DNCB Outing No. 2016-49: Boundary Bay Dike – 104th Street to the Mansion

Boundary Bay Birders (RM)

Boundary Bay Birders (RM) click on photo to see larger version

Photos by Roger Meyer (RM), Terry Carr (TC), Jack MacDonald (JMacD), Chris McVittie (CMcV), Brian Avent (BA), David Hoar (DH).  More photos at our DNCB Flickr site.

By daybreak the snow had abated, but the roads were icy and it took 20 minutes to clear the car windows.  However, the main roads were clear and the sky cloudless and despite a –4 degree temperature, 7 birders, Mike, Terry, Glen, Chris, Roger (me), David and Noreen, appeared at Petra’s prepared to face the elements.  We departed at 7:30 am  for 104th and the Delta Air Park where we were joined at 8:00 by three other hardy members, Brian, Jack and Nance (who arrived an hour later after getting lost in the wilds of Surrey). There, we were treated to a beautiful sunrise and a panoramic view of the freshly snow-capped mountains.

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From the top of the dyke we could see large numbers of ducks away out on the water but the light was not good for  viewing.  Later we could see better and determined that most of the ducks were Northern Pintail and American Wigeon (we were not able to detect any Eurasian).  On the mudflat were groups of shorebirds which we later determined to be predominantly Black-bellied Plover and Dunlin.

Walking west along the dyke we saw more of the same shorebirds with a few Long-billed Dowitchers and Greater Yellowlegs (only two).  Birds of prey were scarce except for Bald Eagles, of which we saw at least 50!

There were only two Northern Harriers seen, one male and one female.

At one point Noreen requested a Short-eared Owl and within minutes one appeared flying over the incoming tide line… this was the bird high-light of the day!

We followed the dyke as far as the Mansion and the only excitement there was the formation flying of the thousands of Dunlin as they were spooked by Eagles flying overhead… always a great sight!

Dance of the Dunlin

Dance of the Dunlin video by Brian Avent

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We did see a large flock of Trumpeter Swans in one of the farm fields but the small birds were mainly White-crowned Sparrows, Song Sparrows, House Finches, and a few Spotted Towhees.  Also seen, as expected, were lots of American Robins, Northwestern Crows and Eurasian Collared Doves and a number of Great Blue Herons.

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At one point we made an effort to sort out the gulls and identified some Ring-billed, Mew and lots of Glaucous-winged.

The two  pet goats were present, as usual, at the  house at the beginning of 104th.

So, not so great as far as the number of species seen, but we were happy with the beautiful day and were glad we made the effort to get out of our warm beds to go out into the cold and dark.  Terry, Mike and I stopped along 72nd at the turf farm, but the Slaty-backed Gull was not to be seen.

Next week, on Wednesday December 14  is our quarterly Birds-on-the-Bay Outing.  We will meet at 9 am at Cammidge House.  See BOTB Poster.  We look forward to Tom’s return and hope he is able to adjust to the extreme temperature change!

Roger Meyer

Posted in 104 Street, Bald Eagle, Black-bellied Plover, Boundary Bay, Dunlin, Long-billed Dowitcher, Mew Gull, Northern Harrier, Short-eared Owl, Trumpeter Swan | Leave a comment

DNCB Outing No. 2016-48 to White Rock Pier & Blackie Spit

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DNCB at White Rock Pier – missing Maureen S, Margaretha & photog. Roger M – click on photo to see large version

More photos by Brian Avent (BA), Chris McVittie (CM), David Hoar (DH), Glen Bodie (GB), Jack MacDonald (JMacD), Jim Kneesch (JK), Pat Smart (PS) Roger Meyer (RM), Terry Carr (TC) at our DNCB Flickr site.

