Blog: Delta birders head to De Boville Slough and Pitt Meadows

Delta BC

It was another cool but gorgeous Tuesday morning when 18 DNCBers walked the dike 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.


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Eight of us left Petra’s at 7:30 a.m. 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 a.m., 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.


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 on our DNCBlist 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. 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.


American Robin
American Robin - photo by Glen Bodie


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. 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: 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.


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 is face with his hood as the curses came from others. Fortunately the bird stayed perched and, approaching 12:30 p.m., 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 p.m. 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 a.m. on our 2 ½ hour amble around the Park. For more info on our outings, reports and photos, check out our website at 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  

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