Blog: Delta birding group enjoys long but fruitful day at Pitt Lake


Twenty-three DNCBers enjoyed a long but fruitful day at the Pitt-Addington Marsh Wildlife Management Area in Coquitlam on Wednesday. A very long walk, some interesting sightings in a magnificent setting, and a delicious lunch; check out the photo evidence on our Flickr site.


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Eleven of us left Petra’s in three vehicles and had a very pleasant 1 ¼ hour drive through Delta, Surrey and Langley to the boat launch parking lot in this spectacular setting where Pitt Lake drains into the Pitt River. The other 12 were all smiles when we arrived, albeit it was a bit cloudy and windy, but comfy. Several newbies, so the introductory bonding exercise was organized chaos, as usual. Liz advised that a Yellow-breasted Chat had been seen along the dike path, so we proceeded to search for it.


This trail, for our first hour, was very productive. We got great looks at several of our Target Birds including, Gray Catbirds, Yellow Warbler, Bullock’s Oriole, Willow Flycatcher, Swainson’s Thrush, Eastern Kingbirds, Turkey Vultures, Band-tailed Pigeons, Rufous Hummingbirds, and both Black and Vaux Swifts. We also heard the Yellow-breasted Chat, but I think only Masae saw it flitting in the leaves in the tree tops. It was extremely frustrating not to be able to see this bird, especially since a Bullock’s Oriole and Yellow Warbler seemed to appear in the very tree where the Chat was calling.


Red-winged Blackbird
Red-winged Blackbird - photo by Terrance Carr


We got back to the parking lot about 9:45 a.m. and Roger took the obligatory Group Photo. Anne heard the American Redstarts near the toilets, but I couldn’t find them either. We eventually started our walk around the marsh on the narrow trail through the trees and bushes. We normally see warblers on this trail, but it was very over-grown, and windy, so not very productive. We saw Common Yellowthroats, Cedar Waxwings, Wood Ducks, and a hovering Osprey. Some heard, or saw, Wilson’s Warblers, Warbling & Red-eyed Vireos, and Pacific-Slope Flycatcher but I missed these too. David’s eBird list indicates 41 species heard or seen today. We saw scat but not the black bear that the Katzie First Nation’s resident caretaker had warned us about.


It was almost 11 a.m. when we got to the lookout. Some chose to return by the same path, while others continued on the long circular route around the marsh to the river, and back to the parking lot. There were a few Cliff Swallows nesting on the rock cliff where we always see them. Lots of Tree Swallows in the nest boxes. Along the river, there was at least one baby Osprey (perhaps two) in each of the THREE nests on the pylons. The parents were occasionally tending the youngsters. One Common Merganser was resting on the dock where we normally see them. Visiting Torontonian Brian saw a Yellow-rumped Warbler along the road trail, near the second Lookout where the Cliff Swallow nests were vandalized (I heard possibly because the nests have some medicinal attraction).


Wood duck
Wood duck - photo by Terrance Carr


It was almost 1:30 p.m. when we all gathered at the parking lot. David said we walked 8 kilometres. Several decided to head home while ten of us stopped at the Swan-e-set Golf Course just up the road for lunch. This is a beautiful setting too, and my lunch special of tuna melt sandwich and clam & corn chowder soup was delicious, of course along with a pint of Sapporo Draught. The drive home was smooth too; Pam and newbie Quebecois Lynne kept me awake with their babbling in the back seat. We pulled in to Petra’s at 4 p.m. A long but awesome DNCB adventure.


The 23 were: Guru Anne, our Organizer Terry C, Roger & Mike B1, David & Noreen, Syd & newbie Lynne, Mike B2, PB Lorna, Bryan & Masae, newbie brother & sister Brian & Mavis, sisters Pat & Maureen & Manli, North Delta’s Jean G & Liz S, Boundary Bay Val, Ladner Pam, guest Dale, and me.


On Wednesday, June 26, we will leave Petra’s at 7:30 a.m. for Campbell Valley Regional Park, meeting at the 16th Avenue entrance parking lot around 8:15 a.m.  For more info on our outings, events and photos, see our website at As always, your comments are welcome. Cheers: Tom


Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists Society 


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