With a decent day forecast, at least to the afternoon, and a falling tide, the Petra’s group of 11 departed for the White Rock pier where we met with another 20 eager birders.  We welcomed two Point Robert birders, Bobbie and Jamie, who had joined us previously at the Point and a few others we hadn’t seen for awhile like Johnnie Mac and Marti.  Looking at the group photo and adding in the photographer, camera-phobic Maureen, and late comer Margaretha, it would seem that we had 32 in all… one of the largest we can remember!

dh_dncb_wr_pierPart 1:  White Rock Pier:  With so many of us, it didn’t take long to spread out along the pier, but we can assemble a collage of sightings beginning with the shoreline where we had Mallards, American Wigeon, Northern Pintails, Buffleheads and some Canada Geese spread out along the beach.  On the return trip from the end of the pier there were two Killdeer on the shore, and what appeared to be a Horned Grebe in distress.  From the pier it looked like its feet were tangled in fish net, but when approached by a crow it  got up and entered the water and swam off.

Walking out along the pier, we were treated to close-up views of Surf and White-winged Scoters feeding

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along with Western, Horned and a few Red-necked Grebes.

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We had numerous Double-crested Cormorants but no Pelagics.  Also seen were lots of Bonaparte’s Gulls, only a few Common Loons

but plenty of Red-throated ones, especially in the deeper water south of the end of the pier.  Our wish to see Eared Grebes and Black Scoters was not rewarded.  On the tall cluster of pilings just inside the breakwater there was a pair of Bald Eagles, one of which was feasting on what appeared to be a gull (possibly a pigeon).

A female Belted Kingfisher perched on the crossbar of a boat’s mast; another Kingfisher (male) landed on the rock breakwater.

Pigeons lined the railings, and an elderly lady walked by covered in them… I’m assuming she feeds them regularly.

At the end of the pier, in order to please Tom who is still lazing in the down-under  sun while keeping cool with Aussie beer (only 8 days left Tom!) we took the obligatory group photo.  Now, we searched the offshore waters where the numbers were astronomical…we pity the Christmas Bird Count birders who have the water assignments.  Hundreds of Western Grebes, more scoters, large numbers of Common and Red-breasted Mergansers, Red-throated Loons,

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Red-breasted Mergansers (TC)

Double-crested Cormorants, possibly a few Long-tailed Ducks, a few Common Loons.  The most spectacular sightings though were the clouds of Bonaparte’s Gulls, the cormorants, mergansers and seals attacking the schools of fish
(smelt?).  Worth the price of admission right there!
Feeding Frenzy video“Feeding Frenzy!” video by Jack MacD

With the time approaching 10:00 am when the parking fees would start, we decided to head to Blackie Spit for the next step!

Part 2: Blackie Spit: Travelling west along marine drive we paused for a moment at the base of the hill leading up from the beach for one last look for Black Scoters… negative there!  Arriving at Crescent Beach, many of us had already spread out along the spit.  On the west side at the beginning we counted five Eurasian Wigeon in a small flock.  Later, on the east side, we were able to find another fifteen for a total of 20… and those were only males!  None of us felt that we could identify a female but, obviously, there must have been at least an equal number to the males!

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We puzzled over why this area of the lower mainland has such a high concentration of this duck that once was consider unusual (actually, I think I was the only one that puzzled over it).

The usual suspects were located on the east side of the spit: Marbled Godwits, Long-billed Curlew,

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lots of wigeon, Dunlin, Northern Pintail, some Green-winged Teal, and a few GBH (if you don’t know, I’m not telling you!)

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There wasn’t much activity out on the water off the spit.  However, once we got to the south side looking over to the community gardens, there was lots to look at in volume… Greater (and possibly Lesser) Yellowlegs, uncountable Northern Pintail, more teal, wigeon, and mallards.  Very few birds in the bushes today; Northern Flickers, starlings, robins, crows, the usual stuff.  On returning to the parking lot Terry had located a Black Oystercatcher at the base of the spit and another farther along the shoreline.

The parking area had the usual large number of Ring-billed Gulls, always beautiful to look at, especially the juvenile (one of my favorites).

