DNCB Outing No. 2017-42 to Deception Pass & Whidbey Island WA

More photos at our DNCB Flickr site

Terry and Roger organized a gem of an outing on Tuesday to Deception Pass and Whidbey Island in Washington State.  We had 21 participants under gorgeous sunshine spending an awesome day of birding and sight-seeing in this idyllic area of the San Juan Islands.  Check out the many beaut photos on our Flickr site at:  www.flickr.com/groups/dncb, then click the magnifying glass icon in the “Photo Pool” row, and add 2017-42 to “flickr_search_dncb-photosDNCB Photos” in the Search box at the top of the page.

At 7:30 am we mustered at the Peace Arch Park parking lot to car-pool for this day-long outing.  While waiting for the orienteering-challenged Laurie and Ka-Ling who sorrowfully did not make the trip, an American Kestrel entertained a few, along with FOSB’s Marg Cuthbert checking in to ensure we were all okay in her territory.

Terry took David & Noreen and Margaretha in her van, Chris took Jack, Jim and Anne, White Rock Al joined Rob & Marylile, Dutch Tom took his Langley crew of Wim, Joanne & Gareth, Roger took Mike and me.  Richmond Brian & Quilter Louise, and Lidia met us at the Ferry Terminal in Coupeville.  That’s our 21.

The Border was smooth, and it was a glorious 1 ½ hour drive down highway 5 and across 20 to the Deception Pass bridge and down Whidbey Island to the ferry terminal at Coupeville.  This being my first time on Whidbey Island, I especially relished the historical banter between Roger and Mike recounting their many visits to this area over the past six decades.  The exuberant 21 all arrived at the terminal around 9:30, shared pleasantries about how awesome the day already was, and then bought our ferry tickets ($1.65 each way) for the 10:00 am crossing of Admiralty Inlet (aka Strait of Juan de Fuca) to Port Townsend.  Some less-challenged in operating the ferry ticket machine (Canadians must input a numerical postal code) got to see the Western Grebe and Common Loons in the harbour.  Of course, only Roger saw the Pacific Loon.

Twenty of us went to the bow of the ferry for our Group photo (Rob was checking out the Beer stock in the café).  As the ferry took off the excitement crescendoed (Is that a word?).  Several Pigeon Guillemots were spotted, then a Common Murre came close, then a small flock of Marbled Murrelets flew by, then some saw a couple of Ancient Murrelets up close, then a Rhinoceros Auklet.  Five Alcids seen, but we were blanked on the Tufted Puffin which nests on nearby islands.  Then a spray was seen in the distance; it was a Gray Whale spouting.  Then four Harbour Porpoises approached us at the bow and whizzed by.  And the surrounding vistas, particularly of snowy Mount Baker in the distance were spectacular.  I wonder how many yellow spots were on the deck from DNCBers after experiencing these euphoric sightings.

At the Dover-like (white cliffs of) Port Townsend, we disembarked, then got right back on the ferry for the return trip.  Roger pointed out the historic Port Townsend brothel he apparently recognized (see Palace Hotel).  We saw many of the same species on the return trip, but often better views.  The Gray Whale, or another one, rolled and spouted for us again.  Lidia saw Orcas here yesterday (Monday).  We were unable to pick out a Brandt Cormorant among the Pelagic and Double-crested.  After disembarking at the Coupeville terminal we wandered around the adjacent Crockett Lake and Fort Casey State Park for an hour.  Some neat sightings included: more Heermann’s Gulls than most of us have ever seen (other Gulls were Ring-billed, California, Mew and Glaucous-winged), three Grebe species, Horned, Red-necked and Western, and a Belted Kingfisher.

On the trail up to the Fort Casey, originally built in the 1890’s, we saw lots of little birds including four Sparrow species, Song, Fox, White- and Golden-crowned, Anna’s Hummingbirds, House and American Goldfinches, and a beaut Cooper’s Hawk.  We took another Group Photo with the cannon behind us, on the Fort’s hill under the brilliant sun, gazing across the inlet at the twin Fort Worden.  Approaching 12:45 pm, we descended quickly to our vehicles so we could make Terry’s scheduled 1:00 pm lunch at the Front Street Grill in Coupeville.

Coupeville is a quaint little village on the water, Penn Cove.  We saw rafts of Surf Scoters from the restaurant’s window.  My lunch was simply superb: Mussels in wine sauce, with a bowl of Linguine and Garlic Toast, along with a 16 oz. glass (US ounces, smaller than ours) of a German Lager that Margaretha said was a “wheat yeast beer”.  I think all 21 of us, although squeezed into two long tables, were very pleased with their meals and service.

