DNCB Outing Report No. 2013-42 to Queen Elizabeth Park and VanDusen Garden

Photos by Jonathan, Terry, Roger & Ken
– click on any photo to see larger version

Twenty-five (or more?) participants enjoyed a foggy but beautiful Monday morning outing to Vancouver’s Queen Elizabeth Park and VanDusen Botanical Garden, a new destination for me.  We did not see a lot of birds but the flowers and gardens at both places were gorgeous, even though it is Fall (assuming Spring and Summer is even nicer).  We had several Photogs with us (Terry, Jonathan, Roger, Marion, Ken…)

Terry

Terry

so check out the shots of people, plants, flowers, sculptures & art, spider webs, and perhaps even a few birds on our Picasa website at https://picasaweb.google.com/DNCBirding.

Nine of us (Roger, Mike, Hans, Lorna, Point Roberts Paul, Terry, Gerhard, Sheila and me) left Petra’s around 7:45 a.m. car-pooling very efficiently (3 cars) via the HOV lanes, arriving early at QE Park at 8:20 a.m.  At the Pitch ’n’ Putt parking lot we met Renowned Photog Marion, Richmond’s Donna T & Bill D, Jonathan & Lorraine, renewed newbie’s David & Donna, Bryan & Janet, Ken & Anne, Jean, and PR Paul’s friend and local “building & window” expert Allan Buium.

Following my introductory comments, to which no one listened, we noticed some LBJ’s flitting in the trees.  We recognized Golden-crowned Kinglets, Dark-eyed Juncos, Black-capped Chickadees, but could not identify any Warblers.  Anna’s Hummingbirds were at the feeder at the Pitch ’n’ Putt office.  As we began our walk around the Park hill, Allan gave the first of two Presentations we were enlightened with this morning.  Allan is concerned about the building construction on Cambie, tearing down trees in the Park, and a number of other nasty things that the City is doing or planning to do that will have an adverse effect on the birds in the Park and those using the Pacific Flyway.  DNCBers listened intently to Allan, except for Roger who was photographing Spider Webs and Gerhard who was sleeping.

We continued the disjointed walk past the restaurant and Observatory, heard a Bewick’s Wren, some saw a Pacific Wren.  All I saw were Crows and Robins and LBJ’s (Little Brown Jobs) flitting in the fog.  Interestingly we chatted with a couple of Park employees (Mark Rabey and soon-to-be-DNS member Bettina) who were digging up several large and beautiful 40-year-old fuschia trees for storing for the Winter in their green house.

Then Terry found the Bard Owl (editor’s note: that’s a deliberate typo).

So that was a neat sighting.  Then Bryan and Jean wandered off on a tryst (to Janet’s chagrin or joy; we’re not sure which) while Park employee Ned Jacobs took our Group Photo at the Bridge, with brilliant red trees behind us.

B&J also missed our second riveting Presentation from Ned about the massacre of birds by windows and hi-rise buildings.

(Here is a link to the article Ned mentioned.  It references Toronto in a sidebar, but not the estimated extent of the problem there. http://www.sciencenews.org/view/feature/id/352982/description/Collision_Course).  We circled back to the vehicles for departure to VanDusen at about 9:45 a.m.  Time-challenged Gareth arrived and joined us for the short drive along 33rd to the other Gardens.

White Rock Al and Pauline met us at the entrance to the new VanDusen reception building.  I was unsuccessful in negotiating a Group Rate, so Anne took over, and fortunately succeeded.  My pouting period was short-lived.  Near the entrance, we were all enchanted by the Nature Vancouver room filled with stunning, prize-winning Nature Photos, including three by our very own Delta Nat Marion Shikaze.

Then we gathered outside to begin our walk;

P1180126

Rip Van Winkle

a pair of Gadwall was in the pond, being watched by a Couple on a bench, joined by Gerhard.  The Triple didn’t move; they were one of many interesting sculptures throughout the Garden.

Minotaur

Minotaur

VanDusen is renowned for its collections of rare and endangered trees.  Misguided Guide Roger led us around the Garden; naturally, everyone got lost.  The Garden is much bigger than what we see at Christmas for the Light Show.

Fortunately, we had arranged to meet in 37 minutes at the Maze, located in the far end of the Garden for another Group Photo.  This was another shemozzle.  Some entered the Entrance, others the Exit.

A-Mazing Birders

A-Mazing Birders

I don’t know how it happened, but the giggling, dizzy Group somehow mustered together for another Group shot on the stone benches outside the Maze.

As for birds, we found the small flock of Hermit Thrushes in a tree of berries of some sort.

We saw more Kinglets, both Golden- and Ruby-crowned, Northern Flickers,

and other LBJ’s, but we mostly focussed on the weird trees, plants, flowers and brilliantly-coloured leaves.

Some of the 24 Touch Wood Sculptures, made by 10 prominent BC artists, which were randomly placed around the Gardens, aroused a few comical comments.  We got back to the Entrance at 11:30 a.m.; some had coffee, some wandered around the gift shop; some left.  It was one of the most interesting, disjointed, massively-attended, and very enjoyable non-birding outings we have had.  Albeit, we are a “nature” group.

New Sunday Oct. 27:  Next Monday, October 28, I will be at Petra’s for departure at 7:30 a.m. on an outing White Rock.  We will drive directly to the WR Pier; I expect to be at the parking lot by the WR Pier about 8:30 a.m. (or earlier).  Time permitting, we will go to Blackie Spit after walking the pier and looking for the Willet and Stilt.

As always, comments encouraged, and let me know if you want off my List to receive this verbal diarrhea.  Cheers: Tom

Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists’ Society

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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.
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