DNCB Outing No. 2019-48 to Stanley Park

Twenty-four DNCBers enjoyed a mild, sunny, and productive, Tuesday morning at Stanley Park in downtown Vancouver.  We got lots of up-close-and-personal looks at some neat species; check out the amazing photo, and video, evidence on our DNCB Flickr site.

Some car-pooled from Petra’s at 7:30 am, others drove directly to the Second Beach parking lot.  Either way, it was a horrendous drive through the tunnel and onto Oak Street bridge, then it got a bit better through the city, but still very very slow.  It was after 9:00 am, when a seawall path walker took our Group Photo with 21 of the 24 participants.


DNCB at Stanley Park – photo by David Hoar

There were lots of Barrow’s, and a few Common Goldeneye in beaut plumage in English Bay.  A raft of Surf Scoters, some Bufflehead, a Horned Grebe were there too.  Bufflehead and American Wigeon were even diving/feeding in the swimming pool.

We decided to forego walking along the seawall and go directly into the park toward Lost Lagoon.  Tonnes of little birds everywhere in the trees and bushes along the path, including both Black-capped and Chestnut-backed Chickadees eating from Roger’s hand.  Both Ruby- and Golden-crowned Kinglets, Bewick’s and Pacific Wrens, Brown Creepers, Spotted Towhees, Fox and Song Sparrows were seen too.  Numerous pairs of glorious Wood Ducks and the almost-as-brilliant Hooded Mergansers were sparkling.  Even the “drying” Double-crested Cormorants were attractive.  Some saw three of the resident River Otters and the Beaver too.  A Pied-billed Grebe, a Eurasian Wigeon among the Americans, and a Peregrine Falcon flypast, were neat sightings as well in the lagoon. David recorded 36 species on our eBird list for the morning.

We leisurely circled the Lagoon and, as expected, the huge and chatty group got spread out. We gathered back at the swimming pool at 10:45 am, and decided to check out Beaver Lake before lunch.  We convoyed there, walked the kilometre trail around the lake, and were blanked on our target bird, Red-naped Sapsucker (gone south).  Glen and others were very pleased with the mushroom sightings.  We saw Northern Flickers and Downy Woodpeckers, but not much else, other than some friendly Steller’s Jays and more Mallards, Wigeons and Wood Ducks in the lake.  Now approaching Noon, we (11) decided to try out the new Stanley Park Brew Pub (formerly the Fish House) for lunch.

A Mahonia Bush outside the Brew Pub attracted about six Anna’s Hummingbirds which entertained our photogs before lunch.  Several DNCBers tried the different beers on tap, and one of the four beers in Jack’s sampler Flight, was described as horse sh.t.  My Cheeseburger, Fries, and pint of the Day Trip Lager were all very tasty.  It was a very enjoyable lunch and outing, but got tarnished by the $40 parking ticket on my windshield.  Someone “cheaped out” on purchasing a day ticket.

The 24 were: Organizer Terry, “Bird Whisperer” Roger, Mushroom Guru Glen, time-challenged, continuously positive & smiling Germanics Margaretha & Gabriele, directionally-challenged ILB Tony, Richmond Brian & Louise, New West Jonathan & Lorraine, Newbies Beach Grove Jeremy & North Van Jill, Burnaby Marion & VanCity Kirsten, TTFN David H w/o Noreen, Aussie Nance, Ladner Pam, Keener Janet, Spotter Debbi, Bird Box Team Jim & Jack,  North Delta Pat, West Van Lori and me.

Next Tuesday, November 26, we will leave Petra’s at 7:30 am on our outing to Blaine, Washington, around Drayton Harbour and Semiahmoo State Park.  We’ll meet and carpool from the Peace Arch Park parking lot behind the Duty-Free shop at 8:00 am.

For more info on this and other outings, reports and photos, see our website.

As always, your comments are encouraged, and let me know if this weekly inane drivel annoys you and you want off my email list.  Cheers: Tom

Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists Society (leaving tomorrow/Thursday for 4 days in Palm Springs to celebrate Sandra’s 70th Birthday)

Stanley Park – Lost Lagoon, 19-Nov-2019
34 species (+1 other taxa)
Canada Goose 29
Wood Duck 36
Eurasian Wigeon 1
American Wigeon 54
Mallard 49
Green-winged Teal (American) 3
Surf Scoter 60
Bufflehead 11
Common Goldeneye 3
Barrow’s Goldeneye 80
Hooded Merganser 4
Pied-billed Grebe 1
Horned Grebe 1
Anna’s Hummingbird 4
Ring-billed Gull 1
Glaucous-winged Gull 4
gull sp. 2
Double-crested Cormorant  9
Great Blue Heron  4
Bald Eagle  6
Downy Woodpecker  2
Northern Flicker  1
Peregrine Falcon  1
Steller’s Jay  1
Northwestern Crow  29
Black-capped Chickadee  14
Chestnut-backed Chickadee  2
Golden-crowned Kinglet  1
Ruby-crowned Kinglet  1
Brown Creeper  1
Pacific Wren  1
Bewick’s Wren  2
Fox Sparrow  5
Song Sparrow  15
Spotted Towhee  10

Stanley Park–Beaver Lake 19-Nov-2019
9 species
Wood Duck  16
Mallard  24
Anna’s Hummingbird  1
Bald Eagle  2
Steller’s Jay  4
Common Raven  1
Pacific Wren  1
Song Sparrow  3
Spotted Towhee  3

Stanley Park–tennis courts and heron colony 19-Nov-2019
Mahonia bush beside the Brew Pub
3 species
Anna’s Hummingbird  5
Northwestern Crow  1
Red-breasted Nuthatch  1

Species Total 36

Posted in *DNCB, Bald Eagle, Barrow's Goldeneye, Beaver, Beaver Lake, Brown Creeper, Eurasian Wigeon, Golden-crowned Kinglet, Hooded Merganser, Lost Lagoon, Peregrine Falcon, Pied-billed Grebe, River Otter, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Second Beach, Stanley Park | Leave a comment

DNCB Outing No. 2019-47 on Boundary Bay Dyke Trail at 104th St.

