DNCB Outing No. 2017-25 to Campbell Valley Regional Park

More photos at our DNCB Flickr site

Check out the photo evidence on our Flickr site at: www.flickr.com/groups/dncb, then click the magnifying glass icon in the “Photo Pool” row, and add 2017-25 to “flickr_search_dncb-photosDNCB Photos” in the Search box at the top of the page.


20 DNCB at Campbell Valley Park (missing photographer Roger Meyer)

At a little after 8:00 on an initially cool but very pleasant last Wednesday in June, twenty avian enthusiasts began flocking together in the parking lot off 16th Avenue.  The group photo taken at the kiosk depicts the happy faces of Gerhard, Mike, Aussie Nance, Ken & Anne, Liz S, newbies Syd, Valentina and Art, WR Al, Roger Two, Langley Ralph, Johnny Mac, Marion S, Glen B, Marty A, Chris M, Terry C and Tom, while picture taker Roger One is missing.  After the customary hellos and my expected, habitual expositive babble about the outing location which, to my surprise, most paid attention to, the troop marched off toward the eastern section of the Little River Loop in anticipation of finding many of the 174 avian species and 44 types of mammals on record for the area.

Immediately upon entering the forest, the calls and songs of several Swainson’s Thrushes, a Towhee, both kinds of Chickadees and a Pacific-slope Flycatcher or two were audible to most.  However, because of the exuberant greenery along all of the wooded trails in the park, it was difficult to spot, not to mention photograph, the sources of the chirps and tweets.  That became a bit easier on the boardwalk across the wetland and beyond where Song Sparrows, Juncos and a Willow Flycatcher were sighted, and a Western Wood-Pewee was heard.  Douglas Squirrels and a Townsend’s Chipmunk were munching on handouts along the route, and several Black-capped and Chestnut-backed Chickadees and a Nuthatch snatched tasty morsels from outstretched hands.  Snapshots of a Bewick’s Wren, a Brown Creeper and a Nuthatch were also taken.

Near and on the Listening Bridge, both male and female Black-headed Grosbeaks posed for great pictures, and also seen and photographed were an Orange-crowned as well as a Yellow Warbler.  After a brief rest stop for the old folks among us, we connected with the narrow Vine Maple Trail where again several species such as Bewick’s and Pacific Wrens, Purple Finches and a Wood-Pewee were heard, but only an Anna’s Hummer was sighted.

Everyone appreciated the blooming bushes and wildflowers along the path including the blossoms of the European Bittersweet which, Roger One once again insisted, would turn soon into delectable fruit.  As well, those in the group with good vision rediscovered that saw left behind by a logger long ago and now embedded in the double trunk of an Oregon Maple.  Shortly after gazing at another feature in the forest, an impressive Sitka Spruce, Aussie Nance demonstrated how one easily could fall through the cracks in the boardwalk.

Because we got back to the parking lot early, it was decided to motor to the south entrance to visit with the invasive critters, the Red-eared Turtles and the Bullfrogs, in the ponds at the park’s Nature House.  While only one frog was sighted, and all the turtles appeared to be hiding, the educational displays in the building and the surrounding butterfly garden made the side trip worthwhile.  Although only about two dozen avian species were observed or heard, everyone had to agree that it was another fabulous DNCB sortie.  After all, the weather had been very pleasant, the trees, bushes and groundcover were in their finest green, and the scenery was great.

Al Schulze

Next Wednesday, July 5, our outing will be to Surrey Bend Regional Park and Tynehead Regional Park in Surrey.  Leaving Petra’s at 7:30 am, we should be at the 104 Ave parking lot entrance around 8:10 am.

