Christmas Eve birding – Casual Birders outing #68

Black Turnstones

Terry, John & Kay and I spent Christmas Eve morning at Tsatsu Shores and around the Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal. It was a beautiful sunny, clear and relatively mild morning, and the tide was high. We parked near the Tsatsu Condo and tried to walk to the beach over the logs, but the water was too high with no beach on the other side of the logs. Lots of European Starlings and House Finches, and an interesting flock (20) of American Goldfinches were in the shrubs along with the occasional Song, White-crowned and Golden-crowned Sparrows and Spotted Towhees. We drove along the dirt road beside the highway toward the terminal to photograph a brown Double-crested Cormorant in the sun. Surprisingly, next to the Cormorant, a rock grew a beak and it turned out to be our destination bird, the resident Willet, which has been coming to this spot for at least nine years. Hopefully Terry got some good shots, among the 400+ he took throughout the morning.  We also had some up-close-and-personal looks at Buffleheads, Common Goldeneye, Common Loons, 6 Brant Geese, Surf and White-winged Scoters and American Wigeon. We went to the terminal and watched the resident Black Turnstones (about 12) resting on the port supports, and saw several Horned Grebes and a couple of Western and Red-necked Grebes. A beautiful male Red-breasted Merganser cruised by with three females in tow.

Red-breasted Mergansers

In the Bay on the other side of the highway were large flocks and rafts of ducks including American Wigeon, Mallards, Northern Pintail, Green-winged Teal with the Cormorants and a few small flocks (20 each) of Dunlin fleetingly swarming in unison. We could not find any Black Oystercatchers nor Harlequin Ducks.  Re. raptors, a Rough-legged and a Red-tailed Hawk, several Northern Harriers and several Bald Eagles flew past.  Flocks of Snow Geese were seen flying south. We climaxed the morning with a tasty Christmas lunch in the Rose and Crown Pub.

Tom Bearss

More photos by Terry Carr:

Willet

John, Tom and Kay on the ferry causeway

Brant Geese

Tom

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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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