Photos by Roger Meyer (RM) & Liz Stewart (LS)
On a rainy Wednesday, six of us made it to Petra’s for the morning’s outing. Two cars were required: Hans, Mike, Sheila and myself, Roger (filling in for Tom who is probably reclining in the Australian sun with a cold drink in hand) in one, and Gerhard and Lorna in the other. The traffic to the tunnel was wicked, so it took us 45 minutes to reach Queen Elizabeth Park, where the birds were sparse.
In the parking area we met up with Kirsten, Nance, and Liz. A single Red-breasted Nuthatch was in a tree above the parked cars. A Merlin flew over us as we walked through the Rose Garden as we followed Ned’s (the groundskeeper we’ve met before) instructions to the Barred Owl location. We didn’t find the owl at the Small Quarry, but did see a number of Steller’s Jays and Robins, and we had a good look at a Lincoln’s Sparrow.
Hans sighted some Varied Thrushes as well. Kirsten came running back to inform us she had found the Barred Owl being harassed by crows, so we rushed off to the lower cedar grove where we had a good look at the owl high in a tree with a pair of crows sitting beside it. Unfortunately, the light was too poor to get a clear photo.
At the lookout at the north-west part of the park, we saw a flock of Double-crested Cormorants fly over, and some Eurasian Collared Doves in a distant tree, and that was it, so, with time running short, we left to make the 10:00 am opening of VanDusen Gardens.
At VanDusen Gardens, we met up with White-Rock Al and Alice, and found we were too short in number for the reduced group rate. (This is where those who chose to sleep in should feel a twinge of guilt!) Knowing that the birds would be few, and that we were there for the fall colours and exotic plants, we headed up the south trail, pausing only for a photo of Gerhard on his regular bench with his friends from last year’s visit… hopefully Ken will insert the photo here!
We sighted several small birds in a hedge but they were too far away to identify. We think they may have been Kinglets.
Walking towards the maze, we saw a group of Northern Flickers in the trees, but little else.
We failed to find the Hermit Thrushes we had seen the previous year around the maze entrance, but did catch glimpses of an Anna’s Hummingbird. The group became separated at a slippery downhill trail where Nance had a bit of a fall and several decided to find an alternate route down.
Returning to the park entrance, we found a table in Truffles where we had our lunch, and Lorna finally had her cherished Pumpkin Latte!
Again, not so many birds, but lots of interesting plants, and Al helped by sharing his knowledge of some of the exotic trees with us.
Next week, Wed. Oct. 22, we will go to the foot of 104th Street where we can park in the lot at the Delta Heritage Air Park and walk along the Boundary Bay dike. Hopefully, the Ash-throated Flycatcher will still be there and a variety of shorebirds, ducks and raptors. As usual, some of us will meet at Petra’s for a 7:30 departure , and meet the others around 8:00 at 104th.