DNCB Outing No. 2020-02 to Alaksen & Reifel Bird Sanctuary

Ten hardy DNCBers braved the cold (-8C) on a “changed” outing to Alaksen National Wildlife Area (NWA) and our “Mecca” Reifel Bird Sanctuary.  We saw many neat species, 50 total according to David’s eBird list (see below), and our photogs got lots of beaut shots you can enjoy by clicking on our DNCB Flickr site.

Seven of us left Petra’s at 7:30 am and drove through Ladner to Alaksen NWA (Roger wimped out and stayed home drinking hot chocolate in his Hot Tub).  We/Organizer Terry changed the destination the night before because of the predicted snow and cold spell that hit Delta and the lower mainland.  Wet Coasters, especially Deltans, are not used to snow and cold at all.  Surprisingly, the roads were mostly plowed and the ride was smooth, with a couple of Red-tailed Hawks welcoming us at the Alaksen entrance.  We didn’t find the resident Barred Owls in the Cedar trees, but a Pacific Wren, Brown Creeper, and both Ruby- and Golden-crowned Kinglets were neat sightings.

In the open water (rare, as all the ponds later at Reifel were frozen) behind the new washrooms we got 20 species in 10 minutes.  A posing Merlin, Belted Kingfisher, and most regular waterfowl species (Common & Hooded Mergansers, Bufflehead, brilliant Wood Ducks, Green-winged Teal, Lesser Scaup, etc.) were some of the hi-lites.  Walking toward the circular trail and into the tractor barn, “someone” scared out two gorgeous Barn Owls.  We were unsuccessful trying to locate any Great Horned or Sawhet Owls this day, but did see a Bewick’s Wren and Varied Thrush.

Shortly after 9:00 am, we drove next door to Reifel, and met the other three (Colin, Stephanie & Angela).  Fifteen Sandhill Cranes were jostling on the frozen pond behind the entrance building.  Two Black-crowned Night-Herons were sleeping there too, along with about 20 Great Blue Herons that looked like frozen statues.

2020-02_DNCB_group_Noreen.jpg

The frozen few: DNCB at Reifel – photo by Noreen & Glen, edited by David

We took the mandatory Group Photo (Thanks David for the “photo-shopped composite” of Glen and Noreen’s photos) with the Ring-necked Ducks behind us, and surrounded by the voraciously feeding Chickadees (from seed on our hands and head).

We followed the south-east trail in search of the Goshawk and Black Phoebe.  It was quite cold, and we weren’t very vigilant in our unsuccessful search, but there were hundreds of entertaining little birds on the trails (helped by Reifel’s full feeders).  We have never seen so many Spotted Towhees and Fox Sparrows.  The ponds were frozen, but in the few bits of open water, we saw an American Coot.  Some almost saw a Peregrine Falcon.  The hi-lite at Reifel was the Swamp Sparrow by the Tower, interestingly the same place we had seen one last year (same bird?).

From the tower, there were over 40 Trumpeter Swans just at the waters edge past the marsh.  A swarm of Dunlin flew over them.  There were hundreds and hundreds of ducks in the strait (too far away to identify), and a large flock of Northern Shovelers and Northern Pintail in the marsh area.  Several large flocks of Snow Geese flew over in V’s, one landed in the field at the Reifel entrance which we saw up-close-and-personal on departure.

We got back to the entrance around 11:30 am and all ten of us decided to go to Speed’s Pub in Ladner for lunch.  We had a very cozy lunch, my regular 2 piece Cod & Chips Special with a pint of Speed’s Lager hit the spot with the “colourful jeweled” Calli giving us excellent service.  We were back in Tsawwassen before 1:00 pm and I got back to my 1:30 pm Doctor appointment in Ladner early; all good, except that he again suggested that I cut back on my sugar and beer intake.  Another awesome DNCB adventure.

The 10 participants were: Guru Anne, Organizer Terry, Photogs/eBirder David & Noreen, White Rockers Colin & Stephanie, Rookie Angela A, Historian Mike B, Flickr Guru Glen and me.

Next Tuesday, January 21, we’ll leave Petra’s at 7:30 am for Iona Regional Park, meeting others at the washroom parking lot around 8:15 am.

For more details on this and other outings, reports and photos, see our website.  As always, your comments are encouraged, and let me know if you want off my Mailchimp email list to receive these long-winded, nauseating, less-than-interesting reports.  Cheers: Tom

Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists Society (1:00 am and going to bed after a long day of shoveling snow, reviving a frozen Hummingbird, and thawing and re-filling feeders, even schools were closed this Snow Day in Delta)

eBird Lists by David Hoar:
Alaksen National Wildlife Area, 14-Jan-2020
28 species (+1 other taxa)
Canada Goose 27
Wood Duck 3
American Wigeon 4
Mallard 2
Green-winged Teal 2
Lesser Scaup 2
Bufflehead 3
Hooded Merganser 7
Common Merganser 7
duck sp. 16
Glaucous-winged Gull 5
Great Blue Heron 1
Bald Eagle 3
Red-tailed Hawk 1
Barn Owl 2
Belted Kingfisher 1
Northern Flicker 2
Merlin 1
Black-capped Chickadee 3
Golden-crowned Kinglet 3
Bewick’s Wren
Pacific Wren 1
European Starling 15
Varied Thrush 1
American Robin 2
Fox Sparrow 1
Dark-eyed Junco 15
Golden-crowned Sparrow 22
Song Sparrow 2
Spotted Towhee 4

Reifel Bird Sanctuary, 14-Jan-2020
35 species
Snow Goose 600
Trumpeter Swan 41
Wood Duck 1
Northern Shoveler 65
Gadwall 2
American Wigeon 9
Mallard 18
Northern Pintail 2
Green-winged Teal 4
Ring-necked Duck 2
Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon) 22
American Coot 1
Sandhill Crane 15
Dunlin X
Double-crested Cormorant 2
Great Blue Heron 25
Black-crowned Night-Heron 2
Northern Harrier 1
Bald Eagle 10
Downy Woodpecker 2
Northern Flicker 2
Peregrine Falcon 1
Black-capped Chickadee 28
Golden-crowned Kinglet 1
Ruby-crowned Kinglet 1
Brown Creeper 1
American Robin 6
House Sparrow 4
Fox Sparrow 7
Dark-eyed Junco 10
Golden-crowned Sparrow 16
Song Sparrow 9
Swamp Sparrow 1
Spotted Towhee 34
Red-winged Blackbird 14

TOTAL SPECIES 49

Posted in *DNCB, Alaksen NWA, Black-crowned Night-Heron, Brown Creeper, Dunlin, Golden-crowned Kinglet, Hooded Merganser, Merlin, Red-tailed Hawk, Reifel, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Sandhill Crane, Trumpeter Swan, Varied Thrush | Leave a comment

DNCB Outing No. 2020-01 to White Rock Pier & Blackie Spit Park

Seventeen brave souls spent a rainy, windy, Tuesday morning on the White Rock pier, then at Blackie Spit Park.  Despite the crappy weather there were tonnes of birds around and our photogs got some great shots which you can enjoy on our DNCB Flickr site.

Some car-pooled from Petra’s at 7:30 am and we all met at the entrance to the re-built White Rock pier around 8:15 am.  It was raining lightly, not real cold (actually approaching 10 degrees C), but the wind on the pier was horrendous.  The tide was high with no shoreline (therefore no shorebirds or dead Anchovies seen) but tonnes of birds, seals and sealions around, so the anchovies or other small fish and crabs must still be abundant.

Close to the pier were Surf and White-winged Scoters (someone saw a Black Scoter), both Common and Red-breasted Mergansers, Bufflehead, Greater Scaup, a few Common Goldeneye, Horned Grebes and at least one Red-necked, Double-crested and Brandt’s Cormorants, and many Gulls, Harbour Seals and California Sealions.  A herd of about eight sealions huddled and diving in unison was impressive.

We marched against the wind to the end of the pier where a friendly walker took our Group Photo.

202001_WR_DNCB

DNCB at White Rock Pier – photo by David Hoar

Three Black Turnstones were wandering on the pier among the Pigeons.  Some picked out Bonaparte’s, Mew, and Ring-billed (possible Thayer’s Gull too) among the many Glaucous-winged Gulls.  The wind and waves restricted our view further out so we didn’t see any Alcids.  The walk back, with the required chatfest, was more comfortable with the wind, and “my new best friend” Colin carrying the Scope was a real blessing.

We left White Rock around 10:00 am for Blackie Spit.  Overcast, but not rainy or windy, wandering the spit and Rene Savenye park area was relatively pleasant.  And there to welcome us were the resident Long-billed Curlew and three Marbled Godwits.  And they were brilliant, posing on land and in flight.  Lots of Common Loons in the Bay and we picked out a Pacific Loon.  Surprisingly, there were very few waterfowl here, unlike the hundreds of wigeon, teal and pintails we normally see.  A couple of Greater Yellowlegs flew in to test our ID skills, but we were blanked on the other shorebird species; possibly missing because no shoreline to feed on with the high water.

In the grove of trees near the off-leash dog park, we saw most of the neat little birds, such as Anna’s Hummingbirds, both House and Purple Finches, American Goldfinches, Golden-crowned Sparrows, Northern Flickers, Spotted Towhees, Juncos, etc.  David logged 39 species on his eBird report (see below) of this morning’s outing – interestingly, no one saw a Starling.

Back at the parking lot approaching 11:30 am, we aborted the outing and nine of us decided to retire for lunch at the Ocean Park Pizza Pub on 16th Avenue.  A super decision as the lovely Ariana made us all feel comfortable, and my Welsh Meatloaf (House Specialty) with Mashed Potatoes and Green Beans, with two pints of Bavarian 1516 Lager really hit the spot.  I was home before 2:00 pm with plenty of time to prepare for the monthly Nats meeting where Jocelyn Demers screened his brilliant documentary film, The Future of Birds.  Our first 2020 DNCB outing was another gem.

