DNCB Outing No. 2013-26 to Lighthouse Park & Whytecliffe Park, West Vancouver

DSC_2251Photos by Terry, Roger, Marion, and David

Thirteen lucky DNCBer’s enjoyed a glorious Wednesday morning at a new destination for us, Lighthouse Park in West Vancouver, and then to Whytecliffe Park and Horseshoe Bay for lunch.  Hi-lites included: several Western Tanagers, Turkey Vulture, 500 year old trees, beautiful vistas and for gourmands, the most delicious outing this year.  Check out the many beaut photos taken by Terry, David, Marion and Roger on our Picasa site link.

Two cars and eight folk (Roger had Lorna, Hans and Mike; Dave, Terry and Jackie came with me) carpooled from Petra’s at 7:30 a.m.  The drive through the tunnel and downtown Vancouver, over the Lions Gate Bridge and then along Marine Drive to Lighthouse Park was surprisingly quick and easy; the kids are out of school and hardly any rush-hour traffic.  We got there just after 8:30 a.m. and met Johnny Mac, Marion, and Paul & Sue with the Mighty (home-schooled) Quinn in the parking lot.

Following the customary introductions and harassing a group of excited summer camp school kids, we began our walk down the Beacon Trail Lane toward the Point Atkinson Lighthouse.  It was pleasantly cool on the trail as we were surrounded by huge Douglas Firs, Western Red Cedars and Hemlock trees, some over 500 years old, remnants of rare Old Growth forest in the lower mainland.  We heard lots of singing birds, Pacific Slope Flycatchers, Pacific and Bewick’s Wrens, unidentifiable Warblers (Black-throated Grey?) and, of course, Spotted Towhees, Black-capped Chickadees and Song Sparrows, but we could not spot the former group.  We did get decent looks at a couple of Varied Thrushes and then a Turkey Vulture posed nicely on a branch for us before gliding off.  Lots of singing Western Tanagers around too, and we got glimpses of them, including one that was incorrectly identified as an American Goldfinch in the parking lot.

Turkey Vulture

Turkey Vulture

Western Tanager (m)

Western Tanager (m)

Western Tanager (f)

Western Tanager (f)

We got down to the trail end and some climbed down the cliff to the shore and examined the mounds of Mussels covering the rocks, and tasted the “healthy” seaweed (see photos).

IMG_7327

IMG_7330Roger and Hans saw four little snakes which they scared off into the water while Sue tried to catch the jackrabbit Quinn who was bounding from rock to cliff to the amazement of the rest of us less-mobile seniors.  We went to the entrance to the Lighthouse where Roger took the mandatory Group Photo, using the Lighthouse Keeper’s vehicle as his tripod.

DSC_0000

P1160567Rufous Hummingbirds flitting around us were very entertaining.  We then continued along the Shore Pine Trail, stopping frequently to enjoy the beautiful views, first back along the Burrard Inlet toward the Lions Gate Bridge, Stanley Park and downtown Vancouver, then across over the container and cargo ships to UBC and Point Grey (Roger spotted some “naturists” at Wreck Beach), then around the Point out to Howe Sound where yachts and fishing boats were being passed by a flotilla of racing sail boaters.  A few Pelagic Cormorants were diving close to shore.  We saw no mergansers in Merganser Bay, but as we watched a water taxi go by, Bowen Island across the Sound aroused discussion about a future DNCB destination.

Western Tiger Swallowtail

Western Tiger Swallowtail

P1330431Sue must have noticed that some of us were drooling and getting a bit lethargic, so she and Quinn brought out from Paul’s knapsack a packet of Digestive Biscuits, then some fresh Grapes, then Raspberries.  One participant ate far more than his share.  The trail was a bit arduous, although our octogenarian was fit as a fiddle when we got back to the parking lot around noon.  PB Lorna’s sandwich and cookie, along with my “special” diet coke, hit the spot as we summarized our sightings, which took about 10 seconds.  The Wright family left for VanDusen Gardens, and Johnny Mac and Marion went home, while the two Tsawwassen cars, on Roger’s suggestion, decided to visit Whytecliffe Park a few kilometres further north.  It was another beautiful spot with a beautiful lookout and another beaut “bird” sighting (see Roger’s photo).  We wandered down to the beach and watched the Scuba Divers, while a couple of Black Oystercatchers foraged on the rocks near some Canada Geese.  It was now past 1:00 p.m. so we decided to drive to Horseshoe Bay and have fish & chips at the famous Troll’s Restaurant.  We got take-out orders and ate them in front of the marina on a park picnic table that Lorna and Jackie cajoled from other unwitting pretenders.  Roger conned another passerby to take our photo as we all raved about the delicious food and fantastic day.

P1160589

P1160587The drive back to Petra’s was peaceful and serene and only took a little over an hour (via the Second Narrows, Rupert and Knight St. Bridge).

We will meet at Petra’s next Wednesday July 10 at 7:30 a.m. for a local outing to Reifel/Alaksen.

Don’t forget Justin Peter’s presentation “Galapagos:  What Darwin Didn’t See” at the Coast Tsawwassen Inn on Tuesday, July 9 (7:00 – 8:30 p.m.)

I wrote this hurriedly, without vetting, because I have a dentist appointment, then golf at Richmond Country Club.  As usual, comments encouraged, and let me know if this drivel annoys you.  Cheers: Tom

Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists’ Society


Call for Volunteer Shorebird Surveyors July & August
more information at DNS Events page


Tentative schedule for DNCB outings (subject to change!):

July 10 – Local: TsaTsu Shores, Ferry port, via TFN to Reifel/Alaksen (arr. 9 am)
July 17 – Brydon Lagoon & Hi Knoll Park (Langley/Surrey border with Al Schulze)
July 24 – Gulf Island Round Trip
July 31 – Cypress Mountain/Yew Lake
Aug. 7 – Local: Serpentine or Mud Lake
Aug. 14 – Deer Lake, Burnaby
Aug. 21 – Manning Park
Aug. 28 – Local: Surrey Lake or Blackie Spit
Sept. 4 – Mount Baker
Sept. 11 – BOTB in BBRP
Sept. 14 – Jericho Beach/Camosun Bog

Sept.  (Monday TBA) – Ferry trip to Galiano for “invitees”)

Other suggestions include:

• Sidney (Vancouver Island) area (with Rick & Marg)
• Barnston Island, Surrey (biking trail 9.7 km)
• Derby Reach Regional Park, Langley – join WRSN on July 6
• Burnaby Lake
• Grouse Mountain, Mount Seymour

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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, Black Oystercatcher, Horseshoe Bay, Lighthouse Park, Turkey Vulture, Western Tanager, Whytecliffe Park. Bookmark the permalink.

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