Eighteen DNCBers braved a rainy Tuesday morning walking the Boundary Bay dyke trail from 104th almost to 88th and back.  We saw thousands of shorebirds, waterfowl and other species; check out the photo evidence on our DNCB Flickr site (more coming).

Some left Petra’s at 7:30 am and we all met at 8:00 am at the entrance to the Delta Heritage AirPark on 104th Street.  Following the customary introduction of Newbies, and the chatfest about “WTF are we doing here on a day like this?”, we wandered up to the dyke trail.

Starting Group 104th

DNCB Starting Group – photo by David Hoar (not in picture)

The tide was receding, and there were thousands of Dunlin and hundreds of Black-bellied Plovers fairly close to shore.  There were thousands of ducks and Snow Geese along the water’s edge in the distance.  The number of birds feeding here in the Bay was simply astronomical.  We only had one scope, but everyone had good looks at the aforementioned species plus Greater Yellowlegs, the most numerous ducks, Green-winged Teal and Northern Pintail, and Bald Eagles which interestingly seemed to be singly posted among the shorebirds, about 50 metres apart all along the Bay.

With only one scope in the misty weather, we were unsuccessful picking out less-common species among the Dunlin and Plovers (e.g. Golden Plovers, Sandpiper species, Godwits, etc.), but we did see a couple of Sanderling.  We spent a lot of time scouring the bushes and shrubs along the trail for “little birds” of which there were lots, but mostly common species like Sparrows (Song, White- & Golden-crowned, Fox), Finches (House) and Spotted Towhees.  We did pick out one or two Lincoln’s Sparrows.  David recorded 26 species on his eBird List for the outing.

The rain stopped, but it was still overcast and our bins occasionally fogged up. On the walk back, we finally got a Falcon (Peregrine, we think).  Lots of Northern Harriers, some Eurasian Collared-Doves, tonnes of Redwings and Starlings.

Approaching 11:30 am, we aborted the outing and eleven of us retired to the Skyhawk Restaurant at nearby Boundary Bay Airport.  Mike enjoyed the Denver Omelette (my recommendation from my yesterday’s Remembrance Day brunch there), Glen had the only Beer (Pale Ale, I had two delicious Honey Lagers yesterday), and I had a huge, scrumptious, Hot Roast Beef on Toast with Mushrooms, Onions & Gravy, Cube Fried Potatoes, and a Coffee (yes coffee, I was a bit chilly from carrying the scope and regrettably nixed the Beer).  Anyhow, everyone enjoyed their brunch, and especially the affable Maddy’s service (She took our Group Photo too).

Lunch at Airport

Lunch at Boundary Bay Airport – photo by David Hoar

The 18 Weirdos were: Organizer Terry, Historian Mikey B,  North Delta Pat & newbie Gloria, Worldly David & Noreen, Richmond Brian & Louise, White Rock Colin & Wazza, Johnny Mac, Chauffeur Roger Two, still newbie Vancouver’s Lori d’A, Ladner Pam Two & Matt, Langley Bob, our Flickr & Photog Guru Glen, and me.  Despite the weather, it was another very enjoyable DNCB outing.

Next Tuesday, November 19, we will leave Petra’s at 7:30 am for Stanley Park.  We’ll meet others at the 2ndBeach parking lot, by the swimming pool, around 8:15 to 8:30 am, depending on traffic.

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

Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists Society (Wow, quick report eh)

Boundary Bay, Delta Nov 12, 2019
26 species
Snow Goose  2130     Thousands offshore  Tide out
Canada Goose  22
Northern Pintail  1000     Thousands of ducks offshore (falling tide)  many are probably Northern Pintails
Green-winged Teal  X     Hundreds
Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon)  3
Eurasian Collared-Dove  2
Black-bellied Plover  27
Sanderling  2
Dunlin  X     Thousands
Greater Yellowlegs  7
Ring-billed Gull  1
Glaucous-winged Gull  X
Northern Harrier  4
Bald Eagle  15
Peregrine Falcon  1
Northwestern Crow  6
Black-capped Chickadee  7
American Robin  2
House Finch  5
Fox Sparrow  1
White-crowned Sparrow  28
Golden-crowned Sparrow  3
Song Sparrow  4
Lincoln’s Sparrow  2
Spotted Towhee  3
Red-winged Blackbird  215


Posted in *DNCB, 104 Street, Bald Eagle, Black-bellied Plover, Boundary Bay, Delta Heritage AirPark, Dunlin, Lincoln’s Sparrow, Northern Harrier, Peregrine Falcon, Sanderling | Leave a comment

DNCB Outing No. 2019-46 to Iona Regional Park

Twenty-eight (Wow!) DNCBers enjoyed another super Tuesday outing to Iona Regional Park and the adjacent sewage ponds.  The weather was dry and comfortable and we had lots of neat sightings, including an uncommon-here American Tree Sparrow.  Check out the spectacular photo evidence on our DNCB Flickr site.