Posted in *DNCB, Brown Creeper, Douglas Squirrel, Orange-crowned Warbler, Purple Finch, Townsend’s Chipmunk, Western Wood-Pewee, Willow Flycatcher, Yellow Warbler

DNCB Outing No. 2017-24 to Maplewood Flats

More photos at our DNCB Flickr site

Eighteen DNCBers spent a glorious Wednesday morning in Maplewood Flats Conservation Area in North Vancouver.  Check out the photo evidence on our Flickr site at: www.flickr.com/groups/dncb, then click the magnifying glass icon in the “Photo Pool” row, and add 2017-24 to “flickr_search_dncb-photosDNCB Photos” in the Search box at the top of the page.  Also, you can view earlier reports and photos of our DNCB outings to Maplewood Flats on our website at: https://dncb.wordpress.com/category/locations/north-vanwest-van/maplewood-flats/.

Two cars of 4 each car-pooled beautifully from Petra’s at 7:30 am, arriving at 8:45 am (as scheduled) at the entrance to Maplewood Flats.  We made super time (1 ¼ hrs.) in Rush Hour traffic through Delta, Richmond, Vancouver and Burnaby to North Van, mainly because our chauffeurs, Chris M and Anne M are “locals” and knew where they were going.  Others met us at the new Feeder Area behind the Wild Bird Trust of BC office, where they were enjoying the many common species (notables were three Finches, House, Purple and American Goldfinches, Brown-headed Cowbirds, Bushtits, Downy Woodpeckers).  Following introductions, Roger took the Group Photo (15 without him and late-arrivers Wendy & Randy), and then we started down the trail toward the mudflats.


DNCB invade Maplewood Flats (RM)

We continually heard Warbling Vireos and Swainson’s Thrushes singing but, even with our many eyes searching, we could not find the sources of this singing.  Some eventually caught glimpses of a Red-eyed Vireo.  At the shoreline, we saw that many of the Purple Martin boxes on pylons in the flats were occupied and very active.  We could only see one baby on the Osprey nest as its parents occasionally dropped by to check on him/her.  The tide was way out so we saw no ducks, only Pelagic Cormorants, Gulls, Canada Geese and Bald Eagles.  Nonetheless, it was a beautiful setting looking across the inlet at Capitol Hill and Simon Fraser University.  Lots of Swallows, mostly Tree, Barn and Violet-green hawking insects too.

Moving back along the trail, we located a few “fitz-bewing” Willow Flycatchers for nice photos.  Some saw a Pacific-slope Flycatcher too.  On another off-shoot trail, Hummingbirds, both Rufous and Anna’s, put on an entertaining display of feeding, fighting and flirting.  Sleek Cedar Waxwings were also accommodating sightings.  I didn’t see the singing Black-headed Grosbeak.  Some saw as many as a dozen Band-tailed Pigeons, basically giving fly-pasts. I had a brief glimpse of the Turkey Vulture.  An American Bittern was supposedly in the “north pond”, but we couldn’t find it.  Nor did we see any Warblers, including a frustratingly noisy Black-throated Gray Warbler. Dragonflies and Tiger Swallowtail Butterflies, along with the beautiful volunteer-planted flowers along the trails, provided an attractive diversion from the lack of bird sightings.

It was approaching Noon when we got back to the entrance, so we decided not to continue to another nearby Park, but rather go to the Deep Cove Brewers Pub on Dollarton Highway for lunch.  Mike and I shared Vodka Meatballs and a Truffle Chicken Pasta which were delish, especially washed down with a couple of pints of their Deep Cove Lager.  As usual, on the ride back to Tsawwassen, I snoozed to the dulcet (dull) mumblings of Chris, Terry and Glen.  Another awesome DNCB outing.

The 18 were: Roger, Mike, Glen, Terry, chauffeurs Chris & Anne M, North Vancouver’s Marylile, Marion, sisters Pat & Maureen with Manli, returnee Greg H, newbies Randy & Wendy, almost-a-regular Marty, North Delta’s Johnny Mac, Valerie and me.

Next Wednesday, June 28, (before Auntie Barbara flies back to Western Australia in the evening), our outing will be to Campbell Valley Regional Park.  Leaving Petra’s at 7:30 am, we should be at the 16th Avenue parking lot entrance shortly after 8:00 am.

