DNCB Outing No. 2018-13 to Point Roberts, USA

Photos by Michael Audet (MA), Brian Avent (BA), Jack MacDonald (JMacD)

It was pouring rain on Tuesday morning, but eleven stalwart DNCBers showed up, surprising me, and enjoyed a decent and productive outing at various sites in Point Roberts.  Check out our photog wizards’ offerings on our Flickr site at: https://www.flickr.com/search/?group_id=3027315%40N23&text=2018-13&view_all=1, including Ladner Jack’s “Goldeneye Landing”.

Eight of us car-pooled from Petra’s at 7:30 am.  I forget who went with whom, but we were: Mike B1, Mike B2, PB Lorna, Ladner Jack, Boundary Bay Valerie, Richmond Angela A, our Guru Anne and me.  We met Richmond Brian, North Delta Jean and newbie Vancouverite and Photog Michael A at Lighthouse Marine Park (LMP).  The Border crossing was smooth, and we stopped first at Kiniski’s Reef Tavern for a quick look at the Georgia Strait before going to LMP.  Common Loons, Common Goldeneye, Bufflehead and Horned Grebes were close, and lots of fly-bys of Cormorants, Greater Scaup, and Scoters, mostly Surf.  We saw our first Sea Lions here, and we tried to determine whether they were California or Steller Sea Lions (aka Steller’s).  We think we saw both, but we certainly saw a group of five yellow female Steller Sea Lions.  We assumed a few Herring were around, although we didn’t see any piles of spawn/eggs on shore.

Moving on (a Cooper’s Hawk flew past our windshield) to LMP, more Sea Lions here (and Harbour Seals), as well as the Cormorants flying by.  With Anne’s guidance, three species were seen, Double-crested, Pelagic and the difficult-to-ID Brandt’s Cormorants.  A few resident Black Turnstones were on shore in front of us with several Sanderlings.  We introduced newbie Mike A to the group, then he quickly took the Group Photo.

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DNCB at Lighthouse Marine Park (minus latecomer Roger M) – photo by Michael Audet

As I said earlier, the weather was miserable, and I was afraid we would lose participants early.  As we walked toward the Lighthouse (there really is no Lighthouse, so I don’t know why I continue to say this), other species popped up, such as Red-breasted Mergansers, gorgeous pairs of Harlequin Ducks and Brant.  The water was wavy so spotting and identifying was difficult, plus rain on our bins didn’t help.  Some saw Pigeon Guillemots and White-winged Scoters, but we couldn’t find any Murres or Murrelets.  The elusive Roger M came to LMP around 11:00 am, after we were gone, and saw Western Grebes.

To avoid the wind and cold, we decided to take the inland trail back to the car park.  Lots of clearing and construction going on at LMP, and we didn’t see anything exciting, perhaps an Anna’s Hummingbird and some regular Sparrow species.  So we left LMP and convoyed to the north Marina parking lot.  The rain had stopped, and it seemed to be milder now.  Between the parked yachts we saw: Pied-billed and Horned Grebes (but no Eared), Lesser Scaup, Bufflehead, Common Goldeneye (Ladner Jack got a neat photo of a male doing its neck-bending mating dance).  Some saw PB Lorna’s resident Kingfisher, and the brilliant red House Finches were in the same tree as our last visit here on January 30.

Next stop was the south side of the Marina where we saw more Harlequins, Goldeneye and Gadwall near the Marina entrance.  No Meadowlarks or Killdeer here this morning. Bald Eagles and Great Blue Herons sporadically perched or posing around the area.  We drove to Lily Point Park and walked to the point Lookout.  Tonnes of birds in the distance in the Bay/Gulf of Georgia as we looked across to White Rock and the San Juan Islands.  We saw lots of scoters, scaup, mergansers, cormorants, loons, but couldn’t identify anything different.  We walked to the second lookout and same here.  In the trees we heard little birds such as Kinglets, Purple Finches and Pacific Wrens, and got great looks at a Hutton’s Vireo in the parking lot.

Now approaching 11:30 am, and the sun finally appearing, we decided to leave PR for lunch at the Rose & Crown Pub in Tsawwassen.  Lively Leila looked after us (6) as most had the Soup & Sandwich Daily Special.  I had a pint of Canadian and took off to my second Men’s Club Golf outing for 12:45 Tee time at Tsawwassen Springs (shot a lower-than-normal, very pleasing 82).  I wonder if it was the pre-game beer, PB Lorna’s p-b sandwich, or my soaked clothing.  Nonetheless, it was a very enjoyable DNCB outing, especially with our Guru Anne back with us.

Next Wednesday (yes WEDNESDAY, not Tuesday), April 4, Debbi H will lead us on our outing in UBC’s Botanical Garden.  We will leave Petra’s at 7:30 am, and expect to meet others at the Garden parking lot entrance off SW Marine Drive at 8:30 am.

Don’t forget our Delta Nats monthly meeting on Tuesday, April 3, 7:30 pm at the Benediction Lutheran Church, with Ross Dixon of the Raincoast Conservation Society giving a presentation on Safeguarding Coastal Carnivores (Wolves).

