DNCB Outing No. 2018-30 to Iona Regional Park

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

Posted in *DNCB, Bald Eagle, Iona, Least Sandpiper, Mink, Peregrine Falcon, Purple Martin, Semi-palmated Sandpiper, Spotted Sandpiper, Western Sandpiper, Willow Flycatcher | Leave a comment

DNCB Outing No. 2018-29 to Reifel Bird Sanctuary

See photos at our DNCB Flickr site

Fifteen DNCBers enjoyed another beautiful Summer Wednesday morning in Delta on a local outing to Reifel Bird Sanctuary.  Check out the photo evidence on our DNCB Flickr site.

We car-pooled from Petra’s at 7:30 am to our first stop at the pull-off on the causeway to the Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal.  The Black Oystercatchers were up-close-and personal while Greater Scaup and a couple of Common Loons were diving in the bay.  Amongst a flock of Ring-billed Gulls on the spit was a lone Caspian Tern.  A Bald Eagle was carrying nesting material to it’s nest on top of a light standard.  We moved to our regular No Parking spot at the terminal where an Osprey was perched on a pylon, then flew out past the docked ferries.  Lots of Cormorants on the breakwall, probably all three species, Double-crested, Pelagic and Brandt.  A lone Pigeon Guillemot was diving here too.

We moved on to the Kingfisher Bridge at the entrance to TFN land.  No Kingfisher seen, but the regular small birds were, Song & White-crowned Sparrows, Tree & Barn Swallows, and Eurasian Collared-Doves which we first thought were Mourning Doves.  At the marsh at the other end of TFN land, we eventually distinguished families of Gadwall from Mallards in the pond.  A flock of Peeps whizzed by, perhaps Western Sandpipers.  We drove through the Ladner fields and over the bridge to Westham Island, arriving at Reifel about 9:30 am.

We met others and Ken took the traditional Group Photo (14 minus shy Maureen) in front of the Snow Goose sign.


DNCB at Reifel – minus Maureen; Glen & Mike lurking in the shadows. Photo by Ken Borrie

A weird hybrid Shoveler-Muscovy Duck was in the office pond.  Lots of House Sparrows and Brown-headed Cowbirds around.  We even saw a House Sparrow feeding a young Cowbird.  Along the trail there was not a lot of bird activity.  At the “new” Purple Martin box we saw birds entering 3 boxes.  We also saw a PUMA perched on top of one of the old boxes in the marsh.  There were lots of Marsh Wrens buzzing and we saw a number of Common Yellowthroats and American Goldfinches to appease our craze for colour.

At the Lookout, we found the Shorebirds.  A few small flocks of Long-billed Dowitchers and Greater Yellowlegs were feeding in the pond below.  Among them Glen got a photo of a Semi-palmated Sandpiper.  Our other Target birds were also feeding there, the resident Sandhill Crane pair and their Colt (the second colt had been killed by a Mink last week).  Northern Harriers were soaring over the marsh, but we didn’t find the lone Trumpeter Swan.  We followed the inland trail back to the entrance.  Summer is not the best birding time at Reifel, but it’s always pleasant and our “Happy Place”.  A Bushtit nest and a couple of Hummers kept us happy.

Approaching Noon, several (7) of us decided to go to Speed’s Pub in Ladner for lunch.  My traditional Cod & Chips and 1516 Lager hit the spot.  Got back to Tsawwassen around 1:30 pm, another awesome DNCB outing.

We 15 were: sisters Pat & Maureen, North Delta Liz, Richmond Brian, Ken & Anne, Mike B, PB Lorna, Marian P, Boundary Bay Valerie W, Jim K, Glen B, returnee New Yorkers Caroline & Chief Bill, and me.

Next Wednesday, July 25, we will leave Petra’s at 7:30 am for Iona Regional Park (note not Cheam).  We should be at the park’s washroom parking lot at 8:15 am.

For more info, reports and photos check out our website.  This late report is due to golf, entertaining visiting Aussie relies at Whistler and Boundary Bay Airshow, Canadians Baseball, grand-parent duties at water parks, etc.

