DNCB Outing No. 2014-25 to Queen Elizabeth Park, Vancouver

DNCB at QE Gardens (KB)

DNCB at QE Gardens (KB)

More Photos to be added SOON!

Sixteen DNCBers enjoyed a brilliant Wednesday morning wandering around the gorgeous gardens of Queen Elizabeth Park (QEP) in downtown Vancouver.  In addition to the array of beautiful flowers in full bloom, hi-lites included a Chipping Sparrow and the “opposite tree climbers” Red-breasted Nuthatch and Brown Creeper.  Check out the many super shots by Liz, Jonathan, Marion, Glen and Ken on the DNCB Picasa link.

After being entertained by the renowned Newfoundland Puffin/Iceberg expert, visiting Aussie nephew Craig, eight of us left Petra’s at 7:30 a.m. car-pooling nicely in two vehicles (Glen took PB Lorna, Jane and young, keen-eyed Newbie Julian; Hans drove Kay, Sheila and me).  Using the HOV lane, the ride through the busy, rush-hour tunnel into town was smooth and easy; we saw a Coyote in a Ladner farm field.

We arrived at the QEP Tennis Court parking lot at 8:15 a.m. where Marion, Liz, Jonathan, North Van Biker Paula, Jean, Ken & Anne were waiting and already photographing the blooming flowers (roses, begonias, etc.) with bees and other insects buzzing around them.  Following intro’s, we started our walk at the hummingbird feeder at the Golf Course office.  An Anna’s Hummingbird showed up on cue.  In the trees small flocks of Bushtits flitted about.

We circled the Park, passed the restaurant and Bloedel Conservatory, searching in vain for Western Tanagers.  No worries, the colours and panoramic views of the city and mountains were stunning.  Some sightings included: Yellow-rumped Warbler, Hutton’s Vireo, White-crowned Sparrow and the regular “commons” (Spotted Towhees, Rock Doves, etc.).  We stopped at a neat bridge below the restaurant where Ken took one of the obligatory Group Photos.

kb_DSC4063

DNCB at Q.E. Gardens (minus Otto)

We passed the Woodpecker and Owl trees from our last visit to QE Park, but the unreliable birds weren’t there.  We did see a Red-breasted Nuthatch going down a trunk, then later saw a couple of Brown Creepers going up a trunk.  Interesting comparison, with both sightings up-close-and-personal, the way we Casual Birders like it.

When we got to the middle of the Park below the Conservatory, astute-eyed Anne Avery identified a Chipping Sparrow singing loudly and in full view on top of a Christmas Tree (I wish I was better at plant and tree ID).  We don’t see many of this Sparrow species.  Just then the loquacious, time-challenged Otto arrived.  So we had to take another Group Photo.  Several Eight-spotted Dragonflies and Swallowtail Butterflies were splendid entertainment filling the lack-of-birds void.  Lots of other people in the Park provided fascinating diversions too, such as Ned and his building/construction theories, the Indonesian family with their “selfie” Camera, and the regular Tai Chi performers.

Tom & friends with "selfie"-taker (KB)

Tom & friends with “selfie”-taker (KB)

We meandered back down the trail to the bottom pond where Red-eared Slider Turtles were mingling with families of Mallards and one Gadwall.  On the walk back up the hill, a male Northern Flicker was feeding on ants in the grass, oblivious to us standing and staring close-by.

Back at the parking lot around 11:30 a.m., Otto shared his earlier photos of Western Tanagers and other sightings while we munched on PB Lorna’s PB & Banana sandwich, Jane’s nuts, Kay’s cookies and someone else’s (I forget) delicious blueberry wafers.  I did not open the voluble Otto’s much appreciated gift of Red Tail Ale.  On departure, a Cooper’s Hawk gave a fly-past.  The ride home was eerily similar but with reverse roles: I snoozed to the drivel of Kay, Sheila and our chauffeur Hans.  Nonetheless, it was another delightful DNCB morning.

Next Wednesday, July 2, we will leave Petra’s at 7:30 a.m. on an outing to Campbell Valley Park.  We expect to meet at the 8th Avenue entrance parking lot at 8:15 a.m.  As always, comments encouraged, and let me know if you want off my list to receive these weekly musings.  Happy Canada Day.  Cheers: Tom

Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists’ Society (1:15 a.m. Sat. morning; going to bed before Car Boot Sale at 7:30 a.m.)

Saturday, June 28:  End-of-season Delta Naturalists’ Garden Party/Potluck dinner will be held in Jennifer and Pam Melville-Roberts’ beautiful garden!  You’re welcome any time after 4:30 pm; bring food dish, a chair, plate, cutlery and a glass.   And a small present, in a plain brown paper bag, under $10, for “Dutch Auction”.   See DNS Newsletter page 5 for full details.  Excellent weather predicted!

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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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