Twenty-four DNCBers enjoyed another glorious Delta Wednesday morning at Reifel Bird Sanctuary. Hi-lites included: seeing our target bird Stilt Sandpipers and lots of inane chatter among an eclectic group of like-minded weirdoes. Check out Ken’s, Tony’s and others’ photos (soon) on our DNCB Picasa site.
Nine of us left Petra’s at 7:30 a.m. (Aussie Nance with PB Lorna, Jean & Pauline, our “forgetful” Indian Land Baron Tony, Mike with newbie Patrick, Glen and me) and went to the Tsawwassen Ferry causeway first. The tide was low and not many birds were in the Bay. Small rafts of Mallards and unidentifiable ducks were in the distance. We saw a couple of Common Loons, both Pelagic and Double-crested Cormorants and several Black Oystercatchers were in the mud along the shore. Lots of Ring-billed Gulls around and two “banded” Caspian Terns caught our attention. Of course, being so close to the Tsa Tsu Shores heronry, there were lots of Great Blue Herons around. Next stop was the Kingfisher Bridge on TFN land. Roger had now joined us and categorically identified the seven Peeps in the stream as Semi-palmated Sandpipers. A couple of bobbing Spotted Sandpipers were also there. As usual, the Kingfisher was a no-show.
We continued on our regular route through the Ladner fields to the Westham Island Bridge. The bridge was “up”, so we were able to see a Brewer’s Blackbird and several Killdeer on shore while we waited. We did not see the Green Heron that Jonathan & Lorraine saw later when they passed here. We got to Reifel about 9:10 a.m., very close to our scheduled meeting time, and the masses were waiting. I will name the others now so their noses don’t get out of joint: the Quiet ones photog Liz, Marylile & Rob, Greg, White Rock Al and newbie White Rock Lois, Richmond Bill, Ladner Jane, garrulous Otto, webmaster Ken, and time-challenged latesters Hans and photog Dave.
The photo evidence of this array of geeks is in Ken’s and Tony’s Group Photos taken by the Reifel Snow Goose sign, with the accompaniment of a couple of Sandhill Cranes.
Following the obligatory introductions and renewing our annual BCWS membership dues with Laura, we surveyed the pond behind the office: mostly moulting Mallards, a few Northern Shovelers and a couple of Green-winged Teal. A swimming “phalarope-like” Lesser Yellowlegs made an appearance, testing our ID skills. We walked past the scrounging Cranes, Canada Geese and mobs of invasive House Sparrows to the middle path toward the lookout platform. From this lookout we spotted seven Hooded Mergansers (one overly-excited amateur called them Horned Grebes) and two Pied-billed Grebes. As always, only Roger spotted the single Wilson’s Warbler sighting of the day in a nearby tree. Lots of Red-winged Blackbirds around, interestingly with a few juvenile Brown-headed Cowbirds among them. A late-nesting Barn Swallow brood of three babies was in their mud nest in the shed on the outer dike. Greg’s search for more warblers got some Bushtits in the bushes.
We eventually found our target birds, two Stilt Sandpipers in the outer pond. They were near a flock of Long-billed Dowitchers. A Greater Yellowlegs moved between the two sandpipers and it was neat to compare the size and other identification markings. The outer ponds had more Shovelers, Gadwalls, Green-winged Teal and I tried unsuccessfully to claim a Blue-winged Teal sighting. The view from the Tower was brilliant. A Cooper’s Hawk roosting in a tree along the path gave a photogenic fly-past for us. Sleek Cedar Waxwings also posed at eye-level in the tree tops. We were blanked on Warbler sightings along the treed path where Townsend’s, Orange-crowned and Yellow Warblers had been seen earlier. But we had fun hand-feeding the Chickadees. Tony got a nice shot of a Brown Creeper, and WR Al continued his biological descriptions and explanations of the various trees and plants which again fell on deaf ears.
We closed down another exhilarating outing at Noon and leisurely returned to Tsawwassen, unfortunately “misplacing” PB Lorna’s sandwich. Next Wednesday, August 27, we will leave Petra’s at 7:30 a.m. on an outing to Lighthouse Park in West Vancouver. I expect to be at the Park parking lot shortly after 8:30 a.m. Check our DNCB Blog Report No. 2013-26 of July 3, 2013 for info on our last outing to Lighthouse Park. Also on our Blog see recent reports on and photos of our very successful Nats Display outings at the Ladner Animal Expo, Starry Night at Deas Island Park and the Richmond Raptor Festival.
As always, comments welcome and please advise if you want off my Drivel List. Cheers: Tom
Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists’ Society