See photos on DNCB Picasa site by Liz Stewart (LS), Bryan King (BK), Marion Shikaze (MS), Terry Carr (TC), Glen Bodie (GB) & Ken Borrie (KB)
On another gorgeous Wednesday morning, twenty-five DNCBers, a huge ungainly group, toured Iona Regional Park and the next-door Sewage Lagoons. Hi-lites ranged from the Spotted Sandpipers to Warbler and Osprey sightings to playing with Sand Wasps to ID challenges to gorging on ripe Blackberries. Check out the photo evidence by Liz, Bryan, Marion, Terry, Glen, Roger and Ken on our DNCB Picasa site.
Nine of us (including Pt. Bob newbies Adam and Kelly) left Petra’s in three cars (good car-pooling) around 7:30 a.m. Super smooth sailing along the HOV lane through the tunnel arriving at the Iona Park parking lot right at the designated 8:15 a.m. scheduled time. Most of the rest of the mob was already patiently awaiting our arrival. While giving my regular ignored introduction, Vanessa identified the one lonely “diving duck” in the front pond as a Scaup species (Greater with round head?). The tide was high and Nance reported that Shorebirds were on the shore on the other side of the washrooms, so Roger in his wisdom suggested going the other way through the Park trail to the Sewage Lagoons. Since we always do what Roger wants, we missed Nance’s shorebirds, but found Common Yellowthroats (one with a leg band) and Marsh Wrens in the reeds near the next pond. A grebe-like bird in the pond turned out to be a Merganser (my guess Hooded). Apparently the lone nesting pair of Yellow-headed Blackbirds has already left Iona. And normally-reliable Bryan was unable to attract a Virginia Rail, another of our Iona missed target birds. But Garbling Gerhard was ecstatic as the Blackberry bushes were loaded with delicious ripe fruit.
We continued in various splinter groups along the trail, some spotting Cedar Waxwings, House Finches, noisy Spotted Towhees and other common birds, plus families of Mallards in the ponds. The back gate to the Sewage Lagoons was accessible as no workers were inside. As we watched Killdeer and Spotted Sandpipers feeding in the mud in the northwest pond, Ken took the always-challenging but obligatory Group Photo (23). Time-challenged wanderers Marion and Donna weren’t in it. One Green-winged Teal took off toward the Fraser. As we wandered around the ponds, we lamented the unexpected lack of Shorebirds here. Sparrow sightings (Song, Savannah and White-crowned) and a withered-up dead frog provided a bit of entertainment, along with the huge shovel excavating sludge into trucks in the front pond. Baby Tree Swallows were peeking out of a nesting box on the fence, probably a second clutch. A family of Gadwall on a nest was also a pleasant diversion.
As we left the Lagoons, not unexpectedly, so did a number of bored participants. The rest of us continued through the woods on the path toward the River. We got some nice looks here at Yellow and Yellow-rumped Warblers (and perhaps an Orange-crowned) and a Willow Flycatcher. No Wilson’s Snipe where we occasionally see them. The Purple Martin boxes along the shore were vacant as it seems the apparently successful broods have left for southern destinations. On one of the log booms were about 20 Great Blue Herons and one juvenile Bald Eagle. An Osprey finally flew over us and later we found two active nests with young on pylons on the other side of the river. American Goldfinches and Rufous Hummingbirds were flitting among the bushes in the reeds.
When we reached the sandy road leading to the end of the spit, Roger was already there playing in the sand with his Bembix Sand Wasps, not to be confused with the Amophilla Wasps, which he also likes playing with. Several other confused participants elected to leave the group at this stage. Others continued on in search of the nesting Common Nighthawks. We were blanked on these birds but Terry got some nice shots of Spotted Sandpipers near where they often nest. Lots of neat Wildflowers around too, but as always, I forget their names.
We decided to go back to the parking lot via the beach. The tide had receded a lot. In the distance among the mostly Ring-billed Gulls, we noticed a “shorebird” circling in the water and I identified it as a Phalarope. Several keeners decided to trudge out on the mud to confirm the sighting. Roger confirmed it as a Red-necked Phalarope. On Wednesday evening, Terry’s photo evidence confirmed the bird as a Bonaparte Gull. That’s why we’re Casual Birders.
Back at the washroom parking lot there was a group of Artists sporadically placed around the beach also enjoying and recording their views of the wealth of this beautiful area. No one brought goodies so a few of the famished DNCBers nibbled on my nuts, mixed nuts with smarties. The reliable Garrulous One surprised me with an Osprey Beer. It was Noon, and despite not seeing many of our target species, we all agreed that it was another very enjoyable morning.
Next Wednesday, August 6, we will meet at and leave from Petra’s at 7:30 a.m. to Brunswick Point where we expect to see lots of Shorebirds, and perhaps a Pelican. As always, your comments are encouraged and let me know if you don’t want to receive these weekly wanderings. Cheers: Tom
Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists’ Society
P.S. I know DNCBers like their names in print so here’s the List of 25: Roger, Kay, Hans, Terry, Gerhard, Glen, Pt. Roberts Adam & Kelly, MV’s Lori & Vanessa, White Rock Al, Pauline, Jean, Otto, Marion, returnee David M, Aussie Nance, Bryan & Janet, Richmond Donna, Anne & Ken, Liz S, Kirsten and me.
Note from Roger:
The sand wasp we saw today was Bembix, and below is a link for information.