Photos by Donna Thomson (DT), Roger Meyer (RM), Terry Carr (TC) & Peter Ward (PW)
Nine committed Delta Nats showed up at 10:00 a.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 25 at the 12th St. parking lot of BBRP to assist in the Spring Preparation of our 30 Bird Boxes in the Park. It was a gorgeous, sunny morning, with lots of snow on the ground. We were: our “expert” Peter Ward, video champ Roger Meyer, our “worker” Terry Carr, our “Scribe” Donna Thomson, our German linguists and ladder bearers Otto Steiner & Gerhard Lauk, new friend and photog Linda Chan, always reliable BBRP resident “Tall” Richard Swanston and me. Following introductions, Terry and Gerhard raced to unplug the boxes close to the 12th St. trail. Last Fall, rather than leaving the boxes open to discourage rats from using them as a Winter residence, we (of course on Peter’s advice) put Styrofoam plugs in the holes. The plugs worked; the boxes were clean, except for a few along the outer Bay path which had wasps in them. We were going along smoothly with the examination and unplugging of the boxes, with several of us occasionally unplugging one for a photo op. Tall Rick was his usual Tower of Strength as he was able to unplug boxes without a ladder.
We stopped for the obligatory Group Photo at the Tower Lookout. We/I cajoled an elderly resting man to take the photo. Interestingly, and unbeknownst to me, this man had earlier ranted and raved that our group was blocking the trail and we should be more considerate of other Park visitors. The end result, Nats made a new friend. We continued across the “damaged and closed” boardwalk toward our other boxes.
Richard took a few photos through his scope of our Barn Owl Box in the distant field. It was covered with snow and we could not tell whether or not there had been or was any activity in it. Metro Vancouver Parks Lynden Mager said that Parks Staff will examine, lower and clean the Box soon. Terry and Roger waded across a stream to get to boxes 26 and 27. We had not examined these in the Fall (difficult to get to through the reeds and swamp). Box 26 had a nice successful Tree Swallow nest in it. We were all elated while examining it.
Continuing along, we split into two groups to examine the last few boxes. Roger and I went to find Boxes 13 and 13A. We couldn’t find 13A (I think it was destroyed), but we found Box 13 in a tree well off the trail. Roger opened it with a screw driver while I held the ladder. It was full of leaves and nesting material. As Roger poked the material out with his screw driver, a huge Rat jumped out, past my nose and landed by my feet. It scampered away under the snow. I screamed, Roger laughed. Then, we met the others who had successfully unplugged the other boxes. (Terry found Box 13A on the ground the next day with a house sparrow nest. He cleaned it and remounted it.)
On the walk back, we noticed House Sparrows not only hovering around, but actually entering a few of our boxes. Not wanting “invasive species” House Sparrows in our Boxes, we decided to put Plugs back in the boxes by the Pump House and along the 12th Ave. trail, which we/Richard did. Richard said he would remove the plugs in a couple of weeks, closer to the Tree Swallow arrival
time. Then, I noticed I had lost my Car Keys. Our search for them was in vain; however today (Thursday) Richard called to advise he found the keys in the snow beneath one of our boxes. A Very Happy Ending.
We finished at the parking lot around 12:45 p.m. and chatted a bit about the beautiful and successful morning we enjoyed. Too late for lunch together, we went our separate ways. Check out Donna’s Report attached, and the photo, and video, evidence of our Bird Box Outing on the Picasa link to our Blog. Cheers: Tom
Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists’ Society
Video by Roger: