more photos at our DNCB Flickr site
Twenty DNCBers enjoyed a very pleasant Tuesday morning wandering around Stanley Park in downtown Vancouver. Lots of neat photo evidence on our Flickr site: go to www.flickr.com/groups/dncb, then click the magnifying glass icon in the “Photo Pool” row, and add 2017-04 to “DNCB Photos” in the Search box at the top of the page.
Eleven of us car-pooled brilliantly from Petra’s at 7:30 am in three vehicles. Participant List is at end of report. The HOV lane through the tunnel was fine, but traffic from Oak Street Bridge to the park was horrendous. We arrived at the swimming pool parking lot close to 9:00 am (30 minutes late), and the masses were waiting and chomping at the bit. We gathered down at the breakwall overlooking English Bay and the big ships. The tide was high and the water uncharacteristically calm, and flat as a pancake. Roger took the obligatory Group Photo of the 18 of us (w/o time-challenged Fisherman Roy and “washroom” Mikie B).
The Bay had some gorgeous waterfowl in brilliant breeding plumage. Mostly Barrow’s Goldeneye here, but a few Commons too. David H got a nice shot of pairs of both species in one frame. Lesser Scaup, Surf Scoters, Bufflehead, Horned Grebe, both Pelagic and Double-crested Cormorants around too, and a couple of Black Oystercatchers gave a fly by. We lingered here awhile, enjoying the views and the sun trying to peak through the clouds, then began our walk toward Lost Lagoon.
The Park streams were overflowing too and lots of the common regulars around: Canada Geese, Mallards, American Wigeon and some American Coots. A pair of gorgeous Wood Ducks was lurking in the bushes near the Lagoon. Several trees were down and noticeably chewed by Beavers very recently, although we didn’t see any Beavers, Otters or even Racoons this day. We commented on how few little birds were around other than Towhees, Song and Fox Sparrows and the occasional Anna’s Hummingbird. Then a flock of about 200 Pine Siskins landed in the trees above us munching on the small cones (Alder perhaps, I am weak on tree species). Following this excitement, we continued around the “Swan-less” Lagoon, and focussed on the Mergansers. Several groups of male Hooded Mergansers were displaying around a few females, who also had their hoods stretched out too. Fascinating stuff. The larger Common Mergansers were brilliant too, but further out and less active. One of the so-called “expert birders” in our group mistakenly identified a couple of female Hoodies as Red-breasted Mergansers, which are rarely seen in fresh water. We also tried unsuccessfully to find a Tufted or Greater Scaup among the rafts of Lesser Scaup in the pond. Of course the photogenic Great Blue Herons posed occasionally along the shore, and Gulls entertained “walking on water”, actually ice. No Virginia Rails seen or heard in their regular nesting area.
We got back to the parking lot before 11:00 am and decided to go to Beaver Lake in the middle of the park. We were met here by a big noisy tractor that was clipping the trees and bushes on the trail around the lake. Very few little birds here too, perhaps scared into hiding by the tractor noise. However the DNCB Kids had fun hand feeding the Chickadees, both Black-capped and Chestnut-backed. The lake was mostly frozen, however we saw a few Scaup, Bufflehead, Green-winged Teal and a Wood Duck, and a neat native Douglas Squirrel. The best entertainment here was a guy flying his Drone. Seeing the lake and trees from above, and then zooming in on us was fascinating. I learned he paid $1000 for this Drone (packed in a big case), but you can get cheapies for a hundred bucks. Just a thought. However, one of our group was not pleased with this drone flying too high, in forbidden airplane space. We saw a Northern Flicker, Downy Woodpecker and Dark-eyed Juncos here which I only mention because they were spotted by newbies.
After circling Beaver Lake, it was approaching Noon so we ended the outing and several of the group went for lunch at the Vancouver Yacht Club, I think. I was devastated to miss the almost-obligatory post-outing Lunch (and beer), but I had a dentist appointment. I stopped at MacDonald’s in Ladner for a burger just to annoy the dentist with food in my mouth. Another super DNCB outing.
We twenty were: sisters Pat & Maureen, World Travelers David & Noreen H, newbie Vancouverites Susan M & Gail G, returnees Rob & Marylile, Syd w/o Vivian, Chris & Jim K, Roger & Mike, Roy w/o Solveig, Aussie Nance, surprisingly-early Margaretha, Richmond Brian, Drone Lover Ladner Jack Mac, our Organizer Terry C and me.
Next Tuesday, January 31, we will meet at Petra’s at 7:30 am for an outing to Point Roberts, USA. Before going to PR, we will spend a few minutes at Beach Grove Park checking out the nesting Great Horned Owls. We should arrive at the Lighthouse Park parking lot before 8:30 am.
As always, comments encouraged, check out our website for more info, reports and photos, and let me know if you’re exasperated at receiving these literary gems, and you want to be removed from my e-mail list. Cheers: Tom
Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists’ Society