Also, for DNS members, don’t forget our annual Garden Party this Saturday, June 24 at Chris & Marlene McVittie’s home, 5:00 to 8:30 pm.

As always, your comments are encouraged, and please advise me if you want off my e-mail list to receive these inane ramblings.  Cheers: Tom (1:30 am Friday and going to bed)

Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists Society

Posted in *DNCB, Bald Eagle, Band-tailed Pigeon, Black-throated Grey Warbler, Cedar Waxwing, Maplewood Flats, Osprey, Pacific-slope Flycatcher, Pelagic Cormorant, Purple Martin, Red-eyed Vireo, Swainson's Thrush, Turkey Vulture, Warbling Vireo, Willow Flycatcher | Leave a comment

DNCB Birds on the Bay Outing No. 2017-23 in Boundary Bay Regional Park

More photos at our DNCB Flickr site

Twenty-three DNCBers, mostly Newbies, had a wonderful Wednesday morning at the beach and wandering through Boundary Bay Regional Park.  This was our quarterly Birds on the Bay (BOTB) outing.  It was a bit cool and overcast, but we saw some neat stuff as evidenced in the photos on our Flickr site at: www.flickr.com/groups/dncb, then click the magnifying glass icon in the “Photo Pool” row, and add 2017-23 to “flickr_search_dncb-photosDNCB Photos” in the Search box at the top of the page.

We all met at historic Cammidge House at 9:00 am and went through the introduction of the many Newbies (about 10 in all including Randy & Wendy, Anita, Art, Pam and later Farshad), and the return of Grandma Anne and Emma.  Sammy with the Nature Trust brought two interns, Terita and Brittany who very helpful carrying our Scope on the walk.  It’s so refreshing when we have younger folk on our outings who can actually see and hear the birds.  A Rufous Hummingbird and some House Finches were flitting in the trees around the parking lot as Terry took a long shot Group Photo.


Photo by Terry Carr

We wandered down the road toward the park and beach, and the chat fest was in full force as the Newbies fit into the system very smoothly.  Bald Eagle flypasts got occasional mention.  In the pond by the Native Plant Garden were several motley Mallards and a pair of Gadwall.


Photo by Roger Meyer

Roger took another Group Photo with the time-challenged sisters Pat & Maureen, Marian and Margaretha included.

Photo by Roger Meyer

On entering Centennial Beach, 10 Great Blue Herons were parked on the shore as the tide was high.  No Shorebirds seen here today, nor diving ducks (They have migrated back to their nesting colonies in the Arctic or interior).  It was overcast and we couldn’t see Mt. Baker, but it was still a gorgeous vista.

Our walk on the trail was bird-quiet, but otherwise noisy.  We saw the common regulars; Towhees, Sparrows, Finches, Chickadees.  Seeing a few Savannah Sparrows was a bit exciting, then a Marsh Wren sang and posed on a bulrush, thrilling a number of us.  A male Northern Harrier gave a nice glide-past.  We heard lots of Common Yellowthroats, and finally everyone got good looks at this masked warbler.  Lots of Barn and Tree Swallows hawking insects, but we didn’t see any other species (e.g. Violet-green, Cliff).  Several of our Delta Nats Bird Boxes were actively visited by Tree Swallows, but unfortunately, we saw invasive House Sparrows at a couple of them too.

Because most birds are nesting now, we saw few Woodpeckers, only one Northern Flicker.  Brilliant American Goldfinches are always a treat to see, as are the reddish male House Finches.  Several Killdeer, our only shorebird sighting, were foraging in the mud flats.

Roger and Anne pointed out many of the beautiful Wildflowers in the park; as always, I have forgotten the names.  Perhaps the most interesting sighting was a Willow Flycatcher, posing and “fitz-bewing” on a dead tree.