We left Coupeville around 2:30 pm and drove back up highway 20 to Deception Pass State Park just before the famous bridge.  Another beautiful park; we went to the West Point overlooking the Pass and up at the bridge.  More Heermann’s Gulls here, a Bonaparte’s Gull, Guillemots, grebe and scoter species, and some vividly colourful Harlequin Ducks.  Langley Tom led us along a beach trail to an 850 year old Douglas Fir tree.  We took another Group Photo here with our lovable “monkey” entertainer making a grand exit from the tree onto his tush.  We followed an inland trail through the woods and saw Golden-crowned Kinglets, Northern Flickers, Bald Eagles, some saw wrens.  Ring-necked Ducks were on Cranberry Lake, and we finally saw some Shorebirds, Killdeer and Greater(?) Yellowlegs.  I don’t tally species seen on the day, only neat ones I like, but Langley Gareth said we had 57 species on the day (not too shabby).  We got back to our vehicles around 4:30 pm, said goodbyes, and each car went their own way home.

Roger decided to take Mike and I on the scenic Chuckanut Drive along the coast to Bellingham.  It was magnificent too.  We saw an American Kestrel on a telephone wire, then a Short-eared Owl glided along side our van.  Then four Swans (early Trumpeters I guess) flew across the road in front.  I was too excited and couldn’t doze off as I usually do on these rides home.  We got to the border around 6:30 pm, no wait, and home by 7:00 pm.  Terry and Roger did a terrific job organizing this outing, and with the gorgeous weather, fantastic people, and spectacular sightings and scenery, this was one of my most enjoyable DNCB outings ever.

Next Tuesday, October 31 (Halloween), we will meet at and leave from Petra’s at 7:30 am for a local outing to Reifel and perhaps Alaksen.  I expect we’ll be at Reifel’s entrance around 9:30 am.

For more info on our outings, and reports and photos, check out our website at http://www.dncb.wordpress.com.

As always, your comments are encouraged, and let me know if these long-winded, erratic missives bore or annoy you and you want off my e-mail list.  Cheers: Tom

Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists Society (1:00 am and exhausted)

Posted in *DNCB, American Kestrel, Ancient Murrelet, Bald Eagle, Bonaparte's Gull, Common Murre, Cooper's Hawk, Coupeville, Cranberry Lake, Crockett Lake, Deception Pass, Gray Whale, Harbour Porpoise, Harlequin Duck, Heermann's Gull, Marbled Murrelet, Mew Gull, Pacific Loon, Pelagic Cormorant, Pigeon Guillemot, Red-necked Grebe, Rhinoceros Auklet, Ring-necked Duck, Short-eared Owl, Trumpeter Swan, Whidbey Island | Leave a comment

DNCB Outing No. 2017-41 to Jericho Beach & Camosun Bog

More photos at our DNCB Flickr site

It was a rainy and windy Tuesday morning, so only six stoic DNCBers enjoyed an eventually sunny morning in Vancouver at Jericho Beach, and then Camosun Bog.  We had some neat sightings among the gorgeous Fall colours, as you will see from Richmond Brian’s, Roger’s, Glen’s and Terry’s photos on our Flickr site at: www.flickr.com/groups/dncb, then click the magnifying glass icon in the “Photo Pool” row, and add 2017-41 to “flickr_search_dncb-photosDNCB Photos” in the Search box at the top of the page.

Roger drove 5 of us (Glen, Terry, Mike & me) in his Birdmobile from Petra’s at 7:40 am and we met Richmond Brian at Jericho Park.  The drive was horrendous (again) as the traffic was backed up on 99 and in Vancouver.  Rain and wind warnings didn’t help.  We took several of “Roger’s Shortcuts” which always add significant time, but with four local BC born guys in the van, the 40 minute drive that took over an hour and half, was seamless, relaxing and very informative.  At almost every corner we passed through the side streets of Vancouver, the conversation escalated from each guy as to what buildings were there over the past 70 years, who lived in them (including ancestral relatives), what crimes were committed there, where were the best haunts for misspent youths, etc.  Truly fascinating listening.

Arriving just after 9:00 am, we parked on the street (free) next to the Jericho Beach east parking lot.  The rain had stopped, but it was still windy and cool as we met Brian who had just photographed a Sharp-shinned Hawk sitting on a picnic table.  Then a flock of Savannah Sparrows surrounded us in the grass. We walked to the beach where Roger hailed down a runner, in shorts and T shirt, who took the group photo of us all rugged up like we were in the Arctic.  We walked the beach as the sun began to appear on the horizon, enjoying the vista across English Bay to Vancouver, Stanley Park and the mountains behind North and West Vancouver.

Large flocks of Double-crested Cormorants circled by, a few Pelagics around too. Horned Grebes bobbed among the waves.  We had a bit of an ID test as there were several Gull species on the shore other than the common Glaucous-winged.  We saw Mew, Ring-billed, Thayer’s (now included with Icelandic?), Herring, probably Western and perhaps California, and of course various Hybrids of these Gull species.  It was sort of fun to confirm an ID, when in reality we were just guessing.