Next Tuesday, January 14, we’ll leave Petra’s at 7:30 am for Burnaby Lake Park (Mandarin Duck?), meeting others at the Nature House parking lot around 8:30 am.

For more info on this outing, other events, reports and photos, check out our website.  As always, your comments are welcome, and let me know if this Mailchimp isn’t working, or you’re annoyed with receiving this weekly drivel and you want off my email list.  Happy New Year.  Cheers: Tom

Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists Society

White Rock Pier, Jan 7, 2020
27 species
Canada Goose  6
Greater Scaup  2
Surf Scoter  65
White-winged Scoter  80
Black Scoter  2
Bufflehead  12
Common Goldeneye  18
Common Merganser  75
Red-breasted Merganser  75
Horned Grebe  4
Red-necked Grebe  2
Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon)  35
Black Turnstone  4
Bonaparte’s Gull  30
Mew Gull  3
Ring-billed Gull  8
Iceland Gull (Thayer’s)  X
Glaucous-winged Gull  135
Pacific Loon  1
Common Loon  2
Brandt’s Cormorant  8
Double-crested Cormorant  50
Bald Eagle  4
Northwestern Crow  11
House Sparrow  4
Song Sparrow  2
Spotted Towhee  1
Trumpeter Swan  ~2

Blackie Spit (Incl. Dunsmuir Farm & Nicomekl estuary), Jan 7, 2020AM
26 species
Surf Scoter  4
White-winged Scoter  5
Bufflehead  2
Common Goldeneye  2
Red-breasted Merganser  3
Horned Grebe  2
Red-necked Grebe  2
Anna’s Hummingbird  7
Long-billed Curlew  1
Marbled Godwit  3
Greater Yellowlegs  1
Ring-billed Gull  2
Glaucous-winged Gull  6
Pacific Loon  1
Common Loon  18
Great Blue Heron  10
Bald Eagle  3
Northern Flicker  4
Northwestern Crow  32
Black-capped Chickadee  10
House Finch  3
Purple Finch  2
American Goldfinch  2
Dark-eyed Junco  10
Song Sparrow  2
Spotted Towhee  4

Total 39 Species for 2020-01

Posted in *DNCB, Bald Eagle, Black Scoter, Black Turnstone, Blackie Spit, Bonaparte's Gull, Brandt's Cormorant, California Sea Lion, Harbour Seal, Long-billed Curlew, Marbled Godwit, Mew Gull, Pacific Loon, Purple Finch, Red-breasted Merganser, Red-necked Grebe, Thayer's Gull, White Rock Pier | Leave a comment

DNCB Outing No. 2019-53 Ladner Christmas Bird Count

Several Delta Nats participated in the Ladner Christmas Bird Count on Saturday, December 21.  Each Christmas Bird Count is conducted on a single day between December 14 and January 5.  Counts are carried out within a 24-km diameter circle that stays the same from year to year.  The Ladner Christmas Bird Count includes Tsawwassen, Point Roberts and south Richmond.  Ladner and Victoria usually compete for the highest species total in Canada – usually over 140.

The Ladner count area is divided into 11 sub-areas. Not all areas reported at the post-count gathering at Reifel.  Without the missing areas and the feeder counts, the preliminary total was 128.

This is a report on Area I, which is Tsawwassen east of 56th St, from Highway 17 to the border, including Beach Grove, Centennial Beach and Boundary Bay. Our total was 70 species.  Some Delta Nats participated in some of the other sub-areas.

There are photos on our flickr site at https://www.flickr.com/search/?group_id=3027315%40N23&view_all=1&text=2019-53

We left Petra’s at 8 am and broke into two groups.  Roger, David, Noreen, Brian, Louise and Larry covered Centennial Beach and Boundary Bay. Terry, Alan, Syd, Debbi and Liz W covered Beach Grove.  It was overcast and windy but the rain held off.  There were not the usual large flocks of ducks, gulls and shorebirds in Boundary Bay.  But 1535 Brant Geese were counted.

Highlights were a Red-breasted Sapsucker and a White-throated Sparrow.

Red-breasted Sapsucker.  Photo by Terry Carr.
                          White-throated Sparrow.  Photo by Kathryn Milligan.

Our count included eleven raptors – Great Horned Owl, Barred Owl, Barn Owl, Short-eared Owl, Peregrine Falcon, Red-tailed Hawk, Northern Harrier, Merlin, Cooper’s Hawk, American Kestrel and 39 Bald Eagles.

Short -eared Owl.  Photo by David Hoar.

Cooper’s Hawk.  Photo by David Hoar.

Northern Harrier.  Photo by David Hoar.

American Kestrel.  Photo by David Hoar.

A flock of Canada Geese behind the South Delta Recreation Centre included Cackling Geese and Greater White-fronted Geese.

