Casual Birding Outing #67

Hans-Ulf, John and Kay and I enjoyed a pleasant, but chilly Monday morning travelling all along the Boundary Bay dyke from 104th down to 64th Street. Rochelle dropped by Petra’s to wish us a Happy Holiday, but had to leave to look after Don’s Bridge friends. As usual, we drove the back roads to 104th, stopping to watch two adults and one juvenile Bald Eagle devour a duck in a farmer’s field, while a murder of Crows awaited its turn. We also saw flocks of White-crowned and Yellow-crowned Sparrows along with a few Fox and Song. American Coots were entertaining in the ditches. At the dyke, the tide was very high, but the thousands of ducks were still quite far out. We continuously marvelled at the swarms of Dunlin, tens of thousands (seemed like millions), swooping low and high in unison, and landing occassionally in the shallow foreshore, or in fields on the inland side of the dyke. In the large masses of Dunlin, it was difficult for us to pick out other Shorebird species, such as Black-bellied Plovers, but I am sure they were there. Flocks of Dabbling Ducks were close to shore including, Northern Pintail, American Wigeon, Green-winged Teal, Northern Shovelers, Mallards and Gadwall. Seven Bald Eagles perched on telephone poles between 96th and 88th where most of the Dunlin were. Many Northern Harriers glided passed us. We met Miranda with Simon Fraser University, who has been daily studying the relationship between Peregrine Falcons and Dunlin there since November 10. She said she had seen 17 “hits” but none so far today. She also reported that she had not seen any of the three reported Gyr Falcons (our destination bird today) for the past two days. We were also blanked. Later, we met her colleague at the Dunlin GPS Tracking system they have set up closer to 72nd Street. Interesting stuff. Anyhow, we saw several (4-6) Peregrine Falcons, a couple up-close-and-personal on poles and in the fields. Two entertained us with their swooping together, occasionally touching (lovers perhaps?). Other neat sightings included two brilliant male Eurasian Wigeon in the pond between the house and Greenhouse east of 64th. They seem to be resident there along with American Wigeon, Hooded Mergansers and Northern Shoveler. To climax the morning, John and an unsuspecting Victoria birder, found an adult Northern Shrike in the tree at the gate at 64th Street. It posed nicely for us, which was sufficient enough to wake up Hans in the car to join us and enjoy the sighting. Another fun morning.

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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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