Saturday 15 November 2014

Langley Field Naturalists Visit Reifel

Nov 8 2014 Reifel Sunny and 5c

Oops! This blog was lost in cyberspace so here it is again with story by Langley Field Naturalist's Anne Gosse.
The walk was led by all-round naturalist Al Grass. Check out the Langley Field Naturalists website for more of our walks. We meet the third Thursday of the month at the Langley Music School. Newcomers welcome. Here is one account of what we get up to when we have too much time on our hands!

Owls! two types of secretive Rails! two hunting Northern Shrikes! plus two “Lifers” for several of our group – including myself! Seventeen members from three different naturalist clubs joined our leader Al for another great birding adventure in Reifel Refuge on a warm sunny day. Before we had travelled a 100 feet into the bird sanctuary we had checked off nearly 20 species!  A fantastic day’s search then followed as we wandered the trails spotting and counting. The usual gang of Black-crowned Night Herons are back wintering. The Sandhill Cranes gave a low saluting flying bypass to Kathleen’s trilling – then they greeted us along the paths. Several species of sparrows and waterfowl were seen diving and dashing for cover as a predatory Merlin sped by. Song, Fox and Golden-crowned Sparrows, plus Towhees, Juncos, American Robins, Cedar Waxwings, Golden Crowned Kinglets were all duly recorded plus many more usuals. Great views of the Red-breasted Nuthatches and Rufous Hummingbird were given on the feeders. We stopped to adore the small wide-eyed Saw-Whet Owl high up in the fir branches. In all the excitement two birders were knocked off the trial into the bramble bushes in the rush! On the outer dykes we excitedly spotted two Northern Shrikes and heard the Virginia and Sora Rails amongst bullrushes answering Al’s call. With John G’s help we got to view a Swamp Sparrow – giving many of us a “Lifer”!  Thanks John! 
Swamp Sparrow (Melosspiza georgiana)
Lovely Wood Ducks, graceful Pintails, black-bottomed Gadwall, diving Canvas Backs, busy Northern Shovelers, Buffleheads and Pied-billed Grebes and my favorite Hooded Mergansers along with Ring-necked Ducks and blue-footed Coots were seen. We also watched Red-tailed Hawks, Common Raven, and a Sharp-shinned Hawks along the outer dykes. Caught up in this exhilarating day of plentiful sightings, we all set off to see the wayward Tropical King Bird with John guiding us to Brunswick Point. This wonderful yellow-coloured flycatcher was atop a bush busy catching flies and giving great views to birders and photographers. We all were quite enthralled. Unexpectedly we found a Barn Owl in the trees behind us – and in the same tree a Great Horned Owl!  It was then agreed we just as well record the Short-eared Owls on Brunswick Point dyke as well – so off we went!  Three lovely butterfly winged Short-eared Owls were seen out on the foreshore along with flocks of Dunlin, and Meadowlarks. Then along the dyke Marsh & Bewick’s Wrens, White-crowned Sparrows, and Orange-crowed Warblers along with Bushtits and House Sparrows were found. However, on this day we did not find the Wagtail or the Townsend Solitaire that had been seen in this area. Our day’s count ended up with an astonishing 66 different species!  We were so excited about our adventures that some forgot the time and had to phone spouses to check in – (a marathon 7 hour birding day!).  
Tropical Kingbird (Tyrannus melancholicus)

Whee – what a day! These are the days you remember and they make you feel alive! We send our thanks to Al for leading our group.
Anne Gosse
"It's never too late to start birding"

John Gordon


  1. wow beautiful shot! Great find on the swamp sparrow my friend! I never have luck with them in BC!

  2. PSwhat an amazing day! Thank you so much for sharing