More photos at our DNCB Flickr site
Twelve crazy birders braved the rain, again for the 5th consecutive outing, on a surprisingly very successful outing to Iona Regional Park. Check out the photo evidence of Wednesday’s outing on our Flickr site at: www.flickr.com/groups/dncb, then click the magnifying glass icon in the “Photo Pool” row, and add 2017-13 to “DNCB Photos” in the Search box at the top of the page.
Five of us (Anne, Terry, Mike, Moira and me) car-pooled at 7:30 am from Petra’s in two vehicles (bonus: one was electric) again in the pouring rain. As usual on rainy days, traffic was very slow and we got to the Iona Park parking lot around 8:30 am. Aussie Nance and her sister Newbie Vickie, Richmond’s Brian A, Marion and our fashion guru Roger were waiting patiently. Sisters Pat and Maureen were late arrivals.
The excitement came early as Marion found the female Mountain Bluebird behind the washrooms. It flitted from post to post to log, posing nicely for our photogs. The tide was out but we could see the rafts of Northern Shovelers and American Wigeon. A flock of Dunlin gave a flyby over the water. We got the Bluebird, but didn’t see the other Target bird, Says Phoebe, seen earlier in the week.
We started our walk between the ponds toward the back of the park and the Sewage ponds. Tonnes of Swallows hawking insects; we identified Tree and Violet-green, but couldn’t find any Barn, Cliff or Northern Rough-winged, but I’m guessing a few were there. Marsh Wrens were buzzing in the marshes, lots of Red-wing Blackbirds, but no Yellow-headed seen, yet. We heard a Virginia Rail, and Brian saw a couple the day before. Two pair, one of Ring-necked Ducks and another of Buffleheads, were cuddling in the north pond, but we didn’t see the normally present Pied-billed Grebes. The Beaver’s lodge looked active, indeed they used a fresh Bird Nest Box (Peter’s?) and post as roof support. Anna’s Hummingbirds were diving, and a gorgeous Rufous Hummingbird posed on post, flashing his iridescent gorge. Lots of Warblers in the bushes too; mostly Yellow-rumped, but some saw an early arrived Orange-crowned. No Common Yellowthroats seen or heard this morning.
After entering the back gate to the Sewage Lagoons, Roger took another Group Photo including late arrivers not in Terry’s shot taken at the start.
The ponds were loaded with waterfowl in beautiful breeding plumage. Lesser Scaup (and, I think, some Greater too), Ring-necked Ducks, Northern Shovelers, Northern Pintail, Gadwall, a Green-winged Teal, American Wigeon and Mallards, American Coots too. We had a lesson in Shorebird identification as a couple of Yellowlegs flew overhead, but following close examination the up-close-and-personal Dowitchers in the pond were Short-billed rather than Long-billed (although bill length is not a determining characteristic). In the east pond, we found a Ruddy Duck among the Scaup; nice sighting. One DNCB Dreamer spotted a Blue-winged Teal. We missed the Cackling Goose among the Canada Geese in the work yard. Killdeer were buzzing us, and Killdeer Custodian Mike found the nest and four eggs in the middle of the inner trail. Hope they survive, but somehow I doubt it. Last year we watched a Mink circling the Killdeer nest on another path.
While examining the Killdeer nest a Peregrine Falcon (possibly a Merlin) flew at us then veered away. Lots of Bald Eagles around and some saw a Red-tailed Hawk. I missed the Caspian Terns fly-by too. Back in the Iona park the trees became alive with Kinglets. It was exciting as I saw the colourful crowns of both Ruby-crowned and Golden-crowned. We were blanked on Wilson’s Snipe, but saw brilliant American Goldfinches, Song and Golden-crowned Sparrows, and of course the other common stuff, Flickers, Towhees, a Crow on a nest, etc. A few V’s of Snow Geese flew overhead, and we saw the flock of a few hundred landed on the north side of the Fraser. Couldn’t find any Trumpeter Swans.
Back at the parking lot at about 11:15 am, after watching Brian feeding his pet Redwing in his hand, we decided to retire to the Flying Beaver for lunch. Great decision. Eight of us dried off and bonded, seated on the patio over the river, watching the sea planes and Cormorants. Some had Kraft Dinner (I can’t believe it, my culinary specialty), and I had Fish and Chips with a delightful Sapporo Draught Beer. Another awesome DNCB outing.
Next Wednesday, April 12, we will leave Petra’s at 7:30 am for Brydon Lagoon & Hi Knoll Park on the Langley/Surrey border. We expect to meet our Leaders and park Wildflower experts at 8:30 am at the Brydon Lagoon parking lot. For more info, reports and photos, visit our website.
As always, comments welcome, and let me know if these reports are annoying and you want off my e-mail List. Cheers: Tom
Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists Society