On the inland trail back to Cammidge House, we stopped at a huge Western Thatching Ant mound (see Roger’s video).  The red and black worker ants are all females, but we saw some reproductive forms, winged males and females among them.  A mother White-crowned Sparrow feeding a couple of young birds on the trail was pretty cool too.  Because Cammidge House was closed for painting, when we got back, approaching Noon, the group basically dispersed.  Only Margaretha brought a lunch, and Don & Rochelle bought Fish & Chips, so we four had a lovely lunch under the Picnic Shelter.  No beer, but my “sponged” meal of an historic Peanut Butter & Banana Sandwich, muffin, grapes, fish & chips and coconut water was completely unexpected, but delicious.  Another awesome BOTB outing.

Next Wednesday, June 21, we will meet at and leave from Petra’s at 7:30 am for Maplewood Flats in North Vancouver.  We hope to be at the Conservation Area entrance around 8:30 to 8:45 am.

Also, join us this Sunday, June 18 for entertainment and a Pancake Breakfast at the annual Father’s Day in the Park at Boundary Bay Regional Park.

Saturday, June 24 is the annual DNS Garden Party at Chris & Marlene McVittie’s home. Starts at 5 pmmore details in the June 2017 Newsletter (last page).

For more info and photos on our outings and events, check out our website.  As always, your comments are encouraged, and let me know if you want off my e-mail list to receive this weekly dribble.  Cheers: Tom

Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists Society

Posted in *DNCB, Bald Eagle, BBRP, Birds-on-the-Bay, Centennial Beach, Northern Harrier, Western Thatching Ant, Willow Flycatcher | Leave a comment

DNCB Outing No. 2017-22 to Pitt Lake

Photos by Brian Avent (BA), Chris McVittie (CMcV), Glen Bodie (GB), Maureen Sinilaid, Pat Smart (PS) & Marty Allen (MA)


Pitt Polder scene by Chris McVittie

More photos at our DNCB Flickr site

Thirteen DNCBers enjoyed a beautiful morning walking the circuit at the spectacular Pitt Polder-Addington Marsh Park at Grant Narrows (aka Pitt Lake).  We have visited this Park annually since 2010 to enjoy the extraordinary vistas and occasional unusual (for us) bird sightings; check out the previous reports at Pitt Lake Reports.

Also enjoy some super photos on our Flickr site at: www.flickr.com/groups/dncb, then click the magnifying glass icon in the “Photo Pool” row, and add 2017-22 to “flickr_search_dncb-photosDNCB Photos” in the Search box at the top of the page.

Six of us left Petra’s at 7:30 am in Anne and Roger’s vehicles and had a leisurely but long drive on highway 17, across the Golden Ears Bridge to the Park. We stopped just before the meeting place at the boat launch because we spotted a Gray Catbird.

This was one of our Target Birds and it sang and posed beautifully.  We met the others around 8:50 am, and Jim took the Group Photo with the spectacular lake and mountains behind us.


DNCB at Pitt Lake – photo by Jim Kneesch

We started our walk along the trail, beginning with the Barn Swallows nesting in the shed by the toilets.

Lots of birds singing along the trail.  We heard Swainson’s Thrush, Bullock’s Orioles, Black-headed Grosbeaks, Warbling and Red-eyed Vireos, Yellow Warblers, Common Yellowthroats, and a number of us even got glimpses, and photos, of these species.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Other neat sightings included Eastern Kingbirds, Willow Flycatchers (maybe Western Wood-Pewee too), Band-tailed Pigeons, Rufous Hummingbirds, and Cedar Waxwings followed us all along the trail.  More Gray Catbirds and lots of Swallows including Tree and Violet-Green, and Brown-headed Cowbirds.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

My brilliant sighting was a Wilson’s Snipe that flew into my binocular view as I was looking at a Bald Eagle on a snag.  We saw other common stuff (Sparrows, Goldfinches, Towhees, Redwings), but did not find an American Redstart.  Lots of Wood Ducks and a few Gadwall in the sloughs near the Beaver lodge, and tonnes of Canada Goslings.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

We got to the Lookout approaching 11:00 am and, after a bit of a break, most of us decided to continue around the marsh on the longer trail back to the boat launch.  Richmond Brian finally got a good shot of a Common Yellowthroat.  We hope our Newbie “Pseudo Hockey Playing” Marty got his camera adjustments organized as we look forward to seeing his Flickr postings.  Unfortunately, he was like a seasoned DNCB veteran when a Blue-winged Teal flew by.  He was busy chatting with Pat and missed the shot.