Check out our DNS for more information, reports and photographs. As always, your comments are appreciated, and let me know if you want off my List to receive these rambling and annoying missives.  Cheers: Tom

Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists Society

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Posted in *DNCB, Black Turnstone, Brandt's Cormorant, California Sea Lion, Cooper's Hawk, Harlequin Duck, Hutton's Vireo, Lighthouse Marine Park, Lily Point Park, Pelagic Cormorant, Pied-billed Grebe, Pigeon Guillemot, Point Roberts, Purple Finch, Red-breasted Merganser, Sanderling, Steller Sea Lion | Leave a comment

DNCB Outing No. 2018-12 to Stanley Park

Photos by Brian Avent (BA), Terry Carr (TC), Glen Bodie (GB), David Hoar (DH), Jack MacDonald (JMacD), Maureen Sinilaid (MS), Pat Smart (PS) at our DNCB Flickr website.  Report also has photos by Marion Shikaze (MSh).

Sixteen DNCBers spent a very pleasant Tuesday morning wandering around Stanley Park.  And we saw some neat species, up-close-and-personal as depicted by the gorgeous photos on our Flickr site at: https://www.flickr.com/search/?group_id=3027315%40N23&text=2018-12&view_all=1.

We car-pooled from Petra’s Kafe at 7:30 am; Mike B1 had Roger, Johnny Mac & Terry, Glen took Mike B2, and I had Ladner Jack Mac and PB Lorna.  Nice, peaceful drive (Kids are off school) to the 2nd Beach parking lot, arrived at 8:15 am.  Richmond Brian was there, David & Noreen, Sisters Pat & Maureen, Marion S and Rupert Fisherman Roy (w/o Solveig) arrived shortly thereafter.  That’s our sweet 16.  Of course, the painful and frustrating Pay Parking machines were not working.  We/I calmed down and set the scope on the rafts of birds in English Bay.

About 300 Surf Scoters were packed together, cavorting and diving in unison.  Sort of weird to see (see photos and Ladner Jack’s video).

And rafts of Barrow’s Goldeneye together too.

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Also, sporadically around these, were a few Bufflehead, Horned Grebes, both Double-crested and Pelagic Cormorants, and a couple of Common Goldeneye.

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David H took the Group Photo before we strolled along the Seawall Path.

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DNCB at Stanley Park – photo by David Hoar

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Harlequin Duck (TC)

The tide was high, so we didn’t see Oystercatchers or other shorebirds.  The spectacular Harlequin Ducks were there in brilliant breeding plumage.

Three Western Grebes gave us a fleeting look before disappearing.  Great Blue Herons were there too from their recently-occupied Heronry in the Park.

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We didn’t go far along the Seawall and decided to turn around and do the Lost Lagoon Trail.

We saw most of the regular “little birds” on this park walk: Anna’s Hummingbirds, Sparrows (Fox, Song, Golden-crowned), Black-capped Chickadees (some saw Chestnut-backed), a flock of Bushtits, Spotted Towhees, Downy Woodpeckers, Northern Flickers, Finches, etc.

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The native Douglas Squirrels are neat too; we don’t see them in Delta.

A large raft of Lesser Scaup (~300 birds) landed majestically in the Lagoon.  Three Common Mergansers posed on a log, and many brilliant Wood Ducks were cruising among the bushes and reeds near shore.

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A few American Coots still here among the American Wigeon, Mallards and a few Green-winged Teal.  The regularly-seen Snow Goose was there too; we were unsuccessful in making it a Ross’s Goose.

Not sure whether we were successful in identifying any Greater Scaup among the Lessers.  Glen got some neat shots of some new Spring flora.  I enjoyed PB Lorna’s Peanut Butter sandwich on this peaceful stroll around the Lagoon.

It was approaching 11:00 am when I had to leave for Opening Day of Tsawwassen Men’s Golf Club at the Tsawwassen Springs course.

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Brown Creeper (TC)

Meanwhile, the group continued on to Beaver Lake where they saw a Brown Creeper, leucistic Fox Sparrow and Varied Thrush along with many of the previous-mentioned species.

Then nine DNCBers went to Milltown Bar & Grill for lunch; sorry I missed that (I had Chicken Wings with three pints of Pat Quinn Lager after shooting 92; too many double bogies).  After lunch, some looked for the Summer Tanager on W 71 Ave.  They did not find it, but saw several Downy Woodpeckers and House Finches.  It was another awesome DNCB Tuesday.

Next Tuesday, March 27, we will leave Petra’s at 7:30 am for Point Roberts, expecting to meet others before 8:00 am at Lighthouse Marine Park parking lot.

For more info, reports and photos, check out our website.  As always, your comments welcomed, and let me know if this weekly drivel annoys you and you want off my email list.  Cheers: Tom

Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists Society

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Thursday, March 22:  Sad news about Al Schulze

We just received news that Al passed away peacefully this morning at 8:00 A.M. at Peace Arch Hospital. The following is an excerpt from Tom’s email response to Fran:

WR Al was Champion to, with, and for us Delta Nats.  He was always so friendly, relaxed and cool, while walking, riding his bike, or leading our DNCB outings.  Everyone looked up to WR Al, and listened intently to his descriptions and explanations of the trees, flora, fauna and history of almost every park, marsh or habitat we visited.  All questions were directed at WR Al, because he knew everything.  We even listened intently to his tirades on ancestry, language dialects, and the evils of beer (only to his diet).

