & Short-eared Owls, Rough-legged Hawk, & Peregrine Falcon, while Reifel provided a Black-crowned Night Heron and a Northern Shrike, in addition to the “usual” candy birds like Sandhill Cranes and Wood Ducks. Bald Eagles, Red-tailed Hawks and Northern Harriers were common sightings in both areas. Please check out photos by Terry, Ken & Marion at https://picasaweb.google.com/DNCBirding
We decided to start with a quick stop to see the Snowy Owls. Our first Red-tailed Hawk was en route (34B/36 Ave).
There were at least 5 Snowy Owls at the end of 72 Street, all a fair distance away.
Nearby, we watched a Rough-legged Hawk hover, and a Peregrine Falcon tussle with a Northern Harrier, while Northern Harriers patrolled the area constantly.
Terry’s subgroup returned to the parking area early, where Lorna found a Long-eared Owl heavily obscured in the shrubbery. Terry went back to tell Kay’s subgroup, still loitering to spot Kay’s elusive Short-eared Owl. Eventually the SEOW flew up and off to another location, so we quickly returned to the parking lot for excellent views of the rarer LEOW. Then, unfortunately, a stranger with a camera caused the owl to retreat further back in the bush.
We also saw Song, White-crowned, & Fox Sparrows, Chickadees, Towhees, Robins, Flickers, Golden-crowned Kinglets and Yellow-rumped Warblers in the hawthorns; a Marsh Wren in the reeds; in the shallows, far away, were huge flocks of Northern Pintails. A hunter in camouflage uniform strolled “disguised” through a huge flock of Dunlin.
Because we had spent so long on the dyke, we decided to skip the Ferry Port and TFN lands and go straight to Reifel. On a wire by the road out of Ladner were 20 Eurasian Collared Doves, and we saw the huge “handwriting” of flying Snow Geese as we approached Reifel. Sandhill Cranes were feeding near the ticket office, then a Night Heron flew in above the pond with the DC Cormorants and Buffleheads.
A school group, and a group from Pender Island, led by Al & Jude Grass, took the path to the right, so we went left. On a branch above the path, a Red-tailed Hawk was calmly dining on a duck as we took his photo.
The lagoons contained Mallards, Wigeons, Northern Pintails, lots of Northern Shovelers, Green-winged Teal, Scaups, Coots, Hooded Mergansers and Sandhill Cranes. West past the marshes we could see a couple of (Trumpeter?) Swans. Opposite the observation Tower, Bryan spotted a Northern Shrike, which 6 of us had good looks at. Shortly thereafter we came across a treeful of American Goldfinches.
Since the Pender group had not seen any Great-horned or Saw-whet owls on the outer trail, we took the inner trail back to the parking lot, with a slight detour to see the Wood Ducks. There were hundreds of Robins, Towhees, some House Finches, a Bewick’s Wren, Juncos, White-crowned and Golden-crowned Sparrows, …
On the way back to Tsawwassen, we stopped for a large flock of Trumpeter Swans grazing in a field.
(BTW, during the day we also saw Rock Pigeons, E. Starlings, House Sparrows, Canada Geese, & Glaucous-winged Gulls!)
Excellent birding, fabulous weather, great company… all in all, another perfect DNCB outing!
Ken (scribing for Lorna, in place of Roger, standing in for Tom)
Next DNCB outing: meet at Petra’s Wednesday Nov. 21, to discuss destination(s) – “probably somewhere local”. We will leave Petra’s at 8 am.