As always, your comments are welcome and let me know if you want off my List to receive these long-winded tirades on boring bird outings.  Cheers: Tom

Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists Society

Posted in *DNCB, Bald Eagle, Black Oystercatcher, Brandt's Cormorant, Caspian Tern, Long-billed Dowitcher, Northern Harrier, Osprey, Pelagic Cormorant, Pigeon Guillemot, Purple Martin, Reifel, Sandhill Crane, Semi-palmated Sandpiper, Western Sandpiper | Leave a comment

DNCB Ferry Outing No. 2018-28 to Salt Spring Island

Only the Magnificent Seven DNCBers took the Ferry outing to Salt Spring Island on another gorgeous Wednesday.  We had a few neat sightings, but mostly just enjoyed a beautiful, and almost free, day among the idyllic Gulf Islands.  Check out the photos on our DNCB Flickr site.

We met on the 7:00 am ferry from Tsawwassen to Swartz Bay (Free ride for Seniors).  I’m sure the early departure kept a lot of folk at home.  Some had the famous White Spot Breakfast while others sunned at the bow of the new Salish Raven crossing the Salish Sea.  We conned a passenger to take our Group Photo at the bow, only five (Roger, Mike, Gerhard, PB Lorna & me as David & Noreen drove and joined us later on Salt Spring).


7 DNCB on Salt Spring Island – photo by David Hoar

We saw no whales this day, but did get the three Cormorant species, Pelagic, Double-crested and Brandt’s.  A few Pigeon Guillemots were swimming around below their nesting spots on the cliffs of Galiano Island.  One person saw an Albatross cruise by, but no one believed him.

The scenery, as always for me, was spectacular, through Active Pass passing the various islands to Swartz Bay.  And Roger’s and Mike’s stories and historical accounts of their adventures here over the past 60 plus years was a bonus.  While examining the Pelagic Cormorants nesting on the Swartz Bay pier, we spotted a Mink roaming along the shoreline.  It caught and flipped a big Crab, and entertained us for 10 minutes.  Our only Photog took a video of this scene, but had his camera on “Blurred Vision” setting so, no photo evidence.  We disembarked to the next departure lounge to take the 9:00 am Skeena Queen to Fulford Harbour on Salt Spring.

Landing at Fulford Harbour, we didn’t see the Belted Kingfisher, but David got the Purple Martins on one of their nest boxes.  Don, driving the Community Bus, was waiting for us and we piled on (paid $2.25 each, including Transfer) for the ride to Ganges, past little old churches, winery, farms, forest, and Tree Swallow nest boxes being overrun by unwanted House Wrens.  From downtown Ganges, we started our walk to the CRD’s Mouat Park.

We entered off Seaview Drive and passed ArtSpring, the two-level timber structure with exhibition/ multi- purpose area and theatre.  It was pleasant and cool among the big trees, but not a lot of bird activity.  We heard Swainson’s Thrushes and saw Ravens, Turkey Vultures, a neat Flycatcher (probably Western Wood-Pewee), Downy Woodpecker and several common LBJ species.  The Face Carvings in some stumps were neat, and the new attraction of restoring two Japanese Charcoal Kilns originally built in the early 1900’s was especially interesting.  Check out the photo of me with Noreen and PB Lorna at one Kiln.


Noreen, Tom & Lorna at charcoal kiln – photo by DH

David and Noreen saw the Chestnut-backed Chickadees and a Brown Creeper.


Brown Creeper (DH)

Lots of families wandering the trails of Mouat Park, some playing Disc Golf.  It was a glorious walk until Roger led us up a steep path after the Campground, that some were not pleased with.  Nonetheless, we all made it and got back to Ganges approaching Noon.  We strolled passed the marina to Moby’s Pub on the water.  The Pub was packed with happy folk as England was leading Croatia 1-0 at the World Cup in Russia.  Eventually, we got super seating on the patio overlooking the marina, and the Wing Special, Fish & Chips, and two cold pints of Canadian was so good it was erotic.

We left the pub around 1:30 pm, surrounded by a sea of frowning faces as Croatia had won 2-1 in extra time.

We strolled along the marina walkway around Ganges, to Roger’s Lookout.  Huge Crabs could be seen in the clear water foraging among the rocks close to the seawall.  We got back to the Info Centre/Bus Depot in time for our 2:40 pm bus to Long Harbour (Thanks, Roger, for super outing organization).  Driver Tao accepted our Transfer and the 15 minute ride to Long Harbour was nice but uneventful.  We caught the 3:40 pm Ferry to Tsawwassen, with one stop at Galiano on the way.

