Birding Field Trip to Burnaby Lake — June 22nd 2024

Birding Field Trip to Burnaby Lake — June 22nd 2024

Trip leaders Michelle Baudais and Harvey Dueck were joined by 12 curious birders in the parking lot of the Burnaby Lake Rowing Club at 8am on Saturday June 22nd.  

Many birding expeditions to Burnaby Lake focus on Piper Spit. But during COVID Michelle and Harvey did some exploring around the west end of Burnaby Lake.  The area has become one of our new semi-regular destinations because it offers a nice mix of habitats: water, marsh, shrubbery and open forest with lots of dead trees or dead tree branches.  

As folks began to assemble, we were distracted by the “fast robin” song of a Black-headed Grosbeak.  Unusually, we were able to easily spot him singing from a nearby dead branch.  We often hear grosbeaks, but they can be hard to spot in more thickly forested areas. 

From here we wandered over to the rowing club’s docks and viewing platform. Water birds were scarce, partly due to the season and partly due to the rowers just offshore.  But we did spot a few distant Canada Geese and a mother Wood Duck with her ducklings, as well as a Killdeer on the shore — a lifer for one of our attendees.  The highlight here though was the constant stream of Barn Swallows swooping over the water and then disappearing under the viewing platform.  Given that we saw several swallows stopping on a nearby bank to scoop up beak-fulls of mud, we believe that at least some of the swallows are nest-building, perhaps for the second time this season. 

After returning to the parking lot we continued slowly along the path around the south side of the lake.  We heard Swainson’s Thrush, Warbling Vireos, and Willow Flycatchers, as you might expect in a forested area at this time of year.  But we also got very good views of  Willow Flycatchers and Black-headed Grosbeaks singing, and saw more than 20 Cedar Waxwings.   A special treat was a group of up to 11 Band-tailed Pigeons.  Band-tailed Pigeons seem to have become rarer in the Lower Mainland in the past few years.

In total we spent around 2.5 hours walking just over a kilometer out and back along the trail paralleling the TransCanada Highway.  We saw American Goldfinches, House Finches, a Purple Finch, American Robins (including at least one very spotty juvenile),  both Rufous Hummingbirds and Anna’s Hummingbirds, and enjoyed a flyby by an Osprey.  Amazingly, in the end we encountered far more Cedar Waxwings than either Black-capped Chickadees or Song Sparrows.  

Our eBird checklist shows a total of 30 species for the day:

Thanks to everyone who joined us for a lovely Saturday morning’s birding.

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