Casual Birding Outing #65

Braving the weather on White Rock Pier

Five (Anne, Eleanor, John & Kay and me, Roger dropped by for coffee) soaked birders spent this morning at White Rock pier and then Blackie Spit. It was dry when I left home but rained heavily and was windy and miserable almost all morning, until the sun came out at noon, when we quit. Only one of us was inadequately dressed, without rain pants – guess who. The water was high at the WR pier and through our foggy bins we had good looks at Surf and White Scoters (probably Black’s there too, but we did not pick any out), Buffleheads, Common Loons, Greater Scaup, and three Grebe species; Western, Red-throated and Horned plus one possible Eared Grebe. A Long-tailed Duck was seen on the horizon. A few brilliant Harlequin Ducks were foraging close to shore near a flock of “smaller” Canada Geese. Several confusing Gulls aroused Hybrid identification discussion. The resident Pigeons were aroused in flight, but we could not find the raptor that did it; perhaps a Peregrine. We moved to Blackie Spit and set up the two scopes on the large number of birds along the eastern (inland) side of the spit. Lots of Wigeon including a few Eurasian among the many American, Northern Pintails and Green-winged Teal. We spotted the Long-billed Curlew who was joined by nine Marbled Godwits – awesome sightings. Common Loons, Grebes (mostly Westerns) and Bufflehead were diving in the river. Interestingly, most of the Gulls around were Ring-billed. A flock of Shorebirds, likely Dunlin was huddled on a sand bar in the distance. We left the Spit when it stopped raining and the sun came out; we finished the outing by getting Swine Flu shots at the Tsawwassen Rec Centre. A miserable but productive and fun morning. This afternoon at 3:30 p.m. I went to the foot of 72nd Street on the dyke. I watched several male and female Northern Harriers foraging, but the ducks and large flocks of Dunlin were far out because a lone hunter was camped in his blind on shore. As I was scanning the Bay, two Short-eared Owls came by me and began to weave around the field near the Mansion in search of voles. I, and a visiting birder from Nanaimo, were elated. It’s such an awesome sight when a Short-eared Owl flys right into your binoculars. Our next outing will be the Birds on the Bay outing on Wednesday, December 9. We will depart at 9:00 a.m on our walk from the parking lot at the entrance to Boundary Bay Park at the foot of 12th Avenue in Tsawwassen. The next Delta Nats meeting is Monday, December 14 with Deborah Jones speaking on Rain Gardens. The Ladner Christmas Bird Count (CBC) is Sunday, December 27 and Jude Grass and Anne Murray need participants. As usual, comments welcome

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About dncb

DNS: Delta Naturalists are a group of nature lovers whose aim is to foster interest in the natural history of the Fraser delta by sharing and enjoying nature and promoting environmental awareness and conservation. DNCB: Delta Nats Casual Birders is a group of Casual Birders who go Birding at different locations each week, usually within the Lower Mainland or in nearby Washington State.
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