The ferry ride home was quiet and serene as several DNCBers were completely worn out, and snoozed.  Some stayed on deck, enjoying the magnificent scenery and searching in vain for that elusive rarity.  We got back to Tsawwassen on time at 5:30 pm.  Sandra was waiting and I was home by 6:00 pm to enjoy Sandra’s homemade Shepherd’s Pie.  Does life get any better?  Although few bird sightings, it was another fantastic DNCB outing with six other iconic individuals (I don’t know what that means, but I like alliterations, and big words).

Next Wednesday, July 18, we will meet at and leave Petra’s at 7:30 am on a Local Outing, to Reifel Bird SanctuaryNote destination changed from Cypress Mountain.

Note also our 3rd of 7 Car Boot Sales is tomorrow (Saturday) morning at Centennial Beach.  Check out our website for more info, reports and photos.

As always, your comments are encouraged, and let me know if this wordy, non-bird, travelog report is so annoying that you want off my email list.  Cheers: Tom

Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists Society

Posted in *DNCB, Brandt's Cormorant, Brown Creeper, Fulford Harbour, Ganges, Mink, Pelagic Cormorant, Pigeon Guillemot, Purple Martin, Salt Spring Island, Swainson's Thrush, Turkey Vulture, Western Wood-Pewee | Leave a comment

DNCB Outing No. 2018-27 to Surrey Bend Regional Park

See photos at our DNCB Flickr site.


DNCB at Surrey Bend (minus Lorna) – photo by David Hoar


Waiting for the stragglers… photo by David Hoar

Twenty-seven DNCBers had a ball wandering around Surrey Bend Regional Park (SBRP) on another beautiful Wednesday morning in the lower mainland.  Check out the spectacular photos on our DNCB Flickr site.

Nine of us left Petra’s at 7:30 am, car-pooling smoothly in 3 vehicles, and arrived to the horde of smiling faces at the SBRP parking lot at 8:20 am.  We were delayed 10 minutes by a passing Container Train at the crossing near the park; otherwise, we would have been exactly on time at 8:10.

Following introductions and hugs, especially welcoming the five Metro Vancouver Parks Interpreters with Vanessa (Dianna, Alison, Brigit & Jessica) and our Langley Field Naturalist guru Anne G with Joanne, David took the Group Photo in front of the SBRP sign. We started our walk through the play structures to the river lookout. This would have been an awesome outing for blind folk as we heard a lot more species than we actually saw.

We got great looks at some beauties, including: Willow Flycatchers, Cedar Waxwings, Black-headed Grosbeaks, Common Yellowthroats, Brown Creeper, Rufous Hummingbirds, and the regular common sightings of Woodpeckers (Flickers, Downy), Sparrows, Swallows and Finches.  And we heard, but I didn’t see, lots of Swainson’s Thrushes, Western Wood-Pewee, Pacific-slope Flycatcher, Yellow Warbler, Wilson’s Warbler, Savannah Sparrow, and Vireo species.  I watched a vireo posing for two minutes… Langley Bob’s photo confirmed it was a Red-eyed Vireo.  Just another example of the fun and ambivalent nature of Casual Bird outings.

The view across the Fraser to Barnston Island and the mountains in the background was spectacular.  Lots of logs in the river, but no other-than-normal birds or seals seen.  The walk through the mostly huge Cottonwood Tree trail was cool, but lots of bugs (Thanks for the spray, Brian).  Lots of “hearings” and species discussions.  The large group got very spread out.  When I reached the end of the wooded area, many had gone quickly ahead along the open and hot marsh trail back to the parking lot.  Photogs got some nice shots of Butterflies and Plants.  Some other sightings along the way included Bushtits, Purple Finches, fledging Chickadees and Tree Swallows, Brown-headed Cowbirds, Northern Harriers, Juncos.

My now small group got back to the picnic tables around 11:15 am where many were waiting, and some had already left.  We discussed continuing on to Tynehead Park, but the majority were hungry and thirsty, so thirteen of us (see photos) bypassed Tynehead and drove to the Baselines Pub on 166 St in Surrey.  Good decision.  Many of us had the Beef on a Bun Special, with fries or salad for 9 bucks.  It was delicious, of course washed down with the obligatory pint of Canadian.