The always-fascinating Cliff Swallow colony on the rock cliff was active with parents entering their nests with bugs for young.

There seemed to be more Carp in the marsh and sloughs than we normally see, but the two guys we saw fishing for Large Mouth Bass in their tiny kayaks seemed to be having a ball.


Carp (PS)

The two Osprey nests on posts in the Lake had both parents hanging around them.  I couldn’t tell whether there were small young in the nests, or they were just turning eggs.

A Western Tanager landed in a tree within 10′ of the dike while some members were observing the Osprey.

My legs were like rubber when we got back to the parking lot, approaching 1:00 pm.  Some decided to continue along the Catbird Slough Trail; one Newbie went for a swim; others decided to abort the outing and go home; six of us chose to go to nearby Swan-e-Set Golf Course for lunch and a beer.  We were forced to eat inside this gorgeous clubhouse setting as a few hundred Sikhs in costume had invaded the place to celebrate an Indian Wedding.  Thankfully, my Beef Dip, Salad (with Roger’s chips), and pint of Sapporo draught hit the spot.  Hopefully Manli’s photo evidence is posted.  I snoozed through Roger’s murmurings on the ride home, getting back to Tsawwassen close to 4:00 pm.  Another glorious DNCB outing!

The thirteen were: Marion S, Roger, Richmond Brian, Anne M, Glen B, White Rock Al, newbie Marty A (my Noon Hockey line mate), Chris M, Jim K, sisters Pat & Maureen and Manli, and me.

Next Wednesday, June 14, is our quarterly Birds on the Bay outing at Boundary Bay Regional Park.  We will meet at and leave from historic Cammidge House at 9:00 am.

Don’t forget the BioBlitz at Centennial Beach on Sunday, June 11, from 2:30 to 4:00 pm.  Join me, and other experts, on this David Suzuki Foundation event.

As always, your comments are encouraged, and let me know if you want off my e-mail list to receive these verbose ramblings.  Cheers: Tom

Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists Society

Posted in *DNCB, Bald Eagle, Band-tailed Pigeon, Blue-winged Teal, Bullock's Oriole, Cedar Waxwing, Cliff Swallow, Eastern Kingbird, Gray Catbird, Osprey, Pitt Lake, Pitt-Addington Marsh WMA, Red-eyed Vireo, Swainson's Thrush, Warbling Vireo, Western Tanager, Willow Flycatcher, Wilson's Snipe, Yellow Warbler | Leave a comment

DNCB Outing No. 2017-21 to Little Campbell Hatchery and A Rocha

More photos by Glen Bodie (GB), Jack MacDonald (JMacD), Jim Kneesch (JK), Ken Borrie (KB), Pat Smart (PS), Terry Carr (TC) at our DNCB Flickr site


DNCB at Little Campbell Hatchery – photo by Jack MacDonald

At least 22 DNCBers enjoyed a fantastic outing on Wednesday in Surrey, visiting the Little Campbell River (LCR) Hatchery and adjacent Forest Trail, and then to A Rocha’s Canadian flagship project at their 18-acre Brooksdale Environmental Centre.  We saw 51 species throughout the morning, several were real beauties.  Being Casual Birders, we don’t normally produce a Species Seen List, however, Stan’s e-Bird record is at the end of this report.  The list of Participants is at the end of this report too.

Also, be sure to check out the photo evidence of this outing on our Flickr site: www.flickr.com/groups/dncb, then click the magnifying glass icon in the “Photo Pool” row, and add 2017-21 to “flickr_search_dncb-photosDNCB Photos” in the Search box at the top of the page.