At the Sailing Club, we wandered inland along the treed trails of Jericho Park.  The sun was shining now and it warmed up nicely as flocks of Finches, both House and American Goldfinches glistened in the bushes.  I had good looks at both Golden- and Ruby-crowned Kinglets.  Lots of common stuff around including Steller’s Jay, Golden-crowned Sparrows, Wigeons and GBH in the ponds, but we couldn’t find any Warblers or a Goshawk. Approaching 11:00 am, we decided to visit Camosun Bog before lunch.

Brian and I entered the Bog at 21st and saw a Bewick’s Wren and a flock of Bushtits.  The others entered at 19th St and saw an Anna’s Hummingbird.  We met in the middle and all commented on the beautiful new boardwalks and very informative signage.  Some were fascinated with the fungi on the trees, others with the carnivorous Sundew plant, rare Cloudberry, Bog Cranberry or prolific Labrador Tea. This urban wilderness in Pacific Spirit Regional Park is a very interesting and rare ecosystem.

Approaching Noon, we drove to Terry’s choice, Aphrodite’s Organic Café on West 4t Ave. Not being a real fan of healthy organic stuff, I was very pleasantly surprised with my Bacon & 3 poached egg Aphrodite Breakfast along with a tasty Scandal Beer (organic lager made in Prince George).  It was so good that I don’t remember the ride home in the brilliant sun as I snoozed in the back seat.  I got home before 2:00 pm with a Timmy’s Donut and Iced Cap for Sandra, and in time to take Grandson Thomas for a walk in the neighbourhood.  Meanwhile Glen continued on, passing the Tsawwassen fields full of our early migrant Snow Geese.  It turned out to be a glorious DNCB outing.

Next Tuesday, October 24, we will leave Petra’s at 7:00 am and carpool at 7:30 am from the Peace Arch Park parking lot to Deception Pass in Washington State.  This is a new DNCB destination, and Roger & Terry have organized an interesting itinerary for the all-day outing.  Check out directions (below), and other outing info on our website.

As always, your comments are encouraged and, let me know if these meandering, gossipy missives bore you and you want off my e-mail list.  Cheers: Tom

Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists Society

Details of Oct. 24 DNCB Outing 2017-42 to Deception Pass & Whidbey Island, by Terry:

We will leave Petras at 7am and leave Peace Arch Parking lot at 730.                                   Our first stop will be the Port Townsend – Keystone ferry terminal at Coupeville which is one hour and 47 minutes from Blaine. Follow I-5 to Hwy 20 West (exit 230).
Follow Hwy 20 past Anacortes to the Keystone Ferry Terminal (for Port Townsend ferry). On Highway 20, when approaching Anacortes, watch for the left turn to stay on Highway 20. It says Turn left for Oak Harbour and Port Townsend Ferry. THE MAIN ROAD GOES INTO ANACORTES SO IT IS EASY TO MISS THAT LEFT TURN. Later when you are approaching Coupeville you can either follow the signs to Port Townsend Ferry by staying on Highway 20 or take the shorter route by turning right onto Main St which becomes S Engle Rd and also goes to the ferry. There is lots of free parking around the ferry.

We will take the 10:15 ferry to Port Townsend as foot passengers. 35 minutes each way. Often see guillemots, murres, auklets and loons from the ferry. We will take the same ferry back at 11. Buy a return ticket. Fare each way is $1.65 for seniors and $3.35 for adults.
After returning on the ferry, we will bird Keystone Spit, Crockett Lake and the trail to Fort Casey.

We will probably have lunch on the waterfront in Coupeville at
Front Street Grill
20 Front St NW

After lunch, we will stop at Deception Pass State Park (Cranberry Lake & Deception Pass West Beach).

Posted in *DNCB, Camosun Bog, Crockett Lake, Deception Pass, Deception Pass Campground, Fort Casey, Greenbank Farm, Herring Gull, Jericho Beach, Keystone Spit, Mew Gull, Pelagic Cormorant, Port Townsend, Sharp-shinned Hawk, Thayer's Gull, Western Gull | Leave a comment

DNCB Outing No. 2017-40 to Boundary Bay at 104th Street

More photos at our DNCB Flickr site

The Honeymoon is over!  Sixteen DNCBers started dry and finished wet on our Tuesday outing along the Boundary Bay Dyke trail at 104th Street.  Check out the photo evidence of some neat sightings, despite the weather, on our Flickr site at: www.flickr.com/groups/dncb, then click the magnifying glass icon in the “Photo Pool” row, and add 2017-40 to “flickr_search_dncb-photosDNCB Photos” in the Search box at the top of the page.

Ten of us left Petra’s at 7:30 am, carpooling nicely in three vehicles to the Delta Heritage AirPark on 104th Street.  We met the others here at 8:00 am as the tide was out, but coming in.  White-crowned Sparrows were flitting in the bushes and an adult Bald Eagle perched above us as both David H and Roger M took a Group Photo (14 without time challenged “Germanics” Margaretha & Gabriele) with the Bay behind us.  It was cloudy and cool, but seemingly (to me) no threat of rain.