I drove Ladner Jack back to Tsawwassen and his snoring didn’t bother me a bit.  Home by 2:30 pm, on time to resume grandparenting duties.  SBRP is a beautiful, well-maintained park, all the participants were interesting and fun, and although we didn’t see a tonne of birds, it was another awesome DNCB outing.

We 27 were: Roger M, Mike B, Mike 2B, MVP’s Fab Five Vanessa, Diana, Alison, Brigit & Jessica, David & Noreen, Ken B & Anne A, sisters Pat & Maureen, Marion & Kirsten, LFN’s Anne G, Joanne R & Bob M, Glen B, Ladner Jack, PB Lorna (Thanks for the “Smoko” PB Sandwich), Richmond Brian, Roy & Solveig, our organizer Terry C, and me.  Tardiness of this report is due to time challenges with golfing, entertaining Aussie and Ontario relies, grandparenting, and an always-growing Sandra’s Jobs List.

Next Wednesday, July 11, is our Ferry outing to Saltspring Island.  We will meet on the 7:00 am ferry from Tsawwassen to Swartz Bay, connecting with the 9:00 ferry to Fulford Harbor and the 9:43 bus to Ganges.  Details on DNCB 2018 Outings page.

Check our website for more info on this outing, and to see earlier reports, photos and Delta Nats info.  As always, your comments are encouraged, and let me know if these rambling and boring missives are annoying and you want off my email list.  Cheers: Tom

Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists Society

Posted in *DNCB, Brown Creeper, Cedar Waxwing, Northern Harrier, Pacific-slope Flycatcher, Purple Finch, Red-eyed Vireo, Red-tailed Hawk, Surrey Bend, Swainson's Thrush, Western Wood-Pewee, Willow Flycatcher, Wilson’s Warbler, Yellow Warbler | Leave a comment

DNCB Outing No. 2018-26 to Campbell Valley Park

At least twenty-six DNCBers participated for some time (me for only the Photo op) on our Wednesday outing to Campbell Valley Park (CVP).  Check out the many beaut photos on our DNCB Flickr site.

Several folk car-pooled from Petra’s at 7:30 am, and I arrived at CVP at the same time, about 8:15 am.  David H was taking the Group Photo of 17 of us when I got the phone call for Aussie guest/relie pick-up at the Alaska Cruise Terminal in downtown Vancouver.  So I left and missed the outing.  Meanwhile others joined the group sporadically throughout the morning, eventually totalling 26 participants.


DNCB at Campbell Valley – 9 latecomers missing!  Photo by David Hoar

The 26 participants were: Roger M, Terry C, Glen B, Mike B, David H (without Noreen), Roy H (without Solveig), Ken & Anne, Pat & Maureen & Manli, Marion S, Jean G, Roger F (Two), Gerhard L, Richmond Brian A, Ladner Jack & Stella, Chris McV, Colin & Stephanie H with Beatrice, PB Lorna C, Langley Joanne, Langley Bob, and me.

Roger submitted the report below, with attached Map, and several others offered sightings as well which I will incorporate.

Roger’s report:
I’ll try and give an idea of what was seen by the members in front.  Apparently Maureen, Pat & Manli arrived, but I never saw them.  Roy, without Solveig, showed up near the end, and who knows which others (Jack & Stella, Ken & Anne?) were out there on the trail?

When Tom left, we started by heading east on the “Little River Loop” and crossed the river on the boardwalk.  There wasn’t much to see except the odd squirrel (I didn’t see any Douglas but others did), American Robins, and Song Sparrows.  Following the east side down to the “Listening Bridge” we had numerous Black-headed Grosbeaks (we had seen one at the parking lot), lots of Swainson’s Thrushes (heard, not seen), Black-capped Chickadees, Spotted Towhees, more Song Sparrows, Common Yellowthroats (heard), Yellow and Wilson’s Warblers, Barn Swallows, Brown-headed Cowbirds (one was a juvenile) and an inquisitive chipmunk.  I know Marion and Glen, who were behind us, had heard and seen some other species (see Marion’s comments below).

