DNCB Outing No. 2015-40 to Serpentine Fen

Eighteen drenched DNCBers enjoyed a brief Wednesday morning outing at the Serpentine Wildlife Management Area in Surrey.  A few interesting sightings on our rain-shortened outing; check out the photo evidence (more to come) on our DNCB Picasa site.

We met at the Serpentine parking lot near the Barn Owl barn at 8:00 a.m. and quickly took a Group Photo before wimpy Webmaster Ken & Anne A took off for drier surroundings.  We checked the Barn and couldn’t see/find the resident Barn Owl.  As we started our walk along the trail to the first Lookout, the rain was light, a very annoying spitting.  The pond below the Lookout had nothing exciting (Mallards), but our Spanish visitor Sergio was excited with the adult Bald Eagle perched on a pole, and the nest on a hydro tower in the distance.  Lots of little birds in the bushes; we saw four Sparrow species on the walk, Song, Fox, White- and Golden-crowned, plus lots of Towhees, Robins, Juncos and Chickadees.  A lone Northern Shoveler was in one slough.

On reaching the open meadow, Northern Harriers made fly-pasts and we got good looks at one of the singing Marsh Wrens.  The ponds were uncharacteristically dry (don’t know why the controlled level was so low) so we didn’t see any of our usual sightings like American Bittern, Cinnamon Teal or nesting Pied-billed Grebes and American Coots.  As we reached the trees near the Serpentine River path, the flocks of Warblers began to appear.  We identified many Yellow-rumped Warblers, but couldn’t be certain whether other species were among them. The flitting birds always seemed to stop behind leaves or behind a water drop on my foggy bins.  It was frustrating birding.  Being impatient, we continued walking along the river, watching the Greater Yellowlegs feeding at the water’s edge, avoiding the Fishermen who seemed to be staged at 100 foot intervals.  We learned that Spring and Coho Salmon are currently running.  A Belted Kingfisher flew by too.

The next Lookout was uneventful as well.  Some were relegated to being turned on by posing Pacific Great Blue Herons.  The tide in the river was low, and we got a bit excited at one spot where fish were jumping right out of the water.  Not big Salmon but nice pan-sized.  We wondered why the fisherman were not here.  Further on we saw more Warbler flocks, Northern Flickers, Downy Woodpecker and at the last Lookout, lots of waterfowl in ponds that had water.  Nothing exotic, but we saw American Wigeon, Northern Pintail, American Coot; I couldn’t even find/identify a Green-winged Teal.  Several V’s of Canada Geese flew overhead and we know some Russian Snow Geese have arrived, but we didn’t see any.  I thought I saw a Thrush (Hermit not Varied), but that was only wishful thinking.

We got back to the parking lot at 10:30 a.m., and although still raining lightly, we prepared to continue the outing to White Rock pier.  Following some laborious discussion and majority agreement, we decided to abort, and call it a day.  So I ate a Flax Bar and went to play my regular Wednesday Noon Hockey.  It may not have been one of our most successful outings, but nonetheless still a lot of fun with some very nice folk.

Next Wednesday, October 14 (we switch to Tuesdays on Oct. 20) is our Iona Outing.  We will leave Petra’s at 7:30 a.m. and meet at the Iona Regional Park parking lot around 8:15 a.m.

On Wednesday, Oct. 15, we begin our Delta Nats Bird Box Examination & Cleaning.  All are welcome to participate; meet at 12th Street entrance to BBRP at 9:00 a.m.  As always, comments encouraged, check out reports, photos and other Nats info on our website, and let me know if you want off my List to receive this drivel.  Cheers: Tom

Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists’ Society

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About dncb

DNS: Delta Naturalists are a group of nature lovers whose aim is to foster interest in the natural history of the Fraser delta by sharing and enjoying nature and promoting environmental awareness and conservation. DNCB: Delta Nats Casual Birders is a group of Casual Birders who go Birding at different locations each week, usually within the Lower Mainland or in nearby Washington State.
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