Having exhausted Crescent Beach (we didn’t do the Dunsmuir gardens) we decided to call it a day and head off in different directions, some to lunch, others to home.  Marion, Jean and Kirsten went to the Turf Farm at 72 where two rare birds had been reported on the VanBC site; a Slaty-backed Gull, and a Rusty Blackbird.  Marion offered to phone me (Roger) if they found the birds and, sure enough, she called to report both were there side-by-side.  A few minutes later while we were racing down the freeway, weaving in and out, she called again to say she was “just kidding”.  Good one Marion… be aware!

Next Tuesday, Dec 6, we will leave Petra’s Cafe at 7:30 and meet at Delta Heritage Airpark on 104 St about 8am to explore Boundary Bay Dike.  The monthly Delta Nats meeting will be that evening at 7pm, at Benediction Lutheran Church: guest speaker Anita van Dikken, speaking about her Brazil Extreme Jaguar Trip.

Roger Meyer
tc_dncb2

Posted in *DNCB, Black Oystercatcher, Blackie Spit, Bonaparte's Gull, Dunlin, Eurasian Wigeon, Long-billed Curlew, Long-tailed Duck, Marbled Godwit, Red-breasted Merganser, Red-necked Grebe, Red-throated Loon, White Rock Pier | Leave a comment

DNCB Outing 2016-47 to Harrison Mills

There was heavy rain in Tsawwassen at 730.  The 4 people at Petra’s decided to cancel the outing today.  See what happens when Tom is away!

However, even though the rest of us wimped out, Pat, Maureen and Manli went to Harrison.  Here is Pat’s report.


 Photos at our DNCB Flickr site.

The North Delta  sky was dark and ominous as Maureen, Manli, and I set out on our journey to the confluence of the Harrison and Chehalis Rivers.  The mountains lining the eastern Fraser Valley were silhouetted in gold by the dawning sun, giving us hope that the day would be less dreary than forecast.

Mount Cheam (PS)

Mount Cheam (PS)

The rain commenced as we raced along the Trans-Canada highway.  Maureen and Manli glimpsed unidentified hawks crouched on fence posts.  The rain slowed between Abbotsford and Chilliwack, where small formations of Trumpeter Swans flew overhead or foraged the farmer’s fields.

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The clouds lifted, the rain stopped and the mountains were revealed, resplendent with a fresh coating of snow.  We missed the exit to Mission, so crossed the Fraser River at Agassiz.

After a brief stop at Harrison Hot Springs, we carried on to Harrison Bay in Kilby Provincial Park.  Maureen spotted a Pileated Woodpecker while Manli and I cruised the beach, spotting a few Glaucous-winged Gulls and distant Trumpeter Swans but no eagles.

Manli & Pat (MS)

Manli & Pat at Harrison Lake (MS)

The rain resumed and we strolled into the proprietor of the Kilby Bed and Breakfast  who confirmed that 2 Pileated Woodpeckers were in the area.  He receives many queries concerning birds currently in Kilby and routinely wanders the beach 4 times daily.  A Yellow-billed Loon was recently sighted and has generated a lot of interest.

buying Hazelnuts (PS)

buying Hazelnuts (PS)

Before leaving Kilby, in torrential rain, we stopped to purchase hazelnuts from the Harrison Hammond House B&B farm.  Flocks of Canada Geese and ducks were evident in the fields and on the farm’s pond.

It was 10:30 when we crossed the Harrison River.  The rainfall was torrential and not ideal for Maureen’s mobility or photography, so we elected to forgo hiking and try some drive-by shooting before lunch.  Excellent views of birds on the Chehalis River Flats are afforded from automobile pullouts along the Morris Valley Road.  Dead salmon littered the banks of channels running through the estuary.  A few eagles were in distant view on the flats and a few in the trees.  Trumpeter Swans, Canada Geese, and Mallards floated by.  We also drove through Tapadera Estates where several Bald Eagles were roosting in the trees.