At the “Listening Bridge”, as in the past, Black-headed Grosbeaks posed very close to us; see some great shots on Flickr.  Also there, we saw a Steller’s Jay, more Brown-headed Cowbirds, Song Sparrows, and a Garden Gnome (turned out to be Gerhard, see photo).  Some idiot saw an Osprey which turned out to be a gull (I can say that if it was me…right?).  I don’t think anyone saw a raptor.  We spent quite a bit of time on the bridge/boardwalk with some attention paid to the vegetation.  The Hardhack Spirea, European Bittersweet (nightshade), Pacific Ninebark, Saint John’s-wort, and Tiger Lilies were all in bloom, and the Indian Plum plums were ripe for eating.  The Oregon Grape was a bit bitter yet.  Glen’s Huckleberries were not yet ripe.  (I know how Tom loves the botany aspect of the trips?)

When we got to the top of the steep trail to the Nature House area, I noticed some Swifts overhead… 4-5 of them.  I thought they were too small to be Blacks, and David, Brian and I went back and forth until Brian managed a  photo which seems to show that they were Vaux Swifts.  Brian and Terry have posted photos.  Whether Black or Vaux, they were my first Swifts of the year.  I think they were Vaux’s.

Having crossed to the west side of the river we made a left turn and followed the South Valley Nature Trail to the Nature House, which was closed and replaced by the Red Barn.  The Nature House (in the Red Barn) had an interesting set of “hands-on” activities and I think Jack may still be there looking for life in a drop of pond water!  There are a couple photos of the inside our DNCB Flickr site, including mounted Owls.

At this point, the group fragmented and spread out to the gardens, pond, fields and the Red Barn.  On the steep path up to the fields we saw a pair of Bewick’s Wrens having a dust bath, and some alert photographer managed a HD video of the event (modesty prevents me from mentioning his name).  Click on the photo below to see Roger’s videoBewick's Wrens Dust Bath 2  June 27, 2018 Campbell Valley
Glen mentioned having seen a Cassin’s Vireo in this area, and I hope he managed a photo!

From the Nature House we headed back to the parking lot via the west “Little River Loop” trail where many of us left for home, and others were talking about lunch.  I’m sure I’ve missed some of the birds sighted; hopefully others will send their lists.  See Map attached of the route we took, and Roger’s photos.

Marion’s Report:
The group got quite split up, and then split again at the pond area – here’s what we saw/heard.

The best was a Cassin’s Vireo that we heard only – he didn’t appear when we played the song, but he did spend quite a bit of time in the same area.  We had good looks at a Pacific Wren, Orange-crowned Warbler, Yellow Warbler, Cedar Waxwing, Swainson’s Thrush, Goldfinch, Cowbird fledglings, fleeting look at Pacific-slope Flycatcher, Hairy Woodpecker,  and Common Yellowthroat as it flew.

I believe the others in the larger group saw most of what we saw, so I won’t list any more – the pictures will tell the story.  We heard lots of flycatchers, Pacific-slope, Western Wood-Pewee, and also the occasional Willow.  Also heard many Wilson’s, but never did see one.  Douglas squirrels and chipmunks were out in full force.  Lots of common small birds, e.g. Towhee, Song Sparrow, Chickadee.

Glen said it best, as a description of the day, when he said “argghhh!  A cacophony!!! There were so many birds singing, and calling, that it was difficult to separate out sounds to listen for one bird!!”  This was such a pleasant change from what we have all been experiencing lately.  A good day!  Marion

Next Wednesday, July 4, we will leave Petra’s at 7:30 am for Surrey Bend Regional Park.

Check out our website for more info on this outing, and other reports and photos.  As always your comments are welcome, and let me know if these reports are annoying and you want off my email list.  Cheers: Tom

Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists Society (1:00 am Sunday: Happy Canada Day)CampbellValleyMap

Posted in *DNCB, Campbell Valley, Cassin's Vireo, Cedar Waxwing, Douglas Squirrel, Orange-crowned Warbler, Pacific-slope Flycatcher, Swainson's Thrush, Townsend’s Chipmunk, Vaux's Swift, Western Wood-Pewee, Willow Flycatcher, Wilson’s Warbler, Yellow Warbler | Leave a comment

DNCB Outing No. 2018-25 to Pitt Lake

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.

