Sixteen DNCBers had a ball on Wednesday riding the ferry and walking around Killarney Lake on Bowen Island. We saw a few neat birds, but mostly just enjoyed the serenity of a forest walk at a place where most of us had never been before. Check out the photo evidence by Jonathan, Roger, Pat and others on our Picasa site at: https://picasaweb.google.com/113357506005013094897.
As per our original plan, at 6:30 a.m. eight of us car-pooled (Mike had Sheila and the two Germanic Canadians Hans & Margaretha, Roger took Ladner Jack, Johnny Mac and me) from the Ladner Bus Exchange to the Horseshoe Bay Ferry Terminal. We could not believe how little traffic there was for a weekday morning. Even with Roger’s “short-cuts” and grandmother driving we got through downtown Vancouver to the ferry terminal in less than an hour. Of course, Mike and his carload were already there as were Jonathan & Lorraine. The early arrival was fortuitous because we learned that our scheduled 9 a.m. ferry was designated as the weekly “Dangerous Cargo” run with no passengers allowed on board. So, we ten took the earlier 8 a.m. ferry, a very pleasant 20 minute ride to Snug Cove on Bowen island, and it only cost 6 bucks return (half price for B.C. seniors).
Horseshoe Bay is a gorgeous little harbour. From the outer deck, as we departed we saw Surf Scoters, Pelagic and Double-crested Cormorants, and Jonathan saw some Harlequins. We conned a passenger into taking the first of several group photos. We marched off the ferry at Snug Cove, lingered for a moment taking in the scene, then walked up towards the entrance to Crippen Regional Park. Here, a sort of majestic, dilapidated shack with a pen of three loveable Chickens in front impressed Roger to the nth degree. We followed the Alder Grove Trail, stopping frequently to identify the flowers, trees, mushrooms, fungi, “nurse” stumps, and few birds (Towhees, Pacific Wrens and other common stuff). The walk down to the Bridal Falls and Fish Ladder was interesting and worthwhile; no fish seen though. We crossed Millers Road to the Killarney Creek Trail. By now I’m getting phone calls from other DNCBers at Horseshoe Bay waiting to take the scheduled 9:00 a.m. ferry. These six had to wait for the 10 a.m. run and we would meet them eventually on the Killarney Lake trail.
The trail around the lake was brilliant too. A pair of Wood Ducks near shore welcomed us. Then several pairs of Bufflehead and Ring-necked Ducks diving a bit further out were entertaining. Jonathan saw a Lesser Scaup there too. Lots of Tree and Violet-green Swallows hawking insects over the stumps in the water. Pied-billed Grebes were there too, all up-close-and-personal. Evidence of Woodpeckers on the many dead tree trunks was rampant. Some saw and photographed a Red-breasted Sapsucker. We found the Pileated Woodpecker cavity nest, but didn’t see the birds. Heard Downies pecking too. Fortunately there were a few benches along the way at some of the Viewpoints which afforded a few of us less-fit birders a chance for a breather. To avoid embarrassment, we arose quickly when 85 year-old dog-walkers pranced by.
Approaching the Dam, we met the late ferry group, Roy & Solveig, Richard H and Stormcat Paula. Following another group photo, they decided to continue around the lake and meet us later for lunch. We learned that sisters Pat & Maureen were hanging around Snug Harbour taking photos. Pat even took the eastern Dorman Point Trail and got some nice shots, including of a pair of Common Mergansers and several Barrow’s Goldeneye. We continued past the Dam and back toward town and got to Doc Morgan’s Restaurant & Pub at 1 p.m. According to Roger’s measuring instrument, we had walked 7 miles which is more than 10 kilometres. I think I deserved the two pints of Whistler Lager and plate of fish & chips. The “on special” Chicken wings were tasty too. We lost Pat & Maureen at another restaurant, but the 14 of us posed again for another GP.
Before catching the 3 p.m. return ferry, we wandered around the harbour and marina, savouring the magnificent scenery. We could envision this as a popular resort in the early 1920’s for visitors arriving on steamships. A Mute Swan among the boats, and then a fly-over of a Turkey Vulture were almost exciting. On the ferry back we saw a couple of Pigeon Guillemots in the bay. The drive back to Ladner was smooth as well; Roger was not bothered by Ladner Jack’s snoring. We got home before 5 p.m. having enjoyed another awesome DNCB outing.
Next Wednesday, April 20 will be a local outing, leaving Petra’s at 7:30 a.m. to visit several parks in Ladner. We expect to start at Ladner Harbour Park around 8 a.m. A reminder too of our Nats participation in Delta’s annual Watershed Park Fish Release this Sunday, April 17. We (me and other Nats) will lead a Nature Walk at 11:30 a.m. from Pinewood Elementary School through the park to the Fish Release site where Delta Nats will have our Display set up. All welcome. As always, comments encouraged, check out our DNS website for more info, reports and photos at: www.dncb.wordpress.com. Cheers: Tom
Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists Society