Report & more photos coming soon!
Meanwhile, enjoy the photos posted on the DNCB Picasa Site by Terry & Johnathan
Fourteen DNCBer’s participated in our “alternative” outing to the Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal and then through the Ladner fields to Reifel Bird Sanctuary. Because of poor weather, the scheduled outing to Mt. Baker was postponed to Sept. 16 or 18; stay tuned for Terry’s updates. Hi-lites of our Wednesday outing included: Solitary Sandpiper, lots of Shorebirds and other stuff, plus PB Lorna’s sandwiches, both egg and PB & banana. Check out Terry’s, Jonathan’s, Roger’s and other’s photos on the DNCB Picasa Site.
Too many cars (5) left Petra’s at 7:30 a.m. to the first stop at the cut-off on the causeway to the Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal. Not much in the Bay, unlike the masses of birds in Winter. We scoped a few Common Loons and White-winged scoters. On the spit, Caspian Terns mingled with the Glaucous-winged Gulls. We crossed the road where several Harlequin Ducks roamed, not yet in their beautiful breeding plumage. Mathematically-challenged Roger counted a dozen Black Oystercatchers foraging along the rocky shore near a flock of Mew Gulls. Both Pelagic and Double-crested Cormorants were around and a neat Horned Grebe was quite close to shore. We were blanked on the often-present Black Turnstones this day, but a nice female Belted Kingfisher landed on the ferry pylons where the Turnstones normally hang out.
We continued on our regular route through the Tsawwassen First Nations land and stopped as a hawk hovered over a field. At first, we thought it was a Red-tail or a Northern Harrier but photo evidence has led us to Rough-legged Hawk, a bit early for this species here. A Cedar Waxwing posed on a telephone wire as did several Eurasian Collared-Doves along the way. Next stop was the lookout at Canoe Pass where the best part of this stop was Roger’s story of losing his wiener in another lady’s grocery cart at COSTCO. We continued onto Westham Island and to Reifel where Sanctuary Manager Kathleen met us and told us her Purple Martin saga of trudging through the marsh to capture a video of the newly-successful nesting boxes. She saw seven PUMA’s this morning. We met White Rock Al here and his harem of Alice and Leona. Roger, painfully, took the obligatory Group Photo.
Reifel, our DNCB Mecca was, as usual, productive with lots of up-close-and personal sightings. One Black-crowned Night Heron has arrived for the Winter. Along the trails we saw brilliant Yellow and Yellow-rumped Warblers, Common Yellowthroats, a neat Willow Flycatcher, and the regular “little birds”. Lots of young parasitic Brown-headed Cowbirds around, some being fed by House Sparrows. For the umpteenth time Anne explained the difference between Purple and House Finches; most were more interested in feeding the Chickadees. A gorgeous male Wood Duck in the slough caught our attention. At the Tower we were rewarded as the Shorebirds were very close; lots of Dowitchers (probably both Long and Short-billed but who can tell the difference), both Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs, noticeably together. No Sora or Virginia Rail answered our calls. Northern Shovelers, Northern Pintail and a few Green-winged Teal, American Wigeon and Gadwall were in the ponds with the Mallards. Along the outer dike path visiting renowned naturalist Brian from Shanty Bay Ontario finally spotted one of the several Marsh Wrens calling. Several Hooded Mergansers were in the last pond.
At the end of the outer dike path, in the southwest slough, a lonely Solitary Sandpiper was foraging, our bird of the day. Then a Peregrine Falcon posed in Varri’s “falcon tree”. A Cooper’s Hawk landed in the entrance tree (where we often see eagles) as we were leaving. Interestingly and surprisingly, we did not see one Bald Eagle on our outing this morning. Don’t worry; they’ll be back soon. Before leaving Reifel we enjoyed PB Lorna’s sandwiches and for the umpteenth outing, no one brought a beer for the Leader. Nonetheless, it was a very enjoyable outing, the sightings were grand and the riveting conversation, especially from the colour- and height-challenged visiting naturalist, almost kept me awake all morning.
Next Wednesday, September 11 is our quarterly Birds on the Bay outing in Boundary Bay Regional Park (BBRP). We meet at and leave from historic Cammidge House at 9:00 a.m.
Don’t forget our first 2013/14 Delta Naturalists’ Society meeting on Monday, Sept. 9 at 7:30 p.m. at Cammidge House. Our Guru Anne Murray will wow us with a presentation on her recent adventures in Mongolia. As usual comments are encouraged. I probably forgot lots of stuff since this outing was 5 days ago; I have been too busy entertaining visiting “naturalists”, golfing and grand-parenting. Please advise if you want off the List to receive these lamentations. Cheers: Tom
Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists’ Society