We lunched at the Clubhouse Restaurant at Sandpiper Golf Course. Following lunch the rain was unrelenting and returning home alongside the Nicomen Slough, Bald Eagles were easily viewed but the traffic was heavy so we did not stop.  We visited the Inch Creek Hatchery to view the salmon run and the sturgeon pond where Manli captured a selfie of an unknown bird.

We enjoyed the outing but missed the knowledge, scopes,  and camaraderie of other members of the Delta Nats.

Pat Smart

Next Tuesday, November 29 we will leave Petra’s at 7:30 to meet at White Rock Pier at 8 am while the parking is free.  Then we will go to Blackie Spit.

Posted in *DNCB, Bald Eagle, Harrison Mills, Inch Creek Salmon Hatchery, Kilby Park, Pileated Woodpecker, Sandpiper Golf Course, Tapadera Estates, Trumpeter Swan | Leave a comment

DNCB Outing No. 2016-46 to Terra Nova, Richmond

Photos posted at our DNCB Flickr site

It started out with light rain so it was surprising to find 10 members huddled over their coffee in Petra’s this morning.  Leaving at 7:30, even using the HOV lane, the trip took a good 45 minutes to reach Terra Nova with the traffic  on the 99 backed up south as far as the eye could see.  Arriving at Terra Nova Rural Park we met up with 7 more of our group who were already birding the river.  On the grass between River Road and the river were dozens of Snow Geese and the same of Ring-billed Gulls.  The river itself had very few birds beyond two Horned Grebes and some Double-crested Cormorants.  We decided to bird the inland part of the park first and then to return along the outer dyke.  A light rain was falling and several had their umbrellas out.

(TC)

(TC)

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Pied-billed Grebe (PS)

So, we started by walking through the play area and onto the boardwalk at the first pond which was covered completely with a brownish growth which turned out to be a small floating seed plant mixed in with the native green Duckweed.  The closest invasive plant to fit the description I could find was Azolla japonica (I copied a photo from an on-line resource to our Flicker photos).  A Pied-billed Grebe was mired in the middle of the stuff and wasn’t moving!  Moving along we started to pick up a number of small birds including Golden-crowned, Fox and Song Sparrows, a few Ruby-crowned Kinglets, a flock of American Goldfinches, Spotted Towhees and the usual suspects… robins, starlings, and crows.

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Janet heard, and sighted, a Northern Shrike.  We picked up a few Great Blue Herons along the way.

Brian A, being very familiar with the park, led us through the maze of trails and we ended up on Westminster Highway adjacent to the Community Gardens where we go for the annual Raptor Festival.  Walking east along the road we entered the south portion of  Terra Nova Park and followed the trails to the north boundary of the Quilchena Golf Course where we stopped at a raised platform surrounded by benches and had our obligatory group photo taken with members standing on it.

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DNCB at Terra Nova (photo by Roger M) – click on photo to see large version

The rain had stopped at this time and we could see blue sky over the ocean.  No new birds were seen on that stretch of the trail but for a few Northern Flickers and an Anna’s Hummingbird.  In all of the areas there continued to be flocks of American Goldfinches… the most numerous species of the day.

The second phase of the trip was the return along the outer dyke where we walked through a gap in the trees to the muddy shore where they had done the “habitat improvement” a few years back.  A male Downy Woodpecker was seen here.

Downy Woodpecker (TC)

Downy Woodpecker (TC)

Scanning about with the scope, a few American Bald Eagles and Northern Harriers were seen, but the highlight bird of the day was,again seen  by eagle-eyed Janet, an American Kestrel, probably a juvenile, with very pale markings.  We watched this bird for quite a long time as several members had not seen one before.  The bird frequently would swoop down from its perch, probably after an insect, and on  one swoop looked like it had hit a heron… certainly caused it to move away!

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The rest of the walk back was uneventful, with a Gadwall and Red-tailed Hawk the only new birds to be seen.  Back at the parking lot, there were a few more birds on the water than earlier including some American Wigeon, one having mixed Eurasian features

Eurasian Wigeon hybrid (TC)

Eurasian Wigeon hybrid (TC)

(see Terry’s photos), and some Common Mergansers farther out in the water.

