Our “away” outing on Wednesday to Bowen Island was an enjoyable, but epic outing for nine DNCBers. Check out the few photos on our Flickr site at: www.flickr.com/groups/dncb, then click the magnifying glass icon in the “Photo Pool” row, and add 2017-27 to “DNCB Photos” in the Search box at the top of the page.
Eight of us car-pooled nicely from Petra’s at 7:30 am with Roger M and Mike B volunteering to chauffeur. They were veritable Martyrs, (Roger had Valerie W, White Rock Liz W and newbie German student Jan; Mike had our Guru Anne M, Gerhard and me). Smooth sailing through the tunnel on 99 to Westminster Highway, then snail pace into Vancouver and over the Lion’s Gate Bridge to Horseshoe Bay Terminal. A brutal two hours to get there, fortunately made a lot more comfortable with historians Mike and Anne in the car recounting their Vancouver experiences in the bygone era. We met Rob M (without Marylile) at the terminal, and, after paying the horrific 19 buck fee to park, we were still in good time to take the 10:00 am ferry to Bowen Island (only 6 bucks for Seniors on weekdays). We counted our first four species, Crow, Pigeon, Violet-green Swallows and Glaucous-winged Gull, while fellow-passenger Langley Susan took our Group Photo on the front bow as the ferry left the dock.
It was a beautiful Summer morning on the water, the views of the islands and mountains around us were incredible. We even saw a couple of Pigeon Guillemots and Double-crested Cormorants in the Queen Charlotte Channel on the way to Snug Cove. After landing at the marina, we gathered at the entrance to Crippen Regional Park, to begin our marathon walk through lush forests, then around Killarney Lake, and back to Doc Morgan’s Pub in Snug Cove.
It’s really a magical walk. We stopped at the Fish Ladder. We heard and saw both Willow and Pacific-slope Flycatchers. As for Warblers, we heard Yellow, saw Common Yellowthroats, and Anne saw a Wilson’s. Other neat sightings (other than the common sparrows, towhees, herons, geese, mallards, etc.) included: Swainson’s Thrush, Cedar Waxwings, Belted Kingfishers. Pacific Wrens were calling everywhere, and Woodpecker evidence was in many tree trunks. We may have seen a Pileated, but certainly saw Northern Flickers. Tree Swallows were nesting in the tall bare tree trunks in Killarney Lake. We didn’t see any diving ducks in the lake, but pairs of Pied-billed Grebes were entertaining, one pair with four babies. Young Wood Ducks were also nice to see.
We were worried about timing on this outing and making sure we caught the 3:00 pm ferry back to the mainland. So after initially leisurely wandering along the trail to about Noon, we then had to pick up the pace. The trail around the Lake was narrow, up and down, and with lots of roots growing in it. During this “race”, which included trampling over a group of visiting Richmond Seniors (some with canes), of course we didn’t see many birds. Both Crows and Common Ravens were cawing and a Turkey Vulture symbolically circled above us. A Deer crossed the road behind us. Sweaty and exhausted, we got to Doc Morgan’s Pub at 2:00 pm, where the half-milers, Mike, Val and Rob, were already enjoying their libations. Slouching in my chair, I can’t recall enjoying a Whistler Lager so much, along with their specialty Fish & Chips.
Wandering around the historic Union Steamship buildings in the Marina Park, a Root Beer Ice Cream Cone hit the spot before boarding the ferry. Arriving at Horseshoe Bay about 3:30 pm, we said good bye to Rob, and the two carloads began the second epic journey back to Tsawwassen. Traffic was horrendous. The sign on highway 99 indicated a 50 minute wait on Lions Gate Bridge, so Mike decided to take the Second Narrows Bridge. Roger, in his inimitable manner, tried several of his “shortcuts”. It was still more than two hours for us to get back to Tsawwassen (normally less than an hour). It’s now Friday, and for all I know Roger could still be on the road. Seriously though, it was a very enjoyable outing, but we will have to re-arrange any future DNCB outing to Bowen Island. For a nice comparison, check out my 2016 Bowen report.
Next Wednesday, July 19, is our annual Ferry outing to Victoria. As always, we will meet at the Tsawwassen Terminal on the 8:00 am ferry to Swartz Bay, then take the double-decker bus to Victoria, and return to Tsawwassen on the 5:00 pm ferry. The very-efficient Terry Carr has agreed to lead us again on this outing.
Note from Tom: We are concerned about the amount of interest in participating in our “away” outings this Summer. These outings normally take all day, rather than the local morning outings. For our Victoria outing next Wednesday via the ferry, Terry Carr has agreed to lead it. Plan is to take 8:00 am ferry to Swartz Bay and return on the 5:00 pm. Before confirming this outing, we are asking that you let me/us know of your participation. If little or no interest, we will change the destination to local and just decide at Petra’s on Wednesday where we go. VICTORIA OUTING CONFIRMED.
As always, your comments are encouraged, and let me know if you want off my e-mail list to receive these weekly whinings. Cheers: Tom
Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists Society