Friday, August 28, 2009

Birding the West Dyke Trail

Today, I decided to take a walk along the West Dyke Trail in historic Steveston, enroute to Terra Nova Natural Area. I began at Garry Point, just off Chatham, stopping first at Scotch Pond to view the Historic Moorage Site. Through a cracked window, I could hear the 'hooting' of an owl I could not see.

While I was there, I heard the high-pitch hiss of a cedar waxwing perched high atop a nearby apple tree.

I made my way through the trail, admiring the beautiful view of the Sturgeon Bank marshes, Howe Sound mountains, and the Gulf Islands in the distance. It was a humid 25c and there were few trees on the trail to offer shade.

On one side of the trail were the marshes, bristling with colorful wild flowers and cat tails. The sound of crickets filled the air.

On the other, ponds brimming with lily pads and floating platforms with Red-Eared Sliders soaking up the morning sunshine.

Mallards swam gracefully through the water without a care in the world, it would seem.

I was about halfway to Terra Nova when I noticed a few black n' white masses grazing out in the marsh. A rather odd sight, or so I thought.

After stopping to talk to a cyclist resting on a park bench, I learned that the cows were from the local Steve's Family Farm. This small farm has been operated by the Steves family since 1877. I then realized that this is the very family the historic Steveston Village is named after. According to the cyclist (a long time resident of Steveston), these dairy cows are escorted across a small wooden bridge, across the West Dyke Trail, and out into the marsh to graze every morning.

I finally reached Terra Nova Natural Area - a 35 acre
old-field habitat that is situated adjacent to the West Dyke Trail and Sturgeon Banks. Featuring native plantings, viewing platforms, pathways and a slough, this site provides habitat and food to a variety of wildlife including raptors, herons and migrating birds.

Almost on cue, my camera battery died - Gahhh!

Quite honestly, I think the highlight of the morning was learning more about the namesake of the historic Steveston Village; the Steve's family. Mind you, observing the flocks of Cedar Waxwings or sunbathing red-eared sliders wasn't half bad either ;)

Observed on this day were:
- Bald Eagles
- Red-Tailed Hawks
- Countless Swallows
- Mallards
- Red-Eared Sliders
- House Finches
- House Sparrows
- Cedar Waxwings
- Gulls
- American Crows


  1. looks like it was a really peaceful morning walk. Love the Red-Eared Sliders soaking in the morning sunshine.

  2. Love the picture of the boys!! ;-)

  3. Lovely photo series! Love the Sliders!