Photos by Roger (RM), Glen (GB), Marion MS), Ken (KB), Pat (PS) posted at DNCB Picasa site
– more photos will be added to this Report, please check back SOON!
Fourteen DNCBirders met at Piper Spit, Burnaby Lake, on a warm, if not hazy from forest fire smoke, day. They were Tom, Ken and Anne, Glen, Al Schulze, Lorna, Marion S., Roger M., Hans, Mike, Rob and Marylile, and (shortly after the group photo) Pat and Maureen.
The first arrivals busied themselves in the Nature House garden, which attracts Hummingbirds (Rufous and Anna’s seen), bees, butterflies and other nectar-loving insects. When Roger arrived, he had a Red-slider Turtle in tow, which he had rescued from the middle of the road—it was released into the water at Piper Spit with some wondering if that’s legal, since the species is considered invasive.
The main attraction at Burnaby Lake lately has been a young Sandhill Crane, (see pictures posted under link) the offspring of a first ever nesting pair of cranes at that location. Unfortunately, the young bird, who first appeared with its parents on June 25, was last seen on July 5, and has not been seen since. The cause of his assumed demise is unknown, but there has been a lot of speculation which ranges from predation (bobcat, coyote, eagle), to inadequate diet as in too much seed (altho parents were observed feeding fish, worms, bugs etc), too much heat and smoke, or disease. Unfortunately we will never know, but there is hope that next year the parents will successfully raise a chick.
As we made our way down the boardwalk to the observation deck, we saw many Mallards, Wood Ducks, and families of Canada Geese, all with offspring of varying ages. As well, there were 5 Killdeer and 2 Least Sandpipers out in the marsh. Many Brown-headed Cowbirds, both mature and juveniles, Song Sparrows, Pigeons, Towhees were present, and a few Tree Swallows flew back and forth hawking insects. Common Yellowthroats called from the marsh at the spit and as well on our walk. A juvenile Marsh Wren entertained us taking a long dust bath on the path. As we made our way back to pick up the path along the lake, a young Anna’s Hummingbird seemed to be fascinated by our group (who wouldn’t be?), and hovered over us, especially Pat, in between rests in the trees above.
We continued on the walk heading towards the Cariboo dam, hearing birds which were mainly hidden in the overhead canopy. Many Swainson’s Thrushes sang their beautiful song, but did not appear. We managed to see American Goldfinches, a Wilson’s Warbler, American Robins, Chickadees (both Black-capped and Chestnut-backed), two Downy Woodpeckers, Spotted Towhees, and Song Sparrows. Some heard a Bewick’s Wren on both legs of the walk. Two Belted Kingfishers flew back and forth by the turtle nesting area, and hovered quite close to us for great viewing.
At the Cariboo Dam, a Great Blue Heron was keeping an eye out for fish, and a single Northwestern Crow walked around on the rocks in the low-level water. We lingered there, and then headed back along the Conifer and Spruce loops without adding to the list of species. The two Sandhill Crane adults had come to the boardwalk area by the time we returned, and afforded great views and photo ops. Roger spotted a nesting (Mute?) Swan.
Most of the group continued on to the viewing area by the water’s edge at the rowing club, where they saw Barn Swallows, Osprey, and a Hooded Merganser. Several of us contented ourselves at the Nature House garden photographing birds and flowers there.
Report by Marion Shikaze
Next week, Wednesday July 15, we will visit several parks in Ladner. Leaving Petra’s at 7::30 am, first destination Ladner Harbour Park parking lot at 8:00 a.m. (map at https://goo.gl/83jxuJ)