Three cars took nine of us from Petra’s at 7:30 am and we got to the Semiahmoo Fish & Game Club in Surrey just past 8:00 am (ahead of schedule).  Smooth sailing along Highways 17, 99 and 16th Avenue.  Ken Borrie had pre-arranged this outing with our leaders, Roy Thomson at the Hatchery, and Stan Olson of A Rocha, and they met us with smiles, and a brief introduction of the morning’s outing, and what we might see.


Roy explains salmon run (KB)

After Roy showed us the “Collection Tank” where every Salmon going upstream must pass, and the active Barn Swallow nest, Ladner Jack took the mandatory Group Photo in front of the sign and hatchery shed from which 150,000 salmon are raised and released annually.   Only 17 in the photo as time-challenged Marion, Marti and Glen showed up later.  We rousted a very young family of Wood Ducks in the grass beside the pre-release pond.


Wood Duck family (TC)

We followed the Forest Trail, with its informative signage seemingly beside every tree and plant.  Roy knew where every bird nested in this woods, and Stan could recognize and identify every singing bird species.  So we were really taken care of on this outing.  Some hi-lite sightings for me as we wandered along included: Black-headed Grosbeaks, Flycatchers including Pacific-Slope and Western Wood-Pewee (Willow later at A Rocha), Pacific Wren feeding young, a pounding Hairy Woodpecker, and finally seeing a noisy Swainson’s Thrush.

We stopped at the tree where the wide-eyed Mother Barred Owl was perched.  After a brief search, we found all three baby Fuzzballs which were hopping among the branches, never too far from Mom.  Roy entertained us with a smartphone video of the Owls devouring a Pileated Woodpecker.  We saw several Rufous Hummingbirds, and Roy showed us an empty nest that he had followed from egg-laying to fledgling.

We circled back from the Camp Ground and heard several Warblers including Orange-crowned, Yellow, Townsend and Black-throated Gray, and Warbling Vireos.  I couldn’t spot any of them high in the leaves.  Back at the parking lot, Roy led us to the Barn Owl Barn.  When we got there, one jerk amongst us was too noisy and the Barn Owl flew out before anyone could get decent photos.  Back at the cars, while watching Savannah and White-crowned Sparrows, a beautiful American Kestrel was spotted hunting and hovering in the adjacent field.

Excited by our sightings, we said thanks and goodbye to Roy, and followed Stan to A Rocha, not far away on 192 St.  Link to Roy’s GOOGLE photos


Stan Olson at Brooksdale (KB)

A Rocha is a Christian environmental stewardship organization working in conservation, environmental education and sustainable agriculture.  The Brooksdale Environmental Centre is a living lab comprised of forests, a threatened river system, organic gardens, and heritage houses.  One heritage barn had a very active colony of Cliff Swallows nesting in its eaves.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Stan led us around the property; in the adjacent field I finally saw a Warbler, Orange-crowned, that was very irritated by Stan’s phone.  A Willow Flycatcher, Black-headed Grosbeaks, Brown-headed Cowbirds, American Goldfinches and Purple Finches also posed for us here.

We continued our tour down to the river, where Stan explained how the Salish Sucker (it’s a fish) was re-discovered in 2011, dispelling its believed extirpation in the Little Campbell River watershed (Note: I think someone, perhaps a “discoverer” or Mike Pearson, spoke to Delta Nats several years ago about this discovery).


Stan explains how red-listed Salish Sucker was rediscovered in Little Campbell River (KB)


Common Yellowthroat male (TC)

A brilliant masked male Common Yellowthroat posed for us here, as I rested on a large box containing nets and pails for kids to use when sampling the contents of this section of the LCR.

The bell rang, so we climbed back up to the heritage kitchen building where the A Rocha staff, led by Director David Anderson, served us a delicious home-made lunch composed of organic stuff grown on the property, plus a song.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

  After celebrating Johnny Mac’s birthday, we ended this glorious morning at about 1:15 pm, thanked Stan and the A Rocha staff, and drove leisurely and pleasantly back to Tsawwassen.

