DNCB Outing No. 2017-21 to Little Campbell Hatchery and A Rocha

More photos by Glen Bodie (GB), Jack MacDonald (JMacD), Jim Kneesch (JK), Ken Borrie (KB), Pat Smart (PS), Terry Carr (TC) at our DNCB Flickr site


DNCB at Little Campbell Hatchery – photo by Jack MacDonald

At least 22 DNCBers enjoyed a fantastic outing on Wednesday in Surrey, visiting the Little Campbell River (LCR) Hatchery and adjacent Forest Trail, and then to A Rocha’s Canadian flagship project at their 18-acre Brooksdale Environmental Centre.  We saw 51 species throughout the morning, several were real beauties.  Being Casual Birders, we don’t normally produce a Species Seen List, however, Stan’s e-Bird record is at the end of this report.  The list of Participants is at the end of this report too.

Also, be sure to check out the photo evidence of this outing on our Flickr site: www.flickr.com/groups/dncb, then click the magnifying glass icon in the “Photo Pool” row, and add 2017-21 to “flickr_search_dncb-photosDNCB Photos” in the Search box at the top of the page.

Three cars took nine of us from Petra’s at 7:30 am and we got to the Semiahmoo Fish & Game Club in Surrey just past 8:00 am (ahead of schedule).  Smooth sailing along Highways 17, 99 and 16th Avenue.  Ken Borrie had pre-arranged this outing with our leaders, Roy Thomson at the Hatchery, and Stan Olson of A Rocha, and they met us with smiles, and a brief introduction of the morning’s outing, and what we might see.


Roy explains salmon run (KB)

After Roy showed us the “Collection Tank” where every Salmon going upstream must pass, and the active Barn Swallow nest, Ladner Jack took the mandatory Group Photo in front of the sign and hatchery shed from which 150,000 salmon are raised and released annually.   Only 17 in the photo as time-challenged Marion, Marti and Glen showed up later.  We rousted a very young family of Wood Ducks in the grass beside the pre-release pond.


Wood Duck family (TC)

We followed the Forest Trail, with its informative signage seemingly beside every tree and plant.  Roy knew where every bird nested in this woods, and Stan could recognize and identify every singing bird species.  So we were really taken care of on this outing.  Some hi-lite sightings for me as we wandered along included: Black-headed Grosbeaks, Flycatchers including Pacific-Slope and Western Wood-Pewee (Willow later at A Rocha), Pacific Wren feeding young, a pounding Hairy Woodpecker, and finally seeing a noisy Swainson’s Thrush.

We stopped at the tree where the wide-eyed Mother Barred Owl was perched.  After a brief search, we found all three baby Fuzzballs which were hopping among the branches, never too far from Mom.  Roy entertained us with a smartphone video of the Owls devouring a Pileated Woodpecker.  We saw several Rufous Hummingbirds, and Roy showed us an empty nest that he had followed from egg-laying to fledgling.

We circled back from the Camp Ground and heard several Warblers including Orange-crowned, Yellow, Townsend and Black-throated Gray, and Warbling Vireos.  I couldn’t spot any of them high in the leaves.  Back at the parking lot, Roy led us to the Barn Owl Barn.  When we got there, one jerk amongst us was too noisy and the Barn Owl flew out before anyone could get decent photos.  Back at the cars, while watching Savannah and White-crowned Sparrows, a beautiful American Kestrel was spotted hunting and hovering in the adjacent field.

Excited by our sightings, we said thanks and goodbye to Roy, and followed Stan to A Rocha, not far away on 192 St.  Link to Roy’s GOOGLE photos


Stan Olson at Brooksdale (KB)

A Rocha is a Christian environmental stewardship organization working in conservation, environmental education and sustainable agriculture.  The Brooksdale Environmental Centre is a living lab comprised of forests, a threatened river system, organic gardens, and heritage houses.  One heritage barn had a very active colony of Cliff Swallows nesting in its eaves.

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Stan led us around the property; in the adjacent field I finally saw a Warbler, Orange-crowned, that was very irritated by Stan’s phone.  A Willow Flycatcher, Black-headed Grosbeaks, Brown-headed Cowbirds, American Goldfinches and Purple Finches also posed for us here.

We continued our tour down to the river, where Stan explained how the Salish Sucker (it’s a fish) was re-discovered in 2011, dispelling its believed extirpation in the Little Campbell River watershed (Note: I think someone, perhaps a “discoverer” or Mike Pearson, spoke to Delta Nats several years ago about this discovery).


Stan explains how red-listed Salish Sucker was rediscovered in Little Campbell River (KB)


Common Yellowthroat male (TC)

A brilliant masked male Common Yellowthroat posed for us here, as I rested on a large box containing nets and pails for kids to use when sampling the contents of this section of the LCR.

The bell rang, so we climbed back up to the heritage kitchen building where the A Rocha staff, led by Director David Anderson, served us a delicious home-made lunch composed of organic stuff grown on the property, plus a song.

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  After celebrating Johnny Mac’s birthday, we ended this glorious morning at about 1:15 pm, thanked Stan and the A Rocha staff, and drove leisurely and pleasantly back to Tsawwassen.

Participants (21) were: Leaders Stan Olson (A Rocha) and Roy Thompson (LCR Hatchery), Terry C, Mike B, Jim K, Hamilton Lyle J, Glen B, Marion S, Marti of Lasqueti, Jean G, Pauline O, WR Al S, Anne M, Ken & Anne, Jonathan & Lorraine, Johnny Mac (turned 76 yesterday), Roger Two, Pat without Maureen, Ladner Jack M and me.

Next Wednesday, June 7, our outing is to Pitt Lake, leaving Petra’s at 7:30 am.  We expect to be at our regular meeting spot at the Park’s boat launch parking lot around 8:30 am.

Also, please attend our final 2016/17 Delta Nats monthly meeting on Tuesday evening (7:30 pm), June 6, at the Benediction Lutheran Church in Tsawwassen, where seven DNS members will give 15 minute Pictorial Presentations on their adventures somewhere in the world.

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For more info on our outings, meetings, reports and other stuff and photos, check out our website.  As always, your comments are encouraged, and please let me know if you want to be removed from my e-mail list to receive these long-winded and annoying missives.  Cheers: Tom

Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists Society


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, A-Rocha, American Kestrel, Bald Eagle, Barn Owl, Barred Owl, Black-throated Grey Warbler, Brookdale EC, Cliff Swallow, Little Campbell River Hatchery, Orange-crowned Warbler, Pacific-slope Flycatcher, Purple Finch, Semiahmoo Fish & Game Club, Swainson's Thrush, Townsend's Warbler, Warbling Vireo, Western Tanager, Western Wood-Pewee, Willow Flycatcher, Yellow Warbler. Bookmark the permalink.

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