Several car-pooled from Petra’s at 7:30 am; an accident before the tunnel delayed some, who saw a Northern Shrike along the airport road.  Most arrived at the Iona washroom parking lot by 8:30 am, and MV Parks Melanie B took the first Group Photo overlooking the front pond where, interestingly, were a Common Goldeneye, some Bufflehead, and a lone Ruddy Duck.


DNCB at Iona RP – photo by Jim Kneesch

A good start to the outing, as I introduced the six Newbies and, of course, the Chatfest began.

The tide was way out, so we decided to take the inland trails first and do the beach at the end.  Lots of little birds in the bushes.  We were blanked on warblers, but got several Sparrow species (Song, Fox, White- & Golden-crowned, plus the not-so-common Lincoln’s and the uncommon American Tree), and both House & Purple Finches.  A flock of Double-crested Cormorants gave us their regular morning V fly past (don’t know where they’re going, or where they’re coming from).

We entered the back gate to the sewage ponds and the northwest pond was full of ducks; Northern Pintail, Northern Shovelers, American Wigeon, Green-winged Teal, Gadwall and Mallards.  More of the same in other ponds, plus a Ring-necked Duck and American Coots. Some saw both Bewick’s and a Marsh Wren with sparrows in the pond bushes.  Lots of Peregrine and Merlin sightings, plus Cooper’s Hawks, but the special find was the American Tree Sparrow (nest in the Arctic and seem more common in eastern Canada).  A flock of Peeps flew quickly by, but Long-billed Dowitchers and a lone Greater Yellowlegs were the only Shorebirds actually seen in the ponds.  David recorded over 40 species on his eBird list for the outing (see below).


DNCB at Iona Sewage Ponds – photo by Jim Kneesch

Leaving these ponds, we walked the trail along the Fraser River.  We had seen several small flocks of Lesser Snow Geese flying overhead, and a large flock was feeding on the north side of the river.  We learned at tonight’s Delta Nats meeting from our presenter Sean Boyd of Canadian Wildlife Service that these Russian birds bred very successfully in 2019 on Wrangel Island, and we’ll have way more than 100,000 birds in our lower mainland this fall and winter.  We were blanked on Meadowlarks, Snow Buntings and Killdeer, but my hockey buddy Mikey Y piloting his Helijet Helicopter on a flypast was a nice sighting.  With the now high tide, the flocks of Snow Geese and Green-winged Teal were pushed close to shore, and gave our photogs a thrill.  And the juvenile Cooper’s Hawk posed too.

Now close to 11:30 am, we decided to end the outing.  Eight of us decided to dine at the Flying Beaver, charmingly overlooking another arm of the Fraser.  The cheerful Jessica served us and my Beef Dip, Salad (plus Jim’s chips), and two pints of Sapporo Draught (on Special) was simply scrumptious.  I was home before 1:30 pm, surprising Sandra and Auntie Barbara, and with plenty of time to prepare for the Nats AGM.  Another awesome DNCB outing.

The 28 were: Organizer Terry, Guru Anne, Wanderer Roger & historian Mike B, Limping Lidia, Richmond Brian & Louise, Worldlies David & Noreen, ILB Tony, Marion & Lasqueti Marti, Chatty (but in a nice way) Debbi, Jim, Chris McV, Ladner Jack Mac, Mushroomer Glen, Germanics Margaretha & Gabriele, Johnny Mac, Ladner Pam, recorder Janet H, and the all-female Newbies Susan, Gail, Ladner Pam Two, Jan P, and “I forget” (Lori d’Agincourt), and me.

Next Tuesday, November 12, we’ll leave Petra’s at 7:30 am for the Boundary Bay dyke trail, meeting others at the Heritage AirPark at 104th Street at 8:00 am.

For more info on our outings, meetings and events, plus reports and photos, check out our website.  As always, your comments are encouraged, and let me know if these weekly inane diatribes (aka drivel) annoy you and you want off my mailing list.  Cheers: Tom

Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists Society (2:00 am and insanely early writing this report)

Iona Island Nov 5, 2019 
43 species (+1 other taxa)
Snow Goose  1200
Canada Goose  7
Northern Shoveler  10
Gadwall  X
American Wigeon  X
Mallard  X
Northern Pintail  X
Green-winged Teal  X
Ring-necked Duck  1
Bufflehead  4
Common Goldeneye  1
Ruddy Duck  1
Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon)  9
American Coot  3
Long-billed Dowitcher  97
Greater Yellowlegs  1
Ring-billed Gull  1
California Gull  2
Glaucous-winged Gull  6
gull sp.  14
Double-crested Cormorant  6
Great Blue Heron  2
Cooper’s Hawk  2
Bald Eagle  3
Merlin  2
Peregrine Falcon  1
Northern Shrike  1
Northwestern Crow  9
Black-capped Chickadee  2
Marsh Wren  2
Bewick’s Wren  1
European Starling  6
American Robin  19
House Finch  13
Purple Finch  3
American Tree Sparrow  1
Fox Sparrow  2
Dark-eyed Junco  3
White-crowned Sparrow  4
Golden-crowned Sparrow  11
Song Sparrow  12
Lincoln’s Sparrow  1
Spotted Towhee  4
Red-winged Blackbird  2

Posted in *DNCB, American Tree Sparrow, Cooper's Hawk, Iona, Lesser Snow Goose, Lincoln’s Sparrow, Long-billed Dowitcher, Northern Shrike, Peregrine Falcon, Purple Finch, Ring-necked Duck, Ruddy Duck | Leave a comment

DNCB Outing No 2019-45 to Whidbey Island, USA

ploFourteen DNCBers enjoyed a beautiful sunny and clear Tuesday visiting several parks on Whidbey Island in Washington State, plus a magnificent ferry ride.  There are already some spectacular shots on our DNCB Flickr site (more to come).

