Twenty DNCBers enjoyed a very pleasant Wednesday morning wandering the trails and mudflats of Maplewood Conservation Area in North Vancouver. Check out some beaut photos on our DNCB Flickr site.
Eleven of us left Tsawwassen (Petra’s) at 7:30 am, car-pooling nicely in 3 vehicles but each took a different route, through Vancouver to North Van. The traffic was okay to start for morning rush hour, but predictably there was an accident on the Second Narrows Bridge which held us all up. So it took us all about an hour and 20 minutes to get to the Nature Hut and 1940’s Squatter Cabins at the Park entrance, where the others were patiently waiting. We had the customary preliminary gabfest and introductions, then David took the Group Photo, with a Doe and Fawn Black-tailed Deer resting on the ground behind us.
Before starting our walk, we studied the Enclosure of Feeders and the abundance of American Goldfinches, House Finches, Spotted Towhees and Bushtits in attendance.
Not a lot of bird activity in the trees as we strolled the trail to the mudflats overlooking the pylons of Purple Martin boxes. The tide was way out and there were still lots of Purple Martins hanging around the nest boxes. An Osprey was on its nest on another pylon, and there were three others on the mud. The water’s edge was far away, but we saw, in the scope, Red-breasted Mergansers and Red-necked Grebes, along with a few fishing boats in the inlet. It was a pleasant morning, and a nice spot to sit on a log and gaze at the scenery.
We continued on, some walking on the mud, others via the trail. Although quieter than usual in the trees, we did see a number of Flycatchers, one identified as an Olive-sided. Others could have been Pacific-slope Flycatchers and/or or Western Wood-Pewees. We also saw Sparrows (Song, Fox, Golden-crowned), Cedar Waxwings, Downy Woodpecker, and lots of Swallows, mostly Barn and Tree, at least one Purple Finch and an Anna’s Hummingbird. From a lookout onto the mudflats, Ladner Jack got a photo of two shorebirds blending in on the rocky shore; they look like Spotted Sandpipers. Lots of Great Blue Herons and Double-crested Cormorants there too.
As we crossed the bridge to the larger forest section of the park, the two deer seemed to be following us. Some of us were concerned by the crippled front leg of the Doe, but a regular at the Flats said she had been like that for several years, and was still producing fawns each year. Apparently it’s bad arthritis. Another visitor saw a Garter Snake. We didn’t see much more; blanked on our usual sightings of Band-tailed Pigeons and warblers. A Northern Flicker aroused a bit of interest as it pecked around a large cavity in a dead tree stump. We got back to the Nature Hut around 11:15 am, and twelve of us decided to go to lunch at the nearby Deep Cove Brewery on Dollarton Highway and celebrate Jim K’s Birthday.
Lunch with Happy Birthday singing was awesome, along with my Bay Shrimp Sandwich with a huge “sour” Dill Pickle, and a scrumptious sleeve of their Helles Lager. Roger dropped me off at the Riverport Cinema in Richmond around 1:30 pm so I got to see most of Christopher Robin with Sandra and granddaughter Juliette.
The twenty DNCBers included: North Delta’s Deborah Jones and her brother Cedron and Sarah visiting from Montana, 2nd timer North Deltan Thomas was with our sisters Pat & Maureen, long-time DNCBer Marylile now living in North Van made a welcome return appearance, the three Musqueteers Jim, Chris & Ladner Jack, Gerhard enjoyed the Blackberries, North Van Richard H raced ahead, David & Noreen brought PB Lorna and photog Glen, Marion S brought her famous apples, Roger and Terry were stuck with me in the van. Another super DNCB outing.
Next Wednesday, August 29 is our first outing to Sidney Spit off Vancouver Island, meeting on the 7:00 am ferry to Swartz Bay. Terry has organized this outing, and there are elaborate and explicit instructions on the 2018 DNCB Outings page. Check them out, and other reports and photos.
It’s been a busy week with the International Ornithological Congress here, along with Vancouver’s International Bird Festival, but fun too.
As always, your comments are encouraged, and let me know if these weekly meandering missives are so annoying that you want off my email list. Cheers: Tom
Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists Society