IMG_3318 Start group at Pitt Lake 2

DNCB at Pitt lake – photo by David Hoar

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)

Next week Wed. June 27, we will be at Campbell Valley Park.  Leave Petra’s at 7:30 am, arrive at 16th Ave parking lot around 8:10 am.  See Reports from previous outings to this venue.

Posted in *DNCB, Bald Eagle, Band-tailed Pigeon, Bullock's Oriole, Cedar Waxwing, Cliff Swallow, Eastern Kingbird, Gray Catbird, Osprey, Pitt Lake, Pitt-Addington Marsh WMA, Swainson's Thrush, Turkey Vulture, Warbling Vireo, Willow Flycatcher, Yellow Warbler | Leave a comment

DNCB Outing No. 2018-24 Birds on the Bay in Boundary Bay Regional Park

A dozen brave souls, plus six, enjoyed a rainy relatively “birdless” morning in Boundary Bay Regional Park on our quarterly Birds on the Bay outing.  Check out the photo evidence on our DNCB Flickr site.

It was pouring rain at 9:00 am when Terry and Roger led the 11 “keeners” from Cammidge House on the walk toward Centennial Beach.  I had an Eye Doctor appointment so didn’t join the group until 9:45 am when they had reached the Lookout.  David took the second of his two group photos here as the rain had stopped and, as always, the sun began to shine in sunny Tsawwassen.


BOTB participantsa at Centennial Beach Lookout – photo by David Hoar

We continued along the dike path toward the PumpHouse, past our DNS Bird Boxes, some unfortunately occupied by invasive House Sparrows.  Terry’s List of sightings included: mallards, herons, gulls, red wings, starlings, song, savannah & house sparrows, barn & tree swallows, lots of hummingbirds (Anna’s & Rufous), yellowthroats, harriers, eagles, house and gold finches, gadwall, killdeer, cedar waxwing.  Despite the few exciting sightings, the Newbies, Beach Grove’s Jennifer and Hilary, seemed to enjoy the outing, especially the Chatfest nature of casual birding.

We saw from the Pumphouse Lookout, and later met, our Bird Box Team (Jessy, Chris McV, Peter W and his neighbour), examining our Tree Swallow boxes.  We chatted a bit about the successful TS boxes with babies, then continued on the walk back to CH.  We added Flickers, Marsh Wrens, Towhees and  Eurasian Collared-Doves to Terry’s list.

Delta Nats Ladies, Elizabeth P and Jennifer M-R, met us sharply at 11:30 am at CH with their traditional array of scrumptious home-made delicacies, including Sandra’s renowned Egg Salad sandwiches.  Although we were only a dozen, all the goodies were wolfed down quickly by the seemingly-starving mob. The dozen were: Roger, Mike, Terry, Glen, Ladner Jack, Margaretha, PB Lorna, photog David H, Elizabeth, newbies Jennifer G & Hilary R, and me, plus later-arriving Boundary Bay Valerie W, Jennifer M-R, Jessy, Chris McV, Peter and his “I forget her name” neighbour making a total of 18.  Although not a particularly “birdy” morning, it was super fun as always.

As dessert to the outing, I met the Bird Box Team (Chris & Marlene, Peter and the lovely “unnamed” neighbour) for their lunch and my Canadian Lager at the Rose & Crown Pub, prior to my Tsawwassen Men’s Golf Club meeting. The tardiness of this report is a result of Busy Times” with Ontario relies visiting, grandparenting, golfing, etc., but all good, including a visit to Reifel to see the newly-arrived Sandhill Crane Colts born this week and, of course, a fresh 2018 Strawberry Ice Cream Sundae at Emma Lea’s.

Next Wednesday, June 20, is our outing to Pitt Lake, leaving Petra’s at 7:30 am.  Meet at Parking lot (end of Rannie Rd) at about 8:40.  Check out our website for previous outings to Pitt Lake, plus earlier reports and info on other Delta Nats stuff.

Don’t forget our annual Fathers Day Pancake Breakfast at Centennial Beach (9:00 am to Noon) this Sunday (tomorrow), with entertainment including our Delta Nats Display.

As always, your comments are welcome, and please let me know if these boring, long-winded missives are so annoying that you want off my email list.  Cheers: Tom

Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists Society

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