DNCB Outing No. 2019-14 to Brydon Lagoon & Hi-Knoll Park, Surrey

Twenty-three hardy DNCBers enjoyed a rainy, but comfortable if dressed appropriately, Wednesday morning in Langley at Brydon Lagoon and Hi-Knoll Park.  Check out the spectacular photographic evidence on our DNCB Flickr site.

Eight folk left Petra’s at 7:30 am, car-pooling brilliantly in two vehicles; the ride was smooth sailing, arriving at 8:15 am at the parking lot entrance to Brydon Lagoon, well-before the time-challenged leader.  The entrance to the trail around the Lagoon was newly landscaped since last year’s visit.  A passing dog-walker took our Group Photo (17 without a few late arrivers) under the new Brydon Lagoon sign, using Noreen’s camera.

IMG_4563 Brydon starting Group

DNCB at Brydon Lagoon – taken using Noreen’s camera

The neat species in the pond included an American Coot, several pairs of courting Ring-necked Ducks, Bufflehead, Northern Shovelers, Double-crested Cormorant, and other common waterfowl species.  Swallows were circling everywhere above the pond, hawking insects; mostly Tree and Violet-greens, but we also saw Northern Rough-winged and a number of Barn and Cliff Swallows.  A magical 5 swallow morning.

Along the pond trail we searched in vain for warblers, but got lots of good looks at Sparrow species (Song, White- and Golden-crowned), both Anna’s and Rufous Hummingbirds, American Goldfinches, and lots of Red-winged Blackbirds of various ages.  We had Purple Finches, but not House Finches this day.

From the trail while walking across the marsh, we saw a Canada Goose sitting in the Eagle’s nest.  Langley Field Naturalist Joanne said the goose had been there for a few days. Interestingly, when we came back a couple of hours later, an adult Bald Eagle was perched in the tree, and the nest was empty.  We heard a Marsh Wren and someone saw a Bewick’s Wren.  Lots of beautiful blossoms on the trees and bushes, and the moss on the huge twisted tree branches was amazingly eerie as it always is in this park.

We crossed the road into Hi-Knoll Park (which I later learned is actually in Surrey) and the Fawn Lilies were there as we had hoped.  Both the White and rarer Pink were in fine bloom, as were several other wildflower species that we have come here to see, Trilliums (White and Pink, which I learned is a mature/old white Trillium) and Bleeding Hearts.  Lots of evidence of Pileated Woodpeckers here and we saw Northern Flickers.  A bird singing sounded like a Swainson’s Thrush, but we weren’t sure.  Despite the rain, the walk through this “almost” old growth grove is very pleasant.

When we turned down the hill at the Hydro Tower, Kathryn and Debbi saw Bushtits, apparently uninteresting (Ho-Hum) to most others.  Although we saw several more Hummingbirds, we could not coax any warblers to appear.  Roger led us back across the road on a new, to us, trail, which was interesting with many “planted” species of trees and bushes and their colourful blossoms (Quince, Cherry, etc.).  This was the Skelton Farm before the Anglican Church, then Surrey Parks, took over the property in the 2000’s.

On the return walk back to the vehicles, Roger led us on a couple of errant side trips.  We went to the area near the Goose/Eagle Nest tree where Richmond Brian scared off the Common Snipe so only he saw it.  Then Roger led us through the ”Homeless Woods”, vainly in search of the Barred Owls we had seen here earlier years.  Thankfully, the homeless garbage and the Tarp in the Tree provided conversation tidbits arousing wry smiles on our soaked faces.  According to Brian’s eBird List we had 40 species today.

We got back to the vehicles around 11:30 am and knew it was time to hit Samz Pub for lunch, where we (11) were again welcomed by John Gordon’s daughter, Kara?  I had the Steak Sandwich with Salad and Fries, washed down with Granville Island Honey Lager; scrumptious.  It was still pouring rain when we left the pub after 1:00 pm, but it was another delightful DNCB outing.

We 23 were:  the four South Surrey Lovebirds, Colin & Stephanie, Wazza & Lynn, “lost Sailor” Langley Ralph & newbie Wanda, Photogs David & Noreen with Mike B2 & Ladner Jack Mac, patient Kathryn & Mom Debbi, Mike B drove Organizer Terry C, PB Lorna and returnee Gerhard, Langley experts Gareth P & Joanne R, our eBirder Richmond Brian, sisters Pat & Maureen, Roaming Roger and me.

Next Wednesday, April 17, we will leave Petra’s at 7:30 am for Queen Elizabeth Park in Vancouver.  We expect to meet others around 8:15 am at the Golf Course office near the parking lot by the tennis courts.

Note also that this Sunday, April 14 are two events with Delta Nats participation where you too may want to participate.  Ladner Jack MacDonald will be leading the Birds in Focus Photography Workshop at Cammidge House, 9:00 am to 1:00 pm and, we will have our Nats Display and a Nature Walk at Delta’s annual Fish Release at Watershed Park in North Delta, 11:30 to 2:30 pm.