WR Al was the definition of a Team Member. He designed, organized, led, and reported on many outings for us.  I especially enjoyed his outings to the USA and Campbell Valley Park.  He always offered to transport others too.  I think his most endearing quality, to me, such as at the post outing gatherings, was that he was simply a lot of fun to be with.  Personally, Fran, I am devasted that WR Al has left us, but I feel really blessed to have known and hung around with such a pure, wholesome, and really nice guy.  We will certainly Toast WR Al on our next DNCB outing.  My thoughts, along with all us Delta Nats who knew and loved Al, are with you and your family.  Regards: Tom

Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists Society


More photos of Al on DNCB Outings at:
White Rock Al (archive compiled by Terry)
WR Al (Gallery compiled by Glen; click on thumbnail image to get bigger photo)
Extras (a few photos which could not be added to the WR Al Gallery, in a Google Drive folder by Glen)

Posted in *DNCB, Barrow's Goldeneye, Beaver Lake, Brown Creeper, Douglas Squirrel, Harlequin Duck, Lost Lagoon, Pelagic Cormorant, Second Beach, Stanley Park, Varied Thrush | Leave a comment

DNCB Outing No. 2018-11 Birds on the Bay in Boundary Bay Regional Park

Other photos by Terry Carr (TC) and David Hoar (DH) at DNCB Flickr website.

Twenty folk enjoyed another brilliant Wednesday morning on our quarterly Birds on the Bay outing in Boundary Bay Regional Park.  We saw some neat stuff, including tonnes of shorebirds and waterfowl.  Check out the photo evidence on our Flickr site at: DNCB Flickr website.

We met at historic Cammidge House and left at 9:00 am on our 2 ½ hour amble through the Park.  Terry took the first Group photo while I briefed them on the scenario of today’s outing.

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BOTB at Cammidge House – photo by Terry Carr

Meanwhile, a posing Cooper’s Hawk in the back tree started us off in grand style.  We had six Newbies on this outing, including five Interpreters with Nature Vancouver Parks.  I mention the five interpreters not only because they brought youth, vitality and “good eyes” to the outing, but also because they shared responsibility for carrying our Scope, an integral part in ensuring the success of the outing.  Thanks Miki, Adria, Sam, Meghan and Sara.

Bald Eagles, Northwestern Crows and Red-winged Blackbirds were everywhere as we walked along the driveway toward the native plant garden beside the pond behind Centennial Beach.  Only Mallards and American Wigeon (no Eurasian Wigeon today) in the pond.

We are fairly certain there were Brewer’s Blackbirds among the Redwings and Starlings.  At the beach, the tide was in, but receding.

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Small flocks of Dunlin and Sanderling were feeding close to shore.  In the distance were several large rafts of waterfowl; we could identify shapes of Scaup, Scoters and Brant Geese.

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Brant (TC)

Between the shore and the rafts were other birds which we saw more clearly through the scope; Common Loons, Bufflehead, Double-crested Cormorants and several Common Goldeneye.  I even saw a male Goldeneye doing his neck-wrenching mating behavior.

We left the beach to follow the path toward the Lookout.  We were hoping to see some early warbler migrants but lucked out.  We saw most of the “regulars”, Spotted Towhees, Juncos, Sparrows (Song, Fox, Golden-crowned), Anna’s Hummingbirds, Northern Flickers and a Downy Woodpecker.

A couple of Northern Harriers gave flypasts; too early for their mating rituals.  David H took the second Group Photo at the Lookout.

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BOTB at the Lookout – photo by David Hoar

Following the dike path toward the Pumphouse, the Green-winged Teal (we couldn’t find a Common Teal) were feeding in the muddy area where we normally see Killdeer.  There was a Greater Yellowlegs there too (up-turned bill, longer than head).

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Greater Yellowlegs (TC)

I pointed out our Delta Nats Bird Boxes (outing to prepare them for occupancy is this Sunday, March 18).  Early-arrived Tree Swallows (not expected until Mar 27) have already been seen scoping out our boxes.  At the Pumphouse Lookout were tonnes of Gulls; Roger identified Mew and Ring-billed among the Glaucous-winged.  Flocks of Brant Geese, Northern Pintail and Lesser Scaup were closer for good looks too.

We took the inland path back to Cammidge House, stopping to show off our new Barn Owl Box, DNS No. 17, just off the Raptor Trail.  This “Cadillac” BO Box even has two cameras for connecting to i-phones to look inside without disturbing the occupants.

Continuing on, some saw Marsh Wrens, and some brilliantly-coloured House Finches, but nothing else unusual.  Fortunately, the normal chatfest among participants kept everyone happy, despite the shortage of exciting sightings.

