DNCB Outing 2013-11: TFN and Reifel Bird Sanctuary

DNCB at Reifel

DNCB at Reifel
(click on photo to see large version)

Twelve DNCB’ers {Lorna, Mike, Hans, Gerhard, Marion, Paul, Sue, Quinn, Ken, Anne, Bryan, and me (Janet)} met at Petra’s for a morning of brilliantly sunny and thoroughly wind-chilly birding.  In honour of our missing leaders, no one presumed to sit in “the head chair” which was reverently overturned

Place of honour at Petra's

Place of honour at Petra’s

and decorated (see photos on our DNCB Picasa site).

Over coffee, all manner of crazy ideas were bandied about as possible itineraries for the morning, including a search of Manning for winter white ptarmigan.  Luckily Mike took charge and hustled us out on a search for nearby Mountain Bluebirds, even managing to get every last one of us past two tempting trays of hot-from-the-oven, perfectly risen muffins.  We may be casual birders, but our observation skills are expert in bakeries and cafes.

Our first stop was on the T.F.N. lands.  In the bushes along the roadside we saw Song Sparrows, House Sparrows, White-crowned Sparrows, Fox Sparrows, and a Lincoln’s Sparrow.  There were Towhees, Starlings, House Finches and Bushtits, but alas no Bluebirds, only birders’ blue lips, fingers and toes.  Further out many Great Blue Herons stood and Bald Eagles soared.  Gulls flew over.  With the strong wind shaking our binoculars and Ken’s scope, we had a hard time figuring out exactly what falcon was perched on a distant high branch.  Whoever suggested it might be a Peregrine, was spot on.  Wings almost as long as the tail and the characteristic cheek patch showed up on Bryan’s photograph.  That bird sure could fly.  It swooped down over the sparrow-filled bush and ricocheted away like an Australian boomerang.  Impressive.

Back in the cars en-route to Reifel, we saw elegant Trumpeter Swans, a field full of snow geese,P1240036 another filled with Dunlin and what we think were Black-bellied Plovers.  A few Eurasian-collared Doves were on an overhead line, and Mike pointed out a Ring-necked Pheasant.RNPH



Where’s that Owl??

Reifel was gorgeous and bird-filled.  Everyone was oohing and aahing over the daffodils and the warm, wind-protected benches.  Highlights from the many birds (checkout the DNCB Picasa site) were four Black-crowned Night-Herons, a Great Horned Owl, a Marsh Wren singing amongst a terrace of nests, a Ruby-crowned Kinglet in full song, and a Brown Creeper with a beak filled with nesting material.  Spring signs were everywhere:  Violet-green Swallows graced the air while Mallard wars raged below.  Feathers flew.


Gerhard & Hans

In contrast our group was the height of courtesy.  Quinn, the quintessential duck-whisperer, spread seeds with poise and calm.


Quinn feeds Black-capped Chickadee

Benches and peanut butter sandwiches were shared generously.  Everyone starred at discreetly pointing out hidden birds, unusual bark, perfect seats, newly budding bushes, cool field marks, weird sounds, and breaking waves.  Our morning flew by.

Lorna gets tree hug

Lorna gets tree hug

Bryan and I were last to leave.  Driving down Reifel’s exit road, Bryan stopped for something interesting in the trees.  He grabbed binoculars, stepped out and said, Peregrine!  In seconds he was round to the trunk for the already put away camera, ripped it out of the case, and snapped hurriedly.  The falcon flew off and Bryan looked up to see cars parking in front and behind, disgorging curious passengers.  All Bryan could report was a disappeared Peregrine.  Now, had Tom or Roger or Anne M. been there, Delta casual birders would have had a dozen new friends.

Once again, we eagerly await the return of our treasured leaders.


After limited consultation, the DNCB’s will go to Queen Elizabeth Park next Monday, March 25.  Some will meet and leave from Petra’s at 8:00 a.m. (carpooling); others will meet us in the parking lot above the tennis courts around 8:45 a.m (http://goo.gl/maps/Yef7m).  Some of us would like to be back to Tsawwassen/Ladner before 1:00 p.m.  Okay?  Cheers: Tom


About dncb

DNS: Delta Naturalists are a group of nature lovers whose aim is to foster interest in the natural history of the Fraser delta by sharing and enjoying nature and promoting environmental awareness and conservation. DNCB: Delta Nats Casual Birders is a group of Casual Birders who go Birding at different locations each week, usually within the Lower Mainland or in nearby Washington State.
This entry was posted in *DNCB, Bald Eagle, Great Horned Owl, Peregrine Falcon, Reifel, TFN. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to DNCB Outing 2013-11: TFN and Reifel Bird Sanctuary

  1. dncb says:

    You’re hired, Janet. Excellent report of what certainly sounds like a wonderful outing. Glad, in a way, that I missed the outing so I could experience your dynamic writing skills. Looking forward to more of your Blog entries. Thanks. Cheers: Tom

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