Some left Petra’s at 7:00 am and we all met at the Peace Arch Park parking lot at 7:30 am for carpooling brilliantly in 4 vehicles.  No wait at the Border, and the two hour drive down highway 5 to 20, and over the Deception Pass bridge to the Keystone Ferry Terminal at Coupeville on Whidbey Island was smooth and interesting, especially riding with Mike in his chariot along with Langley’s finest birder Welshman Gareth.

All vehicles, including loner Lidia, arrived well before the 10:15 am ferry departure, so we were able to wander around the terminal shore.  Got good looks at Pigeon Guillemots, a Rhinoceros Auklet, Harlequin Ducks, and Yellowlegs, and other ducks, mostly Northern Pintail, in the distance.  Noreen took the Group Photo on the bow of the ferry as we left on the 40 minute ride to Port Townsend.

2019-45 DNCB_Whidbey_NR

DNCB on Ferry to Port Townsend – photo by Noreen Rudd

It was cold and windy on the bow, but some of us persevered and we got some decent sightings.  Mostly guillemots, but some picked out a Common Murre, both Horned and Red-necked Grebes, Surf & White-winged Scoters, Long-tailed Duck, an Heermann’s Gull among the Mew, Ring-billed and Glaucous-winged, Common and Pacific Loons (We had a Red-throated Loon later), as well as Harbour Porpoises.  At Port Townsend, we carefully examined the many cormorants and could easily distinguish Pelagic, Brandt’s and Double-crested as they were grouped together on pier pylons.

I should mention that the scenery was spectacular, across the Olympic mountains, Mount Baker, even across the Salish Sea to Victoria and Vancouver Island.  And the Growler Jets didn’t bother us until the afternoon over Deception Pass State Park.  We spent the whole ferry ride on the outside deck, getting back to Coupeville at 11:30 am.  Before lunch, we walked the short path to view the birds on Crocket Lake.  A Killdeer-like, Semi-palmated Plover, along with a Least Sandpiper and a flock of Yellowlegs, aroused our ID skills here.

We then walked up the hill to Fort Casey, carrying our bag lunches.  A family of California Quail and a passing Peregrine Falcon provided some excitement along the way.  We decided to eat at the picnic tables in the huge open area of the Fort as two Deer and a fat feral pussy cat watched us.  My Peanut Butter & Saltine Crackers, Fruit cup, Tangerine, Gala Apple, and bottle of G Water hit the spot (I saved the two cans of Coor’s Light until later).

We took the forest trail/road back down to the ferry terminal and our vehicles.  Lots of neat little birds in the trees including: Bewick’s & Pacific Wrens, Chestnut-backed & Black-capped Chickadees, Golden- & Ruby-crowned Kinglets, large flock of Bushtits, and a Fox Sparrow.  We drove the 45 minutes back up the island to the West Beach in Deception Pass State Park.  On arrival, we noticed on a rock island close to shore, covered with gulls, that smaller birds were moving lower down near the water level.  On closer examination, they were Surfbirds and Black Turnstones.  And in the bay was a Red-throated Loon, along with a possible Western Grebe.  In Cranberry Lake were Pied-billed Grebes, Northern Shovelers and Bufflehead.  Walking back to the vehicles, a Garter Snake wiggled across the path in front of me.  I wonder if this was a sign as it happened right after I received the call as to how much the repairs to my Range Rover were going to cost me.

Our last stop in this park was across the bridge to Rosario Head and its scenic circular trail.  The main attraction here this day was an Elephant Seal, lounging very close to the trail, but temporarily fenced off for protection by Park staff.  More of the same stuff seen here as we looked across the Pass to West Beach where we were previously.  More Group Photos taken at the Lookout as the jets flew by in formation.  It was 4:00 pm in the parking lot, while we’re looking at Brown Creeper creeping, that we decided to head for home.  I think David will have close to 60 species on his eBird list for the day.

The drive home was relaxing and uneventful (we didn’t stop at a Pub), and the Border was annoying, but we got through easily and at the Peace Arch parking lot by 5:30 pm.  And I was home before 6:00 in time to have a couple of beer with Mikey, Sandra, Auntie Barbara, then the “calamitous” arrival of Erica and grandkids Thomas & Callum.  It was another glorious DNCB outing.

The fourteen were: David & Noreen drove Terry & Ladner Pam, Richmond Brian & Louise drove Colin & ILB Tony, Glen had newbie Hadas, Mike drove Langley Gareth & me, and limping loner VanCity Lidia.

Next Tuesday, November 5, our destination is Iona Regional Park.  We’ll leave Petra’s at 7:30 am and meet others at the Iona washrooms around 8:00 am, depending on traffic.

Also, on the evening of November 5th is our Delta Nats monthly meeting, and AGM, with renowned CWS Sean Boyd presenting on Climate Change and its effect on Wetlands & Salmon.  All welcome (free) at the Benediction Lutheran Church in Tsawwassen, 7:30 pm.

Also, on Saturday evening November 2, the Boundary Bay Park Association is hosting a 2 hour Owl Walk in Boundary Bay Regional Park, meeting and leaving from historic Cammidge House at 5:30 pm.

