DNCB Outing No. 2015-47 to Harrison Mills

DNCB at Harrison Mills(RM)

DNCB at Harrison Mills (RM)

Photos by Roger (RM), Terry (TC), Jim (JK), Glen (GB), Denise (DK), Liz (LS), John (JMac), Pat (PS)
– see their photo albums at DNS Picasa site.

About twenty-two DNCBers  enjoyed an “away” outing to Kilby Park and Chehalis Flats in Harrison Mills on another sunny but windy and chilly Tuesday morning.  Check out lots of beautiful photo evidence on our DNS Picasa site.

Twelve of us left Petra’s at 7:30 a.m. in 3 vehicles; awesome car-pooling.  It was a long but very pleasant drive along the SFPR, highways 1 and 11 to the parking lot at Kilby Park in Harrison Mills.  Interestingly all 3 vehicles plus most of the other 10 participants arrived right at the designated 9:15 a.m. scheduled time.

It was such a gorgeous setting that we all raced to the beach and wandered along it, photographing the scenery and Trumpeter Swans in the Fraser and Bald Eagles eating on pylons and sand bars.  A few Bufflehead, Common Goldeneye, Mergansers (probably Common), Canada Geese and Mallards were also in the river.  With directions from Marion, Roger eventually took the Group Photo (minus the time-challenged sisters Pat & Maureen) of everyone squinting facing the sun, except Marion.

There were spawned Salmon corpses everywhere, in all stages of dissolution, but none with eyes.

We met a couple of DFO workers who were counting and studying the Salmon.  Fish eyes are the tastiest part for the Eagles and other birds.  They also said the Pink were almost done here but the Coho, Chinook, Chum and Sockeye were still arriving to spawn.  Pinks are only two years old when they spawn whereas the other species can be 4 to 7 years old.  The DFO officers were taking scale samples to determine the age.  They didn’t say whether it was a good or bad year, number-wise, but I “heard” that there were only about 1000 Eagles in the area (David Hancock told me once that they get as many as 12,000 in a good season) because there was a low number of spawning Salmon (over-fished at the mouth of the Fraser?).  Interesting stuff.

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Led by visiting Whitby Janice, we drove to Morris Valley Road, parked at the Tapadera Estates, and walked to the Eagle Point Park Observatory.  A “kettle” of about 30 Baldies was circling above us.  Along the path behind the homes we were entertained by Anna’s Hummingbirds, Golden-crowned Kinglets, Steller’s Jays and Liz photographed a beaut Varied Thrush.

From the Lookout we could see many Eagles dining on the Chehalis Flats, while more Trumpeter Swans, Hooded and Common Mergansers, Green-winged Teal and American Wigeon were feeding in the shallow water, I assume on fish eggs.  We walked closer to the water and saw several female Salmon making their “Redd” or spawning nest.

Next stop was the Sandpiper Golf Course and a walk to the Pretty Estates Observatory.  The area had obviously experienced a recent wind storm as lots of trees and branches were down everywhere.  It was very windy at this Lookout and we didn’t see anything new (Downy Woodpecker).  A few Eagles were perched close by in trees and lots on the flats, but not hundreds as we expected.  We got back to the Clubhouse around Noon, and the famous idyllic Rowena’s Inn on the River was already booked for lunch.  So we moved to Plan B and drove down the road to the historic (family-owned since 1930) Sasquatch Pub.  With a photo of owner Bruce’s Dad overlooking us, he and Nancy gave us excellent service.

Some enjoyed the renowned Sasquatch Burger, including our young Spanish Ornithologist, Sergio, visiting from Madrid.  My Fish & Chips and two pints of Canadian hit the spot, as always.

We left the Sasquatch Pub around 2:00 p.m. and some of us decided to stop at the Inch Creek Salmon Hatchery in Deroche on the way home.  Although this facility primarily produces salmon fry for distribution in local rivers, since 1989 they have had in their Lagoon (formerly a settling pond), two male White Sturgeon which are 7 to 7 ½ feet long, weigh about 200 lbs each, and are about 80 years old.  Neat to see as a noisy Belted Kingfisher flew by.  It was a lazy ride home; I snoozed to the drone of Jack and Glen’s incomprehensible chatter about computer programming.  Another super DNCB adventure.

Next Tuesday, December 1, we will leave Petra’s at 8:00 a.m. (note new later start time) for Sunnyside Acres Urban Forest Park in Surrey.  We will stop at Boundary Bay dike at 104th St about 8:15 (park at Delta Heritage Air Park) and then meet at the Wally Ross parking lot (24 Avenue between 148 and 144 Street) at Sunnyside Acres at 9:45 a.m. to start our Park Tour with Dr. Roy Strang at 10:00 a.m.

Also, on the evening of December 1 at 7:30 p.m., we will have our monthly Delta Nats meeting at the Benediction Church in Tsawwassen and the renowned World Traveler Terry Carr will give a presentation on his and Janan’s Adventures in Haida Gwaii.  Be there or be square.  As always, your comments are encouraged, check out our website for more info, reports and photos – and let me know if you want off my List to receive these meandering muses.  Cheers: Tom

Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists’ Society

The twenty-two included: Roger M, Mike B, Chris M, Terry C, Rob & Marylile, Madridian Sergio M, Gerhard L, Ladner Jack, Glen B, Jim K, Marion S, Kirsten W, Whitby’s Janice M, Denise (Uma) K, Alan & Liz, Sisters Maureen & Pat, Mission “local” Laurie K, Island Marti and me.

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.
This entry was posted in *DNCB, Bald Eagle, Eagle Point Park Observatory, Harrison Mills, Inch Creek Salmon Hatchery, Kilby Park, Pretty Estates Observatory, White Sturgeon. Bookmark the permalink.

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