DNCB Outing No. 2017-34 to Iona Regional Park

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DNCB at Iona Regional Park – photo by Marty Allen – click on photo for large version

Photos below by Brian Avent (BA), Chris McVittie (CMcV), Glen Bodie (GB), Jack MacDonald (JMacD), Jim Kneesch (JK), Pat Smart (PS)
More photos at our DNCB Flickr site

More than 20 (I lost count) DNCBers enjoyed a so-so birding adventure at Iona Regional Park (IRP) last Wednesday morning.  We saw a few neat species, had lots of chatfests with newbies, and basically enjoyed a pleasant walk on a beautiful morning in a gorgeous natural environment.  Check out the photo evidence (e.g. beaut close-ups of birds, plants and DNCBers) on our Flickr site at: www.flickr.com/groups/dncb, then click the magnifying glass icon in the “Photo Pool” row, and add 2017-34 to “flickr_search_dncb-photosDNCB Photos” in the Search box at the top of the page.

Some left Petra’s at 7:30 am, most others drove directly to Iona.  Through the tunnel was smooth, but the morning rush hour traffic to Oak Street bridge was horrendous.  We gathered at the IRP washroom parking lot around 8:20 am.  Following introductions of the Newbies and “irregulars” including, Chief Bill & Carolyn visiting from Queen’s New York, Delta Lauris W and her friend Angela A, Golfer/Photog Vancouver David G, and World Traveler Lydia E, our Hockey Player/Photog Marty A took the mandatory Group Photo in front of the Iona RP sign (where is photo, Marty?).  There was lots of noisy construction building a new Boardwalk in front of the pond, so no birds in the pond.  Lots of Swallows, mostly Barn, hawking insects.

Some had walked to the beach earlier and saw a few Shorebirds in the distance; tide was out.  We decided to walk the trail past the north pond toward the Sewage Lagoons.

One Pied-billed Grebe was hidden in the north pond and a few Mallards there too.  A few Red-winged Blackbirds still here, but no Yellow-headed.  Among the many Swallows around, and after lots of debate and checking Lydia’s Bird Guide, we eventually agreed that some were Northern Rough-winged Swallows, even feeding young.

Probably a few Tree Swallows among the many Barnies, but we really weren’t sure.  A Cedar Waxwing posed in the tree above the Rough-wingeds.  Anne saw a Vaux’s Swift too.  Some saw a Mink as we entered the back gate to the sewage ponds.

There was lots of Shorebird activity in the southwest pond; several small groups of Peeps feeding on the sludge.  We first thought they were Western Sandpipers, then on closer examination, their legs were yellow not black; they were Least Sandpipers.

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One or two Spotted Sandpipers were here too, along with a flock of Northern Shovellers and a few Northern Pintails.

Continuing our wanderings through the other not-so-active ponds, we saw Ring-billed Gulls, but no numbers of waterfowl or shorebirds like we usually see here.  Spotted Towhees, Song Sparrows and lots of American Goldfinches in the bushes.

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Leaving these ponds, we followed the trail along the fence toward the Fraser River.  Large scat piles and feathers confirmed a roosting site for Great Blue Herons.  There was little activity other than a couple of Pelagic Cormorants around the Purple Martin boxes on pylons in the river.

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Pelagic Cormorants (JK)

Some eventually saw two late-hanger-on Purple Martins among the swallows.  A Peregrine Falcon circled above as it was being harassed by swallows.  Some photogs got neat shots of the interesting flora in IRP.  The Oregon Grapes were bitter, but tasty.

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On our walk back to the parking lot, we stopped at the beach.  Lots of gulls and herons in the distance and swarms of Peeps entertained us as they weaved back and forth.  Another Peregrine Falcon was standing among the gulls, and flew off over us for our photogs’ benefit.  I learned later there was an Icelandic Gull and a Rosy Finch seen here this day, but we didn’t spot them.  Glen and Pat saw a Killdeer, not surprising since they nest there.  Although the tide was coming in, it was 11:30 am, so several of us decided to call it a day and head to our regular spot for lunch, the Flying Beaver Pub.

The Pub was already packed, so disappointingly our group was not able to sit together.  Nonetheless, my “splurge” on Surf & Turf of Steak, Prawns & Scallop Potatoes was simply scrumptious, of course with a Red Truck Lager.  Another awesome DNCB outing.  I got home around 2:30 pm in time to give Sandra her medication and her daily ration of Rice Pudding and G2 Water.  Sandra is resting at home following successful surgery on Tuesday to remove a very painful Kidney Stone.

My recollection of the 21 (?) participants is: Chief Bill K & Carolyn R drove Mike B, Glen drove Ladner Jack M, Chris drove Jim K, Lydia E, newbies were Lauris & Angela and Vancouver David G, Marion S, sisters Pat & Maureen, Richmond’s Brian A & Donna T, Johnny Mac, Marty A, White Rock Al & Guru Anne M arrived late, and me.

Next Wednesday, September 6, is our annual Mt. Baker outing with Terry Carr.  We will leave Petra’s a 7:00 am and meet at 7:30 am for car-pooling at the Peace Arch Park parking lot behind the Duty-Free Shop.  Bring lunch, but no fruit or vegetables.  Take I-5 to exit 255 Mt Baker Hwy (Hwy 542).  Arrive at Glacier Public Service Center (10091 Mt. Baker Hwy) at 9am to buy $5 parking pass per vehicle.  Drive to Picture Lake, Austin Pass, Artist Point.

Check our website for more info on this outing and for earlier reports and photos.

Don’t forget our first 2017/18 monthly Delta Nats meeting is this Tuesday, September 5 at 7:30 pm at the Benediction Lutheran Church in Tsawwassen.  David & Diane Reesor will give a Presentation on Madagascar, the Land of Dancing Lemurs.  All welcome, and it’s free.

As always, your comments are welcome.  Please let me know if you are irritated by these weekly ramblings and you want off my e-mail list.  Cheers: Tom

Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists Society

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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, Cedar Waxwing, Iona, Least Sandpiper, Mink, Northern Rough-winged Swallow, Pelagic Cormorant, Peregrine Falcon, Pied-billed Grebe, Purple Martin, Spotted Sandpiper, Vaux's Swift. Bookmark the permalink.

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