Fifteen DNCBers spent a beautiful Tuesday morning in several park areas along the south Fraser River between No. 5 Road and ending at Garry Point Park in Steveston. Check out the, as always, scintillating photo evidence on our Flickr site at: https://www.flickr.com/search/?group_id=3027315%40N23&text=2018-10&view_all=1.
Eight of us car pooled in three vehicles from Petra’s at 7:30 a.m.; Mike B1 took Terry C, PB Lorna & Mike B2, Glen B took Ladner Jack Mac, and I had Boundary Bay Valerie with me. We drove smoothly through the tunnel and got to the designated meeting spot at Woodward’s Landing Campground at the end of No. 5 Road in Richmond at 8 a.m. Others were there to meet us including Van City Lidia, the Illusive Colin, Ken w/o Anne, Kirsten back from Rwanda, Langley Bob, “hide-and-seek” Roger, and time-challenged Margaretha; DNCBers lover their name in print.
Following preliminary gabble-gabble, we walked to the gate to the Girl Guides Camp where the Blue Jay has been seen all winter. Beneath and on the Caretaker’s feeders were many species including four Sparrow (Song, Fox, White- and Golden-crowned), Juncos, Towhees, Chickadees, Robins, etc., but no Blue Jay. Terry took the Group Photo, then we decided to follow the Richmond Park Trail along the creek toward London Drugs facilities (over 1,000 employees there). Several Steller’s Jays were screaming and among them Roger spotted the Blue Jay. We all got decent looks at this eastern bird, the only one I know of west of the Rockies. Of course for Easterners, this sighting is no big deal.
We decided to walk further along this quiet and quaint trail, sort of secluded among the warehouses. Several Green-winged Teal, Mallards and American Wigeon in the creek and we also saw Downy Woodpeckers, Anna’s Hummingbirds, a Brown Creeper and a Variated Thrush. Back at the vehicle parking lot, a Cooper’s Hawk surprised and posed for us in a tree nearby, along with several Eurasian Collared-Doves. We left here about 9 a.m. and drove west along the Dyke Road toward Finn Slough, stopping occasionally to see Cormorants, Common and Red-breasted Mergansers, Bufflehead and Harbour Seals in the Fraser.
We parked at Finn Slough and walked through this eclectic community. They call it a Heritage and Wetland Society, who claim they are not Squatters because they pay taxes, voluntarily (?). Anyhow, it is a really neat place. Colin and I walked the “No Entry” path behind the “homes” which were habited but no one seemed to be around. Most were decorated with weird and wonderful stuff, artistic treasures, fishing stuff, surrounded by dilapidated boats. Fascinating, check out the photos. Only little birds were flitting in the bushes here (Sparrows and House Finches).
Race Car Roger led the convoy of 10 vehicles (terrible car-pooling with far too many singles) from Finn Slough back out the farm roads and around to where the Dyke Road resumes further west along the river. Of course we got lost, but finally found Roger at the Dog Walk Park at the end of No. 3 Road. He was unconcerned as he set up his scope on a Red-throated Loon. Ken fed the hundreds of Pigeons which thrilled no one, while others looked at a Buteo on a tower on Kirkland Island that may have been a Rough-legged Hawk (or an immature Bald Eagle). We continued west, Roger losing us again, but we met up at the Steveston Waterfront Park with the heritage fishing buildings, homes and museums. Lots of construction here, but a fascinating walk along the boardwalk. Among the old pylons in the harbour were a Pied-billed Grebe, Gadwall and Green-winged Teal. Four Northern Flickers together in one tree was photogenic. We met local artist Alanna Victoria Hanson here, sitting at a picnic table in the middle of doing one of her renowned “storytelling” paintings. We will anxiously look forward to seeing the finished version of her forest/Bald Eagle/Georgia Strait map montage.
Approaching 11 a.m., we tried, in vain again, to follow Roger through Steveston to Point Garry Park. We eventually all got there, except Illusive Colin who must have given up. It was warm and sunny as we strolled the circle trail past the Fisherman’s Memorial. Lots of water in the centre where the kite flyers operate in the Summer. Wigeons, including a number of Eurasian Wigeons were there, undisturbed by one weird Kite Flyer being pulled on his home-made two wheeled cart. He quit after getting stuck in the mud several times. Killdeer were there too, and we saw flocks of Brewer’s Blackbirds in the bushes (some hoped they were Brown-headed Cowbirds). Interestingly, there was a big flock of Snow Geese (several hundred) lounging on and around the path as we made the circle. They were unperturbed by us with no fear of humanity. A Red-tailed Hawk and Northern Harrier were in the marsh, as were about 50 Trumpeter Swans spread out along the shoreline. We were blanked on PB Lorna’s Kingfisher, but a nice Hooded Merganser was in the slough, giving us our third Merganser species for the day. We saw several Great Blue Herons too, and some of us wondered where they will nest, since the Tsatsu Shores Heronry doesn’t seem to be used this year, yet.
Approaching noon, after heated discussion, 12 of us (see photo) decided to go to O’Hare’s Pub on Steveston Highway. The array of food choices (our aristocrat Glen had shrimp cocktail and ale) was only exceeded by the 20 varieties of beer on tap. Ken loved his Guinness, but I was very pleased with my shepherd’s pie and two pints of the house lager (of course on special). It was another glorious DNCB outing.
Next Wednesday (not Tuesday), March 14, is our quarterly Birds on the Bay outing. We will meet at and leave historic Cammidge House at 9 a.m. on our 2 ½ hour walk in Boundary Bay Regional Park, returning to CH at 11:30 a.m. for the famous Delta Nats Ladies’ Goodies. For more info, reports and photos, check out our website at: www.dncb.wordpress.com. As always, your comments appreciated. Cheers: Tom
Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists Society