For more info on these events, our outings, and earlier reports and photos, see our website.  As always, your comments are welcome, and let me know if this weekly drivel irks you and you want off my email list.  Cheers: Tom

Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists Society

eBird Checklist Summary for: Apr 10, 2019 at 7:00 AM to Apr 10, 2019 at 11:00 PM
Number of Checklists: 1
Number of Taxa: 39
Checklists included in this summary:
(1): Langley–Brydon Lagoon
Date: Apr 10, 2019 at 8:15 AM

30 Canada Goose — (1)
2 Northern Shoveler — (1)
60 Mallard — (1)
1 Green-winged Teal — (1)
5 Ring-necked Duck — (1)
2 Bufflehead — (1)
3 Eurasian Collared-Dove — (1)
3 Anna’s Hummingbird — (1)
2 Rufous Hummingbird — (1)
1 American Coot (Red-shielded) — (1)
1 Wilson’s Snipe — (1)
2 Glaucous-winged Gull — (1)
2 Double-crested Cormorant — (1)
1 Great Blue Heron (Blue form) — (1)
1 Bald Eagle — (1)
1 Belted Kingfisher — (1)
1 Pileated Woodpecker — (1)
2 Northern Flicker — (1)
12 Northwestern Crow — (1)
4 Northern Rough-winged Swallow — (1)
60 Tree Swallow — (1)
2 Violet-green Swallow — (1)
2 Barn Swallow — (1)
1 Cliff Swallow — (1)
5 Black-capped Chickadee — (1)
2 Bushtit — (1)
1 Red-breasted Nuthatch — (1)
1 Brown Creeper — (1)
1 Marsh Wren — (1)
1 Bewick’s Wren — (1)
6 American Robin — (1)
2 Purple Finch — (1)
5 American Goldfinch — (1)
4 White-crowned Sparrow — (1)
3 Golden-crowned Sparrow — (1)
6 Song Sparrow — (1)
2 Spotted Towhee — (1)
24 Red-winged Blackbird — (1)
2 House Sparrow — (1)
+ European Starlings>/p>

Posted in *DNCB, Bald Eagle, Brydon Lagoon, Cliff Swallow, Hi-Knoll Park, Northern Rough-winged Swallow, Pileated Woodpecker, Purple Finch, Wilson's Snipe | Leave a comment

DNCB Outing No. 2019-13 to Point Roberts, USA

Fifteen DNCBers visited several spots in Pt. Roberts on Wednesday joining thousands of birds as Spring migration continues.  Check out some amazing photos, including several species in gorgeous breeding plumage, on our DNCB Flickr site.

The weather was miserable and pouring rain when I got to Petra’s, but when we left at 7:40 am toward the Border, it was only spitting, and the day, although overcast, proved to be quite comfortable with tonnes of super sightings.  We six car-pooled nicely, the Border was smooth, and we all met at Lighthouse Marine Park just after 8:00 am.  We had checked out Kiniski’s Pub first where our first Sea Lions (both Steller and California, we think) were seen along with large rafts of Western Grebes and Brant Geese way out.  Horned Grebes, Red-breasted Mergansers and both Pelagic and Double-crested Cormorants were closer to shore.


DNCB at Lighthouse Marine Park – missing Glen, Debbie and Katherine (photo by Glen Bodie)

Glen took the Group Photo at Lighthouse Park before we walked to the lookout point. Our scopes were really helpful here.  We picked out and had good looks at pelagic species including a Common Murre, Rhinoceros Auklet and Pigeon Guillemots.  Large rafts of Surf Scoters were at every spot we visited in the Point this day.  There were some White-winged among the Surf, and some of our “experts” even saw Black Scoters.  A few Common Goldeneye were doing their courtship “necking”.


Common Goldeneye courtship (TC)

We saw both Common and Pacific Loons, Bufflehead, Gadwall, three Grebe species, although not many Red-necked.  The walk inland at this park was fairly quiet; an Anna’s Hummingbird and some sparrows.  Some saw and photographed Chestnut-backed Chickadees, perhaps here.

We stopped next at the north side of the Marina to see PB Lorna’s resident Belted Kingfisher.  Our first Ruby-crowned Kinglet was there too.  At the south side of the Marina were more than a hundred gorgeous Harlequin Ducks.

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And the R-B Mergs and Horned Grebes were photogenic here as well in their beaut plumages.  As was a couple of Killdeer, a brilliant male House Finch and a Savannah Sparrow.

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We had seen large rafts of birds from the Marina further south, so we decided to stop at Sea Bright housing development to get closer looks.  We descended the stairs and got good looks at more Scoters, Brants and Goldeneye, plus some Long-tailed Ducks.  A number of Rufous Hummingbirds were very entertaining here too, flashing their gorges.

Rufous Hummingbird

Rufous Hummingbird (GB)

Our “lost” Guru Anne may have seen an Eared Grebe which was a target bird that the rest of us were blanked on.  We had more than 50 species this day; check our eBird DNCBlist created by Richmond Brian.

We moved on to Maple Beach on the Bay side of the Point where we thought the Herring Spawn might be active.  Again, there were large rafts of waterfowl here too, but we couldn’t pick out anything different.  A Greater Yellowlegs dropped in for its photo shoot, but we didn’t see other shorebirds.

Now approaching Noon, we decided to fill up with the cheap American gas and leave the Point for lunch at our seemingly new “hangout”, the Rose & Crown Pub in Tsawwassen.  Lovely Leila served the nine of us; my Special of Ham & Cheese Sandwich with Fries hit the spot, especially with the sleeve of Canadian.

The 15 DNCBers were an interesting, eclectic group: Organizer Terry C, photogs David H (w/o Noreen), Glen B & Pat S, our Guru Anne, eBirder Richmond Brian, PB Lorna, our historian Mike B, Mom & daughter team of Debbi H and Kathryn, and the four “lovebirds” from South Surrey, Colin & Stephanie, Wazza & Lynn, and me. It was another awesome DNCB outing.

Next Wednesday, April 10, we will leave Petra’s at 7:30 am for Brydon Lagoon and Hi-Knoll Park in Langley, meeting around 8:30 am at the parking lot on 53 Ave at bottom of 198A St.