We got back to Cammidge House at exactly 11:30 am, the sun was shining, and the Delta Nats Ladies were there to welcome us.  Jennifer, Rochelle and Elizabeth had prepared their elaborate selection of home-made goodies including Scones, Ginger cookies, cakes, cheeses, fruits, etc., plus Sandra’s famous Egg Salad Sandwiches.  I know many participants feel this is the hi-lite and main attraction of these quarterly BOTB outings (Mike who?).  As I rushed out at 11:50 am to my Wednesday Noon hockey, a Red-tailed Hawk posed in the same spot as where the Cooper’s Hawk posed at 9:00 am.  A fitting ending to another enjoyable DNCB BOTB outing (don’t you just love initials?).

We 20 were: Roger, Mike B1, Mike B2, Terry, Elizabeth, Newbie Phyllis, accident-prone Pat S, David & Noreen (just back from Antarctica & Brazil), Johnny Mac, Valerie W, Margaretha, five MVP Interpreters named above, Jennifer, Rochelle and me.  Nicki(21) dropped by CH, but didn’t join the walk.

Next Tuesday, March 20, we will meet at and leave from Petra’s at 7:30 am for Stanley Park.  We plan to meet others at 8:15/8:30 am at the Swimming Pool parking lot (Second Beach), dependant on traffic.

Check out our website for more info, reports and photos.  As always, your comments are encouraged, and let me know if you want off my list to receive these rambling, tedious missives.  Cheers: Tom

Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists Society

Posted in *DNCB, Bald Eagle, BBRP, Birds-on-the-Bay, Centennial Beach, Cooper's Hawk, Dunlin, Mew Gull, Northern Harrier, Red-tailed Hawk, Sanderling | Leave a comment

DNCB Outing No. 2018-10 to Steveston Area

Fifteen DNCBers spent a beautiful Tuesday morning in several park areas along the south Fraser River between No. 5 Road and ending at Garry Point Park in Steveston.  Check out the, as always, scintillating photo evidence on our Flickr site at: https://www.flickr.com/search/?group_id=3027315%40N23&text=2018-10&view_all=1.

Eight of us car pooled in three vehicles from Petra’s at 7:30 am; Mike B1 took Terry C, PB Lorna & Mike B2, Glen B took Ladner Jack Mac, and I had Boundary Bay Valerie with me.  We drove smoothly through the tunnel and got to the designated meeting spot at Woodward’s Landing Campground at the end of No. 5 Road in Richmond at 8:00 am.  Others were there to meet us including Van City Lidia, the elusive Colin, Ken w/o Anne, Kirsten back from Rwanda, Langley Bob, “hide-and-seek” Roger, and time-challenged Margaretha; DNCBers lover their name in print.

Following preliminary gabble-gabble, we walked to the gate to the Girl Guides Camp where the Blue Jay has been seen all winter.  Beneath, and on, the Caretaker’s feeders were many species including four Sparrow (Song, Fox, White- and Golden-crowned), Juncos, Towhees, Chickadees, Robins, etc., but no Blue Jay.

Terry took the Group Photo,

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DNCB at Woodward’s Landing – photo by Terry Carr

then we decided to follow the Richmond Park Trail along the creek toward London Drugs facilities (over 1000 employees there).  Several Steller’s Jays were screaming, and among them Roger spotted the Blue Jay.

We all got decent looks at this eastern bird, the only one I know of west of the Rockies.  Of course for Easterners, this sighting is no big deal.

We decided to walk further along this quiet and quaint trail, sort of secluded among the warehouses.  Several Green-winged Teal, Mallards and American Wigeon in the creek, and we also saw Downy Woodpeckers, Anna’s Hummingbirds, a Brown Creeper and a Varied Thrush.

Back at the vehicle parking lot, a Cooper’s Hawk surprised and posed for us in a tree nearby, along with several Eurasian Collared-Doves.  We left here about 9:00 am and drove west along the Dyke Road toward Finn Slough, stopping occasionally to see

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D-C Cormorants (KB)

Cormorants, Common and Red-breasted Mergansers, Bufflehead and Harbour Seals in the Fraser.

We parked at Finn Slough and walked through this eclectic community. They call it a Heritage and Wetland Society, who claim they are not Squatters because they pay taxes, voluntarily (?).  Anyhow, it is a really neat place.  Colin and I walked the “No Entry” path behind the “homes” which were habited but no one seemed to be around.

Most were decorated with weird and wonderful stuff, artistic treasures, fishing stuff, surrounded by dilapidated boats.  Fascinating, check out the photos.

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Only little birds were flitting in the bushes here (Sparrows and House Finches).

Race Car Roger led the convoy of ten vehicles (terrible car-pooling with far too many singles) from Finn’s Slough back out the farm roads and around to where the Dyke Road resumes further west along the river.  Of course we got lost, but finally found Roger at the Dog Walk Park at the end of No. 3 Road.  He was unconcerned as he set up his scope on a Red-throated Loon.  In trying to entice Golden-crowned Sparrows closer,

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Rock Pigeons (KB)

Ken instead attracted hundreds of Pigeons which thrilled no one, while others looked at a Buteo on a tower on Kirkland Island that may have been a Rough-legged Hawk (or an immature Bald Eagle).

