Deas Island Regional Park
Deas Island Regional Park
Nature Nut Walk January 9 2015
This 300 acre park is named after the settler John Sullivan Deas, a mulllatto tinsmith, who once owned a primary cannery that produced the largest amount of salmon on the Fraser River in the late 1800’s.
The weather this chilly Friday morning was 3 degrees, partly cloudy and …damp, we had a lot of rain in the week before and this was now evaporating and I could feel in my bones! It was quiet on the “Tin maker’s” trail along the Fraser River, we- my fellow Nature Nuts and I- noticed a large container ship passing at quite some speed and another one docked across the other side. We could hear the rattled call of a kingfisher in the alder trees on the riverside but we had trouble spotting it. The river water was very high, most trees had their roots submerged in water along the trail. Four eagles flew over us calling to each other, perhaps a family, circling over the trees and disappearing again abruptly. We headed to the “Island Tip trail”, where we noticed some major flooding had occurred, the trail was littered with debris from the water washing over the bank and flood water was still visible to the left of the trail where trees were standing with their roots in water. Large cotton woods and alder trees were leaning back on both sides along the trail. Soft high pitched birds sounds made us stop and we discovered little kinglets anxiously darting from tree branch to tree branch. On our way to the south side of the Park the trail winds along the “Sand dune trail” where it is indeed sandy underfoot and we noticed horse tails growing in neat rows at “the feet” of healthy looking mature pine trees. While on the “Dyke loop trail”, which is lined with large alders and cottonwoods on both sides and moist bright green mosses on both side of our path, we heard eagles calling, one flying over head and landing in the trees above us, perhaps calling to its mate five trees over and taking off right over our heads! We heard the call of a woodpecker, (a red shafted flicker) in the trees above and stopped and came almost face to face with 2 creepers, each on a tree in front of us, hastily spiraling up the alders only to fly down and start again at the bottom, meanwhile 3 kinglets were near as well and we were lucky to get a good look at them, they were females, since the male has a red “crown”.
The water on the slough on the east side of the park was like glass!! The reflection of the trees across showed up perfectly, like a mirror ! The reflection of the condominiums and the Ladner Harbour House restaurant on the east side of the slough begged for a photo ! The trail passed behind the worksyard and the Burrvilla mansion, a Queen Anne Revival style residence, which was once owned by the Burr Family, relatives of the actor Raymond Burr. We walked up to the picnic area by the rowing club and then towards the pier, where many ducks were sitting with a loon (!) and a black cormorant in their midst, both diving ducks , not dabblers like the others , sitting up tall and straight heads sticking out above the ducks, all seemingly getting along well while taking a break from their daily foraging. A little further up on a rock jutting out of the water near the bank, another cormorant was standing up, shaking its outspread wings , eager to dry its feathers! As we turned to head to the car , just in front of us sat a great blue heron up in a tree , it politely waited until we were done with our photo taking! Walking back to the car , again we heard eagles calling above us and witnessed two of them flying in an embrace (claws grasped in mid air) for a few seconds while tumbling towards the ground before they flew back up together ! Two other eagles were flying near as well, perhaps these were last years youngsters. Mating time is near, since eagles an owls are some of the first birds to nest in late winter, they could be the ones that live in the park. In “Fishers Field” in the center of the park is a large nest up in an alder tree, that has been there for at least ten years.
On the way home by car I think we counted 60 plus eagles along the highway and in the sky, some trees had 15 to 20 eagles in it! I like this funny quote from my fellow Nature Nut, Edie, who exclaimed in excitement ; “The trees are dripping with eagles”!!!
We almost forgot that on the way back on the south side of number 10 highway we were supposed to make a stop to snap a picture or two of the 200 or so creamy white Trumpeter swans in a farmers field. They feed on crop remnants and grasses and grains in agricultural fields and wetlands and here they were their with one year old brood in tow which were dressed in their grey plumage. They will stay until March and return to their nesting places in Alaska
All in all an exciting walk this morning! This was a perfect day for photographers of any age!! Join us on the next walk!
P.S. Here is my tip of the week…before you leave the house always check your camera for battery power AND to see if there is indeed a card in it, I had to learn the hard way……argh!