Sixteen DNCBers spent a foggy Monday morning at the newly-furbished Terra Nova Park in Richmond. The birding was quiet, but we did have a few moments of excitement.
Eight of us (Mike with PB Lorna, Hans and Roger, and Anne M, Glen and Sheila with me) carpooled at 8:00 a.m. from Petra’s and made good time along the HOV to Richmond. The horde (Marion, Kirsten, Marti, chivalrous Jonathan, Richmond locals Donna & Carol, White Rock Al and Otto come-lately) were waiting at the River Road parking lot when we arrived around 8:30 a.m. Lots of noisy Red-winged Blackbirds and Golden-crowned Sparrows around, but we could not even see the water through the dense fog. We decided to walk inland into the park rather than along the dike path, in hopes that the fog would burn off and lift (it didn’t).
A couple of female Hooded Mergansers and a few Mallards were the lonely inhabitants in the first pond. The Park paths were manicured with fresh stone and a tonne of work has been done re-furbishing the park. But it was quiet bird wise. Lots of European Starlings and American Robins, Anne spotted a Purple Finch, then around the Community Gardens we got some excitement with a couple of irridescent Anna’s Hummingbirds, a Downy Woodpecker, Northern Flicker and other “regulars” (Song & Fox Sparrows, Spotted Towhees). Roger took the Group Photo at the Gardens, just before Carol left and we almost lost directionally-challenged Kirsten. No Owls in the conifers, but we found a few pellets.
A pair of Red-tailed Hawks was in the field across the road. We followed the trail behind the nice houses, some of which had feeders. Again, lots of regulars seen including the afore-mentioned above plus Black-capped Chickadees and Dark-eyed Juncos. American Wigeon were in the stream. Later on we saw Green-winged Teal, a Northern Shoveler, Northern Pintail, but nothing “rare or uncommon”. At a spot along the trail near the Quilchena Golf Course, we had a brief flurry of excitement when a brilliant Golden-crowned Kinglet flashed his crown for us, then a Ruby-crowned Kinglet joined him in the next bush. While this was happening, a Marsh Wren flitted in the reeds behind.
We arrived at the dike path and continued through the bushes and deep fog toward the shore. There has been a lot of shore “clean-up” done by Ducks Unlimited, City of Richmond; we’re not sure why and whether or not it’s better or beneficial, but there certainly wasn’t much bird activity.
Through the dense fog, we barely saw a small flock of Snow Geese fly by, but we couldn’t see whether there were any waterfowl in the Strait.
We walked back into Terra Nova Park, past the Playground construction, and continued the inane chatter. Although it was only 11:30 a.m. when we got back to the parked vehicles, the fog seemed denser and birds were MIA, so we decided to abort the outing. Everyone politely agreed that it was another very enjoyable DNCB outing, and PB Lorna’s sandwich and raisins were delightful, as always.
Next Monday, Feb. 3 we will visit our “Mecca”, Reifel Bird Sanctuary. We will leave Petra’s at 8:00 a.m. and should be there around the 9:00 a.m. opening. As always, comments welcome and let me know if you don’t want to receive these boring missives.
Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists’ Society