We continued west, Roger losing us again, but we met up at the Steveston Waterfront Park with the heritage fishing buildings, homes and museums.  Lots of construction here, but a fascinating walk along the boardwalk.  Among the old pylons in the harbour were a Pied-billed Grebe, Gadwall and Green-winged Teal.

Four Northern Flickers together in one tree was photogenic.  We met local Artist Alanna Victoria Hanson here, sitting at a picnic table in the middle of doing one of her renowned “storytelling” paintings.  We will anxiously look forward to seeing the finished version of her forest/Bald Eagle/Georgia Strait map montage.

Approaching 11:00 am, we tried, in vain again, to follow Roger through Steveston to Point Garry Park.  We eventually all got there, except Illusive Colin who must have given up.  It was warm and sunny as we strolled the circle trail past the Fisherman’s Memorial.  Lots of water in the centre where the kite flyers operate in the Summer.

Wigeons, including a number of Eurasian Wigeons were there, undisturbed by one weird Kite Flyer being pulled on his home-made three-wheeled cart.KB_kiter He quit after getting stuck in the mud several times.  Killdeer were there too, and we saw flocks of Brewer’s Blackbirds in the bushes (some hoped they were Brown-headed Cowbirds).  Interestingly, there was a big flock of Snow Geese (several hundred) lounging on and around the path as we made the circle.  They were unperturbed by us with no fear of humanity.

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A Red-tailed Hawk and Northern Harrier were in the marsh, as were about 50 Trumpeter Swans spread out along the shoreline.  We were blanked on PB Lorna’s Kingfisher, but a nice Hooded Merganser was in the slough, giving us our third Merganser species for the day.

We saw several Great Blue Herons too, and some of us wondered where they will nest, since the Tsatsu Shores Heronry doesn’t seem to be used this year, yet.

Approaching Noon, after heated discussion, 12 of us (see photo) decided to go to O’Hare’s Pub on Steveston Highway.  The array of food choices (our Aristocrat Glen had Shrimp Cocktail and Ale) was only exceeded by the 20 varieties of beer on tap.  Ken loved his Guinness, but I was very pleased with my Shepherd’s Pie and two pints of the House Lager (of course On Special).  It was another glorious DNCB outing.

Next Wednesday (not Tuesday), March 14, is our quarterly Birds on the Bay outing. We will meet at and leave historic Cammidge House at 9:00 am on our 2 ½ hour walk in Boundary Bay Regional Park, returning to CH at 11:30 am for the famous Delta Nats Ladies’ Goodies (see Rochelle’s poster below).

For more info, reports and photos, check out our website.  As always, your comments appreciated, and let me know if you want off my email list to receive these annoying missives.  Cheers: Tom

Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists Society (leaving now for Wednesday Noon hockey, grandparent duty tonight)

BOTB_2018-03-14March

Poster and photos by Rochelle Farquhar

Posted in *DNCB, Blue Jay, Brown Creeper, Cooper's Hawk, Eurasian Wigeon, Finn's Slough, Garry Point, Harbour Seal, Hooded Merganser, Northern Harrier, Pied-billed Grebe, Red-breasted Merganser, Red-tailed Hawk, Red-throated Loon, Steveston, Varied Thrush | Leave a comment

DNCB Outing No. 2018-09 to Reifel Bird Sanctuary, via Ferry terminal & TFN

Photos on this page by Brian Avent (BA), Pat Smart (PS) and Terry Carr (TC)
More photos by these photographers at our DNCB Flickr site

Spring is in the Air.  Fifteen DNCBers enjoyed a brisk but colourful Tuesday morning outing to the Tsawwassen Ferry jetty, through TFN and Ladner fields, and then wandering around our Mecca, Reifel Bird Sanctuary.  There are, and will be, some gorgeous photos on our Flickr site at: https://www.flickr.com/search/?group_id=3027315%40N23&text=2018-09&view_all=1.

Six of us (Roger with Mike B1 and PB Lorna, and Mike B2 & Terry with me) left Petra’s (see note at end) around 7:30 am and met a few others (Richmond Brian, North Delta Sisters Pat & Maureen and newbie Angela A dropped by for a few fleeting moments) at the pull-off on the jetty to the Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal.  It was cold and windy, but of course nobody was cold because we all know to “dress appropriately”.

A Common Goldeneye was close to us and some Brant Geese and Cormorants, both Pelagic and Double-crested, were at the “point” with the Wigeon, Mallards and a Red-breasted Merganser, but no large rafts as we’re used to seeing there.  The tide was very high.

A flock of Black Turnstones whizzed by, and we saw a couple of the resident Black Oystercatchers.  We crossed the road to the south side and more species were spread out there.  Bufflehead, Cormorants, Common Loon, Brant Geese, lots of Scoters, and interestingly a pair of “not so common for us” Black Scoters with two female Surf Scoters were very close to shore for our photogs.

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Horned Grebe (TC)

I saw all three Scoter species there.  We moved on quickly, stopping for a few moments at the terminal to see a few Horned Grebes, but couldn’t find the Harlequins.

Being “keen & casual” DNCBers, most refused to get out of their vehicles and fight the wind and cold.

We continued on to the Kingfisher Bridge and, of course, no Kingfisher seen, but an Anna’s Hummingbird perched for us.