One small pond in Beach Grove Golf Course had Mallards, American Wigeon, Hooded Mergansers, a Gadwall, a Northern Shoveler, a Bufflehead and a Ring-necked Duck.

We also counted 1 Killdeer, 11 Yellowlegs, 144 Sanderling, 10 Anna’s Hummingbirds, 5 Downy Woodpeckers, 16 Flickers, 1 Steller’s Jay, 40 Black-capped Chickadess, 2 Chestnut-backed Chickadees, 12 Bushtits, 3 Red-breasted Nuthatches, 1 Brown Creeper, 3 Bewick’s Wrens, 1 Marsh Wren, 1 Golden-crowned Kinglet, 2 Ruby-crowned Kinglets, 23 Robins, 30 Starlings, 16 Towhees, 8 Fox Sparrows, 11 Song Sparrows, 5 White-crowned Sparrows, 40 Golden-crowned Sparrows, 38 Juncos, 10 Red-winged Blackbirds, 20 Brewer’s Blackbirds, 48 House Finches, 18 Goldfinches and 11 House Sparrows.

The next DNCB Outing will be Tuesday, January 7 to White Rock and Blackie Spit, leaving Petra’s at 7:30 am and meeting at White Rock Pier at 8 am. There is free parking until 10 am.

Don’t forget our DNS Monthly Meeting on Tues. January 5, 7:30 at Benediction Lutheran Church, featuring guest Speaker Jocelyn Demers presenting his film “The Future of Birds“.

For more information on our outings, meetings and events, plus reports and photos, see our website at https://dncb.wordpress.com

Terry Carr

Posted in *DNCB, American Kestrel, Bald Eagle, Barn Owl, Barred Owl, BBRP, Beach Grove, Boundary Bay, Brown Creeper, Cackling Geese, CBC Ladner, Centennial Beach, Golden-crowned Kinglet, Great Horned Owl, Greater White-fronted Geese, Hooded Merganser, Merlin, Northern Harrier, Peregrine Falcon, Red-breasted Sapsucker, Red-tailed Hawk, Ring-necked Duck, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Sanderling, Short-eared Owl, White-fronted Goose, White-throated Sparrow | Leave a comment

DNCB Outing No. 2019-52 to Surrey Lake Park & Mud Bay Park

Thirteen DNCBers lucked out again with the weather and had an enjoyable Tuesday outing walking the circular trails at both Surrey Lake Park then Mud Bay Park. We only registered 36 species on eBird as being seen, but most sightings were up-close-and-personal, as we like them. Check out the spectacular photo evidence on our Flickr site at: https://www.flickr.com/search/?group_id=3027315%40N23&text=2019-52&view_all=1.

Photo by David Hoar

Seven of us car-pooled from Petra’s at 7:30 am meeting others around 8:15 am in the parking lot at the entrance to Surrey Lake Park. It was raining on the drive, but it was dry during our two hour meander around the lake. Interestingly, it rained on the drive later to Mud Bay Park, but was also dry when we walked there too. I think DNCBers are “Chosen”.  As for sightings, Surrey Lake was full of several different waterfowl, including lots of beauties in plumage. A family of five Trumpeter Swans were surrounded by Common & Hooded Mergansers, Pied-billed Grebes (9), Bufflehead, Lesser Scaup & Ring-necked Ducks, Gadwall, Green-winged Teal, Northern Pintail, American Coots, American Wigeon and Mallards. Among the Canada Geese near shore were about 20 Cackling Geese; neat to see and photograph the two species together. A Belted Kingfisher cruised by as we were enjoying this viewing, then several Double-crested Cormorants joined the scene.

As we continued our walk on the circular trail (first time for me), Colin spotted a Cooper’s Hawk, then Gareth “almost” identified a perched Red-tailed Hawk. Of course, Northern Harriers and Bald Eagles were around too to supplement our raptor sightings. Going through the usual charade, I was able to interrupt the Chatfest to assemble the group for the mandatory Photo, taken by a passing dog-walker. There weren’t a lot of little birds in the trees along the trail; we saw the common stuff, but nothing unusual or memorable. Very fresh Beaver chawing was notable.

Back at the parking lot at 10:30 am, we decided to stop at Mud Bay Park on the way back to Tsawwassen. The rain ceased for this pleasant hour-long walk too. New species seen here included Purple and House Finches, and a close-up passing Peregrine Falcon, and both White- and Golden-crowned Sparrows. The rafts of ducks were mostly far out in the Bay. A swarm of thousands of Dunlin weaving far away, we think near the Mansion at 104th, was a neat sighting. Back at the entrance parking lot at 11:30 am, seven of us decided to go for lunch at the SkyHawk restaurant at Boundary Bay Airport.

I was a bit chilly, so chose a Coffee with the Hot Beef & Mashed Potatoes Special. It was humungous (see photo), but cheap and filling, and our server Maria was very nice. Despite not having a beer, it was another awesome DNCB outing, our last official one in 2019. On the way home, Terry and I saw an American Kestrel and a flock of about 20 Trumpeter Swans feeding in a Ladner field.

