Blog: Delta birders explore Iona Regional Park


Twenty-eight (wow!) DNCBers enjoyed another super Tuesday outing to Iona Regional Park and the adjacent sewage ponds. The weather was dry and comfortable and we had lots of neat sightings, including an uncommon-here American Tree Sparrow. Check out the spectacular photo evidence on our Flickr site.


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Several car-pooled from Petra’s at 7:30 am; an accident before the tunnel delayed some, who saw a Northern Shrike along the airport road. Most arrived at the Iona washroom parking lot by 8:30 am and MV Parks Melanie B took the first Group Photo overlooking the front pond where, interestingly, were a Common Goldeneye, some Bufflehead, and a lone Ruddy Duck. A good start to the outing, as I introduced the six newbies and, of course, the chatfest began.


The Delta Nats Casual Birders visited Iona Regional Park Tuesday. - photo courtesy Terrance Carr/DNCB Flickr page


The tide was way out, so we decided to take the inland trails first and do the beach at the end. Lots of little birds in the bushes. We were blanked on warblers, but got several Sparrow species (Song, Fox, White- & Golden-crowned, plus the not-so-common Lincoln and the uncommon American Tree), and both House & Purple Finches. A flock of Double-crested Cormorants gave us their regular morning V fly past (Don’t know where they’re going or where they’re coming from).


We entered the back gate to the sewage ponds and the northwest pond was full of ducks; Northern Pintail, Northern Shovelers, American Wigeon, Green-winged Teal, Gadwall and Mallards. More of the same in other ponds, plus a Ring-necked Duck and American Coots. Some saw both Bewick’s and a Marsh Wren with sparrows in the pond bushes. Lots of Peregrine and Merlin sightings, plus Cooper’s Hawks, but the special find was the American Tree Sparrow (nest in the Arctic and seem more common in eastern Canada). A flock of Peeps flew quickly by, but Long-billed Dowitchers and a lone Greater Yellowlegs were the only shorebirds actually seen in the ponds. David recorded over 40 species on his eBird list for the outing.


Leaving these ponds, we walked the trail along the Fraser River. We had seen several small flocks of Lesser Snow Geese flying overhead, and a large flock was feeding on the north side of the river. We learned at tonight’s Delta Nats meeting from our presenter Sean Boyd of Canadian Wildlife Service that these Russian birds bred very successfully in 2019 on Wrangel Island and we’ll have way more than 100,000 birds in our Lower Mainland this fall and winter. We were blanked on Meadowlarks, Snow Buntings and Killdeer, but my hockey buddy Mikey Y piloting his Helijet Helicopter on a flypast was a nice sighting. With the now high tide, the flocks of Snow Geese and Green-winged Teal were pushed close to shore, and gave our photogs a thrill. And the juvenile Cooper’s Hawk posed too.


Now close to 11:30 a.m., we decided to end the outing. Eight of us decided to dine at the Flying Beaver, charmingly overlooking another arm of the Fraser. The cheerful Jessica served us and my beef dip, salad (plus Jim’s chips), and two pints of Sapporo Draught (on special) was simply scrumptious. I was home before 1:30 pm, surprising Sandra and Auntie Barbara, and with plenty of time to prepare for the Nats AGM. Another awesome DNCB outing.


The 28 were: Organizer Terry, Guru Anne, Wanderer Roger & historian Mike B, Limping Lidia, Richmond Brian & Louise, Worldlies David & Noreen, ILB Tony, Marion & Lasqueti Marti, Chatty (but in a nice way) Debbi, Jim, Chris McV, Ladner Jack Mac, Mushroomer Glen, Germanics Margaretha & Gabriele, Johnny Mac, Ladner Pam, recorder Janet H, and the all-female Newbies Susan, Gail, Ladner Pam Two, Jan P, and “I forget”, and me.


Next Tuesday, Nov. 12, we’ll leave Petra’s at 7:30 am for the Boundary Bay dyke trail, meeting others at the Heritage AirPark at 104th Street at 8:00 am. For more info on our outings, meetings and events, plus reports and photos, check out our website at: As always, your comments are encouraged. Cheers: Tom


Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists Society

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