And don’t forget our annual Birds in Focus Presentation evening this Saturday, April 6, at the Tsawwassen Arts Centre, 6:30 pm start.  Renowned photographers Liron Gertsman, Ron Long and Yuri Choufour will be giving photo presentations.

For more info on this event, our outings, and reports and photos, see our website.  As always, your comments are welcome, and let me know if these weekly ramblings are too irritating and you want off my email list.  Cheers: Tom

Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists Society (apologies for errors, written at 1:00 am after grandparent and spousal duties)

Posted in *DNCB, Black Scoter, California Sea Lion, Common Murre, Eared Grebe, Harlequin Duck, Lighthouse Marine Park, Long-tailed Duck, Maple Beach, Pacific Loon, Pigeon Guillemot, Red-breasted Merganser, Red-necked Grebe, Rhinoceros Auklet, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Steller Sea Lion | Leave a comment

DNCB Outing No. 2019-12 to Stanley Park

Fifteen DNCBers were surprised by the relatively decent weather on our outing to Stanley Park last Tuesday morning.  The forecasted rain held up and the photogs were happy with some magnificent shots they got in the Park and English Bay.  Check them out at our DNCB Flickr site.

Car-pooling was acceptable both from Petra’s at 7:30 am and other Nats coming directly to Second Beach parking area.  And traffic wasn’t too bad, it being the second week of Spring Break.  We all arrived between 8:15 and 8:30 am.   The Bay was smooth, only a mist of rain, and there were big rafts of both Common and Barrow’s Goldeneye in the Bay near the swimming pool, along with a few Bufflehead, Surf Scoters, Horned Grebes, Lesser Scaup and Pelagic & Double-crested Cormorants.  The birds were close to shore and the Common Goldeneye were very entertaining with their “neck-bending” courtship ritual.  Jim took the obligatory Group Photo here before we began our walk.

Our walk to and around Lost Lagoon produced a lot of neat sightings.  The pairs of Wood Ducks at the bridge were glorious, as usual.  Then our first (at least mine) sighting of a spectacular Rufous Hummingbird (possibly two) as it hovered taking our picture and flashing its brilliant iridescent throat.  We also saw Anna’s Hummingbirds and American Goldfinches.  The Lagoon did not have a lot of birds in it, but we did see Common Mergansers, an American Coot, more Scaup, and the common species of American Wigeon and Mallards.  Two little bird sightings along the trail were exciting, a Ruby-crowned Kinglet and a Brown Creeper, both offering good photo ops.

We were fortunate to have Alyx Coulter, Outreach Coordinator, with the Stanley Park Ecology Society, with us this morning.  When we reached the Nature Hut she was able to give us a tour of the inside with its taxidermed birds and mammals, and info on and exhibits about the Park.  This was the hi-lite of several DNCBers.

Continuing around the Lagoon, the Spring flowers and shrubs in bloom were invigorating, at least the chatter indicated so.  We were blanked on seeing the Swamp Sparrow, Trumpeter Swan and Rails, as well as Beavers or River Otters, but there was lots of evidence of them being there.  We got back to the vehicles about 11:30 am and Ladner Jack Mac and I left the group; I had a one o’clock golf Tee time at Tsawwassen Springs Golf Course.

The group drove on to Beaver Lake, as we normally do on our Stanley Park outings.  The circular walk around the lake resulted in some really neat sightings, and photos, including: Red-breasted Sapsucker, the other Kinglet, Golden-crowned, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Hooded Mergansers, Tree Swallows, Green-winged Teal.  Check out Richmond Brian’s eBird List below which indicates we had 35 species on the day.

I’m not sure what others had for lunch, but I simply had Salt & Pepper Wings along with two pints of Pat Quinn’s Lager after golf on a simply gorgeous afternoon in Tsawwassen.  It was another awesome DNCB day.

The fourteen with me were: Organizer Terry C, Guru Mary T, affable Mike B, Tsawwassen’s David & Noreen, Ladner’s Bryan & Masae, some of our Bird Box Team, Jim K, Mike B2 & Ladner Jack Mac, eBirder Richmond Bryan, South Surrey Colin, Stanley Park “Proprietor” Alyx C and, last but not least,  Welcome Back to PB Lorna.  Our weather wimp, Glen Bodie, led another group to Stanley Park on Wednesday.  Some of their photos are included in the 2019-12 Flickr site.

Next Wednesday (not Tuesday), April 3, we will go to Point Roberts, USA, instead of Victoria.

Also, don’t forget our monthly meeting on Tuesday, April 2 at at 7:30 p.m. at Benediction Lutheran ChurchGuest speaker will be Bev Ramey, and her topic is Double-Crested Cormorants – Is this bird a friend or foe?