Participants (21) were: Leaders Stan Olson (A Rocha) and Roy Thompson (LCR Hatchery), Terry C, Mike B, Jim K, Hamilton Lyle J, Glen B, Marion S, Marti of Lasqueti, Jean G, Pauline O, WR Al S, Anne M, Ken & Anne, Jonathan & Lorraine, Johnny Mac (turned 76 yesterday), Roger Two, Pat without Maureen, Ladner Jack M and me.

Next Wednesday, June 7, our outing is to Pitt Lake, leaving Petra’s at 7:30 am.  We expect to be at our regular meeting spot at the Park’s boat launch parking lot around 8:30 am.

Also, please attend our final 2016/17 Delta Nats monthly meeting on Tuesday evening (7:30 pm), June 6, at the Benediction Lutheran Church in Tsawwassen, where seven DNS members will give 15 minute Pictorial Presentations on their adventures somewhere in the world.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

For more info on our outings, meetings, reports and other stuff and photos, check out our website.  As always, your comments are encouraged, and please let me know if you want to be removed from my e-mail list to receive these long-winded and annoying missives.  Cheers: Tom

Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists Society


Posted in *DNCB, A-Rocha, American Kestrel, Bald Eagle, Barn Owl, Barred Owl, Black-throated Grey Warbler, Brookdale EC, Cliff Swallow, Little Campbell River Hatchery, Orange-crowned Warbler, Pacific-slope Flycatcher, Purple Finch, Semiahmoo Fish & Game Club, Swainson's Thrush, Townsend's Warbler, Warbling Vireo, Western Tanager, Western Wood-Pewee, Willow Flycatcher, Yellow Warbler | Leave a comment

DNCB Outing No. 2017-20 to Burnaby Lake

15 Tom-less Casual Burnaby Lake Birders (RM)

More photos by Chris McVittie (CMcV), Jack MacDonald (JMacD), Jim Kneesch (JK), Maureen Sinilaid (MS), Pat Smart (PS), Glen Bodie (GB), Terry Carr (TC), Roger Meyer (RM) & Ken Borrie (KB) at our DNCB Flickr site

More photos of this Outing are on our Flickr website at: www.flickr.com/groups/dncb, then click the magnifying glass icon in the “Photo Pool” row, and add 2017-20 to “flickr_search_dncb-photosDNCB Photos” in the Search box at the top of the page.

Fifteen Delta Naturalist Casual Birders arrived at 8:30 am at the Nature House in Burnaby Lake Regional Park, where we were greeted by a crèche of over a dozen Canada Goose goslings guarded by a ferocious gander and his mate.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

A beautiful Anna’s Hummingbird was at the hummingbird feeder, and several Brown-headed Cowbirds were gorging themselves at another feeder.

We headed down to the wharf at Piper Spit where we saw over a dozen pair of Wood Ducks,

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

and many Mallards, but the highlight was a Pied-billed Grebe in breeding plumage, swimming and diving amongst the water lilies.


Pied-billed Grebe (TC)

Some Red-winged Blackbirds were in the reeds on the shore and Barn, Violet-green, and Tree Swallows flew over the water.  Roger took the group photo at the end of the pier.  As we returned towards the Nature House, a Canada Goose revealed a clutch of eggs it was trying to hatch.


Canada Goose with eggs (CMcV)

From there, we meandered west along the Cottonwood Trail through a mix of cedar, spruce, and cottonwood along trails, following the north shore of the lake.  We heard Wilson’s and Yellow-rumped Warblers, and saw a Northern Flicker.

An Orange-crowned Warbler was sighted high in the crown of a deciduous tree, and there were several Black and Chestnut-backed Chickadees, as well as Spotted Towhees and Robins.

There were also some highlights: a Swainson’s Thrush, a Willow Flycatcher and a Pileated Woodpecker.  Four Pacific Wrens flitted amongst the undergrowth, and a Brown Creeper wound his way up the trunk of a tree.