The 13 participants were: Organizer Terry, “Semi” Guru Roger, Local Guru Gareth, young Lovebirds, eBirders, Photogs and basically “Doing Everything” David & Noreen, Ladner’s “not really that Shy” Pam, “Early Retiree” Johnny Mac, West Van’s Newbie enthusiastic Lori, South Surrey “Spotters” Colin & Wazza, always happy, nibbly-provider Margaretha, North Delta’s Reliable Jean, and me.

Our next DNCB outing is on Tuesday, Jan. 7, 2020; we’ll meet at and leave from Petra’s at 7:30 am for White Rock and Blackie Spit Park, meeting others on the pier around 8:15 am. Meanwhile, over the holiday break, several DNCBers will be participating in Christmas Bird Counts, in Ladner on Saturday, December 21, and White Rock/Surrey on December 28. A reminder too that our first 2020 Delta Nats monthly meeting is Tuesday, January 7, with Jocelyn Demers screening his second documentary film “The Future of Birds”. For more information on our outings, meetings and events, plus reports and photos, see our website at: www.dncb.wordpress.com. As always, your comments are encouraged, and let me know if these weekly missives are boring, annoying or simply uninteresting, and you want off my email list, newly using MailChimp. Note too my new email address is: tombearss1@gmail.com. Lastly, I wish each of you and your family a very Merry Christmas and a happy and healthy 2020, with the occasional neat bird sighting or adventure. Cheers: Tom

Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists Society

David’s eBird List

Surrey Lake Park
21 species
Cackling Goose  6
Canada Goose  45
Trumpeter Swan  5
Gadwall  5
Mallard  26
Northern Pintail  2
Green-winged Teal  12
Ring-necked Duck  6
Greater Scaup  12
Bufflehead  6
Hooded Merganser  2
Common Merganser  9
Pied-billed Grebe  4
American Coot  1
Double-crested Cormorant  4
Great Blue Heron  3
Cooper’s Hawk  1
Belted Kingfisher  1
Black-capped Chickadee  6
European Starling  3
Song Sparrow  1

Mud Bay Park
17 species
American Wigeon  2
Mallard  9
Northern Pintail  4
Dunlin  X     Thousands offshore murmuration
Northern Harrier  1
Bald Eagle  2
Red-tailed Hawk  1
Northern Flicker  2
Peregrine Falcon  1
Northwestern Crow  7
Ruby-crowned Kinglet  1
American Robin  2
House Finch  6
Purple Finch  2
White-crowned Sparrow  3
Golden-crowned Sparrow  7
Song Sparrow  4

Total for the day is 33
Posted in *DNCB, Cackling Geese, Mud Bay Park, Surrey Lake | Leave a comment

DNCB Birds on the Bay Outing No. 2019-51 in Boundary Bay Regional Park

These photos by Jim Kneesch

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Nearly 30 participants braved the elements this morning on our quarterly Birds on the Bay outing in Boundary Bay Regional Park.  David’s eBird list recorded 32 species seen.  Check out the photo evidence on our Flickr site at our DNCB Flickr site. (more to come).

It was pouring rain when I drove to Cammidge House prior to the 9:00 am start of our outing.  Surprisingly, there were already 20 DNCBers huddled on the veranda and inside the house.  We had a bit of a chatfest, introduced a few Newbies, and Jim took the first of several Group shots on the front steps.  Then, as if on cue, it stopped raining, and didn’t rain again until the afternoon.

After spotting the resident Red-tailed Hawk and a Fox Sparrow, we started our walk down the road toward the beach.  Several Bald Eagles were perched in the trees and Northern Harriers cruised by us all morning.  A large mixed flock of Brewer’s and Red-winged Blackbirds, with some European Starlings, were grazing on the grass field before the pond.  Lots of Mallards, American Wigeon and a couple of Northern Shovelers were in the pond. Terry took another group photo here with some late-arriving newbies.

The tide was high at the beach, and a nice flock of Sanderling, with one lone Dunlin, was crowded into a small area of mud beach.  Great for viewing and photogs.  Further out were rafts of Red-breasted Mergansers, Surf and White-winged Scoters, best seen through the scope.  Interestingly, it was cloudy over Tsawwassen, but the whole of Mt. Baker, including the summit, was clearly visible across the Bay.  The vistas here often seem to be spectacular.

Our walk continued along the newly-fenced trail.  It was quiet, not unusual for December, but we did see lots of Golden-crowned and Song Sparrows, House and American Goldfinches, Northern Flickers, Spotted Towhees, and other common species.  We stopped for a few group photos at Nat Ursula Easterbrook’s memorial bench.  Further along, a Merlin or Sharp-shinned Hawk sighting turned out to be a juvenile Red-tailed Hawk.  A Barn Owl pellet resting on top of one of our Nest Boxes was kind of a neat sighting.