Seven of us decided we would head off to the Flying Beaver Pub, only because it was what Tom would have wanted us to do, for lunch, while some of the more dedicated birders carried on (see the Addendum below by Bryan & Janet).  The weather had changed for the better by the end of the trip and it turned out to be  much better than we figured it was going to be at the start.

CHEERRS, TOM! (photo by Roger M)

CHEERS, TOM! (photo by Roger M)

Roger Meyer


Addendum from Bryan and Janet who braved the weather while the rest of us scurried off to a warm pub for lunch… thanks, you two!

Bryan and I had tea in the gardens then walked over the street for one last look for the Shrike.  No appearance.  Bryan spotted two Barn Owls in the nest box – we think a male and a female, perhaps sheltering from the rain?  You can just see the two of them in this very long shot.  The views in the scope were better.

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Barn Owls (BK)

I heard a Kingfisher rattling away.  We both saw Golden-crowned Kinglets.  And there was a very persistent coyote.

We watched him stretch up and paw the lower branches of a tree in the gardens.  At the top of the tree two black squirrels looked down at him and then ran back and forth on the upper branches without losing an inch of elevation.  The coyote appeared to be trying to turn himself into a cat.

Thanks for leading a most enjoyable outing!  Janet & Bryan

Next Tuesday, November 22, we will not to go Harrison because of the weather forecast. We will meet at Petra’s in Tsawwassen at 7:30am and decide whether to cancel the outing or go to Brunswick Point.

Posted in *DNCB, American Kestrel, Bald Eagle, Barn Owl, Coyote, Eurasian Wigeon, Northern Harrier, Northern Shrike, Pied-billed Grebe, Red-tailed Hawk, Terra Nova | Leave a comment

DNCB Outing No. 2016-45 to Stanley Park

More photos posted on our DNCB Flickr site

DNCB at Stanley Park - photo by Roger M - click on photo for large version

DNCB at Stanley Park  (photo by Roger M) – click on photo for large version

Twenty-five enthusiastic birders gathered at Stanley Park’s Second Beach.  We were undaunted by the traffic or the overcast skies.  There was only a small number of waterfowl scattered on the bay: White-winged Scoter, Horned Grebe, Common Loon and Barrow’s Goldeneye.

Barrow's Goldeneye (TC)

Barrow’s Goldeneye (TC)

Four Black Oystercatchers made a quick appearance as they flew by just above the water.  A large number of noisy Northwestern Crows were mobbing some unidentified ‘villain’ in a large tree as we walked toward Lost Lagoon.

Several Canada Geese, and Trumpeter Swans were observed by those with keener eyes than mine as they flew above us.  The number of birds we found increased as we set out around Lost Lagoon.  American Coots, Mallards, American Wigeons and Wood Ducks were present in a small pond.

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We were able to spot a beautiful Common Merganser in full breeding plumage across the lake.  Spotted Towhees could be heard calling and several Great Blue Heron flew overhead.

A flock of Bushtits and other small birds were busy eating insects among the tress – Pacific Wren, Golden-crowned and Ruby-crowned Kinglet and Chestnut-backed and Black-capped Chickadee.

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Chestnut-backed Chickadee (RM)

Chestnut-backed Chickadee (RM)

Two American Robins and three sparrow species, including a Golden-crowned, a Song and a Fox were sighted.  Several observant  birders managed to see a Red-tailed Hawk.

We then drove in an orderly convoy to Beaver Lake.  Many of us carefully read the signs describing the current renovations planned for the lake, and were mostly none the wiser.  Roger’s great sighting of a juvenile Peregrine Falcon was missed by many when it quickly disappeared into the trees.  A  Northern Flicker and several gulls, a Bonaparte’s and a Glaucous-winged, were found throughout the morning.  The identification of  a third gull resulted in the usual discussion that  gulls can create.  Roger has called it a third-year Thayer’s and I am quite willing to accept his more expert opinion.

