DNCB Outing No. 2019-43 to Reifel Island via Ferry and TFN Lands

Check out the photo evidence on our DNCB Flickr site.

Once again we began without our regular leader, Tom, who is basking in the Australian sun while we started the day shivering in the morning cold on the Tsawwassen Ferry Jetty.  Starting at Petra’s with Terry, Mikes 1 and 2, David and Noreen, PB Lorna, Chris, Glen, Roger 2, Jim and Roger 1 (myself), we met Pat, and Richmond Brian on the half-way pullout on the jetty where the sun was just beginning to rise over Point Roberts.  The first piece of nature that greeted us was a disassembled coyote on the road where it had been hit by a very fast moving vehicle!

So, birds for Part 1 The Ferry Jetty:  On the north side there were lots of ducks and other waterfowl consisting mainly of American Wigeon, Mallards, some Buffleheads, a few Common Loons, Horned and Red-necked Grebes, Double-crested and Pelagic Cormorants.  An American Bald Eagle had spooked the birds that were on the compensation lagoon beach and the ones on the water, and they all flew to the east end of the lagoon.  Moving across the road to the south side, we picked up some Surf Scoters, several Black Oystercatchers, a few more Common Loons, and more of the same grebes as on the other side.

Part 2 of the trip along the TFN road:  A dark Red-tailed Hawk was on the roof of a building, but not too much else.  We were moving a bit faster than usual, and didn’t stop until we reached Rough-legged Hawk Corner (my appellation to the new pond where the TFN road joins the Delta Port road) where we did a 15 minute survey.  There was a hawk obscured by a bush a few hundred feet away, so we walked back along the road to see if we could get a better look.  Brian managed a photo that allowed him to later determine that it was a Cooper’s Hawk!  The only birds in the pond were Wigeon and a few Gadwall.

Reaching the river, we stopped on the dyke to look for the Mute Swans but none were to be seen and there were very few birds, a few ducks, on the river.

Part 3 begins at Reifel, where we met up with the rest of the group who had been patiently waiting.  They included Marion, Marti, Kirsten, Richard, Margaretha, Gabrielle, Colin and his friend Warren from Edmonton (Vancouver being the Edmontonian’s Hawaii), Nance, Roy and Solveig and Jack… (I think I got them all)!

DNCB_Reifel Oct 23 2018_NR

DNCB at eifel – photo by Noreen Rudd

Now the hard part:  with 25 birders spread out along the trail, not everyone sees the same thing… so I’m going with what I saw with those I was with, and with what the rest told me if I can remember what they told me… I don’t know how Tom does it!

The Sandhill Crane family of 3 was behind the gift shop. This is the first colt that has survived for several years. The most obvious birds at the start were the three Black-crowned Night-Herons which spend every winter in the same trees.  Also in those trees was a flock of Cedar Waxwings eating the berries.  The usual ducks and small birds were waiting to be fed along the trail to the north dyke (House Sparrows, Mallards, Wood Ducks, etc.).  Many stopped to feed the Black-capped Chickadees along the way.  Glen located the only Brown Creeper of the day, which only a few of us in front managed to see.  We saw no owls anywhere in the refuge today!

Rounding the corner along the west dyke, the leading few saw a Wilson’s Snipe fly in and disappear into the Cattails.  From the newly renovated observation tower we could see lots of Northern Shovellers in the West Field, and a few Dowitchers (probably Long-billed), some Gadwall, and othe ducks.  On looking out beyond the marsh to the river, we could see hundreds of newly arrived Snow Geese which some of us had heard earlier.

Some of us went along the outer dyke and the rest down the middle trail.  Walking back along the Southwest Marsh towards the viewing platform, we picked up the first Ring-necked Ducks of the season, American Coots, the resident Trumpeter Swan, Gadwall, etc.

At the platform, some members managed to get the Red-winged Blackbirds to actually eat out of their hands!

Gathering back at the entrance, we noticed Chris taking photos of something in the trees by the washroom.  Going down to see what he was so busy with, we found he had a very cooperative Hermit Thrush of which everyone managed to get some, hopefully, good photos.

Marion later determined, on looking at her photos, that the bird had an injured foot.

At this point, most members decided to go for lunch while others of us headed over to Alaksen to check the evergreens along the driveway for Barred Owls… without success.  However, I was able to collect some fairly recent owl pellets for later use at our presentations at Starry Night, Raptor Festival, etc.

Thus ends today’s outing with some headed for lunch at Rose and Crown.  I know I’ve missed some birds, but Brian has kindly allowed us to look at his e-Bird submissions at: https://ebird.org/shared?subID=UzQ5NDA1MDky&s=t

Next week, Tuesday 30 October, we will travel to Whidbey Island, Washington, and Port Townsend on the Keystone ferry.  On the return trip, we will bird Keystone Spit, Crockett Lake, then visit Fort Casey State Park and Deception Pass.  Meet at Petra’s at 7 am, or carpool from Peace Arch parking lot at 7:30am.  For Terry’s full detailed instructions, visit our 2018 DNCB Outings page.

Report by Roger Meyer


**New Feature: Tom on Top of Down Under

A few excerpts from Tom’s adventures in Australia, edited to remove the naughty bits:

“The birds in the yard include lots of Silvereyes, 28 Parrots (aka Ringnecked), Willy Wagtails, Galahs, Australian Magpie, Australian Ravens and Honeyeaters (several species, Brown, Singing, White-cheeked).“

“I walked to the beach.  The common Gull here is the Silver Gull.  Also saw Black-faced Woodswallows, Pied Cormorant and White Pelicans.  All above-mentioned species are common here.  I searched in vain for a Splendid Wren, which nests here, so I walked along the beach to the local Pub (the Sunday Roast went up to $7.50).  After two Swan Lager pints, and being accosted by a Skimpie, I walked home for dinner (6:00 pm).”

“I’m having a quiet morning at home in Madora Bay.  While enjoying the view from our front window, a Bobtail Goanna was feeding on red flowers in the front yard.  Can you see it?  Singing Honeyeaters are doing what else, singing.  Cheers: Tom”

Q: Tom:  just what is a “Skimpie”?

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About dncb

DNS: Delta Naturalists are a group of nature lovers whose aim is to foster interest in the natural history of the Fraser delta by sharing and enjoying nature and promoting environmental awareness and conservation. DNCB: Delta Nats Casual Birders is a group of Casual Birders who go Birding at different locations each week, usually within the Lower Mainland or in nearby Washington State.
This entry was posted in *DNCB, Bald Eagle, Black Oystercatcher, Black-crowned Night-Heron, Brown Creeper, Cedar Waxwing, Cooper's Hawk, Hermit Thrush, Long-billed Dowitcher, Pelagic Cormorant, Red-necked Grebe, Red-tailed Hawk, Ring-necked Duck, Sandhill Crane, Trumpeter Swan, Wilson's Snipe. Bookmark the permalink.

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