Closer to the construction at the Pump House, there were thousands of waterfowl in the Bay.  We searched in vain for a Common Teal among the Green-winged and a Eurasian Wigeon among the American.  Lots of Brant Geese and Northern Pintail among the rafts.  We blanked on other shorebirds normally seen here.

We followed the inland trail back.  The trailers saw a Bewick’s Wren and a Cooper’s Hawk.  Meanwhile, some others got back to Cammidge House before 11:30 am and got a head start on the scrumptious home-made goodies supplied by our Delta Nats Ladies (Rochelle, Elizabeth, Jennifer, Margaretha & Sandra).  I even had a cup-of-soup with the scones, cookies, cakes, cheeses, fruits and other delectables which hit the spot, after lugging the scope all morning.

The 28 I can remember are: Gurus Anne & Roger (a temporary promotion), Organizer Terry & Mike B, Flickr/Photog Guru Glen, eBirder David H (w/o Noreen), Jonathan & Lorraine, Colombia-returnees Colin & Stephanie (email please), Warren (aka Wazza) & Lynne, Boundary Bay Val, Limping Santa Mike B2, Johnny Mac, Langley Bob Mc, directionally-challenged Abbottsford’s Laurie K, Newbies (although not first-timers) Ju Dee & Hsien (aka Sid), Ginger & I forget, Kiwi Nick (need your email), South Surrey Beatrice, our Delta Nats Ladies Rochelle, Elizabeth, Jennifer & Margaretha, and me.

It was another awesome Birds on the Bay outing.  We climaxed it with an American Kestrel sighting on a wire on exiting the park.  See the brilliant photos.  I got home in time to watch granddaughter Juliette excel at her Wednesday afternoon Gymnastics class.

Next Tuesday, December 17, we will car-pool from Petra’s at 7:30 am for Surrey Lake Park.

See our website for more info on this outing, and other reports, photos and Delta Nats info.  As always, your comments are encouraged, and let me know if these far-too-long, weekly, diatribes are so irritating that you want off my email list.  Cheers: Tom

Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists Society

David’s eBird List
Boundary Bay Regional Park, Metro Vancouver, British Columbia, CA
32 species (+1 other taxa)
Brant 350
Northern Shoveler 3
American Wigeon 135
Mallard 278
Northern Pintail 250
Green-winged Teal 250
Surf Scoter 100
White-winged Scoter 10
Red-breasted Merganser 24
duck sp. X Thousands offshore
Sanderling 136
Dunlin 1
Glaucous-winged Gull 7
Great Blue Heron 1
Northern Harrier 2
Cooper’s Hawk 1
Bald Eagle 7
Red-tailed Hawk 1
Northern Flicker 3
American Kestrel 1
Northwestern Crow 10
Bewick’s Wren 2
European Starling 50
American Robin 5
House Finch 8
American Goldfinch 3
Fox Sparrow 1
Dark-eyed Junco 4
Golden-crowned Sparrow 22
Song Sparrow 2
Spotted Towhee 5
Red-winged Blackbird 8
Brewer’s Blackbird 22

Posted in *DNCB, Bald Eagle, Birds-on-the-Bay, Boundary Bay, Cooper's Hawk, Dunlin, Red-tailed Hawk | Leave a comment

DNCB Outing Report 2019-50 to Terra Nova Park, Richmond

Lucky thirteen DNCBers enjoyed a dry, productive and enjoyable Tuesday morning of birding at Terra Nova Park in Richmond.  David recorded 37 species seen (see his eBird list below.)  Check out the brilliant photo evidence on our DNCB Flickr site.

Some car-pooled from Petra’s at 7:30 am and we all met at the dyke trail parking lot entrance to the Park.  The weather forecast was for rain which accounted for only 13 brave souls showing up.  It was a very manageable number and occasionally the chatfests were almost interesting.

2019-50_DNCB TerraNova

DNCB at Terra Nova Park – photo by Noreen Rudd

We heard a Marsh Wren in the reeds, the first of three Wren species; we got great looks at both Pacific and Bewick’s Wrens later.  As we looked across the Fraser at the airport, American Wigeons, Green-winged Teal, Gadwall, Mallards, and Double-crested Cormorants were the only species lounging along the shoreline.

Terra Nova Park has changed since my last visit with lots of play structures for kids, trails nicely groomed, and interesting and informative signage.  From the stream bridge we found an American Coot and a Eurasian Wigeon (on closer examination was actually a hybrid American-Eurasian bird).  Lots of little birds flitting around; we got the regular four Sparrows (Song, Fox, Golden- and White-crowned), three Finches (House, Purple and a large flock (15+) of American Goldfinches), both Ruby- and Golden-crowned Kinglets, and a Brown Creeper.  I saw four Pine Siskins, and the Downy Woodpeckers and Northern Flickers are always neat to see.