For more info on this outing and other reports and photos, see our website.  As always, your comments are welcome, and let me know if these meandering missives make you miserable and you want off my email list. Cheers: Tom

Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists Society (late report because of golf, hockey, grand-parenting, Sandra’s Cataract operation, bird Nestbox installations, etc.)

eBird Checklist Summary for: Mar 26, 2019

Number of Checklists: 3
Number of Taxa: 35

Checklists included in this summary:
(1): Stanley Park–2nd to 3rd Beach Date: Mar 26, 2019 at 8:05 AM
(2): Stanley Park–Lost Lagoon Date: Mar 26, 2019 at 9:32 AM
(3): Stanley Park–Beaver Lake Date: Mar 26, 2019 at 11:34 AM

32 Canada Goose — (1),(2)
60 Wood Duck — (2),(3)
6 American Wigeon — (1)
54 Mallard — (1),(2),(3)
2 Green-winged Teal (American) — (3)
1 Lesser Scaup — (2)
4 Greater/Lesser Scaup — (1)
25 Surf Scoter — (1)
30 Bufflehead — (1)
18 Common Goldeneye — (1)
200 Barrow’s Goldeneye — (1)
1 Common Merganser — (2)
1 Horned Grebe — (1)
1 Red-necked Grebe — (1)
1 Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon) — (2)
2 Anna’s Hummingbird — (2)
2 Rufous Hummingbird — (2)
X Glaucous-winged Gull — (1),(2)
8 Pelagic Cormorant — (1)
6 Double-crested Cormorant — (1)
5 Great Blue Heron (Blue form) — (1),(2),(3)
2 Bald Eagle — (1),(2)
1 Red-breasted Sapsucker — (3)
2 Pileated Woodpecker — (3)
2 Northern Flicker — (1),(2)
X Northwestern Crow — (1),(2)
1 Common Raven — (1)
2 Black-capped Chickadee — (2)
1 Brown Creeper — (2)
1 Golden-crowned Kinglet — (2)
4 Ruby-crowned Kinglet — (2),(3)
2 Dark-eyed Junco (Oregon) — (2),(3)
22 Song Sparrow — (1),(2),(3)
19 Spotted Towhee — (1),(2),(3)
1 Red-winged Blackbird — (3)

Posted in *DNCB, Barrow's Goldeneye, Brown Creeper, English Bay, Golden-crowned Kinglet, Hooded Merganser, Lost Lagoon, Red-breasted Sapsucker, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Stanley Park, Yellow-rumped Warbler | Leave a comment

DNCB Outing No. 2019-11 to Iona Regional Park

Twenty-eight DNCBers enjoyed a record warm (24˚C) Tuesday morning at Iona Regional Park.  There were tonnes of birds around on this gorgeous walk, many in beautiful breeding plumage; check out some spectacular photos on our DNCB Flickr site.  Hi-lite, less common, species seen today were Mountain Bluebirds, Say’s Phoebe (BBRP), Canvasbacks and Northern Shrike.  Roger saw an American Bittern at Reifel.

Some car-pooled from Petra’s at 7:30 am and others drove directly to the Iona RP parking lot.  Traffic was light, it being Spring Break, and the horde of folk were almost all there by 8:15 am.  The beautiful weather seemed to stimulate the Chatfest and it was a real test to herd the group for Jim’s mandatory Group Photo. 


DNCB at Iona – photo by Jim Kneesch

As the photo was being taken, a flock of Trumpeter Swans V’d along the Fraser, and newly-arrived Tree and Violet-green Swallows hawked insects around us.  Among the raft of Lesser Scaup in the front pond were Bufflehead, Ring-necked Ducks and entertaining Hooded Mergansers.  One of many small flocks of Lesser Snow Geese flew over too for their photo shoot.  It was a magnificent start to the day.

We started our walk to the path between the two ponds.  Lots of little birds around and we got excited to see Marsh Wrens and American Goldfinches (almost a Western Tanager), as well as the regular common sparrow and finch species (Juncos, Towhees, etc.).  A Pied-billed Grebe was in the north pond and some saw Brewer’s Blackbirds among the many Red-winged Blackbirds, and Northern Flickers.  Sadly, we were blanked on Warblers this day, a bit early for them.

We entered the back gate to the Sewage Ponds and there were large numbers of waterfowl in all four ponds.  The odour didn’t bother them.  Among the rafts of Lesser Scaup and Northern Pintail were lots of other species: Northern Shovelers, Green-winged Teal, Gadwall, American Coots, American Wigeon and Mallards.  Someone probably picked out a Greater Scaup among the Lessers.  A perched Northern Shrike pleasantly surprised us.  Then we found four Canvasbacks in the southeast pond.  The only shorebird seen today was a Killdeer in the southwest pond where, interestingly, there were at least four Raccoons snuggled together in the crotch of the Bald Eagle nest tree.

We left the “Lagoons” and walked the path along the Fraser.  I enjoy seeing the log booms, tugs and barges along this working river, which didn’t phase the Snow Geese and gulls along the shore. Roger photographed a Cooper’s Hawk which no one else saw. Others got shots of a gliding Northern Harrier.  Back at the Bay, the tide was way out now so the birds were far out too. Approaching 11:00 am, I left the group for my 12:25 pm Tee Time for Opening Day of the Men’s Club at Tsawwassen Springs Golf Course.

Some of the group carried on at Boundary Bay Regional Park in search of the Mountain Bluebirds which arrived this past weekend.  Surprisingly, they found a Say’s Phoebe before 14 stopped for lunch at the Rose & Crown Pub.  Apparently the Guinness Draught left over from St. Paddy’s Day was a hit, along with the soup & sandwich special.  According to Brian’s eBird List (see below), we saw 41 species at Iona.  Although I left early, it was another glorious DNCB outing.

The twenty-eight were: Roger M & Mike B, returning “Afrikaners” David & Noreen, Guru Anne, WRS Liz, Richmond’s Brian A & Angela A, Vancouverites Kirsten W & newbie Margaret P, Aussie Nance, Ladner’s Bryan & Masae & Jack Mac, North Delta Pat S & Johnny Mac, North Van Richard, Boundary Bay Val W, White Rock Colin, Nats Bird Box Team’s Peter W, Jim K, Mike B2, Roger 2K & Saskatchewan Syd, our Organizer Terry C, our Flickr Magician Glen, our other Guru Mary T and me.

