Twenty-five DNCBers enjoyed a very mild (~14 degrees) and pleasantly dry Tuesday morning wandering around the rejuvenated Terra Nova Park (TNP) in Richmond. Lots of neat bird sightings including a rarely seen Common Teal. Check out the photo evidence on our DNCB Picasa site. We 25 were: Gurus Anne M and Mary T, photogs Terry, Jim K, Liz and Marion, time-challenged Glen, Marian P and Ken & Anne, our new Newsletter editor Audrey and Richmond Donna, “under-the-thumb” Patrick, newbie Roger 2, Mike B, White Rock Al without his harem, Gerhard, Aussie Nance, spotter Kay, Kirsten & Marti, Bryan & Janet, Marylile without Rob, and me. The 26th, Tony M aka ILB, called but couldn’t find us.
Twelve of us car-pooled nicely in three vehicles from Petra’s. Traffic was fine and we got to the TNP parking lot at the end of River Road at about 8:40 a.m. The masses were waiting. Looking across to the airport in the Fraser River were flocks of American Wigeon, a few Bufflehead and Red-breasted Mergansers, one Horned Grebe and several Double-crested Cormorants. Red-winged Blackbirds and Marsh Wrens were singing in the reeds as a flock of Black-bellied Plovers flew across the river toward the airport. Marion took one of the Group Photos here before we started our walk through the newly-developed, child-friendly TNP. Not having been here in a year or so, I think Richmond did a good job with the many participatory additions and improvements to the Park yet retaining the habitat. Song, Fox and Golden-crowned Sparrows were foraging in the bushes along the ditch while a Great Blue Heron posed in it. Richmond’s Donna & Audrey guided us along the well-groomed trails to the pond where a lone female Ring-necked Duck and a Pied-billed Grebe were diving for prey. In the trees were Bushtits and both Ruby and Golden-crowned Kinglets and Mary T identified two Purple Finches.
We moved on toward the Community Gardens. Northern Flickers and several Anna’s Hummingbirds were entertaining sights. We checked the trees for Owls, in vain, but did find and open a couple of pellets, one a “double-header”. We crossed the road to the south part of the Park and followed the trail in front of the beautiful homes. No feeders were here as we saw in past visits to TNP, so fewer little birds seen. Across the ditch in the flooded field a flock of Green-winged Teal and American Wigeon were feeding. Among the Teal we spotted a rare Common (aka Eurasian) Teal. This bird looked slightly larger than the GWT so probably came from Asia, rather than Europe. Interestingly too, among the Wigeon was a brilliant male Eurasian Wigeon. Northern Shovelers were also feeding here as were three neat Greater Yellowlegs.
Back on the dike trail, we got more looks at Kinglets, a Brown Creeper, Downy and even one Hairy Woodpecker. Some saw and/or heard Pacific and Bewick’s Wrens here which made it a three-wren day. We walked through the bushes to the muddy shore area where lots of logs and driftwood had arrived since last year when this area had been “cleaned” by the city. As Northern Harriers cruised by, we saw a Red-tailed Hawk and a Cooper’s Hawk perched on separate posts. Lots of Snow Geese around, occasionally raised by Bald Eagle fly-pasts, some geese continuing on, apparently to feed in Richmond’s schoolyards. A few Trumpeter Swans strolled elegantly among the geese. A bushy-tailed Coyote caught our attention as it skulked along the shore. Two Hooded Mergansers were in the ditch along the dike path. Webmaster Ken took another Group Photo here, including the time-challenged DNCBers. Mary almost wet herself at the sight of six beautiful male House Finches.
We got back to the vehicles around 11:30 a.m., excellent timing. Most called it a day, while the “guys”, WR Al, Mikey B, Jimmy K and me decided to stop on the way home at Speeds Pub in Ladner. The two-piece Cod & Chips special for under 10 bucks was deliciously washed down with two 5 buck pints of Canadian. Along with this deal, Jim and I were entertained by the sagas of two vastly different upbringings in the 1940’s, one in war-ravaged Germany and the other in peaceful Burnaby. Another super DNCB outing.
Next Tuesday, February 3, we will leave Petra’s at 8:00 a.m. on an outing to our “Mecca” Reifel Bird Sanctuary. We expect to meet others at the entrance parking lot around the 9:00 a.m. opening time. As always, comments encouraged, check out our website at wwwdotdncbdotwordpressdotcom, and let me know if you want off my recipient list. Cheers: Tom (1:00 a.m. and going to bed)
Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists’ Society