Blog: Birders make pilgrimage to Reifel

Tsawwassen

Twenty-one DNCBers finally enjoyed a sunny day in Delta and had a very productive outing, first to the Tsawwassen Ferry terminal, then our “Mecca” Reifel Bird Sanctuary. Check out the photo evidence of our bird, mushroom, plant and people sightings on our Flickr site at: https://www.flickr.com/search/?group_id=3027315%40N23&text=2019-44&view_all=1.

 

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Some left Petra’s at 7:30 am and met others along the way at the Ferry terminal, in the Ladner fields, or at the entrance to Reifel around 9:15 am. The resident Black Oystercatchers, Black Turnstones, Harlequin Ducks and both Pelagic and Double-crested Cormorants were all at the terminal along with a Red-necked Grebe, Surf Scoters and other migrant duck species. We stopped on 34B in the Ladner fields to watch 5 Western Meadowlarks, which turned out to be 14 birds when they rose from the wheat stubble.

 

When we arrived at Reifel, the chatfest began as we introduced the two Newbie “professionals” CWS Andrew H and Birds Canada (formerly BSC) Graham S.  We love it when young birders, with 20/20 vision and good hearing, join us oldies. Three Sandhill Cranes and the Black-crowned Night-Heron were at the entrance too and Anna’s Hummingbirds at the feeder. David took the mandatory Group Photo at the Reifel Snow Goose interpretive sign.

 

We followed the East Dyke Trail and had tonnes of neat sightings. Two Peregrine Falcons were seen several times, likely hunting the many small birds we saw, such as Yellow-rumped Warblers, Golden-crowned Kinglets, Brown Creeper, four Sparrow species, three Finch species (Purple, House and American Goldfinch), lots of Cedar Waxwing, and other common species. Cackling Geese were among the Canada Geese in the potato field. David had at least 60 species on his eBird lists for the day.

 

At the northwest corner, sharp-eyed Graham found a Sawhet Owl, interestingly with his next breakfast, a large mouse (or rat) hanging beside him on his perch. Lots of noisy Chickadees around the Sawhet, but they took frequent time-outs to eat seeds from our outstretched hands. Red-winged Blackbirds, Rock Pigeons and even a Red-breasted Nuthatch were not shy and ate from our hands too.

 

At the Tower, we took the West or Seaward Dyke trail. We couldn’t rouse the Virginia Rails, but among the waterfowl in the pond we found our second Bird of the Day (Sawhet was first), two Ruddy Ducks. They were among the many newly-arrived wintering species in these outer ponds, Northern Shovelers, Northern Pintail, Green-winged Teal, beautiful sleek Gadwall, Mallards and American Wigeon. We eventually found an Eurasian Wigeon among the thousands of waterfowl.

 

The flock of Long-billed Dowitchers were in the next pond. Hiding among them were a few Dunlin. We also saw a Greater Yellowlegs. We heard several gun shots, and thousands of Lesser Snow Geese were flying overhead. Must be a good year for this species as a Hunter told me the day’s limit was 10 birds.

 

We moved inland along the Cross Dyke trail to the Auger Trail. A perched Merlin excited our photogs, then a Peregrine whizzed by again.  In these inner Display ponds we found several Ring-necked Ducks, gorgeous Hooded Mergansers and Wood Ducks, Greater Scaup, Pied-billed Grebes, and the Belted Kingfisher. Already past Noon, we decided to head to the exit and then lunch at our regular spot, Speed’s Pub in Ladner.

 

Only nine for lunch, and I couldn’t pass up their Special of Cod Fish & Chips with two pints of Speed’s Lager; cheap and delicious, served by the beautifully-jewelled Calli. Home in time for the movies with Sandra, AB and neighbour Dar: saw Judy with Renee Zellweger. Another awesome DNCB day.

 

The 21 were: Terry the Organizer, Roger the Driver, David the eBirder & Driver, Glen the Mushroom Guy, Guru Anne, our Historian Mike B, Newbie “Pro’s” Graham S & Andrew H, VanCity Lidia, North Delta Liz, Burnaby’s unforgettable Marion, returnee Vancouverite Janet H, Roger Two, Ladner Pam, Photog Richmond Brian, our South Surrey Bro’s Wazza & Colin, time challenged Debbi H, PB Lorna, our Moneyman Jim K and me.

Next Tuesday, October 29 is our day-long, semi-annual outing to Whidbey Island, USA. Terry asked me to post these instructions: We will leave Petra’s at 7am and Peace Arch parking lot at 7:30. We will take the 10:15 ferry from Keystone to Port Townsend as foot passengers. There is more info in these reports of our previous trips to Whidbey Island: https://dncb.wordpress.com/category/washington/deception-pass/whidbey-island/. Also this Thursday, October 24, we will be examining and cleaning our Swallow and Barn Owl boxes at Kings Links Golf Course, with some Delta NatureKids.

 

For more info on our outings, events, and other reports and photos, visit our website at: www.dncb.wordpress.com. As always, your comments are encouraged, and let me know if these lengthy missives of verbal diarrhea annoy you and you want off my email list. Cheers: Tom

 

Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists Society  

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