Next Tuesday, March 26, being Spring Break we changed our destination to Stanley Park.  We’ll leave Petra’s at 7:30 am and meet others around 8:15-8:30 am at the Second Beach/Swimming Pool parking area.

For more info, reports and photos, check our website.  As always, your comments are appreciated, and let me know if these weekly moronic missives make you miserable, and you want off my email list.  Cheers: Tom

Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists Society 

eBird Checklist Summary for: Mar 19, 2019 at 7:00 AM to Mar 19, 2019 at 11:00 PM
Number of Checklists: 1. Number of Taxa: 41

Checklists included in this summary:
(1): Iona Island (general)
Date: Mar 19, 2019 at 7:46 AM

1 Snow Goose — (1)
6 Canada Goose — (1)
45 Trumpeter Swan — (1)
12 Northern Shoveler — (1)
12 Gadwall — (1)
100 American Wigeon — (1)
150 Mallard — (1)
250 Northern Pintail — (1)
4 Green-winged Teal (American) — (1)
4 Canvasback — (1)
3 Ring-necked Duck — (1)
600 Lesser Scaup — (1)
1 Bufflehead — (1)
4 Hooded Merganser — (1)
1 Pied-billed Grebe — (1)
5 American Coot (Red-shielded) — (1)
2 Killdeer — (1)
1 Mew Gull — (1)
1 Ring-billed Gull — (1)
1 Glaucous-winged Gull — (1)
27 Great Blue Heron (Blue form) — (1)
2 Northern Harrier — (1)
2 Bald Eagle — (1)
2 Northern Flicker — (1)
1 Northern Shrike — (1)
1 Northwestern Crow — (1)
1 Common Raven — (1)
30 Tree Swallow — (1)
1 Violet-green Swallow — (1)
X Black-capped Chickadee — (1)
4 Marsh Wren — (1)
12 American Robin — (1)
100 European Starling — (1)
3 House Finch — (1)
5 American Goldfinch — (1)
1 Fox Sparrow (Sooty) — (1)
4 Golden-crowned Sparrow — (1)
12 Song Sparrow — (1)
10 Spotted Towhee — (1)
24 Red-winged Blackbird — (1)
3 Brewer’s Blackbird — (1)

Posted in American Bittern, Canvasback, Cooper's Hawk, Hooded Merganser, Iona, Lesser Snow Goose, Mountain Bluebird, Northern Harrier, Northern Shrike, Pied-billed Grebe, Raccoon, Ring-necked Duck, Say's Phoebe, Trumpeter Swan | Leave a comment

DNCB Birds on the Bay Outing No. 2019-10 in Boundary Bay Regional Park

A large group of 35, including several Newbies, participated in our quarterly Birds on the Bay outing in Boundary Bay Regional Park on Wednesday. It was a bit overcast, but a very pleasant walk in the park with lots of waterfowl and a few neat sightings. Check out the photo evidence on our DNCB Flickr site.

We met at historic Cammidge House at 9:00 am, registered the Newbies, I gave a brief introduction to our paradisiacal park, Jim took one of several mandatory Group Photos, then we started the masses on the amble toward the beach.

BOTB starting group, at Cammidge House photo by Jim Kneesch

Debbi H saw a Wilson’s Snipe earlier around a condo pond near the Park entrance. Tonnes of Bald Eagles around, and hundreds of ducks and geese in the Bay, but not a lot of little birds seen. The native plant pond near the picnic shelters was crowded with Mallards, American Wigeon, a pair of Northern Shovelers and one Northern Pintail. Someone saw a Eurasian Wigeon. Lots of vividly-coloured European Starlings and Redwing Blackbirds there too, and the resident Brewer’s Blackbirds were seen later.

The tide was very high at the beach and no shorebirds seen (some saw Sanderling later). There were several large rafts of birds in the distance. We recognized Surf Scoters and Greater Scaup, along with many Brant, with the aid of Newbie Chris’s scope.  A pair of Red-breasted Mergansers and a Bufflehead were a bit closer to shore.

We walked the trail looking for song birds and it was very quiet, except for the drone of the continuous chatfest. I have learned over years of Casual Birding that many participants enjoy discussing, travels, recipes, grandkids, shopping bargains, weather, sports and politicians as much as seeing a bird. It’s all good.

We did see some little birds: Anna’s Hummingbirds, Song & Golden-crowned Sparrows, Spotted Towhees, American Robins, Northern Flickers to name a few. A couple of Northern Harriers glided by. Jim took another group photo at the Lookout, with an adult Bald Eagle perched in a tree and fantasizing over us.

BOTB at Lookout – photo by Jim Kneesch

We finally found shorebirds, four Greater Yellowlegs near the Pump House, with a bunch of Green-winged Teal (no Common Teal found today).

Greater Yellowlegs – photo by Jim Kneesch

Lots of gulls there too including: Mew, Ring-billed, Glaucous-winged and Iceland (aka Thayer’s).  Fly-overs of a few Trumpeter Swans and a V of Lesser Snow Geese was impressive. Check out Richmond Brian’s sightings of 30 species on our eBird DNCBlist.

We were unusually quicker on this outing and several got back to Cammidge House before 11:30 am. About half the group didn’t want to rush the lunch ladies, so returned to the pond and then the beach… in addition to great looks at the Brewer’s Blackbirds, there were about 60 Sanderlings further up the beach, Terry got pics & Brian recorded them on eBird (see list below, which is also at https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S53799868).

