Report by Nikhil Patwardhan
On Saturday, October 29, 2022, ten members of Nature Vancouver participated in this walk led by Kelly Sekhon. Thankfully the rain had taken a break on Friday and we had cool overcast conditions to bird until it picked up again on Saturday night. Talk about perfect timing. The walk began with a short introduction to the area by Kelly as we stood near the parked cars. A Great Blue Heron stood guard near the shore while a flock of Snow Geese flew overhead. American Crow and Bald Eagle were in the sky too.
We made our way immediately south into the Terra Nova Rural Park, and our first stop was a waterbody where we saw Gadwalls, Mallards, a single American Coot while a Bald Eagle perched on the other side and began calling loudly. We made our way towards the community gardens, where we encountered Golden-crowned Sparrows and Spotted Towhees on the paths and American Robins in the trees and shrubs. Fox Sparrow was heard in the bushes. A Downy Woodpecker afforded good views through the scope, and a Cooper’s Hawk flew by about 20 feet off the ground. Some of us took note of interesting plants, mosses and lichens as we went along, Kelly frequently stopping to talk about the various plants.
In the Terra Nova Natural Area, we encountered more Robins, European Starlings, and both Ruby-crowned and Golden-crowned Kinglets. No beavers were encountered. An Anna’s Hummingbird was swooping by left to right in C-shape flights near a high perch in a tree. A Cedar Waxwing sat in the open close by while another Downy was close by as well. A small dark raptor with very pointy wings flew by very fast, by elimination this must’ve been a Merlin (size and shape).
We then began walking south along the West Dyke trail. Here we encountered American Crow, numerous Mallard Ducks and a large flock or American Goldfinches high up in the treetops. As we continued south, the west side opened up into a vast open terrain. Here we saw a Northern Flicker, a female Northern Harrier and a few Great Blue Herons which were far away. A Golden-crowned Sparrow perched close by on a log and gave very nice views through the scope. A Song Sparrow was close by as well. As we reached the southern-most point of our walk we saw a particularly large flock of Snow Geese in the distance, over a thousand strong. Various seabirds like gulls and ducks were seen far away in the sea through the scope as well, but they were too far to identify. A large flock of cormorants flew south very low along the shore. We then headed back to the parking lot. Not a lot was encountered on the way back – a few more American Robins, the harrier again, some ducks far away in the golf course on the east. A nearby Great Blue Heron in the grass near the parking lot was one of our final views.