DNCB Outing No. 2017-17 to Tennant Lake, Washington

DNCB at Tennant Lake (DH)

More photos of this Outing are on our Flickr website at: www.flickr.com/groups/dncb, then click the magnifying glass icon in the “Photo Pool” row, and add 2017-17 to “flickr_search_dncb-photosDNCB Photos” in the Search box at the top of the page.

Ten weather-wary DNC Birding Brigadiers gathered with umbrellas in hand on a wet and nebulous morning at the Blaine Harbor parking lot for a second outing to Tennant Lake near Ferndale WA. After a quick check along the boat docks which netted only Horned and Red-necked Grebes, the first group portrait was snapped and then the convoy of vehicles headed south down the rain drenched Interstate 5. While eight of the participants arrived at the destination within 20 minutes, two drivers did not follow directions, took wrong turns and promptly got lost; one visited Terrell Lake and the other got to explore Ferndale. However in the end, the original group made up of Tom, Noreen, David, Chris, Mike, Terry, Roger M, Roger Two, Ladner Jack and WR Al got back together and was greeted by Sisters Maureen and Pat who had been waiting patiently at the Tennant Lake parking lot.

The weather had improved to the point where umbrellas and rain gear could be discarded.

While some individuals stopped to touch, smell and enjoy the beauty of the more than 200 different plants in the fragrance garden, others scrambled up the 15 metres to the top of the observation tower to view the lake and a couple observed several Yellow-rumped Warblers flittering about in an adjacent bush below. Then it was off on the path through the wetlands where Marsh Wrens were rattling, Red-winged Blackbirds were squeaking and Goldfinches and Yellowthroats were singing. Arriving on the observation platform of the elevated boardwalk, the troop espied a partly submerged Great Big Heron attempting to spear aquatic morsels. A number of Coots, Wood Ducks and Buffleheads were paddling in the lake covered with Water Lilies while Tree and Violet-green Swallows were catching insects over the water.

Observed from the narrow boardwalk loop, which meanders for about a kilometre just centimetres above the water through swamp and marsh habitats along the edge of the lake, were a Yellow Warbler, a male Rufous Hummer, a Pileated and then a Downy Woodpecker. A Baldy was perched on the very top of a wildlife tree guarding its massive nest in a Poplar, and a Purple Finch was photographed shouting at the top of its lungs. However, the highlight of the day had to be a Cinnamon Teal pair seen on the way back to the starting point at the Interpretive Center.

A ramble along the Hovander Homestead Trail, which borders and then crosses a slough, netted the expected four species of sparrows. At two locations, water flowing across the path forced everyone to walk the plank with limited success – there were a number of splashes. At the Heritage Farm, domestic geese, bunnies, chickens and sheep were about, and Cowbirds were busy beside their grazing four-legged namesakes in a grassy meadow. Some in our group managed to reach the Nooksack River to report that is was flowing too fast for any waterfowl.

After marching a distance of about 3.5 km at the two venues, all twelve participants thought that lunch at the Chihuahua Restaurant in nearby Ferndale was in order. Although only 30 or so avian species were observed and photographed and a couple of others were heard only, everyone had to agree that it was another great DNCB expedition. After all, the weather had improved from cool and soggy to almost good, the trees, bushes and wetland- and water plants were metamorphosing into their finest colours, the scenery was lovely and the Mexican food tasted awesome.

Report by Al Schulze

Next Wednesday, May 10, our outing will be to Queen Elizabeth Park in Vancouver. We meet at and leave from Petra’s at 7:30 am and expect to be at the QE park parking lot by the Golf Course around 8:15 – 8:30 am, depending upon traffic.

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.
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