The Delta Nats Ladies (Rochelle, Jennifer & Elizabeth) were waiting at Cammidge House, smiling with their array of scrumptious home-made goodies (Jennifer’s scones, Elizabeth’s cake & cookies, Sandra’s legendary egg salad sandwiches), all wolfed down in typical DNCB fashion, along with Rochelle’s fruits, cheeses, crackers and drinks (no beer).  The comradery continued around the table until everyone was gone by Noon.  I even made my Wednesday Noon Hockey at Richmond Ice Centre, albeit a bit late. Another awesome BOTB outing.

The 35 were: Delta Nats Ladies Rochelle, Elizabeth & Jennifer, our Organizer Terry C, Photogs Jim K, Glen B, sisters Pat & Maureen with Manli, Newbies Coquitlam’s Chris & Evelyn, Ladner Julia, Tsawwassen Rene, Ladner Bryan & Masae, Richmond Brian (our eBird Lister), Debbi H and daughter & international birder Kathryn, Richmond Angela A, our website guru Ken & Anne, cyclist Margaretha & Gabriele, Mike B & Mike B2, Burnaby Marion S, Langley Field Naturalists Anne G & Joanne R, returnees Marylile M & Rob M,  North Van Richard, Roger K, Tsawwassen Pam, Boundary Bay Valerie W and me.

Next Tuesday, March 19, we’ll meet at and leave from Petra’s at 7:30 am for Iona Regional Park, meeting others at the washroom parking lot at 8:15 am.

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

Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists Society

eBird list by Brian Avent

Location: Tsawwassen–Centennial Beach Boundary Bay, Metro Vancouver District, British Columbia, CA ( Map ) ( Hotspot )
Duration: 2 hour(s), 6 minute(s) Distance: 4.844 kilometer(s)
Date and Effort: Wed Mar 13, 2019 9:08 AM
Species: 30 species (+1 other taxa)

40 Snow Goose flyover
500 Brant (Black)
9 Trumpeter Swan flyover
3 Northern Shoveler
300 American Wigeon
100 Mallard
1 Mallard x American Black Duck (hybrid) Question as to whether this bird can be considered a pure Black Duck
X Northern Pintail
4 Green-winged Teal (American)
200 Greater Scaup several large flocks lifting off water in AM
X Surf Scoter large flock on bay in distance, probably mostly surf scoter.
2 Red-breasted Merganser
2 Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon)
4 Anna’s Hummingbird
60 Sanderling
1 Wilson’s Snipe
X Mew Gull
X Glaucous-winged Gull
2 Great Blue Heron (Blue form)
2 Northern Harrier
15 Bald Eagle
3 Northern Flicker
X Northwestern Crow
1 Black-capped Chickadee
10 American Robin
2 European Starling
1 Golden-crowned Sparrow
5 Spotted Towhee
18 Red-winged Blackbird
4 Brewer’s Blackbird
4 House Sparrow
Additional species seen by terrance carr:
2 Greater Yellowlegs
Posted in Bald Eagle, BBRP, Birds-on-the-Bay, Centennial Beach, Eurasian Wigeon, Mew Gull, Northern Harrier, Red-breasted Merganser, Thayer's Gull, Wilson's Snipe | Leave a comment

DNCB Outing No. 2019-09 to De Boville Slough and Pitt Meadows

It was another cool but gorgeous Tuesday morning when 18 DNCBers walked the dyke trail along De Boville Slough in Coquitlam, then drove somewhere in Maple Ridge to see the Northern Hawk Owl.  Check out the photo evidence on our DNCB Flickr site.

Eight of us left Petra’s at 7:30 am and the drive to Coquitlam was uncharacteristically smooth and fast via highway 17 and the Port Mann Bridge.  We got to the new washroom parking lot at the entrance to De Boville Slough at 8:30 am, right on time.  We met the others, and, following the introductory chatfest, we started our walk along the Port Coquitlam Dyke Trail toward Pitt River.  First priority was the mandatory Group Photo, which, after the usual guffawing, Roger took it, not including time-challenged Jean G nor the wayward Maureen on the other trail.


DNCB at De Boville – minus Jean G & Maureen – photo by Roger Meyer

Not a lot of bird activity, but the walk in the sun with the Blueberry fields and tidal marsh slough on each side of the trail, and the snow-capped mountains in the distance, was magical.  We did see about 30 species on the day (check Richmond Brian’s eBird report below for details).  Initial sightings were common birds such as Anna’s Hummingbirds,

Northern Flickers (four together), Green-winged Teal, sparrows, blackbirds, robins, etc.  A Muskrat aroused some interest, as did Coyote scat, but no Bear scat yet.


Muskrat (BA)

When we reached the Pitt River, 1.5 miles according to Roger’s Walk Calculator, there was some neat waterfowl among the pylons in the water: Common Goldeneye, Bufflehead and Hooded Mergansers, and a Harbour Seal.

The walk back was uneventful until we reached the large water pipes at the entrance.  Two American Dippers were “dipping” among the rocks at the pipe entrance for beaut views and photos.


American Dipper (TC)

Roger’s Bird of the Day.  We drove a long convoluted drive through Coquitlam to somewhere else and the Northern Hawk Owl location.  As per Birding Protocol, the location of the bird remains a secret.  When we arrived at this secret location, the Photogs were in attendance as we made the 20 minute trail walk to them and the Bird.  The sloughs between the trail and Cranberry fields had interesting activity too:

Hooded Merganser (male) (BA)

pairs of Hooded Mergansers, Pied-billed Grebes, colourful Eurasian Wigeon among the American Wigeons, and Terry spotted a Golden-crowned Kinglet.  The Hawk Owl was magnificent, posing in a tree, then on a post next to the Blueberry fields, both spots only 20 feet from the trail.