Walking through the Community Gardens, Anna’s Hummingbirds were playing, and we saw the first of several hawk/raptor species, a Cooper’s Hawk.  Later we saw Red-tailed Hawks, Northern Harriers, a Short-eared Owl, of course several Bald Eagles, and Marti saw a Peregrine Falcon.  It was cool and overcast, but no rain, and quite comfortable as we walked along the shore path as well as the circuit trail passed Quilchena Golf Course and the homes.  A huge flock of Snow Geese (3000+) floating near shore aroused the usual gasps.  We found several Barn Owl pellets but didn’t see any BO’s.  I’ve been told that the nest boxes in Terra Nova are very successfully used by breeding pairs.

Passing the new potential Wildflower Garden and the Bee Kiosk, we got back to the vehicles around 11:30 am.  Perfect timing for us to get to O’Hare’s Pub on Steveston Highway by Noon.  Nine of us had a super lunch; my Classic Burger with a pint of their House Lager hit the spot.  I drove Terry to my mechanic’s shop to pick up my Range Rover with new front brake pads (I was pleased it only cost $380), and we got Terry home in Tsawwassen by 1:30 pm.  Another awesome DNCB outing, followed in the evening by a sensational Nats Christmas meeting and presentation by David & Noreen on their Southern Africa Adventures.

The 13 were: our “leader” Richmond Brian, Organizer Terry, David & Noreen, Glen B, both Roger M & Roger K, Mike B, Johnny Mac, the three “girls” Marion, Marti & Jean, and me.

Next Wednesday, December 11 (not Tuesday), is our quarterly Birds on the Bay outing in Boundary Bay Regional Park.  We meet at and leave from historic Cammidge House at 9:00 am on a 2 ½ hour amble through the park, returning to Cammidge House at 11:30 am, and home-made goodies provided by our Delta Nats Ladies.

For more info on this outing, and other reports, events and photos, see our website.  As always, your comments are welcome, and let me know if this weekly verbal diarrhea gives you grief and you want off my email list.  Cheers: Tom

Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists Society

Richmond–Terra Nova 3-Dec-2019
37 species (+1 other taxa)
Snow Goose X Thousands on distant shore
Gadwall 1
American Wigeon 135
Eurasian x American Wigeon (hybrid) 1 Greenish extending behind the eye on bird in lower left of photo.  Not typical Eurasian Wigeon
Mallard 16
Green-winged Teal 4
Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon) 30
Anna’s Hummingbird 2
American Coot 1
Glaucous-winged Gull 3
Double-crested Cormorant 2
Great Blue Heron 5
Northern Harrier 2
Cooper’s Hawk 1
Bald Eagle 2
Red-tailed Hawk 1
Short-eared Owl 1
Downy Woodpecker 1
Northern Flicker 3
Peregrine Falcon 1
Northwestern Crow 30
Black-capped Chickadee 13
Golden-crowned Kinglet 1
Ruby-crowned Kinglet 2
Brown Creeper 1
Pacific Wren 2
Bewick’s Wren 1
European Starling 7
American Robin 11
House Finch 20
Purple Finch 1
Pine Siskin 4
American Goldfinch 14
Fox Sparrow 2
Dark-eyed Junco 8
Golden-crowned Sparrow 12
Song Sparrow 11
Spotted Towhee 9

Posted in *DNCB, Bald Eagle, Brown Creeper, Cooper's Hawk, Eurasian Wigeon, Golden-crowned Kinglet, Northern Harrier, Peregrine Falcon, Purple Finch, Red-tailed Hawk, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Short-eared Owl, Terra Nova | Leave a comment

DNCB Outing 2019-49 to Blaine, Washington

On Tuesday morning, twelve DNCBers had a very enjoyable outing to Blaine, Washington.  We stopped at Blaine Marine Park, the Fishing Pier, Drayton Harbor Marina, the Boat Launch, Semiahmoo Spit and a wooded area at the east end of Lincoln Road.  We saw 57 species (see David’s eBird list below).  Check out the photo evidence on our DNCB Flickr site.

Tom, our fearless leader, was missing.  He emailed the previous evening to say that he was stranded in Palm Springs – about to enter the pool with a Rum and a Cigar.  After spending 6 hours at the Palm Springs airport, he learned that his flight had been cancelled because of bad weather somewhere.  He arrived home Tuesday afternoon.

Our forecast was for a chance of showers and snow flurries.  On our drive along Highway 99 we had heavy rain and hail.  As we approached the border, the rain stopped and the sun came out.  The weather for the whole outing was sunny and cold.

2019-49 BLAINE_RM

DNCB at Drayton Harbor – photo by Roger Meyer (not in photo)

At the Marine Park there were large flocks of Canada Geese, Green-winged Teal and American Wigeon.  Flying flocks of Dunlin and several Yellowlegs entertained us.  On the Fishing Pier we added Surf & White-winged Scoters, Barrow’s & Common Goldeneye, Common  Loons, Pelagic & Double-crested Cormorants, Red-necked Grebes and a Common Murre.  A small flock of Black Turnstones flew past.  We could see a Peregrine Falcon on the water tower on Semiahmoo Spit, but there was no sign of it when we got there.  A female White-winged Scoter was the only close bird at the marina.  At the boat launch we were entertained by a brightly coloured Purple Finch and American Goldfinches.

