Photos by Glen Bodie (GB), Terry Carr (TC), Bill Denham (BD) & Ken Borrie (KB)
Sixteen plus DNCBers enjoyed a very pleasant Monday morning in Boundary Bay Regional Park (BBRP) along the path between 64th and 72nd Streets. Hi-lites included Snowy and Long-eared Owls, American Tree Sparrows and other neat stuff. Check out the photos on the DNCB Picasa link.
A number of participants were time challenged so a group of eleven (Anne, Glen, Terry, Marian, Bill, Mike, Gerhard, Ken & Anne, Hans and me) left Petra’s closer to 8:00 a.m. We met Marion, Marti, almost forgettable Jack He, Bryan & Janet and Kirsten at 64th Street where a pair of Bald Eagles was standing guard.
We found three of the four reported Long-eared Owls well-hidden in the shrubs. The Photogs were pleased when a dog walked passed as one of the owls would open its eyes.
Further along at Houweling Nurseries pond there were lots of American Wigeon, a few Eurasian Wigeons, Gadwall, Green-winged Teal, Hooded Mergansers and American Coots.
We didn’t see any Snowy Owls here, so decided to drive around to 72nd Street.
At first we did not see any Snowies here either, but as we walked east toward the pumping station, we eventually found 3 separate Snowy Owls quite far from the path resting on the foreshore. A Photog on the shore led us to one of the sightings.
In the bushes along the path we also saw Golden-crowned and White-crowned Sparrows and perhaps a Savannah Sparrow, Purple and House Finches, Ruby-crowned Kinglets, Robins and a Varied Thrush, plus the common species like Northern Flickers, Downy Woodpeckers, Red-winged Blackbirds, Spotted Towhees, Dark-eyed Juncos, Fox and Song Sparrows and Chickadees.
Ken took the obligatory Group Photo at the Pumping Station with Expert Birder Carlo and, as we turned around to head back a Hooded Merganser landed in the stream.
On the way back we found another of our target species today, two American Tree Sparrows.
Then a disturbance of some sort raised several thousand waterfowl in the fields on the other side of the golf course and airport, including a neat flock of a few thousand Snow Geese. Meanwhile, out in the Bay (too far out for identifying) were thousands of ducks and thousands of Shorebirds; we recognized Dunlin and Black-bellied Plovers.
We deduced from the sound of gunfire that a couple of hunters were having some success. This stretch of Boundary Bay Regional Park always impresses and amuses me as it demonstrates a real multi use park. We the Birders share the path with ordinary walkers and runners, dog-walkers, bicyclists, horse-back riders, farmers and park vehicles. Photographers are wandering in the marsh looking for good shots of Snowies, Short-eared Owls or just common Northern Harriers. And the Hunters are hiding along the shoreline. Today we were only missing the Kite Surfers.
We all straggled back to our parked vehicles and it was around 11:30 a.m., no one had any goodies or beer, so we decided to end the outing. Terry, Mike and I stopped in at Kings Links Golf Course to check the ponds. One pond had several duck species including; American Wigeon, Mallards, Gadwall, Northern Shovelers, Green-winged Teal, Hooded Mergansers and a Greater Scaup.
A Red-tailed Hawk with a huge number on its back (K9) caught our attention as it perched on a tree then took off (see photos).
Terry researched this bird which was originally captured at Vancouver Airport and released in Chilliwack. We saw a Rough-legged Hawk on the drive back to Tsawwassen. Starving, the three of us decided to dine at Mario’s Restaurant on 56th St. and the beer and pasta hit the spot as Mike recounted his misspent youth with Roger in the Lower Mainland, back in pre-historic time. Another grand DNCB outing.
The next day, on Tuesday, December 17, Terry Carr, Peter Ward, Gareth Pugh and I participated in the long-awaited and historic installation of the Delta Nats Barn Owl Box in BBRP. We met at 10:30 a.m. at Cammidge House and followed Metro Vancouver Parks’ staff Lynden, Richard and Jan through the “oldfields” to the spot Markus had chosen for the installation. Three men with their “stuck-in-the-mud” crane truck were already there with the hole dug and ready to install the telephone pole. Over the next almost three hours the nine of us in some fashion or other of participation managed to complete the following. Our “mansion” Barn Owl Box (made by Peter Ward and his team) was affixed to the pole with the obligatory Delta Nats Number Plate 28; the pole was ensconced into the ground and was almost vertical; the elaborate pulley system on the box (manufactured and hopefully patented by MV Parks staff) was connected; and the box was raised to an appropriate height on the pole. It looks beautiful and you can see the photo evidence, including videos, of the Installation on our Picasa site at: https://picasaweb.google.com/dncbirding. Photos by Terry Carr.
Again, Peter and I celebrated this historic event with beer and lunch at the RiverHouse Restaurant in Ladner where about 4,000 American Wigeon were resting in the Deas Slough.
Next Monday, December 23, we will meet at and leave from Petra’s at 8:00 a.m. (new time) on another local outing, probably to Reifel. Don’t forget the Ladner Christmas Bird Count on Sunday, Dec. 22; we want to be Number One in Canada again. As always, comments encouraged and let me know if you’re disenchanted with these literary gems. Merry Christmas and Cheers: Tom
Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists’ Society
Some interesting Birders Nights with Nature Vancouver coming up…