DNCB Outing No. 2017-10 to Serpentine Fen

Rainy-day Birders at Serpentine Fen – minus Glen (photographer) & Al S. (departed early) Click on photo to see large version

more photos at our DNCB Flickr site

Eleven stubborn DNCBers braved the constant rain (It’s BC!) on Tuesday on our surprisingly fruitful outing to Serpentine Wildlife Management Area, aka Serpentine Fen in Surrey.  Check out Glen and Anne’s photos on our Flickr site at: www.flickr.com/groups/dncb, then click the magnifying glass icon in the “Photo Pool” row, and add 2017-10 to “flickr_search_dncb-photosDNCB Photos” in the Search box at the top of the page.

It was pouring rain when I arrived at Petra’s at 7:15 am and surprisingly three others joined me, Guru Anne M, reliable Mike B and returnee “Scope Bearer” Ladner Moira I.  We car-pooled to the Fen arriving before 8:15 am, and more surprisingly several others were waiting there for us: Johnny Mac, North Delta Jean, White Rock Al, Chuck and newbie Tom M, and “Master of the Fen” Gareth P.  Glen B, our main photog, arrived after 9:00 am thinking the rain would stop.  That made the eleven.  While the group bonded in the parking lot, I checked the Barn for the usually resident Barn Owl, but he/she was not there.  GB_MuskratWe watched two Muskrats leisurely feeding along the road while Anne took a Group Photo.




10 DNCB at Serpentine Fen (includes photographer Anne Murray)

Then we began our walk to the first Lookout.

At first the bushes along the trail were quiet with only the regular common stuff, Spotted Towhees, Robins, Chickadees and Song Sparrows.

On the Lookout was some real excitement.  A Ring-necked Duck and female Bufflehead were in the pond below.


Ring-necked Duck & 2 female Buffleheads (GB)

Then a gorgeous Yellow-rumped Warbler (Audubon’s) flitted on a branch right in front of us, first warbler of the year for me.


Yellow-rumped Warbler (GB)

We saw a few more Yellow Rumps in the bushes on the other side, along with four Purple Finches (we saw House Finches too).  Then newbie Tom spotted a cock Ring-necked Pheasant under a tree near the Barn.  And a Coyote lurking in the marsh beyond the pond added to the excitement.

Back on the trail, Fox Sparrows were scratching in the dirt as we walked toward the main ponds.  Then, seemingly out of nowhere, we were bombarded with Swallows flying all around us.  These Swallows, both Tree and Violet-green, were my first swallow sightings of the year.  Good timing too, as Gareth had just recently finished preparing his Tree Swallow Boxes in the Fen for their arrival and accommodation, and only last Friday we/Delta Nats finished preparing our Nest Boxes at Boundary Bay Regional Park, Earthwise and Kings Links Golf Course.

Lots of regular waterfowl in the Fen ponds including Mallards, American Wigeon, Green-winged Teal, Northern Shovelers, Gadwall, American Coots and a couple of Northern Pintail.

A few “divers” there too like Common Goldeneye, but we were blanked on Pied-billed Grebes.  Marsh Wrens were singing, and we finally saw a couple.  Several adult White-crowned Sparrows posed for a spell in the bushes along the trail, and a couple of Anna’s Hummers flashed their iridescent gorges.  We saw a few raptors too including Northern Harriers, a Red-tailed Hawk and lots of Bald Eagles.

Several Northern Flickers around, and we also saw a Downy Woodpecker near a small flock of Bushtits.

At the trail junction and the Serpentine River we lost two “wimps”, Johnny Mac and North Delta Jean, who the rain got the best of, and the normally durable White Rock Al left for his Yoga class (give me a break – yoga trumps birding?)  The remaining eight carried on along the river trail to the next Lookout.  More Common Goldeneye, Greater Scaup, a Hooded Merganser and a Horned Grebe in the river, and a brilliant Eurasian Wigeon,

but we were blanked on the resident Belted Kingfisher as well as often-seen Northern Shrikes, Red-breasted Mergansers and usually-common Double-crested Cormorants.  A flyover of four Trumpeter Swans was neat.  A couple of blackbirds in a tree across the highway looked like Brewer’s Blackbirds.  Gareth pointed out our final “neat” sighting of the day, the Peregrine Falcon on his regular roost on the hydro tower.

It was still raining off-and-on when we got back to the parking lot around 11:30 am, so we decided to call it a day.  Most of us wore appropriate rain gear so we were dry and very pleasantly pleased that we had braved the elements to enjoy another awesome DNCB outing.  See Glen’s ebird List below.

We four Petra’s crew stopped at Speed’s Pub in Ladner on the way home for lunch.  Mikie & Anne loved their Schnitzel, Moira her Salad, and me the Potato Soup and BLT Sandwich Special with a delicious pint of 1516 lager hit the spot.  I got home in time for my Dr. appointment to change bandage, and then went to the Vancouver Giants/Victoria Royals hockey game with Mike.  A super day (…wish I was working… not!)

Next Tuesday, March 21, our destination has been changed to Brunswick Point.  Leaving Petra’s at 7:30 am, we should be at the dike entrance parking around 8:00 am.

Note that on Tuesday, March 28, we will be going to UBC’s Botanical Garden with Nat Debbi Hlady leading us.

As always, your comments encouraged, check out our website for more info and reports, and let me know if you want off my e-mail List to receive these “Gems”.  Cheers: Tom

Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists Society

eBird Report from Glen Bodie
Serpentine Fen, Metro Vancouver, British Columbia, CA Mar 14, 2017 9:00 AM – 11:00 AM
Protocol: Traveling
3.0 mile(s)
36 species (+1 other taxa)

Canada Goose                              X
Trumpeter Swan                          4
Gadwall                                        4
Eurasian Wigeon                         1
American Wigeon                        6
Mallard                                        X
Northern Shoveler                       10     Probably a lot more
Northern Pintail                           6     Mostly seen in flight
Green-winged Teal                      X
Ring-necked Duck                        6
Greater/Lesser Scaup                  15     Probably a lot more, most likely they were Greater (brackish river water and salt marsh)
Bufflehead                                   6     Mostly females
Common Goldeneye                    6
Ring-necked Pheasant                 2
Horned Grebe                              1
Great Blue Heron                        6
Northern Harrier                         3
Bald Eagle                                    2
Red-tailed Hawk                          1
American Coot                             10
Glaucous-winged Gull                  10
Downy Woodpecker                    1
Peregrine Falcon                         1
Northwestern Crow                     X
Tree Swallow                               X     Mixed in with the violet-greens
Violet-green Swallow                  X     All of a sudden there were lots of them
Black-capped Chickadee              X
Marsh Wren                                X     Heard several in the rushes and saw two for sure
American Robin                           2
Yellow-rumped Warbler              X     At least several flitting around the hedgerow
Fox Sparrow                                 3
White-crowned Sparrow              2
Song Sparrow                               X
Spotted Towhee                           X     Several, not sure of the count
Red-winged Blackbird                 X     Males and females all over the marshes
House Finch                                 6
Purple Finch                                 1

View this checklist online at http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S35190487

This report was generated automatically by eBird v3 (http://ebird.org)

Regards – Glen C. Bodie

Next week, Tue. March 21, meet at Petra’s at 7:30 for Outing to Brunswick Point.

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, Coyote, Eurasian Wigeon, Hooded Merganser, Muskrat, Northern Harrier, Peregrine Falcon, Purple Finch, Red-tailed Hawk, Ring-necked Duck, Ring-necked Pheasant, Serpentine Fen, Trumpeter Swan, Yellow-rumped Warbler. Bookmark the permalink.

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