There were thousands of ducks and peeps on the horizon at the incoming water’s edge, seen clearly through our scope.  The ducks were mostly Northern Pintail, American Wigeon and some Green-winged Teal.  The thousands of Shorebirds were mostly Black-bellied Plovers, Dunlin and Pectoral (and a few Baird’s) Sandpipers as we learned later when they were pushed closer.

As we walked toward the Mansion and 88th St., we tried unsuccessfully to find the recently seen Sharp-tailed Sandpiper and the Godwits (Bar-tailed or Marbled).  Small flocks of American Pipits gave fly pasts and landed on the shore very close for good photo ops.  The Pectoral Sandpipers also came close and, late in the morning, we also identified a couple of Baird Sandpipers.  We met Mike Tabak at 88th St who had seen an American Golden Plover among the Black-bellied, but we missed it.  As we traversed the dike trail, the thousands of waterfowl were often raised, spectacularly, to flight by passing Bald Eagles and Falcons.  We saw Peregrines, and a MerlinNorthern Harriers occasionally glided by too.

At 88th, at about 9:45 am, the tide was fully in and the sky was getting a bit darker, so we decided to turn back to 104th.  Most walked briskly and got back to their vehicles before the downpour.  Some of us dilly-dallied and got soaked.  If you can’t handle rain, you shouldn’t live in BC.

At 10:30 am, the four stalwarts, dry WR Al & Mike and drenched Roger & me decided to go to Boundary Bay Airport restaurant for coffee.  My supplement with French Toast and Strawberries warmed me up nicely, albeit without a beer.  Although a rain-shortened outing (I was home before Noon), as always it was very enjoyable.

We Sixteen were: Yachties David & Noreen (also soaked, but better dressed), photogs Glen & Terry, Chris drove Roger K & Jim K, DNCB Chauffeur White Rock Al, three North Deltan’s Johnny Mac, Jean G and Liz S, our always-smiling Germanics Margaretha & Gabriele, and unflappable Roger M drove Mike & me.

Next Tuesday, October 10, we will leave Petra’s at 7:30 am for Jericho Park and Camosun Bog in Vancouver, meeting others around 8:15 am at Jericho Beach parking lot East. There is free parking just outside the lot on West 2nd Ave and Wallace St.

Check out our website for more info on outings and reports and photos.  As always, your comments are encouraged, and let me know if these weekly musings annoy you and you want off my e-mail List.  Cheers: Tom

Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists Society (now going to my Wednesday Noon hockey)

Posted in *DNCB, 104 Street, American Pipit, Baird’s Sandpiper, Bald Eagle, BBRP, Black-bellied Plover, Boundary Bay, Dunlin, Merlin, Northern Harrier, Pectoral Sandpiper, Peregrine Falcon | Leave a comment

DNCB Outing No. 2017-39 to Derby Reach and Brae Island Parks


Tip of the Island (photo by Roger Meyer)

More photos at our DNCB Flickr site

Twenty-five DNCBers enjoyed a gorgeous Tuesday morning wandering in two Langley Regional Parks, Derby Reach and Brae Island.  We saw lots of new and neat stuff in a beautiful setting along the Fraser River; 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 2017-39 to “flickr_search_dncb-photosDNCB Photos” in the Search box at the top of the page.

Ten of us left Petra’s at 7:30 am, car-pooling nicely in three vehicles, and via the new SFPR highway got to the Derby Reach “heritage” Park parking lot at 8:35 am.  The cast of thousands met us with smiles, including our Leader, Gareth Pugh, and his Langley Field Naturalist colleagues, local Guru Anne Gosse, Tom W, Ralph B and his wife and visiting Mom from Alberta.  We chatted for a bit while Mary T watched the Kinglets in the surrounding trees, then “Cruisin’ Returnee” David H and our ILB Tony took the Group Photo (only 22 w/o time-challenged Margaretha, Gabriele and Abbotsford Laurie K).  Gareth outlined our itinerary for the day before we began our stroll along the manicured Houston Trail through the woods toward the Lookout over the Langley Bog.

Despite the inevitable Chatfest, we managed to hear and/or see a few birds including: both Chestnut-backed and Black-backed Chickadees, House and Purple Finches, Bewick’s and Pacific Wrens, Red-breasted Nuthatches, Dark-eyed Juncos, and our first small flock of Yellow-rumped Warblers.  At a clearing where one of the “three” Fort Langley’s was located in the early 1800’s, a Sharp-shinned Hawk gave a fly-past (seen again later at the Lookout).  Some of us took a side trail to look at the Beaver’s dam and saw some neat Mushrooms and heard a Varied Thrush.