The exuberant PB Lorna (Welcome back Lorna, and thanks for the long-lost & delicious PB Sandwich!) was disappointed at not seeing her favourite bird, but continued to smile, chat, and bring joy to her old friends.  A raft of Gadwall was in the TFN north pond, but not much else seen there or in the Ladner fields.  We were blanked on Meadowlarks and a Northern Shrike, but did see a few thousand Snow Geese feeding in a Westham Island field.

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Snow Geese (TC)

We got to Reifel about 9:20 am, where returnees Rob & Marylile were patiently and excitedly waiting.  Colin, Langley Bob and Pat’s friend Brian (aka Paul) were there too, but not nearly as excited to see us.  Also welcoming us in the parking lot were four Sandhill Cranes, dancing like crazy in their pre-mating rituals.  This was the first of our “Spring is in the Air” sightings.

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Black-crowned Night-Heron (BA)

We all shared greetings at the Reifel entrance, then began our walk past the Black-crowned Night-Herons (saw 3) and the hordes of Red-winged Blackbirds and House Sparrows.

 

 

Lesser Scaup and Northern Shovelers were in the House pond, and both pairs of Common and “mating” Hooded Mergansers in the Fuller Slough.

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Above us in their regular perching tree, a pair of Bald Eagles was also caught “doing it”.

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Of course, this Spring activity aroused a lot of smiling DNCBers for Roger’s Group Photo in front of the Snow Geese sign.

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DNCB at Reifel – photo by Roger Meyer

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Cedar Waxwing (BA)

A flock (5) of Cedar Waxwings almost interrupted our photo shoot.

We continued on along the East Dyke trail, searching in vain for the Sawhet Owl (seen Sunday).  But we saw lots of gorgeous stuff, up-close-and-personal, which is why we love Reifel.  Not only the many Wood Ducks, but also pairs of Ring-necked Ducks, Bufflehead, Lesser Scaup (and we think Greater too), Northern Pintails, Northern Shovelers, Gadwall, American Coots, American Wigeon (and a beaut male Eurasian Wigeon) and even Mallards, all in beautiful breeding plumage.

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A Sharp-shinned Hawk also posed for us nicely.

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Sharp-shinned Hawk (BA)

As for little birds, we saw Golden-crowned Kinglets (maybe a Ruby-crowned too) as well as lots of Song, Fox and Golden-crowned Sparrows, Towhees, Juncos, Finches, and the neatest sighting was a flock of a hundred Common Redpolls flitting en masse in a tree along the east dyke.  We tried in vain to pick out a Pine Siskin among them.

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Common Redpoll (BA)

Of course, hand-feeding the Chickadees, and even the brilliant Wood Ducks, was a treat.

A few of us fought the wind and climbed the Tower.  Lots of Trumpeter Swans spread out in the marsh as we looked across to Steveston.  Northern Harriers and Great Blue Herons soared by fighting the wind too.

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Northern Harrier (BA)

We avoided the outer trail, and returned via the Centre Dyke Trail.  No owls seen, but lots more close-up views.  Approaching Noon, we reached the Reifel entrance where lunch at Speed’s Pub in Ladner was the major decision.  I got “the call” for Grandparenting relief, so returned home to take the always-active grandson Thomas for a walk to give Grandma Sandra a break.  I missed Speed’s lunch, but made Kraft Dinner, of which Thomas ate half.  Albeit, it was another super DNCB morning.

Next Tuesday, March 6, we will leave Petra’s at 7:30 am for Steveston, and meet others around 8:00 am at Woodwards Landing Campground at the south end of No. 5 Road, where the Blue Jay has been seen.

Don’t forget our Nats monthly meeting next Tuesday March 6 at 7:30 pm with Eliza Olson giving her Presentation on the Ecology & Threats of Burns Bog.

As always, for more info, reports and photos, check out our website.  Your comments are welcome and let me know if you want off my email list to receive these annoying, rambling musings.  Cheers: Tom

Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists Society

NOTE:  A DNCBer got at $59.00 Ticket for parking behind Petra’s last week.  Apparently there is a new “No Parking” & “Towaway” sign there, and the ticket was issued by the Plaza Authorities.

Posted in *DNCB, Bald Eagle, Black Oystercatcher, Black Scoter, Black Turnstone, Black-crowned Night-Heron, Cedar Waxwing, Common Redpoll, Cooper's Hawk, Eurasian Wigeon, Hooded Merganser, Northern Harrier, Pelagic Cormorant, Red-breasted Merganser, Reifel, Ring-necked Duck, Sandhill Crane, TFN, Trumpeter Swan, Tsawwassen Ferry Port | Leave a comment

DNCB Outing No. 2018-08 to Victoria

Only 6 DNCBers spent a cool Tuesday on the ferry and wandering the seawall and parks of Victoria.  Check out Terry’s beautiful photo evidence on our Flickr site at: https://www.flickr.com/search/?group_id=3027315%40N23&text=2018-08&view_all=1.