For more info on outings, events, reports and photos, see our Nats website.  As always, your comments are encouraged and let me know if these far-too-long missives are so annoying that you want off my email list.  Happy Halloween.  Cheers: Tom

Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists Society

Keystone Ferry Landing, Whidbey Island, Washington
13 species (+2 other taxa)
American Wigeon  X     Distant
Green-winged Teal  25
Red-breasted Merganser  1
peep sp.  50
Greater Yellowlegs  15
Pigeon Guillemot  3
Rhinoceros Auklet  1
Glaucous-winged Gull  2
Double-crested Cormorant  2
cormorant sp.  X     Distant on pier
Great Blue Heron  3
Bald Eagle  2
Northwestern Crow  4
European Starling  3
House Finch  12

Port Townsend-Keystone Ferry
16 species (+1 other taxa)
Surf Scoter  1
White-winged Scoter  2
Long-tailed Duck  1
Red-necked Grebe  1
Common Murre  1
Pigeon Guillemot  X     Many
Rhinoceros Auklet  1
Heermann’s Gull  1
Mew Gull  1
Ring-billed Gull  2
California Gull  4
Glaucous-winged Gull  3
gull sp.  X
Pacific Loon  1
Brandt’s Cormorant  8
Pelagic Cormorant  6
Double-crested Cormorant  1

Fort Casey State Park
24 species
Northern Pintail  65
California Quail  3
Semipalmated Plover  1
Dunlin  8
Least Sandpiper  2
Greater Yellowlegs  18
Great Blue Heron  5
Northern Harrier  1
Cooper’s Hawk  1
Peregrine Falcon  1
Northwestern Crow  10
Black-capped Chickadee  1
Chestnut-backed Chickadee  4
Bushtit  18
Golden-crowned Kinglet  4
Ruby-crowned Kinglet  1
Red-breasted Nuthatch  1
Pacific Wren  1
Bewick’s Wren  4
Fox Sparrow  2
White-crowned Sparrow  3
Golden-crowned Sparrow  3
Song Sparrow  2
Spotted Towhee  1

Deception Pass SP — West Beach
15 species (+1 other taxa)
Northern Shoveler  5
Harlequin Duck  3
Surf Scoter  6
Bufflehead  28
Red-breasted Merganser  12
Pied-billed Grebe  3
Black Turnstone  5
Surfbird  5
Mew Gull  1
gull sp.  60
Common Loon  1
Bald Eagle  2
Northwestern Crow  3
Chestnut-backed Chickadee  1
House Finch  1
Dark-eyed Junco  2

Rosario Beach / Rosario Head, Skagit
10 species (+2 other taxa)
Harlequin Duck  3
Surf Scoter  1
Horned Grebe  1
Red-necked Grebe  2
Western Grebe  1
gull sp.  6
Red-throated Loon  1
Common Loon  2
cormorant sp.  11
Northern Flicker  1
Bushtit  12
Brown Creeper  1

if the Trumpeter Swans seen en-route are added, the daily total would be 60.

Posted in *DNCB, Black Turnstone, Brandt's Cormorant, Brown Creeper, California Quail, Common Murre, Coupeville, Cranberry Lake, Crocket Lake, Deception Pass, Elephant Seal, Fort Casey, Garter snake, Harbour Porpoise, Harlequin Duck, Heermann's Gull, Least Sandpiper, Long-tailed Duck, Mew Gull, Pacific Loon, Pelagic Cormorant, Peregrine Falcon, Pied-billed Grebe, Pigeon Guillemot, Port Townsend, Red-necked Grebe, Red-throated Loon, Rhinoceros Auklet, Semi-palmated Plover, Surfbird, Whidbey Island | Leave a comment

DNCB Outing No. 2019-44 to Tsawwassen Ferry terminal & Reifel Bird Sanctuary

Twenty-one DNCBers finally enjoyed a sunny day in Delta and had a very productive outing, first to the Tsawwassen Ferry terminal, then our “Mecca” Reifel Bird Sanctuary.  Check out the photo evidence of our bird, mushroom, plant and people sightings on our DNCB Flickr site.

Some left Petra’s at 7:30 am and met others along the way at the Ferry terminal, in the Ladner fields, or at the entrance to Reifel around 9:15 am.  The resident Black Oystercatchers, Black Turnstones, Harlequin Ducks and both Pelagic and Double-crested Cormorants were all at the terminal along with a Red-necked Grebe, Surf Scoters and other migrant duck species.  We stopped on 34B in the Ladner fields to watch 5 Western Meadowlarks, which turned out to be 14 birds when they rose from the wheat stubble.

When we arrived at Reifel, the chatfest began as we introduced the two Newbie “professionals” CWS Andrew H and Birds Canada (formerly BSC) Graham S.  We love it when young birders, with 20/20 vision and good hearing, join us oldies.  Three Sandhill Cranes and the Black-crowned Night-Heron were at the entrance too, and Anna’s Hummingbirds at the feeder.  David took the mandatory Group Photo at the Reifel Snow Goose interpretive sign.


DNCB at Reifel – photo by David Hoar

We followed the East Dyke Trail and had tonnes of neat sightings.  Two Peregrine Falcons were seen several times, likely hunting the many small birds we saw, such as Yellow-rumped Warblers, Golden-crowned Kinglets, Brown Creeper, four Sparrow species, three Finch species (Purple, House and American Goldfinch), lots of Cedar Waxwing, and other common species.  Cackling Geese were among the Canada Geese in the potato field.  David recorded 63 species on his eBird lists for the day (see below).

At the northwest corner, sharp-eyed Graham found a Northern Saw-whet Owl, interestingly with his next breakfast, a large mouse (or rat) hanging beside him on his perch.


Northern Saw-whet Owl – photo by Roger M

Lots of noisy Chickadees around the Saw-whet, but they took frequent time-outs to eat seeds from our outstretched hands.  Red-winged Blackbirds, Rock Pigeons and even a Red-breasted Nuthatch were not shy and ate from our hands too.