At the Lookout over the bog, some saw a Red-tailed Hawk.  We took more people photos here because several of the vain among us love to see themselves on our Flickr site.  The coup de grace here was seeing the resident pair of Sandhill Cranes give a flypast.  Anne G reported that the pair had one Colt which they hope survived.  We got back to the parking lot around 10:00 am and drove in a huge convoy to Brae Island Regional Park (BIRP) on McMillan Island.  It’s difficult to organize and corral 25 folk in a convoy of about 15 vehicles, but it worked out well, despite the annoying highway construction delays.

Standing around the washrooms at the BIRP entrance, another flock of Warblers entertained us.  We finally saw a Myrtle (white-throated) Yellow-rumped among the mostly Audubon’s (yellow-throated).  Marion and Kirsten saw an Orange-crowned too.  I think we got both Ruby- and Golden-crowned Kinglets as well.  As we walked along the Tavistock Point Trail, the Fraser was flat and calm at low tide.  No exciting waterfowl around, only Mallards and Canada Geese, but some got excited when our Lunch spot across the water, the Fort Pub, was pointed out.

We followed a circular trail on this island through beautiful forest, occasional seeing the Fraser on both sides from side path lookouts.  Other new sightings here included a Brown Creeper, four Woodpecker species, both Hairy and Downy, Northern Flickers and a neat “red-headed” Red-breasted Sapsucker, Common Raven and other common stuff.  The vistas across the river of the Coquitlam Mountains and the Golden Ear peaks were magnificent under the clear blue skies.

At Tavistock Point, while luring at the elegantly landscaped mansion across the river with its float plane and yacht, a Beaver glided by in front of us for its photo op.  Then Roger persuaded us all to walk out onto the mud for another Group Photo under the regrettably still-unused Purple Martin Houses.

We got back to the parking lot at 12:45 pm, to more warblers, and celebrated an awesome morning before about 17 of us drove across the bridge to the Fort Pub for lunch.  Some sat outside on the patio in the sun while most of us were inside, but the food, service and comradery was superb.  My “special” Pot Pie, Salad and two pints of Kokanee (the cheapest beer) were delicious, of course with some of Mikey’s chips for added flavour.  It was a relaxing drive back to Ladner, listening to the dulcet tones of another edition of the Roger & Mike Historic Duet.  We’re so lucky to be DNCBers.

We twenty-five were: Langley Leader Gareth Pugh, Guru Anne Gosse, Species-recorder Tom W, Yachtie Ralph B and his wife & Albertan Mom (Wanda and I forget), Roger Two, Jim K & Mary, T, Marion & Kirsten, Margaretha & Gabriele, our ILB (Indian Land Baron)Tony M, North Van Richard H, Richmond Brian A, returnee Cruisers David & Noreen & photog Glen B, North Delta’s Johnny Mac, Abbotsford “Biker” Laurie K, Roger, Mike, Terry C and me.

Next Tuesday, October 10, we will leave Petra’s at 7:30 am for a walk along Boundary Bay dike, meeting at 8:00 am at the 104th Street Heritage Airport parking lot.

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

We had a super AGM last night (Tuesday), elected a terrific Executive, and enjoyed a very interesting and informative presentation by our friend Ken Hall on his passion about Water and its impact on the desert area from the Okanagan south to the Mexican border.

As always, your comments are encouraged, and should this weekly drivel annoy you, let me know and I’ll remove you from my email list.  Cheers: Tom

Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists Society

Posted in *DNCB, Beaver, Brae Island Park, Brown Creeper, Derby Reach, Houston Trail, McMillan Island, Orange-crowned Warbler, Purple Finch, Red-breasted Sapsucker, Red-tailed Hawk, Sandhill Crane, Sharp-shinned Hawk, Tavistock Point Trail, Yellow-rumped Warbler | Leave a comment

DNCB Outing No. 2017-38 to Squamish Estuary

Photos at our DNCB Flickr site


DNCB at Squamish (photo by Terry Carr)

About 18 Delta and Squamish Naturalists had a grand Wednesday morning wandering the trails and wetlands of the Squamish estuary.  It was a new and interesting destination for DNCBers and we met some nice new folk.  Check out the photo evidence on our DNCB Flickr site at: www.flickr.com/groups/dncb, then click the magnifying glass icon in the “Photo Pool” row, and add 2017-38 to “flickr_search_dncb-photosDNCB Photos” in the Search box at the top of the page.

Four of us (Glen, Terry, Johnny Mac and me) left the Ladner Bus Exchange at 6:30 am and had a leisurely and surprisingly very smooth 1 ½ hour drive through Vancouver to the Howe Sound Brew Pub in Squamish.  I guess we beat the rush hour traffic.  We met my “Trinidadian” friend Larry Murray and his smiling band of Squamish birders (Vanessa, Patrick, Marcia, Marilyn and Hilary; I may have the wrong names) at the Pub, along with DNCBers Richmond Bill D, North Van’s Richard H, Lidia, sisters Pat & Maureen, Marion, Marti and Kirsten.

