Photos by Marion Shikaze
Sixteen birders got lots of walking exercise wandering around Stanley Park on a beautiful Wednesday morning. We were: Bryan & Janet, Ken & Anne, Marion and newbie Kirsten, Roger, Kay, PB Lorna, Mike, Biker Ron, Donna, Annie K, Eleanor, Sheila and me. Hi-lites included: gorgeous Spring flowers in bloom, waterfowl in breeding plumage, feeding Chestnut-backed Chickadees and watching the lack of excitement at a movie site. Check out Marion’s and other’s photos on the Picasa link to our Blog at https://picasaweb.google.com/DNCBirding.
Two carloads left Petra’s around 7:30 a.m. and with Roger in the lead, taking his ludicrous short-cuts, including via a library and a hotel lobby under a swimming pool (don’t ask), we got to the Second Beach parking where the rest of the waiting group was about to have lunch. We made introductions, tried unsuccessfully to pay for parking in the broken, rip-off Stanley Park Meters, then wandered down to the sea wall. With the brilliant morning sun behind us, the vista out toward UBC and the moored cargo ships in the bay was glorious. Two female Goldeneye were close to shore, a Common Loon and several Bufflehead not far out and lots of Pelagic Cormorants flying by.
Interestingly, a pair of Canada Geese had started nesting in a tree trunk/stump about 30 feet high.
Our convoy of 7 vehicles, along with Biker Ron, moved to our next stop at the Stone Bridge to start our walk around Lost Lagoon. Lots of Pine Siskins around, and we got good looks at Ruby-crowned Kinglets too.
Several Hummingbirds posed, looked like Anna’s. Splendid American Goldfinches, Song, Fox and Golden-crowned Sparrows, and Spotted Towhees in the bushes, but most of us were like kids and more interested in feeding both
Chestnut-backed and Black-capped Chickadees from our hands.
We followed the Lagoon path, framed with gardens of Tulips, Daisies, Hyacinth, Rhododendrons and lots of other colourful blooming flowers that I don’t know. Ring-necked Ducks,
American Wigeon and Mallards in breeding plumage were in the Lagoon as we approached some bright lights and a bunch of people standing around doing nothing. It could have been a “government office”, but it was the set for a new “PI” TV series called King and Maxwell, supposedly set in Washington DC, but being made here. Anyhow, we put the “security girl” Megan to work taking our Group Photo.
We passed the Shoot, providing some much appreciated entertainment for the crew, and Ken took some more photos at the Nature House. Violet-green and Tree Swallows were hawking insects above the water, but none were hanging around the bird boxes (yet). The Virginia Rail did not respond to Kirsten’s taped call, and nothing bothered the Mute Swan sitting on her nest near the path with Dad standing guard.
We got back to our vehicles about 10:30 a.m. and the convoy drove to the Restaurant/Malkin Bowl and parked.
Following a pee break and before walking to Beaver Lake, we had our Smoko with PB Lorna’s tasty egg sandwich, Donna’s funny-looking but delicious cookies, Annie’s Girl Guide cookies, Eleanor’s healthy fruit bars and my pretzels. Others had neat stuff too, but they sneakily ate it in their cars so they didn’t have to share it with free-loaders like me. Invigorated, we walked through the massive Fir and Cedar trees to Beaver Lake. The Red-winged Blackbirds were in fine form with their brilliant red epaulettes, and pairs of Wood Ducks dazzled as they cruised through the lily pads.
Many DNCBers seemed more interested in the two inter-twined lovers on a park bench. A Red-breasted Nuthatch was honking and Annie K got a nice photo. Ron heard a Swainson’s Thrush and pecking Woodpeckers and Ken saw a Varied Thrush. A huge face carved in a tree trunk caught our attention, as did three groups of cackling kids on a primary school environment excursion. Finishing our circumvention of Beaver Lake, we trudged back to the vehicles, then drove to our next stop beneath the Lion’s Gate Bridge.
More Bufflehead and a few Common Mergansers
were close to us along the seawall path.
Pelagic Cormorants, which nest at the bridge, were everywhere, but we did not see any Pigeon Guillemots, which also nest on the rock wall under the bridge.
Some saw a River Otter foraging along the rocky shoreline as a huge tanker cruised by. It was approaching 1:00 p.m. and our legs were feeling rubbery, so we decided to head home to Tsawwassen. It was a pleasant ride back to Petra’s listening to Annie’s monotonous drivel and Eleanor’s snoring. It really was an awesome morning.
Next Wednesday, April 24, we will go to Point Roberts, USA, leaving Petra’s at 7:30 a.m. Don’ forget your Passport. I have created a tentative Schedule for DNCB outings over the next several Wednesdays, as follows:
1) May 1 – Blackie Spit/White Rock;
2) May 8 – Campbell Valley;
3) May 15 – Local, Ladner Parks;
4) May 22 – Colony Farm;
5) May 29 – Local, North Forty;
6) June 5 – BOTB in BBRP;
7) June 12 – Pitt Lake.
Hope this is helpful. Also, join us this Sunday April 21 at Watershed Park for my Bird Walk at 11:30 a.m. to the annual Salmon Fry Fish Release where Delta Nats will have their Display. And on Monday, April 22, I will be one of the “Pecha Kucha” Presenters at Delta Corp’s Earth Day event at City Hall, beginning at 6:30 p.m. My short presentation is entitled “A Typical Delta Nats Casual Birding Outing”. As always, comments encouraged, and please advise if you want off my List to receive these annoying missives. Cheers: Tom
Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists’ Society