Check out the photo evidence on our DNCB Flickr site
With a very hot day predicted six members met at Petra’s (Mike and Hannah, his cousin’s daughter from Wales, Terry, Angela, Lauris, Noreen and David, and reluctant blogger Roger) and headed out in two cars and, almost without incident, arrived at the Pitt Lake parking lot. There we were joined by Brian, Pat and Maureen, Kirsten, Chris, and Val. Kristen had stopped at Catbird Slough earlier and had found a Gray Catbird.
After getting organized and having the Tomless group photo taken by David, we got down to some serious birding beginning with the Osprey couple’s nest on one of the marina’s pilings. The nest was on a post in the busiest possible location, right beside a float with constant launching of canoes, and today having dozens of school kids heading across the Pitt River to Wigeon Creek. Also, there were numerous other birder/ photographers watching as the parents made repeat forays coming back with food for the hatchlings.
At the trail entrance Maureen and Pat had found a Yellow Warbler and David sighted a Bullock’s Oriole high up in a Cottonwood Tree. A pair of Turkey Vultures flew overhead as we started down the trail. At the beginning it was difficult to listen for birds, or talk to each other, due to the constant noise from float planes and a helicopter. Also, the trail into the marsh was overgrown making it difficult to see where out feet were and the blackberry bushes at the far end were particularly hazardous!
Because of the narrow nature of the trail and the size (14) of the group, we couldn’t all see the same birds at the same time. Birds along the trail included good looks at a Warbling Vireo, several Eastern Kingbirds, some Band-tailed Pigeons, several Willow Flycatchers, lots of Swainson’s Thrushes (heard mostly and seen by a few), Cedar Waxwings, Brown-headed Cowbirds, Red-winged Blackbirds, Tree, Barn, and Violet-Green Swallows, and a Common Yellowthroat.
Reaching the mountain side and the second part of the triangular route, we climbed the viewing tower and scanned the inner marsh and saw the first ducks of the day… a few Wood Ducks. No geese, no mallards… empty! The only new birds on this section were a few Cliff Swallows on the rock face near the north end. A pair of Bald Eagles flew into an evergreen on the mountain side and we assumed there was a nest there. On past trips we had seen both species of swifts… but nothing today!
On the final section of the 7 kilometer circuit, the part along the lake, we saw another Osprey apparently feeding a chick. In the distance a vague figure was seen waving his arms around and it turned out to be our absentee leader/blogger Tom having arrived late with some vague excuse for his tardiness. At this point the clouds had disappeared, and the sun really started to have an effect on us. Thirsty, hungry and tired we stumbled into the parking lot and headed for home, pausing for 15 minutes at Catbird Slough and failing to find one, Catbird that is!
Having done this trip several times in the past, we were disappointed in how quiet the birds were, and how few of them there were. The state of the nature trail was upsetting, and could have led to injuries, since there are holes that could be missed due to overgrowth… Pat actually did fall and damaged her camera tripod!
Roger (for Tom Bearss)