With a partially overcast day and rain showers predicted the undaunted DNCB birders set out in three vehicles from Petras and arrived at Colony Farm Regional Park (CFRP) far before the 8:30 meeting time. There we met up with the rest of the group making a total of 21. We had many beaut sightings, including most of our Target Birds such as Lazuli Buntings, Willow Flycatchers, Eastern Kingbirds and Band-tailed Pigeons. Check out some magnificent photo evidence on our Flickr site.
As usual on our CFRP outings, we set off on the south side of the park parallel to the Forensic Institute with our first target bird in mind and, sure enough, quickly sighted a Lazuli Bunting singing at the top of a tree. The bird changed locations several times giving us lots of photo opportunities. Also seen in the same area were numerous Common Yellowthroats and a few Song and White-crowned Sparrows. Most of the swallows seen were Tree Swallows.
Moving back to the parking lot passing through the work area we paused beside the Bat residence so Jim could take our group photo. Continuing through the community gardens, we proceeded along the west trail beside the slough. A few more Common Yellowthroats were seen and, as we approached the bridge over the Coquitlam River we started to see flocks of Band-tailed Pigeons. Along the dyke we had our first Willow Flycatcher, some Cedar Waxwings, a Black-headed Grosbeak. Flying along the river with its fluttering flight pattern we saw a single Spotted Sandpiper. Some were skeptical of our id (let's call him Tom). Reaching the branch in the trail we were rewarded with a closeup view of our first Eastern Kingbird of the year.
Heading east along the right branch to the ponds we had little to add to our list and never did see the Western Kingbirds that had been reported to be there. The transmission tower directly north of us had a Red-tailed Hawk on top and it stayed there for the duration of our walk. More waxwings and Common Yellowthroats were seen and one member, let's call him Tom again, reported a possible House Wren. However this was not verified by any of the others. At the ponds we were disappointed in not seeing either rail species, nor the nesting Pied-billed Grebes, but did have a family of Wood Ducks, and a Muskrat.
Backtracking to the the point where the trails diverge we, again, had good looks at the kingbird. A good part of the group had headed back leaving a small, more dedicated, group who found an Eastern Kingbird nest in a walnut tree with mother sitting on egg, or eggs. Also seen by this group were several Vaux Swifts flying overhead. The swifts were joined by Tree Swallows so it was easy to distinguish the two species by wing beat patterns and body shape.
Heading back, the last group were lucky enough to see an American Bittern flying low over the ground and were able to follow its flight for a considerable distance. Also, along the slough, we spent some time trying to get photos of a Rough-winged Sparrow that was waiting for us to leave so she could get to here concealed nest location. We should mention that we heard Ring-necked Pheasants calling, one a ways north and the other, possibly replying, to the south of us. Neither was seen. A Northern Harrier was also seen by this lagging group. The only other raptors we saw were numerous American Bald Eagles flying about.
We gathered back at the Community Gardens parking lot at 11:45 a.m., and several decided to go to the Gillnetter Pub for lunch. Roger noticed I was exhausted, (too many meetings, golf and grandparenting), so he took pity on me and we drove back to Tsawwassen without joining the others for lunch (I heard it was good, but no exciting descriptions). I had a Tuna Sandwich and milk at home before granddaughter Juliette’s Gymnastics class, and after a “crisis” meeting at the Passport Office in Richmond to sign two month old Callum’s application. Another awesome DNCB day.
The twenty-one were: Photogs Glen B, Chris McV, David & Noreen, Ladner Jack Mac, Jim K, sisters Pat & Maureen, Roger M, North Van Richard, Marion, Bryan & Masae, Warren (Wazza) & Lynne, Langley Bob, Gerhard, Pam, PB Lorna, Johnny Mac, and me.
Next Wednesday, June 12, is our quarterly Birds on the Bay outing. We will meet at Cammidge House (CH) at 9 a.m. for our 2 ½ hour amble in Boundary Bay Regional Park, followed with post-outing goodies prepared by the Delta Nats Ladies at CH at 11:30 a.m. For more outing info, reports and photos, visit our website at www.dncb.wordpress.com. As always, your comments are encouraged, and let me know if these weekly missives annoy you and you want off my email list. Cheers: Tom
Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists Society