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Blog: Delta birders pay visit to Iona Regional Park

Twenty-four keeners enjoyed a fairly productive Tuesday morning in Iona Regional Park and the adjacent sewage ponds.

Twenty-four keeners enjoyed a fairly productive Tuesday morning in Iona Regional Park and the adjacent sewage ponds. We only recorded 26 species (see David’s eBird list below), but saw tonnes of birds, and you can check out the brilliant photo evidence, including the Blue Goose, on our DNCB Flickr site.

Two vehicles left Petra’s at 7:30 a.m. and the traffic to and through the tunnel was horrendous. Some arrived at the Iona washroom parking lot before 8 a.m., others not until 8:45 a.m. Surprisingly, the sun was out and it was relatively mild as we walked to the beach to check out the flock of Snow Geese.

While taking the obligatory Group Photo, another huge flock cruised in right in front of us, and then newbie Christine spotted the Blue Goose among the 2,000 birds. Another very dark bird seen may have been a juvenile Blue Goose. No shorebirds were seen, other than the resident Killdeer, as the tide was very high. A raft of Common Mergansers was there too, and Marion spotted a Canvasback with them.

We moved back to the front pond where a small mixed group of Ring-necked, Lesser Scaup and Bufflehead were diving. To take advantage of the brilliant sun rising in the east (for photogs with sun behind), we decided to walk around the southwest side of the pond, then into the sewage lagoons. Of course, as we got to the backside, the clouds covered the sun.  And not many little birds were seen, so we were blanked on any of the three wren species (Bewick’s, Marsh, Pacific) and regularly-seen sparrow species. Several Short-eared Owls were seen a few days ago.

On entering the sewage lagoons, the northwest pond was full of waterfowl.  Lots of Northern Pintail, Northern Shoveler, Green-winged Teal, American Wigeon (we couldn’t find the Eurasian), Lesser Scaup (Greater too, but no Tufted seen), Gadwall, and Mallards. Sharp-eyed Mel with Metro Vancouver Parks, spotted a Blue-winged Teal, but we weren’t able to find it again.  No raptors (Peregrine, Merlin) were seen either, other than the resident Bald Eagles.

We left the sewage ponds and walked through the woods to the river. Got nice views of a Ruby-crowned Kinglet, and lots of Coyote scat.  Some saw a Northern Shrike.  The group being so large got spread out, so we straggled back to the parking lot in stages, the rain pushing some to walk faster. It was just after 11 a.m. when we aborted the outing, and some left for the Flying Beaver Restaurant in order to get breakfast before 11:30 a.m.

Thirteen of us gathered for breakfast or lunch at the Flying Beaver (see David’s photos). I had Clam Chowder Soup, an exotic Garden Salad, and a tasty pint of Sapporo draught. Nonetheless, it was another super DNCB outing.

The 24 were: Organizer Terry, Guru Anne, MV’s Iona Park Manager Mel B, Richmond Brian & Louise, New West’s Jonathan & Lorraine, eBirder David & Noreen, Marion, Marti & Kirsten, Jim & Chris, Ladner Pam, North Delta Pat, White Rock Colin & Wazza, Mike B w/o Roger, Photog Glen B, Newbies Doug & Christine McG, Angela A, and me.

On Tuesday, January 28, we’ll leave Petra’s at 7:30 a.m. for Point Roberts, meeting others at Lighthouse Marine Park around 8 a.m.

For more info on this outing, other events, reports and photos, see our website. As always, your comments are appreciated. Cheers: Tom

Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists Society


Iona Island (general)  21-Jan-2020

27 species (+1 other taxa)


Snow Goose 145 One Blue Goose

Blue-winged Teal 1 Located with spotting scope in NW pond amongst Northern Pintails, Mallards and Green-winged teal

Northern Shoveler 18

Gadwall 6

American Wigeon 7

Mallard 53

Northern Pintail 500

Green-winged Teal 96

Canvasback 1

Ring-necked Duck 8

Greater/Lesser Scaup 22

Bufflehead 4

Common Merganser 22

Killdeer 1

Glaucous-winged Gull 7

Great Blue Heron 16

Bald Eagle 4

Northern Flicker 4

Northern Shrike 1

Northwestern Crow 11

Black-capped Chickadee 5

Ruby-crowned Kinglet 1

American Robin 1

Fox Sparrow 3

Golden-crowned Sparrow 4

Song Sparrow 11

Spotted Towhee 3

Red-winged Blackbird 6