On Semiahmoo Spit we saw a large flock of Ruddy Ducks in the distance.  We also added Harlequin, Scaup, Red-breasted Merganser, Long-tailed Duck, Brant, Killdeer and Red-throated Loon.  There were about 300 Cormorants resting on the dock and many more flying in. Cormorants will be nesting later on the Drayton Harbor Breakwater.

Most of us warmed up by having lunch at the Marina Cafe.  Then Gareth led us to a wooded area at Lincoln Road and Morningside Drive.  This was a new area for the rest of us.  There was a large mixed flock of Red-winged and Brewer’s Blackbirds bathing in the puddles.  A Red-tailed Hawk perched nearby,  A Pileated Woodpecker was calling.  It soon flew in and posed briefly for photos.  We also saw Flicker, Downy Woodpecker, Steller’s Jay, Pine Siskins and other small birds.  This area warrants further exploration.  When we returned to the cars we found that David had a flat tire.  He replaced it very efficiently with a spare tire while the rest supervised.  We then headed back across the border.

The twelve DNCBers were Brian, Louise, Gareth, Marion, David, Jack, Jim, Rogers 1&2, Mike, Pam and Terry.

Next Tuesday, Dec 3, we will leave Petra’s at 7:30 for our outing to Terra Nova Park in Richmond.  Meet at 8am at the parking lot at the west end of River Rd (west of No. 1 Rd).

Also on Tuesday, December 3 is our DNS monthly meeting at Benediction Lutheran Church, starting at 7:30 pm and featuring speakers David Hoar and Noreen Rudd, who will share photos & stories on their Photo Safari through South and East Africa.

The following Wednesday (not Tuesday), Dec 11, is our quarterly Birds on the Bay Outing at Centennial Beach.  We will meet at Cammidge House at 9am.

For more info on this and other outings, reports and photos, check out our website.
Report by Terry Carr

Drayton Harbor 26-Nov-2019
31 species
Canada Goose  150
Gadwall  4
American Wigeon  X
Mallard  20
Northern Pintail  X
Green-winged Teal  X
Surf Scoter  9
White-winged Scoter  1
Bufflehead  1
Common Goldeneye  3
Barrow’s Goldeneye  1
Horned Grebe  1
Red-necked Grebe  4
Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon)  1
Dunlin  170
Greater Yellowlegs  5
Common Murre  1
Ring-billed Gull  2
California Gull  1
Glaucous-winged Gull  7
Common Loon  7
Double-crested Cormorant  X     Hundreds on pier
Bald Eagle  3
Peregrine Falcon  1
Northwestern Crow  12
House Sparrow  4
House Finch  2
Purple Finch  1
American Goldfinch  6
White-crowned Sparrow  2
Spotted Towhee  1

Drayton Harbor 26-Nov-2019
5 species (2 new Species)
Northern Pintail  150
Bufflehead  3
Common Goldeneye  1
Great Blue Heron  1
Fox Sparrow  1

Semiahmoo Marina 26-Nov-2019
24 species (+2 other taxa) (12 new species)
Brant  35
Canada Goose  29
Northern Pintail  48
Greater/Lesser Scaup  18
Harlequin Duck  1
Surf Scoter  2
White-winged Scoter  16
Long-tailed Duck  5
Bufflehead  12
Barrow’s Goldeneye  2
Common Merganser  1
Red-breasted Merganser  1
Horned Grebe  3
Killdeer  3
Black Turnstone  1
Glaucous-winged Gull  5
Red-throated Loon  1
Common Loon  2
Double-crested Cormorant  16
cormorant sp.  800     On pier mixed sp
Northwestern Crow  7
Black-capped Chickadee  2
European Starling  15
House Finch  1
Dark-eyed Junco  10
Song Sparrow  2

8491 Morningside Drive, Blaine 26-Nov-2019
13 species (9 new species)
Red-tailed Hawk  1
Downy Woodpecker  1
Pileated Woodpecker  1
Northern Flicker  1
Steller’s Jay  1
Black-capped Chickadee  6
American Robin  1
Pine Siskin  16
Fox Sparrow  1
Dark-eyed Junco  15
Golden-crowned Sparrow  1
Red-winged Blackbird  25
Brewer’s Blackbird  35

Total  54 Species

Posted in *DNCB, Bald Eagle, Barrow's Goldeneye, Black Turnstone, Blaine Marine Park, Common Murre, Drayton Harbor, Dunlin, Harlequin Duck, Long-tailed Duck, Peregrine Falcon, Pileated Woodpecker, Purple Finch, Red-breasted Merganser, Red-necked Grebe, Red-tailed Hawk, Red-throated Loon, Ruddy Duck, Semiahmoo Spit | Leave a comment

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.

20191119_090648

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.

2019-46_DNCB_JK1

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).

2019-46_DNCB_JK2

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