After introductions and renewing acquaintances, Larry and Vanessa led us along the path toward the estuary.  The scenery was magnificent as we looked up at the Stawamus Chief, Mt. Garibaldi, and Black Tusk where Roger, who deserted the DNCBers, was climbing this morning.  Although the chatting was indefatigable, we did see a few birds along the trail, including sparring Song Sparrows, White-crowned Sparrows, several Northern Flickers, Steller’s Jays, House and Purple Finches, Crows and Common Ravens, and other common stuff.  Glen posted a photo of a Savannah Sparrow (originally mistaken for a White-throated).

When we got to the estuary, after taking the mandatory Group Photo, we split into two groups to circle the trail portion and meet on the railroad tracks.  The tide was low and the weather was simply perfect.  While following the tracks, our group met a flock of Long-billed Dowitchers that posed nicely for us in a marsh pond.  The other group had a Black Bear cross the tracks right in front of them.

We met up after an hour and together we entered the trails through the wetlands, which Larry said were probably made by the early settlers 200 years ago, cultivating Hops.  Of course the area had been traversed, fished and inhabited by Squamish First Nations for 5000 years, and in 2007 the land was declared a Squamish Estuary Wildlife Management Area.  Some interesting sightings through these narrow “rooted” trails included a few Common Mergansers, raft of American Wigeon, pair of Belted Kingfishers, a kettle of Turkey Vultures, Brown Creeper.  Some heard Common Yellowthroats, Red-breasted Nuthatches, Kinglets and both Marsh and Pacific Wrens, but I didn’t see these.  We probably saw other neat stuff too, but I forget.

The walk through the trees and even on the mud of the estuary was fun too.  A huge Sitka Spruce tree with a big “burl” (i.e. deformed growth at the base of the tree) on it was interesting.  It was approaching 11:00 am, when Pat fell, fractured her ankle, and had to be fireman–lifted (thanks Larry & Patrick) out of the park to a waiting ambulance that Glen had called.  Later, Terry drove Pat & Maureen home from the Squamish Hospital, and Pat is currently “using a Walker” and hoping to have surgery tomorrow or Monday at the Royal Columbian Hospital.  Our first, and hopefully last, accident on a DNCB outing.  It’s not true that Pat fell because she was desiring attention.

While Pat was enjoying herself in the Squamish Hospital (X-rays confirmed ankle fracture), the rest of us went for lunch at the Brew Pub.  The Soup & Chicken Pot Pie Special with a jug of their Belgian style Lager, along with a couple of Larry’s delicious Calamari, hit the spot.


DNCB at pub (photo by Glen Bodie)

Like Delta Nats, the Squamish Environment Society is a member of BC Nature, and you can learn more about them on their website at: www.squamishenvironment.ca.  Thanks to Larry and his Squamish birders, we really enjoyed an informative, interesting and fun morning with our new friends.  My vehicle, without Terry, left the pub at 2:00 pm and got back to Ladner at 3:30 pm, a super smooth and surprisingly quick ride over the Lion’s Gate Bridge and through Vancouver.  I think Johnny Mac slept all the way, and fortunately Glen’s historical conversation kept me awake.

Next Tuesday, (yes, TUESDAY) October 3, we will meet at and leave from Petra’s at 7:30 am for Derby Reach Park and Brae Island (new DNCB destination).  We will meet at the Heritage Area Parking Lot in Derby Reach Park around 8:15 am, and be led by our friend and local expert Gareth Pugh.

Also on Tuesday October 3 is our Delta Nats monthly meeting and AGM, with Ken Hall presenting on “Water in the Desert”.  Join us (free) at 7:30 pm at the Benediction Lutheran Church for a very enjoyable evening.

For more info on our DNS Meeting guest speaker and his topic, our DNCB outings and other Delta Nats stuff, check out this website.  As always, your comments are encouraged, and if these rambling missives annoy you, let me know and I’ll remove you from my email list.  Cheers: Tom

Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists Society (written at 1:00 am Sunday morning, it’s been a busy golf week)

Posted in *DNCB, Black Bear, Brown Creeper, Long-billed Dowitcher, Purple Finch, Squamish Estuary, Turkey Vulture | Leave a comment

DNCB Outing No. 2017-37 to White Rock Pier, Blackie Spit and Elgin Park

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photos by Brian Avent (BA), Chris McVittie (CMcV), Glen Bodie (GB), Maureen Sinilaid (MS), Pat Smart (PS), Roger Meyer (RM) & Terry Carr (TC) at our DNCB Flickr site

A large crowd of nearly 30 birders joined us at very stages of our Wednesday outing to White Rock Pier, Blackie Spit and then Elgin Park for the American Avocet.  It was a very birdy morning and you can see some beautiful 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 2017-37 to “flickr_search_dncb-photosDNCB Photos” in the Search box at the top of the page.

