More photos at our DNCB Flickr site
Finally, a sunny Tuesday! Twenty DNCBers enjoyed a beautiful clear and cool day at various spots around Drayton Harbour and Semiahmoo Bay in Blaine, Washington. Plus, we had a lot of really neat sightings. Check out the photo evidence, including spectacular scenery shots, on our Flickr site at: www.flickr.com/groups/dncb, then click the magnifying glass icon in the “Photo Pool” row, and add 2017-48 to “DNCB Photos” in the Search box at the top of the page.
From our 7:30 am start at Petra’s, to the Peace Arch Park parking lot, then all of us meeting at Blaine Marine Park at 8:30 am, everything worked out very smoothly. Lots of good car-pooling, no Border issues, and the beautiful weather created lots of smiling faces. However, the high King Tide meant no shoreline and therefore no shorebirds at our first stop. But there were huge rafts of waterfowl, mostly at scope distance. Roger M took the Group photo (of course Rose in the front middle) with the Peace Arch, White Rock and the mountains in the distance behind us. The beautiful vistas enjoyed all day of clear skies and snowy mountains was a common cord in many conversations.
As we walked from Blaine Marine Park to the Lookout at the end of Marine Drive, some “diver” species seen included Common Loons (surprisingly no Pacific Loons seen today), Surf and White-winged Scoters, Bufflehead, both Common and Barrow’s Goldeneye, Scaup (mostly Lesser), Red-breasted Mergansers (David had a pair of Common Mergs), Horned and Red-necked Grebes. Thousands of “dabblers” too, mostly Northern Pintail, American Wigeon and Mallards. Among the Pelagic Cormorants roosting at the Lookout were several Black Turnstones. We searched in vain for an Eared Grebe, especially among the yachts in the marina where we have seen them in the past. Long-tailed Ducks were far out in the Bay, but we eventually got a close-up view, and photo, of one outside the Semiahmoo Resort restaurant at Tongue Point. The resident Belted Kingfisher gave a flypast as did two Trumpeter Swans, and a V of Snow Geese.
We left Blaine Marine Park and drove our convoy through Blaine and around the Harbour to the Semiahmoo Park Museum parking lot on Semiahmoo Bay spit. On the Semiahmoo Bay side were lots of Scoters, but we couldn’t find a Black Scoter that we normally see here. Our first Harlequin Ducks were spotted here. On the Drayton Harbour side, lots of rafts of ducks; Gareth and others spotted a small raft of Ruddy Ducks. We couldn’t find a Canvasback. Gareth found a Red-throated Loon and later a Western Grebe.
As we were leaving the Museum parking lot, someone spotted a flock of Pine Siskins, and our Guru Anne found one of at least two Common Redpolls among them (a rare sighting for me). David also found an Anna’s Hummingbird and Golden-crowned Kinglet here. Of course, the common birds were “common”, such as Robins, Towhees, Juncos, Song, Fox and Golden-crowned Sparrows, House and American Goldfinches.
We continued on to the Marina where we found a flock of Sanderlings scooting along the pier, even racing past a small flock of Dunlin huddled together, and a few more Black Turnstones too. A beautiful Harlequin Duck pair were up-close-and personal, as were a few Red-breasted Mergansers and Horned Grebes. More Scaup around, and the Barrow’s Goldeneyes were doing their “dancing ritual”. Harbour Seals would occasionally pop up to have a look at us. Munching on cones In a Pine Tree at the Marina were several colourful Red Crossbills; our photogs went nuts at this sighting.
Exhausted from the Crossbills, we wandered around to Tongue Point at the resort. We finally found a Black Scoter here, along with a closer Long-tailed Duck and hundreds of Brant Geese in the distance. And it was Noon, perfect timing to head into the Packers Oyster Bar for lunch. Fifteen of us enjoyed the five-star setting next to the wall of windows looking out onto the Bay. It was an awesome feeling as the sun shone on our faces, and I wolfed down a whole Pepperoni Pizza and two pints of Kulshan Lager, plus a few of Colin’s and Jack’s Fries. Neither the 15 minute Border line-up nor Ladner Jack’s snoring were a bother on the drive back, and I was happily home at 2:30 pm. Another very enjoyable DNCB outing.
We Twenty were: Roger & Rose Meyer (on another of their seemingly weekly “getaways”), David & Noreen, Richmond Brian, Glen B, Terry C, Roger “Two” K, White Rock Al, Guru Anne M, Mike B, Marion S, Pauline, Jean G, returnee world-traveler Colin H, Jim K, Ladner Jack Mac, Lidia J, Langley/Surrey Guru Gareth P and me.
Next Wednesday (not Tuesday), December 13 is our quarterly Birds on the Bay outing in Boundary Bay Regional Park. We will meet at and leave from historic Cammidge House at 9:00 am, returning at 11:30 am to socialize and enjoy some home-made goodies by the Delta Nats Ladies. It’s free and open to all.
On Tuesday, we had a full house for our Christmas Nats monthly meeting which included a very interesting and informative presentation on Bats by Felix Martinez of the South Coast Bat Action Team.
As always, your comments are encouraged, check out our website for more info, reports and photos; and, let me know if you want off my List to receive this weekly drivel. Cheers: Tom
Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists Society