Five of us (Terry, SLB Syd & Viviane, Mike B1 and me; we met Van City Lidia in Victoria) met in the dark on the 7:00 am ferry to Swartz Bay.  Still half price ($8:35) but going to Free in April for Seniors, we think.  Some of us had the renowned White Spot Breakfast on board, while Terry caught the gorgeous sunrise over Mt. Baker (see photos).

 

No rarities seen today; lots of gulls and cormorants seen from the side deck (Front deck was closed due to possible slipping on ice; it was cold).  We tried in vain to pick out Brandt Cormorants among the many Pelagic and Double-crested.

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Pelagic Cormorants (TC)

Among the thousands of gulls in Active Pass, we identified Mew and Glaucous-winged, and I’m sure there were Bonapartes too.  A few Pigeon Guillemots were near to where they nest on Galiano Island.

 

At Swartz Bay we loaded onto the top of the Double Decker Bus (5 bucks for all day transit).  It was a very pleasant drive through Sydney and downtown Victoria to the Parliament Buildings, although different from our normally later trips here as the trees and flowers were not in full bloom.  Lidia met us at the Parliament Buildings; lots of folk hanging around as it was Budget Day.  It was almost 10:00 am when we started our walk along the harbour front toward Ogden Point.

Victoria Harbour is a beautiful setting; among the yachts were several Hooded Mergansers, the resident Belted Kingfisher, and a few Common Mergansers resting on rocks.

 

Both ferries to the USA, the ancient Coho and the Clipper were there.  Interestingly, as the Clipper pulled into the harbour, Mike said it was its final run.  We also saw the new colourful “Luxury” V2V Catamaran ferry training for it’s new service between Victoria and Vancouver.  It’s always an interesting walk along the seawall here seeing the magical float homes at Fisherman’s Wharf, water taxis and Mike’s Condo.  Not many birds seen, though, as we reached the long break wall at Ogden Point around 11:00 am.

Although windy, the walk along the newly-protected breakwall produced some neat sightings.

 

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Lots of Harlequin Ducks, Bufflehead, Surf Scoters, Pigeon Guillemots, both Horned and Red-necked Grebes, Red-breasted Mergansers and a brilliant red Starfish.  Two Black Oystercatchers followed along with us on the inner harbour side of the walk.  A pleasant Walker took our Group Photo at the Point as my hockey mate Kevin P flew his Helijet Helicopter overhead into the heliport.

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DNCB at Ogden Point (TC)

Now Noon, we dined at the Breakwater Restaurant (formerly Ogden Point Café).  I wimped out with the delicious Soup & Salad Special and a coffee (Have I mentioned that it was cold?).  Fortunately, SLB Syd carried on the DNCB tradition, and had an IPA Lager.  After lunch, we continued our walk along the seawall toward Clover Point Park.  It’s a pleasant walk too; we several Hummingbirds, regular little sparrows and finches, and more of the previously mentioned seabirds seen in the bay.

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A Bald Eagle perched on top of a Totem Pole at Mile Zero was striking.  About here, Mike, who had left us earlier to check on his condo, picked us all up (yes 6 in his Toyota) and drove us to Clover Point.  We hoped to see Heermann’s Gulls and Brant Geese here, but didn’t, so he drove us back to the Beacon Hill Park entrance.

Approaching 2:30 pm, we were pressed for time so we sort of raced

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Anna’s Hummingbird (TC)

through the Park.  The best sighting was a couple of Anna’s Hummingbirds, and Viviane found the nest where the female, we suppose, was sitting on eggs (early, but not unusual).

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Anna’s Hummingbird (TC)

TC_PeacockThe Peacocks were in full form, and the huge flocks of Mallards and Wigeons were being well fed by visitors.  The Heronry was empty, but several Rhododendrons were in bloom (see Terry’s photo).  We cut through the Museum and got to the Bus Stop in time for our 3:39 departure to Swartz Bay.  Syd’s snoring didn’t bother us at all on the ride to the Ferry.

The Ferry ride to Tsawwassen was fairly uneventful.  It was cold and windy on the deck; we saw many of the same species before warming up inside.  The ferry was packed; unfortunately Lidia who had driven to Victoria, missed the 5:00 pm sailing.  Only Terry had the Buffet and Mike and I sponged Syd & Viviane’s ice cream.  We landed at Tsawwassen on time at 6:40 pm, and Syd and I got to my house in time for our 7:30 pm DNS Executive Meeting.  Although not as warm and exciting as our usual Victoria outings, this one was still very enjoyable with some hard core and very compatible DNCBers.

Next Tuesday, February 27, we will leave Petra’s at 7:30 am for a local outing to Reifel Bird Sanctuary, and perhaps Alaksen, too.  We will meet at Reifel shortly after 9:00 am, following our drive via the Ferry Terminal, TFN and Ladner fields.