There were also several very bold and hungry Douglas squirrels enjoying sunflower seeds left by a previous passerby, and a tiny shrew basking in the sun by the side of the path.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Heading east on the Brunette Headwaters Trail, we saw Rufous Hummingbirds and lots of Cedar Waxwings.

The Black-headed Grosbeaks and Swainson’s Thrushes were making lots of noise, and occasionally showed up for a photo op.  A Bald Eagle flew overhead, and an Osprey fished in the water near the Western Painted Turtles beach.

We even managed to identify a Northern Rough-winged Swallow, just for Tom!


Northern Rough-winged Swallow (PS)

We finally reached the east end of the lake and the Cariboo Dam on the Brunette River.  A Great Blue Heron was fishing on the dam spillway but, sadly, we could not find any Kingfishers or American Dippers.


Great Blue Heron (PS)

We headed back to the Nature House around 11:30 and were then on our way home at around noon.  It was a lovely outing – we even had some sunshine.

Report by Nance Forster

Next week’s outing, Wed. May 31st, will be to the Semiahmoo FGC/Little Campbell River Hatchery (1284 – 184 St) with Roy Thomson, followed by a birding walk at nearby Brooksdale EC (1620 – 192nd St, A-Rocha) with Stan Olson.  Leave Petra’s at 7:30 am, arrive at Hatchery parking around 8:15 am, to Brooksdale EC ~10:30.  If you want to stay for lunch at Brooksdale (and have not already told Ken) please contact Ken at kenborrie@gmail.com ASAP so that the cook has an idea of the numbers to prepare for.

“The meal would be largely prepared with produce from the large organic farm on site, and served outdoors, weather permitting, overlooking the LCR valley where the habitat has been enhanced for the endangered Salish Sucker and for Pacific salmon species, etc.  Cost would be $5.00 per person.

The menu would be limited to the dish of the day, and Brooksdale is not a licenced establishment, so no drinks are for sale.”  Stan Olson

Posted in *DNCB, Bald Eagle, Brown Creeper, Burnaby Lake, Douglas Squirrel, Northern Rough-winged Swallow, Orange-crowned Warbler, Osprey, Pied-billed Grebe, Pileated Woodpecker, Shrew Mole, Swainson's Thrush, Willow Flycatcher, Wilson’s Warbler, Yellow-rumped Warbler | Leave a comment

BBRP – Swallow Box Activity Report

by Chris McVittie (May 23, 2017)

Swallow eggs, taken with endoscope (CMcV)

These last few days, I have either opened or used an endoscope to check the boxes.  Up until this opening I have just observed nest box activity [on a number of outings].

The nest boxes are quite active with eggs being laid.  Only one nest has chicks [House Sparrow], hatched in last 2-3 days.

House Sparrow nests                         10
Tree Swallow nests with eggs          13
Tree Swallow nests no eggs               5
Chickadee [probable]                          1
Empty [or not checked]                     30  [4 were not checked due to undergrowth, 3 of these are probable House Sparrow, 1 I was unable to open]

Total # boxes                                     50 [19 new this year]


1.  Activity in new boxes is light

12 along dyke [1 swallow nest 5 eggs, 3 nests partially built, 8 empty]
5 in interior along fence [1 swallow nest 3 eggs, 1 being fought over Sparrow and Swallow, 3 Empty]
2 behind pump house inside [1 swallow nest 4 eggs, 1 Empty]

2.   One box [107] that was Tree Swallow was taken over by Sparrows.

Result 1 dead Swallow.  Something similar might happen at [103] Swallow nest observed last week, house sparrow in and out on Saturday.

3.   Two boxes by raptor trail 26 and 27 both have Swallows in with eggs

4.    Use of endoscope without ladder makes it easier on nest checker AKA “Swallow Whisperer”

5.    Checking boxes takes quite a while as many people [a dozen] were interested in finding out about the project.  Conversations were quite long.

Posted in *DNCB, *DNS, BBRP, Nestbox | Leave a comment