At the Tower, we took the West or Seaward Dyke trail.  We couldn’t rouse the Virginia Rails, but among the waterfowl in the pond we found our second Bird of the Day (Saw-whet was first), two Ruddy Ducks.  They were among the many newly-arrived wintering species in these outer ponds, Northern Shovelers, Northern Pintail, Green-winged Teal, beautiful sleek Gadwall, Mallards and American Wigeon.  We eventually found an Eurasian Wigeon among the thousands of waterfowl.

The flock of Long-billed Dowitchers were in the next pond.  Hiding among them were a few Dunlin.  We also saw a Greater Yellowlegs.  We heard several gun shots, and thousands of Lesser Snow Geese were flying overhead.  Must be a good year for this species as a Hunter told me the day’s limit was 10 birds.

We moved inland along the Cross Dyke trail to the Auger Trail.  A perched Merlin excited our photogs, then a Peregrine whizzed by again.  In these inner Display ponds we found several Ring-necked Ducks, gorgeous Hooded Mergansers and Wood Ducks, Greater Scaup, Pied-billed Grebes, and the Belted Kingfisher.  Already past Noon, we decided to head to the exit and then lunch at our regular spot, Speed’s Pub in Ladner.

Only nine for lunch, and I couldn’t pass up their Special of Cod Fish & Chips with two pints of Speed’s Lager; cheap and delicious, served by the beautifully-jewelled Calli. Home in time for the movies with Sandra, AB and neighbour Dar: saw Judy with Renee Zellweger.  Another awesome DNCB day.

The 21 were: Terry the Organizer, Roger the Driver, David the eBirder & Driver, Glen the Mushroom Guy, Guru Anne, our Historian Mike B, Newbie “Pro’s” Graham S & Andrew H, VanCity Lidia, North Delta Liz, Burnaby’s unforgettable Marion, returnee Vancouverite Janet H, Roger Two, Ladner Pam, Photog Richmond Brian, our South Surrey Bro’s Wazza & Colin, time challenged Debbi H, PB Lorna, our Moneyman Jim K and me.

Next Tuesday, October 29 is our day-long, semi-annual outing to Whidbey Island, USA.  Terry asked me to post these instructions:
• We will leave Petra’s at 7am, and carpool from Peace Arch parking lot at 7:30.
• We will take the 10:15 ferry from Keystone to Port Townsend as foot passengers.  There is more info in these reports of our previous trips to Whidbey Island.

Also this Thursday, October 24, we will be examining and cleaning our Swallow and Barn Owl boxes at Kings Links Golf Course, with some Delta NatureKids.

For more info on our outings, events, and other reports and photos, visit our website.  As always, your comments are encouraged, and let me know if these lengthy missives of verbal diarrhea annoy you and you want off my email list.  Cheers: Tom

Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists Society

David’s eBird Lists
Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal Jetty
13 species (+3 other taxa)
Mallard 85
Greater/Lesser Scaup 1
Harlequin Duck 1
Surf Scoter X Lots offshore
Horned Grebe 1
Red-necked Grebe 1
Black Oystercatcher 21
Black Turnstone 6
peep sp. X Murmuration distant
Glaucous-winged Gull 4
gull sp. 12
Common Loon 1
Pelagic Cormorant 1
Double-crested Cormorant 1
Great Blue Heron 5
European Starling 500

Delta-Deltaport Way
10 species
Snow Goose 2500 2000 estimated
Great Blue Heron 3
Northern Harrier 2
Bald Eagle 2
Northern Flicker 1
Black-capped Chickadee 2
European Starling 15
White-crowned Sparrow 2
Golden-crowned Sparrow 1
Song Sparrow 2

Ladner Fields
1 species
Western Meadowlark 14

Reifel Bird Sanctuary
Checklist Comments: I reviewed dowitcher photos to get positive ID on long and short looking at body profile or supercillium and duck photos to confirm 2 Eurasian Wigeon
52 species (+2 other taxa)

Snow Goose 5000 Estimated
Cackling Goose 85
Canada Goose 35
Wood Duck 4
Northern Shoveler 26
Gadwall 11
Eurasian Wigeon 3
American Wigeon X Hundreds
Mallard X Hundreds
Northern Pintail 13
Green-winged Teal X Dozens
Ring-necked Duck 6
Greater Scaup 3
Hooded Merganser 4
Ruddy Duck 2
Pied-billed Grebe 3
Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon) 15
Anna’s Hummingbird 3
American Coot 4
Sandhill Crane 3
Dunlin 6
Long-billed Dowitcher 35 confirmed from photos of group of 244
Short-billed/Long-billed Dowitcher 236
Greater Yellowlegs 1
gull sp. 1
Great Blue Heron 29
Black-crowned Night-Heron 1
Northern Harrier 2
Bald Eagle 2
Northern Saw-whet Owl 1
Belted Kingfisher 1
Northern Flicker 2
Merlin 1
Peregrine Falcon 3
Steller’s Jay 1
Northwestern Crow 1
Black-capped Chickadee 16 Dozens following and in pockets
Golden-crowned Kinglet 2
Red-breasted Nuthatch 2
Brown Creeper 1
Marsh Wren 1
European Starling 10
American Robin 17
Cedar Waxwing 12
House Sparrow 2
House Finch 5
Purple Finch 3
Dark-eyed Junco 11
White-crowned Sparrow 1
Golden-crowned Sparrow 5
Song Sparrow 5
Spotted Towhee 5
Red-winged Blackbird 21
Yellow-rumped Warbler 7

