Eighteen DNCBers, including several Langley Field Naturalists, enjoyed an overcast but comfy and dry Wednesday morning wandering around Brydon Lagoon and Hi-Knoll Park in Langley. We had lots of neat sightings of birds and wildflowers and people as evidenced in our Flickr photos at: https://www.flickr.com/search/?group_id=3027315%40N23&text=2018-15&view_all=1.
As is customary, eight of us car-pooled from Petra’s at 7:30 am, beautifully in only two vehicles (Roger took returnee Gerhard, Terry C, BB Valerie & Roger Two, David & Noreen rode with me). We forgot to tell Gerhard not to park behind Petra’s – he got a ticket!
Following Roger’s “scenic” route, we eventually got to Brydon Lagoon around 8:20 am, where the crowd was waiting patiently: a nice mixture of Langleyites including renowned photog John Gordon, Bird Box Guru Gareth P, Yachter Ralph B, Recorder Tom W, newbie Bob C, Leader & Legend Anne G, Wolfman Wim, along with other Nats North Delta’s Johnny Mac and Jean G, and Richmond Brian (that’s 18 total; they love their names in print).
Following introductions and some almost-humorous chatter, David took the obligatory Group Photo as we gazed over the new construction onto the entrance pond. Several Ring-necked Ducks, Northern Shovelers, Green-winged Teal and Mallards in the pond, all in nice breeding plumage. John G spotted a Common Yellowthroat, one of many seen this morning; he said he counted at least 30 nests there last year. We were all in awe of our hero John, then he scared off two Wilson’s Snipe (sub species of Common Snipe as of 2003) before most of us saw them. How quickly one can fall from the podium.
We followed the path toward Brydon Lagoon. Lots of Swallows flying above, mostly Tree, but some Violet-green too. Hopefully they fill the bird boxes there soon. The entrance to the Lagoon had been cleared of many bushes, mostly invasives like Blackberry I suspect, and the trails were well-maintained, more for the school kids rather than us birders. The usual suspects were in the pond: Bufflehead, Scaup (mostly Lesser, but probably Greater too; our analysts are suspect – that’s 3 “suspects” in a row), Pied-billed Grebe, and more Ring-necked and Shovelers; no Mergansers or Green Heron seen today. The “inland” Langley folk were excited about Double-crested Cormorants and Glaucous-winged Gulls flying overhead.
The bushes along the trail had several beauties, including brilliant Yellow-rumped Warblers, Sparrows (Song, Golden- & White-crowned), plus the common Towhees, Juncos, Chickadees, Red-winged Blackbirds, etc. We also saw both Anna’s and Rufous Hummingbirds.
We left the Lagoon and walked across the marsh toward Hi-Knoll Park. Marsh Wrens were gathering nesting material. A Northern Harrier cruised by and some saw a Sharp-shinned Hawk. This crossing to the bridge over the Nicomekl River was fairly dry in comparison to our earlier very muddy outings here. The huge, shapely, Big Leaf Maple trees, covered with Moss and Licorice ferns are always eerie but exciting to see. We were blanked on Pileated and Hairy Woodpeckers, but heard Flickers and saw a Downy. David took another Group Photo at the Colebrook Road Park sign, unfortunately before we ran into Langley Legend Anne Gosse.
Crossing the road and entering Hi-Knoll Park, we saw our first Fawn Lilies, and lots of them, both White and the rarer Pink. Lots of Trilliums in bloom too, arousing interest with a few Ontarians. The trails here were manicured too, and the walk beneath the beautiful old trees was exhilarating, although we missed White Rock Al and his informative commentary. Purple Finches were singing, and some heard Pacific Wrens. At the power lines, a Common Raven posed in a tower while more sparrows, warblers and Bushtits (including a pair entering their hanging nest) flitted in the bushes. We all finally saw one of a few Orange-crowned Warblers, and a Bewick’s Wren, and a Steller’s Jay too.
We walked back through the park and over the Nicomekl to the grove of trees before the Lagoon. Here John G led us through the grove in search of Barred Owls, none seen. Then, at the corner where we regularly see the Snipe, four were again roused by John and we all got glimpses as they flew off. Then he led us into another grove where a Great-horned Owl was roosting above two people sleeping at the base of the tree (Homeless?). We searched in vain for the GHO’s nest and mate.
We finished off by returning to the parking lot at Noon, via the trail on the other side of the Lagoon, enjoying more warblers along the way. Langley Tom counted 41 species seen today, but he missed a couple. So it was another grand DNCB outing.
Eleven of us went for lunch at Samz Pub on 56th Ave. in Surrey where John G’s daughter works. The Chicken Pot Pie with Salad Special was delicious, of course with a couple of “almost-full” pints (unlike in Oz) of Granville Island Honey Lager. I hardly snoozed at all on the drive back to Tsawwassen, helped by David and Noreen’s chatter.
Next Wednesday, April 18, we will leave Petra’s at 7:30 am for Queen Elizabeth Park in Vancouver. We expect to meet others at the Pitch & Putt parking lot before 8:30 am.
Don’t forget that your Delta Nats Display will be at Delta’s annual Fish Release event at Watershed Park this Sunday, April 15, 11:30 to 2:30 pm. Nats are leading a Nature Walk to the event at 11:30 am from Pinewood School. Join us if you can.
For more info on Delta Nats outings, events, reports and photos, check out our website. As always, your comments are welcome, and let me know if you want off my email list to receive these far-too-long and boring missives. C heers: Tom
Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists Society