Jean Gartner

Next DNCB Outing on Tuesday, November 15 to Terra Nova Park, Richmond.  Leave Petra’s at 7:30 am, park at the west end of River Road ( via the north end of No.1 Rd). ~8:00 am.

Posted in *DNCB, Beaver Lake, Black Oystercatcher, Bonaparte's Gull, Lost Lagoon, Peregrine Falcon, Raccoon, Red-tailed Hawk, Stanley Park, Thayer's Gull, Trumpeter Swan | Leave a comment

DNCB Outing No. 2016-44 to Point Roberts, Washington

Photos below are a small sample of the photos posted by Brian Avent (BA), Terry Carr (TC), Jack MacDonald (JMac), Glen Bodie (GB), Roger Meyer (RM) and others on our DNCB Flickr site

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25 DNCB at Point Roberts (photo by Roger M, not in picture) – click 0n photo to see large version

Once again, with Tom absent and lazing in the Australian sun, and a dearth of blog volunteers, you have me (Roger 1) inflicted on you.  So, be kind if I have missed birds, misspelled member names, etc.

Following the most days of rain ever in October, the first of November was more promising and 13 members meeting at Petra’s and 12 more at the Lighthouse Park at Point Roberts.  We were all happy to have Anne Murray making an appearance after a long absence and we were to make good use of her identification skills.  Great to see you, Anne!

Although there was no rain it was quite chilly with a slight breeze off the water.   Unfortunately our arrival coincided with the high tide of the day which limited the birds we would usually see on the shoreline.  We were a bit disappointed that the movement of Bonaparte Gulls seemed to have passed and therefore we were to see no Parasitic Jaegers.   However we were able to sight the following… Horned, Red-necked,  and Western Grebes (most far offshore), Common Loons, both Surf and many White-winged Scoters, Red-breasted Mergansers, a few Long-tailed Ducks, and large numbers of Pelagic and Double-crested Cormorants.

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While watching the cormorants fly by, Anne described points used to separate Brandt’s from the Double-crested, something which most of us have been confused about, especially with them in flight!

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A possible Pacific Loon flew past and one Common Murre “looking like a pelican” was seen in at a distance.  Disappointingly, there were no Murrelets, or Auklets to be seen!  We did see, however, the first flocks of  Brant for the season.  Our car sighted one Red-tailed Hawk as we drove towards the meeting point, and there were a few Bald Eagles on pilings, and a few Great Blue Herons as well.  Having exhausted the species to be seen at the Lighthouse, we posed for the obligatory group  photo and left for the marina.

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On the road to the marina we paused to scan the pond on the north side of  the road and found many Hooded Mergansers, Buffleheads, and some Greater Scaup.  Flying by, and in the trees, were lots of American Robins, some Northern Flickers and a single Belted Kingfisher.  We bypassed the path, between the two properties, leading to the shore as we had too many cars and there was so little parking space.

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House Finches (TC)

 

With the high tide there was little exposed shoreline for the birds we would normally see there anyway!

At the marina we walked across the field, sighting two House Finches on the way, to the boat canal where we found a large number of Harlequin Ducks and Black Turnstones basking in the sun on the rocky shore.

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Snow Goose (TC)

Snow Goose (TC)

On a log on the opposite shore, picked out by eagle-eye Marion, was a single Snow Goose (we wondered as to its health as it seemed strange for it to be on its own).

Retracing our steps across the field, we went down to the exposed shore and crossed a width of beached seaweed to see a Western Grebe close up, and a mixed flock of Sanderlings and Black Turnstones feeding at the tideline… a beautiful photo opportunity!

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The marina location is a site where we often see Western Meadowlarks, but not today!

From the Marina we would usually go to Lily Point but today we decided to go to Maple Beach to be closer to the Boundary Bay shore and, maybe, see Black Scoters… we didn’t!  However, we did see lots of Surf and White-winged Scoters, Buffleheads, a few American Wigeon, more Western, Red-necked and Horned Grebes, Mallards, and Red-breasted Mergansers.

