George C. Reifel Migratory Bird Sanctuary

George C. Reifel Migratory Bird Sanctuary

Date: October 4, 2018 

Trip report by leader, Thomas Plath

Fourteen participants enjoyed a gorgeous sunny morning at Reifel Refuge. The entrance pond hosted 300+ Long-billed Dowitchers, all milling about talking to each other and of course on the look for avian threats. A tight group of Northern Shoveler was observed “spinning’ as a group, to bring organic material to the water surface for sieving. Decent looks were had of one of their predators – an immature Peregrine Falcon in over flight with a Green-winged Teal in its talons. Two scarcer ducks of the Vancouver area were scoped in the south pond, a female Canvasback and a non-breeding male Ruddy Duck. Some participants were horrified as we watched one drake Mallard attempt to “punish” or kill another drake by grabbing its head and pushing it under water. It didn’t take long for a Glaucous-winged Gull to take interest and it came in to see if it could help kill the beat-up, battered drake. After approximately 10 minutes the drakes separated and it appeared the picked-on male Mallard was OK. The presence of beautiful large Amanita muscariaalong the north inside trail delighted the group. Some of the caps of this poisonous mushroom were almost 30 cm across! Other species of interest included Blue-winged Teal, Belted Kingfisher and Brown Creeper. Another beautiful morning of birding!

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