Ten of us left Petra’s at 7:30 am and got to the free morning parking at the White Rock Pier just after 8:00 am.  The group expanded quickly as we walked out the pier, as the high tide was receding.  Killdeer on shore and lots of Surf Scoters, Common Loons (maybe Red-throated too), Horned and Red-necked Grebes around, with a few Western Grebes too.

I think there was a Pied-billed Grebe there too.  The Belted Kingfisher posed on a mast, and a few American Pipits flitted in the rocks among the Pigeons, and one lone Band-tailed Pigeon (possibly injured as the “Feed Lady” said it was covered with lice as it crawled over her feet).

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Terry and Maureen took Group photos here, without some time-challenged and those who joined us later at Blackie Spit.  We saw other stuff here, Harbour Seals, Crabs, Cormorants, etc. but I forget what waterfowl (Scaup, Wigeons, Mallards, Teal, Shovelers).  A flock of unidentified Shorebirds whizzed by.

We drove to Blackie Spit around 9:30 am, stopping once to unsuccessfully look for Black Scoters.  I didn’t even see a White-winged Scoter, although I’m sure some were there.  The Long-billed Curlew and Marbled Godwit (Target birds here) were posing on shore at the Blackie Spit entrance when we arrived.

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In sporadic groups, we wandered out to the Spit, entertained by Savannah Sparrows and more Pipits; we missed the Western Meadowlark.  Lots of Ring-billed Gulls around, fly-past Caspian Terns, and there were a few Shorebirds (Peeps) on distant “islands”.

We left the spit in search of Roger’s Scrub Jays, not to be found. We saw some Northern Flickers, Northern Harriers, then a Merlin posed on top of a tree.  A flock of about six Greater Yellowlegs flew in for us in Rene Savenye Park.  I think we saw a Peregrine circling too and it was later harassed by the Merlin.  Song and White-crowned Sparrows around, and we did see a couple of Yellow-rumped Warblers.  We had some difficulty identifying a few Gadwall in a stream.  Roger took a Group Photo here, including several participants not in the White Rock Pier photo.

We left Blackie Spit at 11:30 am for an unscheduled stop at Elgin Park as a couple of birders (I forget their names) told us an American Avocet was there.  We found the Avocet, with a Greater Yellowlegs, right where they said, on the Nicomekl River.

Elated with the joys of birding, we retired to the Town Hall Pub for lunch.


We had a great time as usual, and it’s always so nice to see you guys again.  Rick & Marg Wooley

The “Hard Corps” at lunch of White Rock Al, Mike B, Terry C, Lidia and me were joined by our Vancouver Island Nats, Rick & Marg.  The Beef Dip and Beer Special was delicious and cheap, and the conversation almost-stimulating.  We got back to Tsawwassen around 2:00 pm, and home by 2:30, not too late to join Sandra and our Daycare Grandkids, Juliette and Quinn.  Another super DNCB outing.

The 28 participants included: Liz S, Lidia J, Guru Anne M, Anne A (w/o Ken), Richmond Brian A, White Rock Al, Chris McV (see Flickr site for some neat plant/flora photos), other Photogs Glen B, Terry C, Denise (aka Uma) K, Roger M, Mike B, Richmond’s Donna & Angela, sisters Maureen & Pat, Pauline O’T & Jean G, Langley’s Ralph B & Joanne R, Johnny Mac, more lovely Germans Gabriele S & Margaretha S, surprise visit by Coquitlam friends “expert” Larry C & Kathy (?), our Island friends and former DNCBers Rick & Marg and me.

Next Wednesday September 27, we will leave the Ladner Bus Exchange at 6:30 am for an “away” outing to the Squamish Estuary.  We will meet a few Squamish Birders at the Howe Sound Brew Pub at 37801 Cleveland Ave in Squamish around 8:00 am and, following our outing, should leave Squamish about 1:00 pm to return home, to avoid the often horrendous Vancouver traffic.

Note from Pat Smart: From Howe Sound Brew Pub we travel 1km (see map https://goo.gl/maps/sooGDYnAy3P2) to the gates of Squamish Terminals,
37500 3 Ave, Squamish, BC V8B0B1, and explore the Cattermole Slough area.
Later we travel to the Chelem trail on the Spit (see map https://goo.gl/maps/HQ7xuw7V5oH2)
Chelem Trail:  1.1 km loop off Spit Road (also called the Marsh Trail).  Chelem is the Squamish language word for eel grass.

Note that the following week, Tuesday October 3, DNCB Outings change to TUESDAYS.

Check out our website for more info on this outing, and other reports and photos.  Also, as always, comments encouraged, and let me know if you want off my list to receive these annoying reports.  Cheers: Tom

Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists Society

Reason for late drafting of this report is that I was in Vernon from Thursday morning to late last night (Sunday) at the BC Nature FGM and Conference, an awesome weekend in a beautiful area.

