Photos by Terry Carr (TC), Ken Borrie (KB) & Liz Stewart (LS);
Twenty-eight (Wow again) participants enjoyed an Al Grass led nature outing on Wednesday morning in Langley’s Brydon Lagoon and Hi-Knoll Park. We had some neat bird sightings, but the hi-lites really were two things: the brilliant descriptions, explanations and history of the various flowers, plants, lichens and anything else that grows by our “Legend”, Al Grass, and secondly, Annabelle’s post-walk selection of delectable delights on her mansion veranda overlooking the Lagoon. Check out the photo evidence on our DNCB Picasa site.
Seven of us (Roger with Mike, Anchor Kay & Sheila, Terry and garbling Gerhard with me) left Petra’s at 7:30 a.m. following Highway 10 toward Langley. For the second consecutive week, we ran into an accident, an over-turned tractor trailer at 176th Street in Surrey. We eventually made a U-turn and finally got to the Brydon Lagoon parking lot just past 8:30 a.m. The masses were waiting. As this was a joint outing of DNCB with Langley Field Naturalists (LFN) starting at 9:00 a.m., while waiting for others to arrive, we surveyed the first adjacent Brydon pond.
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A flock of Long-billed Dowitchers was feeding along the shore with a few Green-winged Teal. When the flock flew, a small unidentifiable Peep was with them which landed separately, but we still couldn’t confirm identity. A few Killdeer were also feeding nearby. Tree and Violet-green Swallows were hawking insects above the pond.
Al gave a brief introduction at 9:00 a.m. to the 27 participants (time-challenged Gareth came later) and the large group split into smaller groups. Terry took some group shots; then Ken & Anne and their clique (including Newbie Band Boy) went ahead and scared all the birds for the rest of us. At the main Lagoon, lots of Warblers were in the bushes both Myrtle and Audubon Yellow-rumped, Orange-crowned and Common Yellowthroats. I think we all eventually got good looks at these gorgeous little Song Birds/passerines. Both Rufous and Anna’s Hummingbirds occasionally flashed their iridescent throats while perched on bush tops along the trail. The pond was alive too with Northern Shovelers, American Coots, Pied-billed Grebes, Double-crested Cormorant and a big Red-eared Slider.
Some saw/heard Bewick’s and Marsh Wrens. As we followed the path toward Hi-Knoll Park, Al would stop and point out a flower or lichen and then erupt into a riveting historical account, fascinating the few followers who happened to be nearby. These stops were frequent thus the group was often very spread-out; the speedsters lucked out. Pictorial evidence of some of the flora Al described is on our Blog.
At the bog area we saw a few Brown-headed Cowbirds (two males and a female in a mating dance ritual) and a Black-capped Chickadee was checking out a nesting site in a telephone pole. Bushtits (Terry was thrilled to see their nests), a Steller’s Jay and a pair of nesting Bald Eagles here too, but we did not see a Wilson’s Snipe (and only one Northern Harrier). At the small Bridge, Anne took a half-group photo as we wondered about the colourfully-painted Bird Boxes on posts near the path.
We checked out the map and a neat moss-covered Big Leaf Maple Tree at the other parking lot before crossing the road into Hi-Knoll Park. Here we saw our destination Wildflower species, the very rare Fawn Lilies, which according to Al the Legend are found only in Hi-Knoll Park on the BC mainland. We saw both white and the rarer pink species in beautiful bloom. Also, lots of Trillium ovatum, False Solomon’s Seal etc.
As for bird species, both Black-capped and Chestnut-backed Chickadees were seen as well as Kinglets, Downy Woodpeckers, Pacific Wrens and more Warblers. At the clearing we were entertained by a singing White-crowned Sparrow, several brilliant American Goldfinches and a very noisy Pileated Woodpecker, hammering on a hydro tower (it’s Spring mating time).
The walk back through the Hi-Knoll woodlot, across the road, through the swamp/bog to the Lagoon was basically just a chat-fest. Lots of Newbies making friends. We took the path on the other side of the Lagoon and were waylaid by Annabelle who led us through her beautiful backyard up to her veranda.
Then she and Rhys forced us to gobble down her scrumptious home-made muffins and cookies and fruit platter, washed down with a cup of perk coffee. The starving mob was ecstatic. What a finale to an awesome joint DNCB/LFN outing! Thanks to The Legend, President Bob Puls (awaiting his Checklist of the day’s sightings) and go-getter Anne G for letting us DNCBers piggy-back on their Birds on the Bay outing.
Next Wednesday, April 30, DNCBers will leave Petra’ at 7:30 a.m. for an outing in Serpentine Fen Park. The Roger/Terry-led group should arrive at the parking lot by the “Barn Owl Barn” around 8:00 a.m. I will be in Tofino participating in the BC Nature Camp, then the BCN AGM in Victoria next weekend. The following Wednesday, May 7 will be an Al Schulze (aka White Rock Al) led outing to Barnston Island. Check our DNCB Blog for destination details.
Don’t forget this weekend’s events, the Earthwise Bee Friendly event on Saturday April 26 at Earthwise Gardens in Boundary Bay, and Delta’s annual Watershed Park Fish Release (and Nature Walk) on Sunday, April 27, 11:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Delta Nats Display will be at both events. Some of you might find interesting earlier reports on our Blog, particularly No. 2013-28 on July 17, 2013 to Brydon Lagoon and Hi-Knoll Park. As always, comments welcome and let me know if you want off my List to receive these far too lengthy epistles. Cheers: Tom
Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists’ Society
More photos at DNCB Picasa site