More photos by Roger Meyer (RM), Marion Shikaze (MS) & Terry Carr (TC) at DNCB Picasa site
Such a glorious morning to be arriving at Second Beach to spend a morning with the birds. Quiet waters, clear skies and glorious sunshine and rafts of birds just offshore seemed to make the long drive through morning traffic worthwhile. Sixteen of us met about 9 am and were immediately drawn to the quiet waters of English Bay. Those hearty 16 souls braving the minus 2 degree temperatures included Roger, Terry, Marion, Marty, Marylile, Rob, Janet, Bryan, Kirsten, Ray, Paula, Glen, Mike, Hans, Nance and Donna.
Immediately we started scanning the rafts of birds to determine who was present. We saw both Common and Barrow’s Goldeneyes, Buffleheads, Surf Scoters, Scaup, American Wigeons, 3 Western Grebes, a pair of Harlequin Ducks, and a few Double-crested Cormorants drying their wings on rocks at the edge of the water as a seal drifted past them.
We walked north along the sea wall to scan more rafts of birds that consisted of the same variety.
On the return to our starting place, Bryan and Janet were captivated by a small flock of Pine Siskins on the rocks along the shore. We then proceeded to walk along the creek to Lost Lagoon, spotting more Pine Siskins along the way. Also noted were Bush Tits, Fox Sparrow, Golden-Crowned Sparrow, Chestnut-backed Chickadees, a pair of Hooded Mergansers and Wood Ducks.
While standing on the bridge in our approach to Lost Lagoon, we had fun determining beavers from river otters. In the end it was determined there were 4 River Otters and 2 Beavers sharing the area. Two of the otters exited the waters and ambled along a fallen tree before re-entering the water to the delight of the photographers, and the rest of us, of course.
An even more captivating sight was the spotting of an Eagle standing on a fallen log in the middle of Lost Lagoon, plucking the feathers from his catch (lots of speculation what the ‘catch’ was). Trailing out from the Eagle was a long, thin, straight line of white feathers which were quite striking against the dark waters of the lagoon. As the Eagle continued to toss the feathers, large and small, from the end of its beak, the trail grew in length, and in the end stretched right across the lagoon.
Once the Eagle got to the meatier parts of his catch, the crow that had been standing nearby seemed to lose interest, and flew away. While all this was occurring, a Brown Creeper was spotted attacking one of the tall trees. A Heron was also spotted.
We continued around the North side of the lagoon and, before reaching the East side of the lagoon, took one of the paths into the woods, heading to Beaver Lake. In the woods, Nance was sure she spotted a couple of Sapsuckers flying off into the trees, and a Raven was seen and heard. Coming to a major crossroad, and being surrounded by tall trees, Glen consulted his trusty ‘gadget’ and determined the direction to Beaver Lake – no doubt saving us many steps. Beaver Lake should be renamed Mallard Lake as what water remained in the lake seemed to be fully occupied by Mallards.
Returning from Beaver Lake to the East end of Lost Lagoon, the party split with some returning the way we came, to the cars. The time was now about 12:30. A few determined to finish the loop and, according to Roger, saw “several Common Mergansers on the Lagoon, a Thayer’s Gull, several baby Raccoons including two babies in a tree, and not much else”.
Roger, Terry, Mike and Hans (I think) then traveled to Ambleside Park, where they failed to find the Palm Warbler but ran into Brian Self with his own group of birders.
Afterwards they went to a pub for a late lunch (2:30) and a fairly quiet ride home.
Donna also continued on to Ambleside and met up with a friend, and after eating our lunches on the beach, we walked along the seawall towards the lagoon where Roger and his carload had gone. We walked around the lagoon, also did not see the Palm Warbler but on walking along near the mouth of the Capilano River, I spotted an American Dipper on a rock right close to the water’s edge – a spectacular ending to a spectacular day’s birding!
Oh yes, and several Delta Nats were overheard praising the speakers at the Monday night Delta Naturalists meeting and thought Ursula deserved recognition for chairing the meeting in such an efficient manner, Kudos Ursula! I’m sure Tom will be pleased to hear that!
My! This is long! Ah, well, read what you like… if any…
by Donna Thomson
Next week, Wednesday November 19, we will leave Petra’s at 8 am for Tsawwassen Ferry Jetty and Dyke from Deltaport Way. Meet at the parking area on the north side of the ferry jetty at 8:15.