Having exhausted the birding sites of Point Roberts we decided (it was only 11:00 am) to call-it-a-day!  It was suggested that the Terminal jetty had Snow Buntings and a Whimbrel seen there the previous few days if any of us wanted to extend the day.

So, Tom, it was too early for lunch and the day ended on that note.  Next Tuesday, November 8 we leave Petra’s at 7:30 hoping to arrive at the Second Beach parking area in Stanley Park (just west of the pool) by 8:30 although 9:00 would be more likely.

Roger Meyer

Posted in *DNCB, Bald Eagle, Black Turnstone, Common Murre, Harlequin Duck, Lighthouse Marine Park, Long-tailed Duck, Pacific Loon, Pelagic Cormorant, Point Roberts, Red-breasted Merganser, Red-necked Grebe, Red-tailed Hawk | Leave a comment

DNCB Outing No. 2016-43 to Reifel Bird Sanctuary via Tsawwassen Ferry Jetty and TFN Lands

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DNCB at Reifel (photo by Roger M) – click on photo to see larger version

See more photos at DNCB Flickr site

With the day still in darkness 9 of us met at Petra’s and left in three cars for the ferry jetty.  Roger (myself… still without volunteers to do this blog), Gerhard and the other Roger, who still stubbornly refuses to change his name to Stuart, in one car, Mike and Terry together and Glen and Jim in the third.  With dawn breaking we arrived at the taxi pullout on the jetty having seen 14 Black Oystercatchers on the shoreline on the way.

Our timing with the sunrise was just right and next week it might a bit darker but, with standard time coming in to effect the following week, it will probably be OK to keep to the 7:30 am leaving time.  Highlight sightings included massive clouds of starlings flying overhead maneuvering like  shorebirds and great rafts of American Wigeon, Mallards, and Pintail ducks.  Mixed in with the wigeon were a few Eurasian ones.  Three species of grebe were found as well; several Western, a few Red-necked and Horned.  Both Pelagic and Double-crested Cormorants, Red-breasted Mergansers, and Common Loons were present on the water.  Out on the mudflats and along the shore were the usual Great-blue Herons, crows, varied gulls (Ring-billed, Glaucous-winged, and others not identified).

Having exhausted the north shore, we crossed over to the south side where the brisk wind made it difficult to see through watery eyes.  We did however see a few rafts of Surf Scoters with a  few White-winged ones mixed in with them.  Returning to the cars, we drove to the terminal and parked along the south  fence to check out that side but were told, almost immediately by security, to remove ourselves as the next ferry was arriving.  Mentioning that we had Tom Bearss’s permission seemed to have no effect but they did write his name down!  As we approached the beginning of the jetty a small flock of shorebirds, probably Dunlin, crossed over the road.

Moving on to the TFN road, we stopped at what should probably not be called Kingfisher Slough as it’s been several years since we’ve seen a Belted Kingfisher there.  In the slough we, Glen I think, scared off a flock of Green-winged Teal.  One bush on the side of the slough had five Northern Flickers in it.  The highlight of this section, though, was our discovery of the new board walk from the TFN offices leading out to the dyke on the foreshore.  A joint project of several agencies, the walk was obviously built sparing no expense.  Wide enough to drive a truck on, its boarded surface is coated with slip preventing paint!  The sign indicates that it is part of a Bicycle Network Improvement Project.  This walkway will provide  a much better access for birders to the birds in the foreshore marsh, something that might be a project Reifel Island could undertake!  The birds we saw there included a few Northern Harriers and 14 Great-blue Herons.  There was nothing much else to see until the end of the TFN road where we stopped to check out a hawk in a tree where we have seen Rough-leggeds… however, it turned out to be a female Harrier.