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When the NHOW flew from the tree across the trail to the post, the photogs raced to get closer.  Our Nats yelled protective instructions, and they stopped, except one photog who proceeded to set up his huge lens about four feet from the bird.  He hid his face with his hood as the curses came from others.  Fortunately the bird stayed perched and, approaching 12:30 pm, we decided to leave for home.

The drive back was quicker and smoother than expected too, as I got back to Tsawwassen and entered the Rose & Crown Pub at 1:30 pm.  The Lunch Special of Grilled Ham & Cheese & Vege/Rice Soup, with the two Mikes (I shared their chips), and served by the lovely Leila, was delicious, of course along with two pints of Canadian Lager, also on Special.  I got home in time to take Sandra to Walmart and then pick up grandson Thomas at DayCare, before attending our informative and interesting Nats meeting and Misty MacDuffee’ s presentation on Resident Killer Whales.  Another awesome DNCB Day.  Plus, as I’m typing this, I learned I have another Grandson born 20 minutes ago.

We 18 were: Roger & Rose, Bryan & Masae, Pat & Maureen, Liz & Mary T, Marion, Kristin & Jean G, Mike B & Mike B2,  Terry & Valerie W, Glen B, Richmond Brian and me.

Going to Wednesday Noon Hockey, will complete this report later.

Now Thursday afternoon, March 7, I’m pleased to report that 2nd grandson Callum Scott Bearss Malcolm arrived at 10:49 am yesterday, 8.1 lbs, all healthy and happy.

Next Wednesday (not Tuesday), March 13 is our quarterly Birds on the Bay outing in Boundary Bay Regional Park.  We will meet at and leave from Cammidge House at 9:00 am on our 2 ½ hour amble around the Park.

For more info on our outings, reports and photos, check out our website.  As always, your comments are welcome, and let me know if these homely missives annoy you and you want off my email list.  Cheers: Tom

Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists Society

Combined eBird List (Brian Avent)

Number of Checklists: 2
Number of Taxa: 28

Checklists included in this summary:
(1): Maple Ridge CA-BC
Date: Mar 5, 2019 at 11:36 AM
(2): DeBoville Slough, Coquitlam
Date: Mar 5, 2019 at 8:45 AM

1 Canada Goose — (2)
1 Eurasian Wigeon — (1)
20 American Wigeon — (1)
18 Mallard — (1),(2)
7 Green-winged Teal — (2)
7 Green-winged Teal (American) — (1)
2 Bufflehead — (2)
3 Common Goldeneye — (2)
6 Hooded Merganser — (1),(2)
1 Common Merganser (North American) — (2)
2 Pied-billed Grebe — (1)
7 Anna’s Hummingbird — (2)
1 Glaucous-winged Gull — (2)
3 Great Blue Heron (Blue form) — (2)
1 Northern Harrier — (2)
1 Northern Hawk Owl — (1)
7 Northern Flicker — (2)
10 Northwestern Crow — (1),(2)
1 Common Raven — (2)
8 Black-capped Chickadee — (2)
1 Pacific Wren — (2)
2 American Dipper — (2)
1 kinglet sp. — (2)
24 American Robin — (2)
12 European Starling — (2)
1 Dark-eyed Junco (Oregon) — (2)
10 Song Sparrow — (2)
12 Spotted Towhee — (2)

Posted in *DNCB, American Dipper, DeBoville Slough, Eurasian Wigeon, Harbour Seal, Hooded Merganser, Muskrat, Northern Hawk Owl, Pied-billed Grebe | Leave a comment

DNCB Outing No. 2019-08 to Tsawwassen Ferry Jetty, TFN and Reifel Bird Sanctuary

With a weather report of a strong wind from Squamish producing a minus 13 degree wind chill, I was amazed to find Petra’s DNCB table crowded with 10 dedicated birders.  It was mind-numbing just to picture us on the unprotected ferry jetty trying to hold our binoculars steady!  However, when we reached it we found a light breeze but a bit of a chop on the water and a workable plus 3 degree temperature.

Check out the photo evidence on our DNCB Flickr site.
Now, up to 12 participants, we scanned the north side of the jetty where most of the birds were on the spit enclosing the compensation pond.  Huddled together was a mat of several hundred Dunlin, scattered American Wigeon, Pintail, Gadwall American Coots, Mallards and a Brant Goose.  On the water were a number of  scattered Bufflehead.  Crossing over the highway to the south side we found a single Black Oystercatcher and a few Harlequin along the shore line with small flocks of Surf Scoters, a few Common Loons and Double-crested Cormorants.  The angle of the morning sun, low above the water made if very difficult to determine other species.  Also seen were Canada Geese, Brant and Snow Geese.  (Check the link to Brian’s e-Bird report for a full listing of the species seen… I’m not going to include all the Robins, Starlings, House Sparrows and such.  Not that I don’t like those birds, but let’s assume they are everywhere we go!)

Leaving the ferry jetty, we wound our way through the TFN lands where we saw little until we reached the recently constructed ponds at the north end just before the overpass to the Super Port.  The ponds contained numerous ducks including Northern Shovelers, Mallards, Buffleheads, Gadwall, Green-winged Teal and some coots.   In the rushes we could see the Red-winged Blackbirds which were calling.  Debbi sighted a Northern Shrike on a wire and we all managed a good look at it.  Northern Harriers were cruising over the marsh, and the Bald Eagles were everywhere.  Across the road from where we had parked we noticed a hawk sitting on a dirt pile.  It was partly  camouflaged by tall grass but when it was spooked by us trying to get a good angle for a photo it flew and we could see it was a juvenile Red-tailed Hawk.  Notice I’m not mentioning Robins, and the different sparrows that are in all the locations we visited!