TOTAL Species for 2019-44:  63


Posted in *DNCB, Black Oystercatcher, Black Turnstone, Black-crowned Night-Heron, Brown Creeper, Cackling Geese, Dunlin, Eurasian Wigeon, Harlequin Duck, Hooded Merganser, Lesser Snow Goose, Long-billed Dowitcher, Merlin, Northern Saw-whet Owl, Pelagic Cormorant, Peregrine Falcon, Pied-billed Grebe, Purple Finch, Red-necked Grebe, Reifel, Ring-necked Duck, Ruddy Duck, Sandhill Crane, Tsawwassen Ferry Port, Western Meadowlark, Yellow-rumped Warbler | Leave a comment

DNCB Report No. 2019-43 to Jericho Beach Park

Twenty-four DNCBers wandered around Jericho Beach Park in Vancouver on an overcast, but dry Tuesday morning.  We had a few neat sightings, lots of post-Thanksgiving chats, and a delightful lunch.  Check out the photo evidence on our DNCB Flickr site.

We (12) car-pooled nicely in three vehicles from Petra’s around 7:30 am.  Traffic was fine through the tunnel, but Oak Street Bridge was horrendous.  I followed Magellan Roger and, predictably, our shortcuts through Dunbar and almost every side street in Vancouver got us to Jericho Beach surprisingly only 15 minutes after everyone else (~8:40 am).  The masses were waiting, and Terry had organized our free parking on a side street.  Noreen took our first Group Photo here before we walked to the beach.

2019-43_Jericho_DNCB_ontime gang DSC00649 Oct 15

DNCB at Jericho Beach – the on-time gang – photo by Noreen Rudd

The beach was quiet, water calm and flat, and the view across English Bay to downtown Vancouver, Stanley Park, and the mountains in the background was spectacular, despite being overcast.

Two Bufflehead, Common Loons, Horned Grebes, and both Pelagic and Double-crested Cormorants were the bird attractions on the Bay, among the many anchored Freighters.  Then we walked around the ponds in the park.  Of note, we saw Kinglets, both Ruby- and Golden-crowned, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Pacific Wren, American Goldfinches, five Sparrow species (Savannah, Song, White- & Golden-crowned, and Fox), Anna’s Hummingbird, Bushtits, Downy Woodpecker, plus other regular common birds.  A lone juvenile Snow Goose circled over our heads and landed in a pond, pleasing our photogs.  No other rarities in the ponds, only Mallards, American Wigeon and Great Blue Herons.  Lots of wild (domestic) Rabbits around.  David reported 34 species on his eBird list for the day.

We walked out the Jericho Pier to see the fishermen.  They periodically pulled in their Crab Traps, which always contained Crabs, but all too small for keeping while we were there.  A Harbour Seal was entertaining, seeking photogs attention.  The walk back to the vehicles, via the treed area (including Redwoods, Big Leaf Maple) on the other side of the ponds produced many of the afore-mentioned bird species.  Terry was fascinated by the recent activity of the resident Beaver.  We got back to the vehicles around 11:10 am and, after Noreen took the Group Photo of all 23 of us,

2019-43_Jericho_DNCB_late gang DSC00713

DNCB at Jericho Beach Park – including latecomers – – photo by Noreen Rudd

and wanting to avoid the predicted Noon rainfall, we decided to go for early lunch at Aphrodite’s Organic Café & Pie Shop on 4h Avenue (Terry’s choice for the desserts).

My organic stuffed French Toast with fresh fruits on the side, along with an “okay” organic Honey Ale (no lagers on Tap), was huge and delicious.  The service was excellent too, but the 18% automatic gratuity for a large group (12) pissed off a number of us.  I was happy as my Aussie guests Graham & Merrelyn picked up my bill.  The drive home in light rain was smooth and uneventful (1:30 pm).  Another super DNCB outing.

We 24 were: Short-cut Roger, Mike B, PB Lorna, David & Noreen, Jonathan & Lorraine, South Surrey Warren (Wazza) & Lynne and Colin, VanCity Kirstin, Ladner Pam, newbie/returnee Janet H, Torontonian Brian R & Cindy C, Richmond Brian, Glen B, our lovable Germanics Margaretha & Gabriele, Gerhard L, visiting West Australians Graham & Merrelyn, our Organizer and pie-lover Terry C,  and me.

Next Tuesday, October 22, is a local outing to Reifel Bird Sanctuary, meeting at the entrance shortly after 9:00 am.  We’ll leave Petra’s at 7:30 am and visit the Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal first.

Also, on Sunday, October 20, Delta Nats will be exhibiting in the Welcome Back the Birds event at Harris Barn in Ladner, 1:00 to 5:00 pm.  Please join us at this free family event.

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

Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists Society (timely report for a change, playing hockey tomorrow)

Vancouver–Jericho Park Oct 15, 2019
34 species (+1 other taxa)

Snow Goose  1
Canada Goose  20
American Wigeon  44
Mallard  19
Bufflehead  2
Horned Grebe  3
Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon)  7
Anna’s Hummingbird  1
Ring-billed Gull  16
Glaucous-winged Gull  2
Pelagic Cormorant  2
Double-crested Cormorant  2
cormorant sp.  55
Great Blue Heron  4
Downy Woodpecker  1
Northern Flicker  3
Northwestern Crow  21
Black-capped Chickadee  17
Bushtit  15
Ruby-crowned Kinglet  9
Golden-crowned Kinglet 1
Pacific Wren  2
Bewick’s Wren  1
American Robin  3
House Finch  6
American Goldfinch  15
Fox Sparrow  4
Dark-eyed Junco  8
White-crowned Sparrow  1
Golden-crowned Sparrow  14
Savannah Sparrow  1
Song Sparrow  5
Spotted Towhee  8
Red-winged Blackbird  1
Orange-crowned Warbler  1


Posted in *DNCB, Golden-crowned Kinglet, Harbour Seal, Jericho Beach, Pelagic Cormorant, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Yellow-rumped Warbler | Leave a comment

DNCB Outing No. 2019-42 to Brunswick Point

Nineteen DNCBers braved the windy and cool elements on what turned out to be a very pleasant and productive Tuesday morning outing along the dike trail at Brunswick Point.  We saw lots of migrant waterfowl and shorebirds, and other good stuff; check out the photo evidence on our DNCB Flickr site.

