Sixteen DNCBers enjoyed a brilliant, hot & muggy Wednesday morning at Iona Regional Park, a regular and always fruitful destination for us. Check out the photo evidence on our DNCB Flickr site. Also see Roger’s photos of breaching Orca’s taken at Pt. Roberts before coming to Petra’s at 7:30 am.
Some car-pooled from Petra’s at 7:30 am. I drove directly to Iona arriving about 7:45 am and met South Surrey Julie. Julie had already found the Cedar Waxwings, Common Yellowthroats and we searched for the buzzing Marsh Wrens in the reeds in front of the renovated Lookout/Boardwalk. Others arrived around 8:15 am and during the first of many chatfests, were excited when Red-winged Blackbirds ate from their hands. MV Parks Mel B told us about the Bald Eagle’s nest with an eaglet in it and that Yellow-headed Blackbirds were seen last week. Birding Guru Peter Candido also dropped by for a chat before doing his bicycle ride out the jetty in search of Wandering Tattlers; he didn’t find them this morning.
We decided to start with a look at the beach. The tide was way out and many unidentifiable birds (gulls, ducks, probably terns and shorebirds) were on the horizon. We found a few Killdeer feeding near to where they often nest on the spit, and a huddle of about 20 Great Blue Herons on shore. David took his first Group Photo here of 12 of us before we began our walk onto the trail between the two ponds. Lots of Swallows hawking bugs all around us, mostly Barn and Tree, and probably other species. Other common little birds were flitting among the shrubbery (the Blackberries were delicious), including Sparrows, House Finches, Bushtits, Anna’s Hummingbirds, but we didn’t see other “Iona regulars” such as the Yellow-headed Blackbirds, Pied-billed Grebes or Ring-necked Ducks in the pond.
We entered the Sewage Lagoons at the back gate and found Shorebirds in the first pond. Several Spotted Sandpipers were on a small island, and Western Sandpipers were with them for awhile. We struggled identifying the Peeps we saw this morning, even though they were all posing up-close-and-personal, but did eventually see and photograph Semi-palmated Sandpipers and a Least. We also eventually found our Target bird, the Solitary Sandpiper, with some Lesser Yellowlegs and Long-billed Dowitchers. We weren’t able to differentiate any Greater Yellowlegs or Short-billed Dowitchers (we’re “casual”). While walking around the ponds, an animal raced across the path into the reeds. Our skulking and patient photog Glen finally got a photo of the Mink. We also saw the eaglet in the Bald Eagle nest. A Peregrine Falcon flew by, but I didn’t see it. David took Group Photo 2 here of 15 of the 16 just after Mike B and visiting Welsh cousin Hannah arrived from the airport.
We left the always entertaining ponds and walked toward the Fraser through Wild Research’s woods. A Flycatcher got our attention and Terry’s photo indicates it was a Willow. We stopped for a photo op at the Delta Nats/Cascade “mansion” Barn Owl box installed this year by Peter Ward and his team, including Mike Bayliss, the only Team member with us this morning. This new box does not have any occupant yet, but the box installed in 2016 – in a part of IBRP that is not open to the public – does have a Barn Owl family.
There were also a few Purple Martins still hanging around their nest boxes on the pylons in the river. After passing a line of Otter scat on the path, we interrupted another photo shoot, but unfortunately the starlet covered up until we passed by. Good fodder for our chatfest.
We thought about walking out the Spit in search of Common Nighthawks, but the time was now 11:10 am and we were sweaty and thirsty. Easy decision to end now and head to our tradition Iona restaurant, the Flying Beaver for lunch. My Beef Dip was unspectacular, but the two pints of Red Truck and Sapporo Lager went down very smoothly. The other seven enjoyed their meals, and surprisingly all had beer (getting them trained). I was home with Sandra’s staple diet, an Iced Cap and Sour Cream Glazed Donut from Timmy’s, by 1:30 pm. Another awesome DNCB outing.
The 16, who love their names in print, were: Roger M, Terry C, Glen B, Mike B & Welsh cousin Hannah, Mike B2, Burnaby’s recently retired fisherman and newly appointed Scope Bearer Roy, South Surrey Julie J, Johnny Mac, David & Noreen, Langley Bob M, sister Pat S without Moe, New Yorkers Chief Bill & Caroline R, and me.
Next Wednesday, August 1, we will leave Petra’s at 7:30 am for Blackie Spit in South Surrey. August is always good for migrating shorebirds.
We are finalizing August destinations, so check out our website for more info on outings, reports and photos.
As always, comments welcomed, and let me know if you want off my email list to receive these long-winded tirades on our weekly excruciatingly boring excursions. Cheers: Tom