Only the Magnificent Seven DNCBers took the Ferry outing to Salt Spring Island on another gorgeous Wednesday. We had a few neat sightings, but mostly just enjoyed a beautiful, and almost free, day among the idyllic Gulf Islands. Check out the photos on our DNCB Flickr site.
We met on the 7:00 am ferry from Tsawwassen to Swartz Bay (Free ride for Seniors). I’m sure the early departure kept a lot of folk at home. Some had the famous White Spot Breakfast while others sunned at the bow of the new Salish Raven crossing the Salish Sea. We conned a passenger to take our Group Photo at the bow, only five (Roger, Mike, Gerhard, PB Lorna & me as David & Noreen drove and joined us later on Salt Spring).
We saw no whales this day, but did get the three Cormorant species, Pelagic, Double-crested and Brandt’s. A few Pigeon Guillemots were swimming around below their nesting spots on the cliffs of Galiano Island. One person saw an Albatross cruise by, but no one believed him.
The scenery, as always for me, was spectacular, through Active Pass passing the various islands to Swartz Bay. And Roger’s and Mike’s stories and historical accounts of their adventures here over the past 60 plus years was a bonus. While examining the Pelagic Cormorants nesting on the Swartz Bay pier, we spotted a Mink roaming along the shoreline. It caught and flipped a big Crab, and entertained us for 10 minutes. Our only Photog took a video of this scene, but had his camera on “Blurred Vision” setting so, no photo evidence. We disembarked to the next departure lounge to take the 9:00 am Skeena Queen to Fulford Harbour on Salt Spring.
Landing at Fulford Harbour, we didn’t see the Belted Kingfisher, but David got the Purple Martins on one of their nest boxes. Don, driving the Community Bus, was waiting for us and we piled on (paid $2.25 each, including Transfer) for the ride to Ganges, past little old churches, winery, farms, forest, and Tree Swallow nest boxes being overrun by unwanted House Wrens. From downtown Ganges, we started our walk to the CRD’s Mouat Park.
We entered off Seaview Drive and passed ArtSpring, the two-level timber structure with exhibition/ multi- purpose area and theatre. It was pleasant and cool among the big trees, but not a lot of bird activity. We heard Swainson’s Thrushes and saw Ravens, Turkey Vultures, a neat Flycatcher (probably Western Wood-Pewee), Downy Woodpecker and several common LBJ species. The Face Carvings in some stumps were neat, and the new attraction of restoring two Japanese Charcoal Kilns originally built in the early 1900’s was especially interesting. Check out the photo of me with Noreen and PB Lorna at one Kiln.
David and Noreen saw the Chestnut-backed Chickadees and a Brown Creeper.
Lots of families wandering the trails of Mouat Park, some playing Disc Golf. It was a glorious walk until Roger led us up a steep path after the Campground, that some were not pleased with. Nonetheless, we all made it and got back to Ganges approaching Noon. We strolled passed the marina to Moby’s Pub on the water. The Pub was packed with happy folk as England was leading Croatia 1-0 at the World Cup in Russia. Eventually, we got super seating on the patio overlooking the marina, and the Wing Special, Fish & Chips, and two cold pints of Canadian was so good it was erotic.
We left the pub around 1:30 pm, surrounded by a sea of frowning faces as Croatia had won 2-1 in extra time.
We strolled along the marina walkway around Ganges, to Roger’s Lookout. Huge Crabs could be seen in the clear water foraging among the rocks close to the seawall. We got back to the Info Centre/Bus Depot in time for our 2:40 pm bus to Long Harbour (Thanks, Roger, for super outing organization). Driver Tao accepted our Transfer and the 15 minute ride to Long Harbour was nice but uneventful. We caught the 3:40 pm Ferry to Tsawwassen, with one stop at Galiano on the way.
The ferry ride home was quiet and serene as several DNCBers were completely worn out, and snoozed. Some stayed on deck, enjoying the magnificent scenery and searching in vain for that elusive rarity. We got back to Tsawwassen on time at 5:30 pm. Sandra was waiting and I was home by 6:00 pm to enjoy Sandra’s homemade Shepherd’s Pie. Does life get any better? Although few bird sightings, it was another fantastic DNCB outing with six other iconic individuals (I don’t know what that means, but I like alliterations, and big words).
Next Wednesday, July 18, we will meet at and leave Petra’s at 7:30 am on a Local Outing, to Reifel Bird Sanctuary. Note destination changed from Cypress Mountain.
Note also our 3rd of 7 Car Boot Sales is tomorrow (Saturday) morning at Centennial Beach. Check out our website for more info, reports and photos.
As always, your comments are encouraged, and let me know if this wordy, non-bird, travelog report is so annoying that you want off my email list. Cheers: Tom
Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists Society