Leaving the TFN lands we entered the farm lands where we encountered thousands of Snow Geese and the sounds of hunter’s shotguns.  A Ring-necked Pheasant was seen landing in a field.  From the river dyke viewpoint we saw a Pied-billed Grebe, four Trumpeter Swans, and many Snow Geese.  The ride across Westham Island to Reifel provided nothing new… lots more Snow Geese though.  Our original intention was to check out Alaksen, but having run out of time before our 10:00 am meeting with the Pender Island birders, we decided to head right for Reifel.

Waiting for us in the Reifel parking lot were the following Delta Nats; Julie, Nance, Brian, Jack, Marion, Pat and Maureen.  We took a Delta Nats group photo with Brian trying to herd two Sandhill Cranes into the picture (they resisted).  The Pender Island contingent arrived, eight in all and we took their group photo and then a picture of the combined group (22 in all).  Sorry, Tom, I neglected to get all the names…mea culpa.  A single Cooper’s Hawk had been seen by the gift shop.

For the Reifel walk we followed our usual pattern with a counter-clockwise route.  Three Black-crowned Night-Herons were in their usual spot across form the warming hut and there was a small flock of Ring-necked Ducks in the middle of Fuller’s Slough.  Along the east dyke we had the usual;  Black-capped Chickadees, Dark-eyed Juncos, a Brown Creeper (spotted by Pender Island Dan), Red-breasted Nuthatch, Fox Sparrow and the highlight of the outing… a beautiful Barred Owl spotted by Pender Island Jan! From the blind looking into Alaksen there was a single Belted-kingfisher fishing from a branch over the water.  Out over the north dyke we saw several Northern Harriers, Bald Eagles and a single Red-tailed Hawk.

Out of nowhere, Burnaby Roy appeared, sans Solveig, boosting our number to 23.  A few of us went up the tower but there wasn’t much to see in the ponds except Northern Shovellers, Pintail, Mallards (including a strange very white sided one) and a flock of Green-winged Teal.  The south-east  pond had the same ducks and added several American Coots to our list.  From the observation platform a flock of Dowitcher species had been seen but were scared off by a Peregrine Falcon leaving behind a single bird?  A few Yellowlegs were seen (probably Greater),  a male Hooded Merganser, and a single Bufflehead.  Closer to the parking lot some members were feeding Red-winged Blackbirds out of their hands.

So, the trip ended at 12:20 pm giving us 10 minutes to get to The Landing for lunch.  Roy, though,  elected to stay behind and get more out of Reifel.  Since Jack had arranged things ahead of time, we had a whole section of the Landing to ourselves and a great lunch was enjoyed by all, except Mike whose food never arrived.  Oh, one more member arrived, just a bit late.  Margaretha… we’ll have to get you an alarm clock!  We had a most enjoyable time with our Pender Island counterparts and were invited to visit them some time in the future.  All, in all, it was a most enjoyable day, and we were sorry Tom wasn’t able to be with us.  I’m sorry if I’ve missed any species seen as I don’t have Tom’s photographic memory.

Next week Tues. 1 November we re-visit Point Roberts for looks at Jaeger’s, Heerman’s Gulls, Murrelets, and other exotic sea birds.  Still meeting at Petra’s for a 7:30 am departure… don’t forget your passports!

Also, don’t forget DNS Meeting Tues. Nov. 1 at 7:30 pm at the Benediction Lutheran Church.  Guest speakers David Hoar/Noreen Rudd will speak on “Greenland to Cambridge Bay: Transiting the Eastern Arctic“.

Roger Meyer

Posted in *DNCB, Bald Eagle, Barred Owl, Black Oystercatcher, Black-crowned Night-Heron, Brown Creeper, Dunlin, Eurasian Wigeon, Northern Harrier, Pelagic Cormorant, Peregrine Falcon, Red-breasted Merganser, Red-necked Grebe, Red-tailed Hawk, Reifel, Ring-necked Duck, Ring-necked Pheasant, Sandhill Crane, TFN, Trumpeter Swan, Tsawwassen Ferry Port | Leave a comment