Seventeen DNCBers had a glorious morning in UBC’s Botanical Garden, then a short walk in Peter Ward’s “Aussie” section of Pacific Spirit Regional Park, then visiting the Winter home in Vancouver of the rare (here) “deformed” Summer Tanager. Check out the photo evidence of the birds, flora and people on our outing at: https://www.flickr.com/search/?group_id=3027315%40N23&text=2018-14&view_all=1.
Seven of us (Roger with Terry & PB Lorna, Boundary Bay Valerie took Glen, and David H with me) left Petra’s at 7:30 am in three cars. The drive into Vancouver was smooth and quick (must be exam time at UBC); we arrived at the Botanical Gardens around 8:15 am and met several others. The other 10 of the 17 were: Richmond Brian, Vancouver’s Lidia, returnee/newbies Pt. Roberts Fran & Adam, sisters Pat & Maureen, Johnny Mac, local Guru Peter W, Marion S and our time-challenged Leader Debbi H.
The Magnolia trees at the entrance were magnificent. We walked to one beautiful tree at the end of the boardwalk for our first Group Photo. In our haste, we surprised and roused a Barred Owl that was roosting in the tree (see Glen’s photo). Our Leader Debbi had advised that she would not arrive until 9:30 am, so we decided to begin our walk now in the south area mostly along the Lower Asian Way trail.
It was quiet bird wise, with only common stuff such as Finches (House, American Gold, later Purple), Bushtits, Pacific Wrens, Juncos, Towhees, Chickadees, and we finally saw both Golden- and Ruby-crowned Kinglets and Anna’s Hummingbirds. Being early Spring, many flowers were not yet in bloom, but lots were. I’m not much of a botanist, so Terry gave me his list of some of the gorgeous flowers we saw, and photographed: Rhododendron, Magnolia, Camellia, Shooting Star, Primula, Trillium, Skunk Cabbage, White and Pink Fawn Lily, Hellebore. A pair of Bushtits were gathering nesting material, and Marion heard a Bewick’s Wren. An entertaining Raven harassed a pair of Bald Eagles off their, or his, roost on a dead tree.
The rain held off all morning and it was a very pleasant walk along the manicured trails beneath the Greenheart TreeWalk in the canopy of the many huge, old cedar, fir and hemlock trees. The variety of trees, shrubs, plants and flowers was incredible; informative signage was everywhere. The TreeWalk was closed, so we went through the tunnel to the north gardens where Debbi met us. She led us through the Physic, BC Rainforest and Alpine Gardens. The medicinal plants were fascinating, but the hi-lite was the Sleeping Bear in the Amphitheatre (Glen who?). We gathered for another Group photo taken by Peter’s cousin Chris, an Agriculturist with the Gardens.
Approaching Noon, we decided to delay lunch and stop at Peter’s Aussie trail (off Tasmania Crescent) in Pacific Spirit Regional Park. It is actually the Spanish Trail, but Peter said it is the best birding spot in the whole Park. We saw Ruby-crowned Kinglets, up-close-and-personal, and heard a Cooper’s Hawk “squawking” but couldn’t find it. We found a Brown Creeper that escaped us at the Botanical Garden. It was a pleasant 30 minute walk in a new part of the park where most of us had never been.
At 12:30 pm, we decided to go to the home on/near SW Marine Dive where the Summer Tanager has been seen all Winter. It was at the feeder, and we got lots of beaut photos, with American Goldfinches, House Finches and Hummers around too. On examining the photos, we noted that this bird has a “crossbill” and wonder whether this is a sort of deformity. Anyhow, this sighting was a fitting conclusion to another very enjoyable DNCB outing.
Now after 1:00 pm, we drove home to Tsawwassen, without lunch; thankfully PB Lorna’s sandwich filled a bit of the void. I earned “points” as I was home in time to take granddaughter Juliette to her gymnastics class.
Next Wednesday, April 11, we will leave Petra’s at 7:30 am for Brydon Lagoon and Hi-Knoll Park in Langley. We expect to meet others in the parking lot on 53 Ave at the bottom of 198A St at 8:15 am.
Also, don’t forget our two Birds in Focus events this weekend. The Visual event with three incredible photographers presenting is on Saturday evening, April 7, at the Tsawwassen Arts Centre beginning at 6:30 pm. The Workshop, with live raptors, is on Sunday morning at Cammidge House from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm.
For more info on these events, and on our outings, check our Delta Nats website. As always, your comments are welcome, and please let me know if this weekly drivel annoys you and you want off my email list. Cheers: Tom
Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists Society (currently winding down after watching the Sedins Magic Show, their last home Canucks game)