It’s now Sunday morning, and I am leaving shortly for Heritage Day at Cammidge House.  Hope to see some of you there.  As always, your comments are welcome, check out our website for more info, reports and photos, and let me know if this drivel annoys you and you want off my email list.   Cheers: Tom

Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists Society (tardiness of report due to grandparenting, hockey, theatre, owl boxes, Nats meetings, shopping, shovelling snow, and domestic responsibilities)

Posted in *DNCB, Bald Eagle, Black Oystercatcher, Bonaparte's Gull, Fisherman’s Wharf, Harlequin Duck, Hooded Merganser, Mew Gull, Ogden Point, Pelagic Cormorant, Pigeon Guillemot, Red-breasted Merganser, Red-necked Grebe, Victoria | Leave a comment

DNCB Outing No. 2018-07 to Drayton Harbor/Semiahmoo Spit

More photos at our DNCB Flickr site

With a beautiful, but cold morning, 11 eager birders arrived at the meeting site at the entrance to Drayton Harbor in Blaine, USA, after an easy border crossing.  We won’t mention Jean’s tardiness.  For Tom’s benefit (our absent leader) we mention those present being Mikes One and Two, Rogers One and Two, Terry, Glen, Jack, Brian, Jean, Marion and newbie Angela.  Photos will be found on our Flickr site:  www.flickr.com/groups/dncb, then click the magnifying glass icon in the “Photo Pool” row, and add 2018-07 to “flickr_search_dncb-photosDNCB Photos” in the Search box at the top of the page.

At the base of the spit we scanned the bay, where we found large numbers of Pintail, Mallards, and a large flock of Dunlin, with many more flying in followed by a hunting Merlin which perched on top of a tree for us all to get a good look.  Farther out in the bay we could see an enormous number of loons, several Black Brant, more large flocks of Scoters, gulls, etc.

From the pier at the end of the jetty, looking at hundreds of loons, we were able to put names to Pacific, Common and a few Red-throated.  The Scoters were mainly Surf and White-winged.  There were Common Goldeneye and Bufflehead.  Some of us saw a Long-tailed Duck fly by, and there were several Horned and Red-necked Grebes spotted along the way.  Jean having arrived, we found a civilian willing to take our group photo to prove to Tom that we had actually done an outing.

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11 DNCB at Drayton Harbor – photo by Terry Carr

Moving on, we walked out between the boats in the marina where we had Common Goldeneye and a small group of beautiful Barrow’s Goldeneye.  A female Common Merganser, and a small number of Red-breasted ones were sighted, but no sign of the Belted Kingfisher which we had expected  to find.

Leaving the jetty, we headed for the Semiahmoo Spit, taking a brief stop at the end of the bay, where we found Lesser Yellowlegs (2), large numbers of Dunlin, more Pintail, some Bufflehead, and small numbers of Green-winged Teal (much greater numbers later on our return trip).  Moving on, we reached the parking lot at the base of the spit by the museum.  Unfortunately, we weren’t able to replicate our December sightings of Common Redpolls.

Looking out from the western shoreline, we could see more of the same species, but we also identified a single Black Scoter.  Looking south, there was a mirage-like vision of Black Brant and other birds looking like they were suspended in air… a trick of the light (hopefully our photographers will have evidence for our readers to see).  On the shore south of us there was no sign of any Roseate Spoonbills!

Crossing the road for a look along the east side of the spit, and then moving north along the shore, we found: a good look at a Red-throated Loon, Black Oystercatchers (2), Sanderling, Killdeer (2), Harlequin, Cormorants, and at least 25 Harbour Seals on the  marina floats.  We had seen in most of the locations, several Scaup, all of which appeared to be Lesser?  There were lots of gulls here, and over each of the areas, but the only identifications we made were for mostly Glaucous-winged, Mew, and Herring.  A Northern Flicker was sighted atop a tree along the way, and several Hummingbirds (probably Anna’s).

The real excitement began at the end of the spit looking back towards the Blaine side pier.  We started to pick up more Long-tailed Ducks, one flock contained seven.  We were able to sort out the loons, most of which were Pacific, many Common, and several Red-throated.  There were pockets that must have been rich with fish, as the group of Harbour Seals were very active in a confined area, and were surrounded by the loons eager to share the find.  Also, we had a good look at a group of 7 Black Scoters (Marion and Jean report seeing a group of 13 after their lunch… more than we’ve ever seen in one group before!)

The highlights of the day include the enormous numbers of loons, and the fact that, being close together, we were able to compare and contrast, enabling us to firm up our identification skills of the three species!  The sighting of the large number of Black Scoters and Long-tailed Ducks was exciting as well.  I also discovered that two of our members shared this day as their birthday (hint: their names are Mike One and Marion…)  Happy Birthday, you two!

Some members finished the day with lunch at the resort, while others of us headed for home to answer the call of various duties.

Next week our delinquent leader will have returned and will offer a more literate and interesting blog for every one’s reading pleasure.  Our outing on Tuesday Feb. 20th will be to Victoria. We will meet on the 7am ferry as foot passengers, and return on the 5pm ferry.  More details on the 2018 DNCB Outings page.

Roger One

Posted in *DNCB, Barrow's Goldeneye, Black Oystercatcher, Black Scoter, Drayton Harbor, Dunlin, Harbour Seal, Harlequin Duck, Herring Gull, Long-tailed Duck, Merlin, Mew Gull, Pacific Loon, Red-breasted Merganser, Red-necked Grebe, Red-throated Loon, Sanderling, Semiahmoo Spit | Leave a comment