Blog: Delta birding group visits Iona Regional Park

Delta BC

Twenty-eight DNCBers enjoyed a record warm (24C) Tuesday morning at Iona Regional Park. There were tonnes of birds around on this gorgeous walk, many in beautiful breeding plumage; check out some spectacular photos on our Flickr site. Hilight, less common, species seen today were Mountain Bluebirds, Say’s Phoebe (BBRP), Canvasbacks and Northern Shrike. Roger saw an American Bittern at Reifel.


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Some car-pooled from Petra’s at 7:30 a.m. and others drove directly to the Iona RP parking lot. Traffic was light, it being Spring Break, and the horde of folk were almost all there by 8:15 a.m. The beautiful weather seemed to stimulate the Chatfest and it was a real test to herd the group for Jim’s mandatory Group Photo. As the photo was being taken, a flock of Trumpeter Swans V’d along the Fraser, and newly-arrived Tree and Violet Green Swallows hawked insects around us. Among the raft of Lesser Scaup in the front pond were Bufflehead, Ring-necked Ducks and entertaining Hooded Mergansers. One of many small flocks of Lesser Snow Geese flew over too for their photo shoot. It was a magnificent start to the day.


We started our walk to the path between the two ponds. Lots of little birds around and we got excited to see Marsh Wrens and American Goldfinches (almost a Western Tanager), as well as the regular common sparrow and finch species (Juncos, Towhees, etc.). A Pied-billed Grebe was in the north pond and some saw Brewer’s Blackbirds among the many Red-winged Blackbirds, and Northern Flickers. Sadly, we were blanked on Warblers this day, a bit early for them.


Red-winged Blackbird
Red-winged Blackbird - photo by Glen Bodie


We entered the back gate to the Sewage Ponds and there were large numbers of waterfowl in all four ponds. The odour didn’t bother them. Among the rafts of Lesser Scaup and Northern Pintail were lots of other species: Northern Shovelers, Green-winged Teal, Gadwall, American Coots, American Wigeon and Mallards. Someone probably picked out a Greater Scaup among the Lessers.  A perched Northern Shrike pleasantly surprised us. Then we found four Canvasbacks in the southeast pond. The only shorebird seen today was a Killdeer in the southwest pond where, interestingly, there were at least four Racoons snuggled together in the crotch of the Bald Eagle nest tree.


We left the “Lagoons” and walked the path along the Fraser. I enjoy seeing the log booms, tugs and barges along this working river, which didn’t phase the Snow Geese and gulls along the shore. Roger photographed a Cooper’s Hawk which no one else saw. Others got shots of a gliding Northern Harrier. Back at the Bay, the tide was way out now so the birds were far out too. Approaching 11 a.m., I left the group for my 12:25 p.m. Tee Time for Opening Day of the Men’s Club at Tsawwassen Springs Golf Course.


Some of the group carried on at Boundary Bay Regional Park in search of the Mountain Bluebirds which arrived this past weekend. Surprisingly, they found a Say’s Phoebe before 14 stopped for lunch at the Rose & Crown Pub. Apparently the Guinness Draught left over from St. Paddy’s Day was a hit, along with the soup & sandwich special. According to Brian’s eBird List, we saw 38 species at Iona. Although I left early, it was another glorious DNCB outing.


The twenty-eight were: Roger M & Mike B, returning “Afrikaners” David & Noreen, Guru Anne, WRS Liz, Richmond’s Brian A & Angela A, Vancouverites Kirsten W & newbie Margaret P, Aussie Nance, Ladner’s Bryan & Masae & Jack Mac, North Delta Pat S & Johnny Mac, North Van Richard, Boundary Bay Val W, White Rock Colin, Nats Bird Box Team’s Peter W, Jim K, Mike B2, Roger 2K & Saskatchewan Syd, our Organizer Terry C, our Flickr Magician Glen, our other Guru Mary T and me.


Next Tuesday, March 26, being Spring Break we changed our destination to Stanley Park. We’ll leave Petra’s at 7:30 a.m. and meet others around 8:15 to 8:30 a.m. at the Second Beach/Swimming Pool parking area. For more info, reports and photos, check our website at  As always, your comments are appreciated, and let me know if these weekly moronic missives make you miserable, and you want off my email list. Cheers: Tom


Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists Society 

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