Only five DNCBers ventured out in the rain yesterday (Tuesday) on a “revised” local outing to the Tsawwassen Ferry Causeway, through Ladner Farmers’ fields to Alaksen Wildlife Management Area (WMA) on Westham Island. We postponed our scheduled outing to Bowen Island because of the inclement forecast. Although the weather was crappy, it wasn’t too uncomfortable and we saw some neat birds and had a surprisingly enjoyable morning. Check out Jack and Terry’s photo evidence on our DNCB Picasa site.
We five (Dave M with Terry and Gerhard, and Ladner Jack took me) left Petra’s at 8:00 a.m. to the lookout on the causeway, where it was blowing rain and we had no Scope. Lots of waterfowl in the Bays on both sides of the highway. We saw Common Goldeneye, Surf Scoters, Bufflehead, Red-breasted Mergansers, Common Loons, both Horned and Pied-billed Grebes, Pelagic and Double-crested Cormorants and of course many American Wigeon and Mallards. A couple of resident Black Oystercatchers showed up for their photo shoot. We walked along the causeway searching, in vain, for the Whimbrel, Snow Buntings and Redpolls. We found a Song Sparrow. A pair of Brant Geese on shore aroused our interest. One had a silver leg band (KB: see photos) on right leg. We drove on to the Terminal, stopping to photograph a beautiful pair of Harlequin Ducks. Some saw a flock of Dunlin fly past, and I’m sure there were other species of Scoters (White-winged, perhaps Black) and Brandt’s Cormorants around, but without a scope we couldn’t be sure.
We drove on to the Kingfisher Bridge on TFN land; the Belted Kingfisher was apparently there yesterday (the story of our lives). A few Green-winged Teal were in the slough. A Red-tailed Hawk was in the hydro tower and lots of Bald Eagles around. We didn’t see the juvenile Golden Eagle which has returned again this year to 72nd Street near Kings Links Golf Course. Driving through TFN, flocks of LBJ’s (Little Brown Jobs) turned out to be common stuff; House Finches, House Sparrows, Golden- and White-crowned Sparrows, immature Red-winged Blackbirds, Spotted Towhees, Northern Flicker, and Black-capped Chickadees. We finally found and photographed a Rough-legged Hawk on a pole near the TFN construction at 41B St. and 27 B Ave.
We continued on to fellow Nats Darrel & Judy’s farm (Llamas) home on 36th Avenue to see the Northern Mockingbird. Our luck continued, and we didn’t see it either. But we had a nice chat with Darrel and his neighbours and watched Bushtits, Juncos, Robins, Finches and a nice male Downy Woodpecker in the tree where the Mockingbird should have been ( see Roger M’s Mockingbird photos taken on Monday).
An Anna’s Hummingbird showed up too. On our drive through Westham Island to Alaksen we stopped to photograph a flock of a dozen Trumpeter Swans in a field. Interestingly four were adults and eight were juveniles; a good year for swans perhaps. We also saw a second Rough-legged Hawk by the swans.
At Alaksen we chatted with Environment Canada’s Ken Brock & Rene McKibbin, and Karen Devitt of Bird Studies Canada, about our NatureKids NatureBlitz scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 27 at Reifel. We gave them our new “hot-off-the-press” brochures “Experiencing Birding in Delta”. Terry looked in vain for the Barred Owls in the Cedar trees. It was 11:30 a.m. and still raining, so we decided to end early and go to Speed’s Pub in Ladner for lunch. Good decision. The Fish & Chips Special with a pint of Canadian hit the spot and, as always, the conversation was uninspiring.
Next Tuesday, January 12, we will leave Petra’s at 8:00 a.m. for Iona Regional Park (note change from Queen Elizabeth Park). We expect to be at the Iona washroom parking lot at 8:45 a.m. I am creating a 2016 Tentative DNCB Outing Destination List which will be posted on this website soon.
On Tuesday night (January 5th), SFU Professor David Lank gave a very informative and interesting presentation on his 30 year study of Ruffs at our first 2016 Delta Nats monthly meeting. Ruffs are certainly a fascinating and weird Shorebird species, both in appearance and behavior. As always, your comments are encouraged, and let me know if these babbling reports perturb you and you want off my List. Cheers: Tom
Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists’ Society (P.S. We forgot to take the obligatory Group Photo)