Some car-pooled from Petra’s at 7:30 am and we all met at 8:00 am at the Ladner River Road entrance to the Brunswick Point trail.  It was overcast, occasionally spitting rain, windy and cold; I was surprised to see so many keeners showing up.  We started our stroll along the trail and had a few sightings, despite being unable to hear any birds because of the wind and, of course, the continuous chatfests.  Lots of sparrows (four species seen Song, White- and Golden-crowned, Fox), finches, and Bushtits flitting in the bushes.  David took the obligatory Group Photo below the dike, out of the wind.


DNCB at Brunswick Point – photo by David Hoar

A bird raced up out of the marsh reeds and Torontonian Brian identified it as a Wilson’s Snipe.  As we scoped the thousands of Snow Geese lined along the water’s edge, a big brown bird cruised by.  Anne is fairly certain it was a Brown Booby; one was seen at Iona last week.  Wish we had better looks at this bird.  Then a Peregrine Falcon cruised by.

As we moved along the trail, the clouds dispersed and the sun began to shine.  The trail got closer to Robert’s Bank and we were able to ID some of the hundreds of Shorebirds feeding in the mud.  Mostly Black-bellied Plovers, with Dunlin, a few Western and Least Sandpipers, and a Pectoral Sandpiper among them.  Roger saw Sanderlings and Killdeer.  The hundreds of ducks were further out,  Green-winged Teal, Northern Pintail, American Wigeon, Gadwall and Mallards.  The tide was way out so our scopes were helpful, and required.  A couple of Bald Eagles were posted in the mud flats and several Northern Harriers were cruising above the marsh.

Some DNCBers had some other interesting sightings including a Yellow-rumped Warbler, Golden-crowned Kinglets, an American Kestrel.  I enjoyed watching six Western Meadowlarks flitting in the marsh, along with four Northern Flickers, plus the occasional V flypast of small flocks of Snow Geese.  We were blanked on American Bitterns and owls.  David counted 34 species on eBird for this outing see below.

We got back to the vehicles about 11:25 am, good timing for us to go to lunch at Speed’s Pub in Ladner (10, see photo), arriving before the Noon crowd.


Pub gang Speed’s – photo by Tony Mitra

My traditional Fish & Chips Special along with only one pint of 1516 OK Springs Lager was delicious and others were complimentary of their food and Cliff’s superb service.  I was home in time to nibble at Sandra’s To Do List of some 8000 items (slight exaggeration).  It was another awesome DNCB outing.

The 19 brave souls were: Richmond Brian & Louise, Torontonian Brian, returning regulars Jonathan & Lorraine, David & Noreen, Mike B, Chris McV, injured Roger M, Roger Two, Glen B, inimitable ILB Tony, regular late arrivers lovely Germanics Margaretha & Gabriele and directionally-challenged Colin & Wazza, our Guru Anne, and me.

Next Tuesday, October 15, we will leave Petra’s at 7:30 am for Jericho Beach Park.  We’ll park on West 2nd Avenue and meet others nearby.

Check out our website for more info on this and other outings, and reports and photos.

Don’t forget the Delta Candidates Election Debate at 6:30 pm tonight (Thursday) at Kin Village in Tsawwassen, co-sponsored by Delta Nats.

As always, your comments are welcome, and let me know if these weekly missives bore you and you want off my email list.  Cheers, & Happy Thanksgiving: Tom

Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists Society

Brunswick Point, Delta Oct 8, 2019
34 species (+2 other taxa)

Snow Goose X hundreds
Canada Goose 92
Mallard 42
duck sp. X
Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon) 5
Black-bellied Plover 22
Killdeer 2
Dunlin 2
Least Sandpiper 3
Pectoral Sandpiper 2
Western Sandpiper 4
Wilson’s Snipe 1
Ring-billed Gull 2
California Gull 1
Glaucous-winged Gull 2
gull sp. X Lots distant
Brown Booby 1 Sighted overhead by several experienced birders. It was flying up river (east) with a strong Westerly wind. No photos but there is one that has been photographed in the area recently (Iona Jetty)
Great Blue Heron 3
Northern Harrier 5
Bald Eagle 4
Northern Flicker 10
American Kestrel 1
Peregrine Falcon 1
Northwestern Crow 4
Black-capped Chickadee 5
Bushtit 30
Golden-crowned Kinglet 2
American Robin 8
House Finch 3
American Goldfinch 2
Fox Sparrow 2
White-crowned Sparrow 1
Golden-crowned Sparrow 2
Song Sparrow 6
Western Meadowlark 10
Yellow-rumped Warbler 1

Posted in *DNCB, American Kestrel, Bald Eagle, Black-bellied Plover, Brown Booby, Brunswick Point, Dunlin, Least Sandpiper, Northern Harrier, Pectoral Sandpiper, Peregrine Falcon, Sanderling, Western Meadowlark, Western Sandpiper, Wilson's Snipe, Yellow-rumped Warbler | Leave a comment