Sixteen patriotic DNCBers spent Canada Day morning, first on the dike at Boundary Bay, then at our Mecca, Reifel Bird Sanctuary. It was another gorgeous Summer day in Delta with some interesting sightings. Check out the photo evidence on our DNCB Picasa site.
Only five men (Roger, Terry, Gerhard, Hans and me) were at Petra’s at 7:30 a.m. where, before going to Reifel, we decided to check out the Ruff at 96th St. on the Boundary Bay dike. It was there among a few Killdeer and we all got good looks, even of the bands on its legs. This captivity-bred Ruff is an escapee from Professor David Lank’s SFU laboratory. Check out photos and more info on Lank’s 30 year Ruff study in my outing report DNCB Outing No. 2015-20 to Burnaby Mountain and SFU. Richmond Bill met us at 96th and followed us to Reifel where we met the other 10 waiting at the entrance (on time at 9:00 a.m.).
We had our pre-outing chit-chat, including with Sanctuary Manager Kathleen Fry, who joined us throughout the morning walk. Although Kathleen was very helpful reporting on recent sightings, I think she basically joined us to ensure that we (primarily Gerhard) did not pick the forbidden Blackberries (important bird feed, especially the falling seeds in Winter). Near the entrance feeders were lots of Red-winged Blackbirds and Brown-headed Cowbirds, but four Eastern Kingbirds (probably a family) caught our attention.
Later on, we searched for their nest, in vain, where Otto thought it was located. Ken took the obligatory Group Photo by the Reifel Snow Goose Info sign.
We were 15; newbie George joined us later (see his photos on our Picasa site).
Along the west trail, in the Alaksen potato field we saw 9 of the 13 Sandhill Cranes currently hanging around Reifel; we hand-fed others as we met them on trails throughout the morning.
Although Summer is not the best birding time to visit Reifel, we had several other neat sightings. Three Teal species were in a middle pond, a gorgeous Blue-winged and a Cinnamon Teal along with a Green-winged Teal. Some saw the Bufflehead. Some saw Yellow-rumped Warblers, Common Yellowthroats and Rufous Hummingbirds (empty nest as young have fledged). Marsh Wrens were common in where-else, the marsh. A couple of Downy Woodpeckers and a Red-breasted Nuthatch were together in a close-up tree. Some missed the Nuthatch while watching a Eurasian Collared-Dove. Of course, I cannot not mention the Wood Ducks; only a few seen, but we understand that it is/will be another successful nesting season at Reifel. A few American Wigeon and Gadwall around and an interesting “leucistic” Mallard.
We checked out the new Purple Martin boxes, but only Tree Swallows were flying around. Kathleen saw a pair of PUMA’s flying near the tower. Lots of successful Barn Swallow nests in the Sanctuary; one nest in a Blind enthralled Anne and Christie as it had four or five babies peeking out and Dad perched beside, watching us. Roger also entertained us with his side trip to a Sand Wasp (aka Bembicini) colony on a trail. We were all riveted watching these little bugs seemly aimlessly circling until they found their own personal hole in the sand to crawl into. Later, back at the entrance, Kathleen showed us another colony of a larger Sand Wasp species.
We were blanked on the Bullock’s Orioles and couldn’t find their nest either, but we were fascinated with voluble Otto’s captivating chronicle of where the birds and nest might be. DNCBers sure are an eclectic group of weirdoes.
We left Reifel around noon; another very enjoyable outing. Six of us (White Rock Al with one of his WR harem Leona, Hans, Terry, and of course the fabled Otto and me) went to Speed’s Pub in Ladner for lunch. The more expensive Halibut and chips was only ordinary, but the two pints of Okanagan 1516 beer were delightful, over-shadowing the slow service and WR Al prosaically holding court.
Next Wednesday, July 8, we will leave Petra’s at 7:30 a.m. for Burnaby Lake Park. Note the DNCB Outing Schedule changes; we will go to Manning Park on Wednesday, July 22, joining Langley and WRSN groups. July 29 will tentatively be the Ferry outing to Victoria. As always, your comments are encouraged, check out our website, and let me know if these delirious accounts annoy you and you want off my List. Cheers: Tom
Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists’ Society