Photos by Ken (KB), Pascale & Alberto (P&A), Jim (JK), Liz (LS), Pat (PS) and Maureen (MS)
– more at the DNCB Picasa site
At about 8:00 on a sunny, albeit initially cool Tuesday morning, twenty one enthusiastic nature nuts assembled in the parking lot off 16th Avenue. The group photo taken at the kiosk depicts the likenesses of Marylile, sisters Pat and Maureen, Denise – who joined the troupe last week and was named Uma Thurman by Tom – Gerhard, Jim, Bob, Liz, Anne, Laurie, WR Alice and Al, Wim (completely hidden by Rob), Donna, Mike, newbie Vanessa from Metro Van Parks, Tom, Gareth and picture taker Ken. Totally out of the picture is Mandy, the second newcomer. Also missing are late arrivals Pascale and Alberto who caught up to us in the deep woods and brought the total to twenty three trippers for the day.
Before marching the troop of birding junkies off into the autumnal forest, I could not resist enlightening or, some likely thought, burdening them once again with tidbits of information about the location. Campbell Valley Park covers an area of 1370 acres and is a third larger than Stanley Park at 1000. It is a varied mixture of forests, meadows and wetlands, and it has 29km of trails, including an equestrian trail of 11km; for comparison, Stanley Park’s Seawall is about 9km in length. The area was farmed from the late 1880s to 1973 when much of it was acquired by Metro Vancouver to create the park. The diverse landscapes have resulted in a bird checklist, compiled by the Langley Naturalists, of an impressive 174 species.
After the customary hellos and idle chitchat, we headed toward the Vine Maple Trail, a narrow winding pathway which lives up to its descriptive name. It became quickly obvious that the forest had also suffered damage during the wind storm of August 29; a number of deciduous trees had fallen across the path, as witnessed by Anne A. in a photo taken by Ken.
Another picture shows that saw left behind by a logger aeons ago and now embedded in the double trunk of an Oregon Maple. Only a few birds such as Pacific and Bewick’s Wrens, Pileated and Downie Woodpeckers and the two types of Chickadees were audible, but not sighted clearly, in this section of the park. What was seen, however, were many varieties of mushrooms which no one volunteered to test for edibility.
After about an hour on the narrow trail, we connected with the Little River Loop. Near and on the Listening Bridge, we finally got to observe and take snapshots of a few species including Steller’s Jays, Towhees and the common Sparrows and Chickadees.
Most participants walked through the open meadows to the historic Langley Speedway, where some caught a glimpse of a speeding Peregrine Falcon. Sightings became more sundry as well as entertaining along the eastern side of the Little River Loop leading back to the starting point. Townsend’s Chipmunks (thanks for the ID, Graeme Stevens!) and Douglas Squirrels were munching on handouts along the route,
and several participants enticed numerous Black-capped and Chestnut-backed Chickadees and a Red-breasted Nuthatch to snatch tasty morsels from their hands.
Both Golden-crowned and Ruby-crowned Kinglets were photographed; indeed, Liz managed to get a snapshot of a male of the latter species with that look of concern. Because the little river was overgrown with reeds, only several Mallards and a Muskrat came into view at the second bridge,
but in the sky, two Red-tailed Hawks were tallied in addition to the Cooper’s Hawk seen earlier.
The outing ended back in the parking lot at 11:30. While most of the trekkers decided to return to Tsawwassen to eat, drink and be merry in the Rose & Crown Pub, a couple headed to a lake in Hougan Park, Abbottsford to see the Pacific Loon in breeding garb.
Alice, Wim and I opted for a stop at Mclean Pond across 16th Avenue where we were able to add five species to the day’s checklist, including a soaring Harrier and three Killdeer lolling about in the tree farm. Although the bird count was meagre – just 30 species were observed or heard only – everyone agreed that it was another worthwhile DNCB outing. We enjoyed a great day with fine fall weather, good fellowship and wonderful pictures taken.
Langley Naturalists’ President, Bob Puls, has listed our sightings on “eBird” and you can view his list at: http://ebird.org/ebird/shared?subID=UzI1NTcxMTM1&s=t. (If you don’t already have an account, you will have to set one up before you can see Bob’s list)
Next Tuesday, November 3, we will leave Petra’s at 7:30 a.m. on an outing to Point Roberts, USA. We will meet in the Lighthouse Park around 8:00 a.m. Our Delta Nats November meeting, and AGM, will be that evening (Nov. 3) at 7:30 p.m. at the Benediction Lutheran Church in Tsawwassen. UBC Professor, Kathy Martin will give a presentation on Cavity Nesting Birds.
Also, on Monday evening of November 2, Delta Nat Anne Murray (and Tom) will be giving a Presentation on our proposal for a “Delta Birds and Biodiversity Strategy” to Delta’s Mayor and Council at Delta’s City Hall in Ladner. Show your support by attending in the Council Chamber at 7:00 p.m. sharp. Cheers: Tom
Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists’ Society