Only the hardiest of “Delta Force” turned out at Petra’s on a damp, bone-chilling Monday morning. Lorna, Hans, Gerhard, Sheila, Eric, Donna, Brian and Janet, and myself (Roger) headed down to the lagoon at the foot of 12th Ave. and walked out to the viewing platform. Along the way we sighted Northern Harriers, the usual assortment of ducks… Mallard, Pintail, Wigeon, Green-winged Teal (no Common ones), and on the water and shoreline we saw large numbers of Brant and Sanderlings. At a distance there was a fairly large group of Greater Scaup. Overhead we observed a pair of Bald Eagles interacting. On the way back a single female Bufflehead was seen.
Back at the cars we moved on the Beach Grove Park to search for the resident Great Horned Owls but met with a lack of success and it was speculated that an apparently new Bald Eagle nest and its residents might be the cause? However, we did see a number of Downy Woodpeckers, Pine Siskins, Juncos, Black-capped Chickadees, and assorted sparrows. After the obligatory group Photo, I was required at home for domestic duties and left the rest of the trip in able hands with Lorna as the designated designator.
Report continues by Janet:
Here’s a bit about the Deas Island section of our trip:
In honour of Tom, the group decided to visit Deas Island. We parked near the sheltered picnic tables to ensure a covered space for the group to enjoy Lorna’s generous supply of peanut butter and banana sandwiches. However, serious casual birders that we all are, sandwiches were immediately forgotten in favour of finding a bird, any bird at all. That proved challenging. Did Tom take them away with him?
Luckily Eric is able to join conversations AND find birds who missed Tom’s call to travel. Gerhard’s search for sneeze-and-snooze spots also produced good birds. In the forested triangle of Island Tip, Sand Dune, and Dyke Loop Trails we had good looks at acrobatic Golden-crowned Kinglets, a single Bewick’s Wren, ascending Brown Creepers, wary American Robins, a Fox Sparrow, and brightly marked Varied Thrush. Downy Woodpeckers, Flickers, Mallard, and many Bald Eagles were about. Pacific Wren “tick ticked” and both Black-capped Chickadees and Song Sparrows sang loud spring songs. Unfortunately, none of these choral efforts brought spring, but we did enjoy dry patches from the chilly fog and drizzle.
Some of us were treated to the sudden rising and circling away of a large pale owl who must have been a trickster bird since the group immediately split into two parts which completely lost each other. One group ended up transfixed by the trickster’s pal, an iridescent male hummingbird which perched and glittered at them from a wire, while the other group silently melted off onto a minor trail, perhaps a coyote track, but definitely not a trail on the morning’s agenda. There followed some blind rushing around by the first group which started to further splinter up until the errant group came blithely marching back on their minor trail having seen nothing whatsoever. Reunited at last, Lorna took a roll call before we drove to the school house parking area.
The Fraser River produced some highlights. A Double-crested Cormorant brought up a wide flat flounder-like fish. When the Cormorant finally managed to swallow the fish we could see its throat bulging and wiggling for quite some time. A group of five male Common Goldeneyes courted one female by throwing their heads WAY back onto their tails, like contortionists. The female didn’t look the least bit interested. There were Bufflehead, Red-breasted Mergansers, Hooded Mergansers, Bald Eagles, and hundreds of distant gulls. Needless to say there were mystery birds too, which eluded our fogged up optics and brains.
Close to noon we called it a day. Hopefully Eric will post a few pictures. We look forward to the return of the wandering leaders and hope they dig themselves out of snow banks and children’s forts.
Next week will again be a “local” trip with an exciting array of birds arranged. We will, as usual, meet at Petra’s for an 8:00am departure.
And, thanks to Janet for the Deas Island portion of the report: Roger