DNCB Outing No. 2016-24 to Pitt Lake

About 22 (I lost count; guesstimate participant list at end) DNCBers enjoyed some beautiful vistas and interesting sightings on our Wednesday morning walk in the Pitt-Addington Marsh Wildlife Management Area.  Check out lots of photos on our DNCB Picasa site.

Eight of us left Petra’s at 7:30 a.m., car-pooling nicely in two vehicles, and made great time on the SFPR and Golden Ears Bridge, arriving at the Boat Launch parking lot (filled with a new TV Series (?) film vehicles) on time at 8:30 a.m.  Local Bird Guru Larry Cowan, along with Ed the Park Caretaker, welcomed us, along with other DNCBers.  We had passed a few others along the road at the Catbird Slough.  That was a good location to see our Target birds, the Gray Catbird, Bullock’s Orioles, Eastern Kingbirds and Black-headed Grosbeaks.  I introduced Larry, and Roger took a Group Photo before we started our single-file march along the over-grown and wet trail around the Katzie Marsh.  Interestingly, as Roger took the photo, Yellow Warblers were in full view and both Orioles and Grosbeaks were singing above us.

Despite the wet walk through the shrubs, especially for several so-called knowledgeable naturalists (i.e. Dimwits) dressed in non-waterproof footwear and clothing, we saw some neat stuff.  We got great looks at Bullock’s Orioles, Willow Flycatchers, Rufous Hummingbirds, Cedar Waxwings.  Some saw the Swainson’s Thrushes and Black-headed Grosbeaks, both seemingly singing everywhere.  Some were ecstatic at seeing and photographing a posing Evening Grosbeak, uncommon here.  We all heard the winnowing flight, and some got a glimpse, of a Wilson’s Snipe.  Lots of Swallows hawking insects, pushed low down by the clouds and spurts of rain; we saw 5 species this day, Tree, Barn, Violet-green, Northern Rough-winged and nesting Cliff Swallows.  Swifts were also unusually close for viewing; we saw both Vaux and Black Swifts flying together for easy identification.  Our Guru Larry liked this.

As we continued on, some with completely soaked pants and feet, but still smiling, on a single branch we saw two flycatchers, an Eastern Kingbird and a Willow Flycatcher (or was it parent and young Easter Kingbird?). Common Yellowthroats were common and Marsh Wrens were in the marsh.  A flock of Band-tailed Pigeons flew by in the distance and a couple of Turkey Vultures were circling overhead.  Downy and Hairy Woodpeckers, Norther Flickers and Common Ravens around too.  Several Brown-headed Cowbirds seen, and Western Wood-Pewee and Wilson’s Warblers heard, but we were blanked on another Target, the American Redstart.  Larry said this warbler species is likely nesting along the trail to the Catbird Slough.

Lots of evidence of Beavers as we approached the Lookout, but we saw no Black Bears this day.  Following another Group Photo Op, most of us continued on the longer but open (i.e. drier) trail back to the parking lot. Several new, very young families in the marsh including Wood Ducks, Pied-billed Grebes, Mallards and Canada Geese.  A pair of resident Mute Swans was hidden in the reeds; we didn’t see the Trumpeter Swan, or any Rails.  A Belted Kingfisher flew by as we approached the rock face where the Cliff Swallows are nesting.  Lots of activity as parent birds were flying in and out of their holes in the “yellow” rock, assuming to feed young.  Arriving back at the path along the entrance to Pitt Lake, we saw the two active Osprey nests on pylons, one with a Mom and baby, and Dad on a pylon nearby.  A few Spotted Sandpipers were flitting along the shore and two people may have seen a couple of Black Turnstones.  Lots of Sparrows here too including Savannah, Song and White-crowned, but we were blanked on other warblers, including the once-seen MacGillivray’s.  Photogs got shots of as many as four Swallow species in a single frame.

It was 12:30 p.m. when most of the straggling group assembled back at the parking lot (>5km walk).  We decided to stop at the Catbird Slough for what else, Catbirds, before heading home.  Eastern Kingbirds, Yellow Warblers and Common Yellowthroats seen, but the Catbirds were napping.  Since some had time commitments, we ended the outing here, and following a serene and uneventful drive home, seven of us decided to dine at the Rose & Crown pub in Tsawwassen.  Good decision as Leila looked after us and my Roast Beef Sandwich and Salad was delicious, of course with a pint of Canadian.  The sun was shining now and the “Dimwits” had dried out.  Another awesome DNCB outing.

Next Wednesday, June 22, the DNCB destination is Maplewood Flats, where we expect to meet (…TBA…).  Check out directions, other info and reports and photos on our website.

Also check out photos on our Picasa site  of our annual DNS Garden Party held Thursday night at Cammidge House.  Over 40 Nats members enjoyed a sunny evening of great food, fun games and bonding.

Don’t forget the annual Father’s Day Pancake Breakfast at Centennial Beach this Sunday, June 19 from 8:30 a.m. to Noon.  There will be musical and other entertainment and your Delta Nats will have their “hands-on” Display.  As always, your comments are encouraged.  These weekly missives tend to be getting longer, more verbose, and perhaps more annoying to some recipients.  If hitting the Delete Button is onerous, please let me know and I will remove you from my e-mail List.  Happy Father’s Day.  Cheers: Tom

Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists Society

We 22 were: Roger drove Mike B, Hans & Guru Anne M, Chris McV drove Glen B, Gerhard & me; others included “local expert” Larry C, returnee Stanley Park Guru Greg H, Richard H, Richmond’s Brian A, Marion S and her visiting son Trevor, Lasquiti Island Marti, Pauline O & Jean G, WR Al & Alice, wandering Liz, sisters Pat & Maureen, and Debbie H (23) made a courtesy call at Petra’s.

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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.
This entry was posted in *DNCB, Band-tailed Pigeon, Black Swift, Black Turnstone, Bullock's Oriole, Cliff Swallow, Eastern Kingbird, Evening Grosbeak, Northern Rough-winged Swallow, Osprey, Pied-billed Grebe, Pitt Lake, Pitt-Addington Marsh WMA, Spotted Sandpiper, Turkey Vulture, Vaux's Swift, Western Wood-Pewee, Willow Flycatcher, Wilson's Snipe, Wilson’s Warbler, Yellow Warbler. Bookmark the permalink.

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