Moving on, we crossed the Delta Port highway and turned left onto 33A Ave.  This was where Terry and Mike had seen the Rough-legged Hawk the previous week and, sure enough, it was there again.  We watched it for a few moments and lots of photos were taken.

As it was getting close to 9:00 am, we had a very quick look out on the river from the viewpoint on River Road…saw nothing…and carried on to the Westham Island Bridge.  Mike 1 saw two Mute Swans below as we crossed  the bridge.  Nothing of note was seen the rest of the way to Reifel.

Delta Nats at Reifel photo by Jim Kneesch

Arriving at the sanctuary parking lot, we were met by the remaining 6 of our group bringing us up to the 18.  We were very fortunate to be joined by Mary Taitt who has an incredible knowledge of the sanctuary flora and fauna and she was able to point out features we would never have recognized by ourselves.  As usual, with a large number of participants, we managed to get spread out so those at the front may have seen birds those at the back did not, and vice-versa.  Again, see Brian’s e-Bird list for a full account of the birds seen.

Right at the entrance though, a male Anna’s Hummingbird was displaying.  In the yard between Kathleen’s house and the office/gift shop  there were 9 Sandhill Cranes feeding from a bucket of food hanging from the  office wall.  Two Black-crowned Night-Herons were resting in their usual tree and the hoards of ducks, sparrows, pigeons, and blackbirds were mobbing anyone with food.  With us being there at opening time, and the cold weather, the birds were ravenous to the point where some of us were walking about with Red-winged Blackbirds on our  head, shoulders and eating from our hands (I hope someone has posted  photos of this.)  Even the Wood Ducks were sitting on our hands!

Although the slough was partially frozen, we did see a few Common Mergansers in the distance.  Along the trails we came up with all the usual sparrows; Song, Golden-crowned (lots), a Lincoln’s (ouch… I missed that one), lots of Spotted Towhees (more than I’ve ever seen), Dark-eyed Juncos, more Red-winged Blackbirds, a Killdeer (I missed that one as well).  Mary had seen, briefly, a Red-breasted Nuthatch and Anne Murray found a Purple Finch for us.  A Brown Creeper and two Golden-crowned Kinglets were also seen… other ones  I missed.  At Owl Corner (end of the East Dyke path), Mary located three Saw-whet Owls.  Even when pointed out, they were still virtually invisible, and if their pictures are posted I’m sure it will be like “Looking-for-Waldo” trying to separate owl from holly leaves!  I don’t think we would have seen any of them if it weren’t for Mary!

The blind at the end of the short walk left at the end of the East Dyke provided only two Common Mergansers in the distance… far distance.  Turning south we walked the path between the inner slough and the salt marsh looking out towards the ocean.  Brian lists 35 GBH (Great Blue Herons), in one of the little outer canals, and in one we saw a male and female Hooded Merganser. One of us mistook the female for a Ruddy Duck… (I’m too embarrassed to mention his name).  I mean, really, with it’s little tail sticking up and the body crunched in due to the cold… anyone could have made that mistake!  There were a few Northern Shovelers  there as well.  There was no Roseate Spoonbill, in my opinion, behind the tuft of reeds, by the outfall pipe.

The viewing tower showed no birds on the large pond, but looking out onto the shoreline there were spotted patches of Trumpeter Swans, Snow Geese, and large numbers of Dunlin and unidentified gulls.  Several Northern Harriers were cruising the outer marsh, and we had seen several inside the reserve as well.

The trail back on the outer dyke was uneventful except for a few Northern Flickers, however when we reached the pond in front of the viewing platform near the east end of the inner trail (we need a map for this report) there were lots of ducks and American Coots.  These included Hooded Mergansers, Ring-necked Ducks (I want their name changed to Ring-billed), Mallards, Northern Shovelers, etc.  Colin reports a Cooper’s Hawk on a tree in the inner ponds, seen by a trailing group of 4, or 5, near the end of the walk.

Back at the parking lot discussion revolved around lunch arrangements.  Tom, having completed his Flamenco lessons apparently was able to attend this event which I hear later was quote “very tasty”!  I can’t report on that as I was having a very “tasty” sushi lunch with Rose.

I apologize for missed sightings, but we had failed to conscript a blog writer at the time, so you’ve been stuck with me!  Again, thank you Mary Taitt for your wonderful help.

Next week TUESDAY March 5 we will be going to DeBoville Slough & Blakeburn Lagoons in Coquitlam.  We will leave Petra’s at 7:30 and meet at the intersection of Cedar & Victoria Drives about 8:30 am.

Also next TUESDAY March 5 is the DNS monthly meeting, with guest speaker Misty MacDuffee speaking on Southern Resident Killer Whales: Is their time running out?  (7:30 pm at Benediction Lutheran Church)

Roger Meyer

Posted in *DNCB, Bald Eagle, Black Oystercatcher, Black-crowned Night-Heron, Cooper's Hawk, Dunlin, Harlequin Duck, Hooded Merganser, Lincoln’s Sparrow, Mute Swan, Northern Harrier, Northern Saw-whet Owl, Northern Shrike, Purple Finch, Red-tailed Hawk, Reifel, Ring-necked Duck, Rough-legged Hawk, Sandhill Crane, Trumpeter Swan, Tsawwassen Ferry Port | Leave a comment