Sixteen participants, including some rookies and visitors from Hamilton, Ontario, enjoyed a cool, windy morning of birding on the 2nd Fall “Birds on the Bay Outing” around Boundary Bay Park in Tsawwassen. The tide was in so there were lots (thousands) of ducks to see, up-close-and-personal. Near the park entrance at 12th Avenue, we saw many Northern Pintail, American Wigeon, Green-winged Teal, Great Blue Herons and about a hundred Brant Geese. Most of the birds have now entered their brilliant breeding plumages. We picked out a couple of Eurasian Wigeon among the hundreds of dabblers close to shore. A Red-throated Loon, uncommon here in the shallow water, entertained us for quite some time. We saw a neat group of pairs of Northern Shoveler, Gadwall and Mallards in the grass close to the dyke path. A couple of Double-crested Cormorants flew past and one brilliant male Bufflehead posed for us. We scoped rafts of Scaup (Lesser/Greater?) in the distance and the occasional flock of Snow Geese (and a few Canada Geese) flew past us overhead. Several Northern Harriers, mostly female, but the occasional male and juveniles, often soared near us. Several Bald Eagles and a Red-tailed Hawk also flew by. We decided to walk off the dyke to the beach and were rewarded with great looks at Shorebirds. A flock of a couple hundred Dunlin were huddled together, occasionally rising in syncronized flight and then settling back to huddle. Several Sanderlings also foraged along the shore; a Dunlin and a Sanderling approached us within a couple of feet affording some great photo ops.
Several kids were enjoying the blusterly conditions wind-surfing in the Bay. Because of the windy conditions, we did not see a lot of little birds on our walk in the park. We saw a few Fox and Song Sparrows, House Sparrows and House Finches, a red-shafted Northern Flicker, a couple of Robins and about 30 Brewers Blackbirds with a few Red-winged Blackbirds among them near the pond at Centennial Beach. We arrived at Cammidge House shortly after 11:00 a.m. to the smiles of Mary, Jennifer, Rochelle and Don who had prepared some delicious home-made treats along with hot soup, cocoa and coffee. They’re awesome. We took the traditional group photo of the 15 of us (surprisingly, only one participant wimped out early). We lucked out today with relatively pleasant weather, no rain and the tide being in.
Photos: Brant and Bufflehead: Rochelle Farquhar; Dunlin and Sanderling: Jonathan Mwenifumbo