Posted in *DNCB, American Avocet, American Pipit, Band-tailed Pigeon, Blackie Spit, Caspian Tern, Elgin Heritage Park, Harbour Seal, Long-billed Curlew, Marbled Godwit, Merlin, Mew Gull, Northern Harrier, Pelagic Cormorant, Peregrine Falcon, Pied-billed Grebe, Red-necked Grebe, White Rock Pier, Yellow-rumped Warbler | Leave a comment

DNCB Birds on the Bay Outing No. 2017-36 in Boundary Bay Regional Park

More photos at our DNCB Flickr site

Around twenty participants enjoyed another glorious Wednesday morning on our quarterly Birds on the Bay outing in Boundary Bay Regional Park.  We reversed our route to accommodate the tide and had some neat sightings.  Check out some spectacular 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 2017-36 to “flickr_search_dncb-photosDNCB Photos” in the Search box at the top of the page.

We gathered at historic Cammidge House at 9:00 am and following introductions, especially of the newbie Renda, and “irregulars” White Rock/Surrey Gareth, Ansa, Gabriele and Marian, and saying farewell to New Yorkers Chief Bill & Caroline, Terry took a Group Photo and we started our 2 ½ hour amble.  A couple of Red-tailed Hawks were circling above along with a Northern Harrier as we walked out the driveway. Since high tide was not until 1:30 pm, we decided to take the inland trail first and return via the outer Bay trail.  It was a good decision; we saw much more stuff on the inland trail than we normally do.  Indeed, our Guru Anne and Gareth spotted an Orange-crowned Warbler and several Sparrow species for us.  We saw Lincoln’s, Fox, Savannah, Song, both White- and Golden-crowned.  That’s 6 sparrow species, seven counting invasive House Sparrows which aren’t really sparrows.  Then Liz heard a Bewick’s Wren and we all got good looks.  Then a flock of “starlings” landed in a tree; on closer examination they were Purple Martins.  Some were quite excited at seeing this species here, even suggesting that we install Nest Boxes to attract future residents.

We walked by several of our Delta Nats Swallow Boxes, and Chris reported that Nats and Delta NatureKids had examined and cleaned them all on Tuesday and early results are that we had our most successful nesting season in BBRP.  Other sightings along the way included: iridescent Anna’s Hummingbirds, Cedar Waxwings, Downy Woodpecker and Northern Flicker, brilliant American Goldfinches, House Finches, Spotted Towhees, and other common stuff, including the always photogenic Great Blue Herons.  The Blackberries, although almost finished, were quite tasty too.

Approaching the Pumphouse, there were lots of Mallards in the pool and a couple of Gadwall in the adjacent stream.  From the Observation Lookout, there were tonnes of waterfowl on the shore and large rafts in the Bay too.  Other than Mallards and Canada Geese, most were American Wigeon, Northern Pintail and some Green-winged Teal.  With them were Ring-billed and Glaucous-winged Gulls (perhaps other Gull species) and at least a half dozen Caspian Terns.  Roger took another Group Photo here at the Lookout including Terry, and time-challenged Margaretha.

Along the dike trail we saw our first Shorebirds.  They were close enough to shore that we even identified a Least Sandpiper with a few Western Sandpipers.  A flock of Yellowlegs (~6 birds) flew across and we saw the Killdeer too.  Not much else new seen along the trail back.  Scoters were in the distance, only seen through the scope.  Lots of chatter though, and I think most were getting anxious for the Delta Nats Ladies’ Goodies.  We got back to Cammidge House at the scheduled 11:30 am where always smiling Jennifer and Elizabeth met us with their array of scrumptious home-made Scones and Cookies, Sandra’s renowned Egg Salad Sandwiches, cheeses, crackers, fruit and coffee.  A fitting end to another enjoyable and “birdy” Birds on the Bay outing.

Next Wednesday, September 20, we will meet at and leave from Petra’s at 7:30 am for the White Rock Pier, then Blackie’s Spit. We should be at the WR Pier around 8:15 am (free parking), then go to Blackie Spit for around 9:15 am.

Check out our website for more info on this and other outings, and photos and reports. Also next week is the BC Nature FGM Conference in Vernon, Sept. 21 to 24; still encouraging Nats to attend.

As always, your comments are encouraged, and let me know if these nauseating messages annoy you and you want off my e-mail List, including if you receive duplicate copies. Cheers: Tom

Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists Society

Posted in *DNCB, BBRP, Birds-on-the-Bay, Caspian Tern, Cedar Waxwing, Least Sandpiper, Lincoln’s Sparrow, Northern Harrier, Orange-crowned Warbler, Purple Martin, Red-tailed Hawk, Western Sandpiper | Leave a comment