About 20+ participants joined me this morning on our last Spring “Birds on the Bay” outing at Boundary Bay Regional Park in Tsawwassen. We had visiting birders from Finland, China, England and Richmond as well as some “newbie’s” from Ladner and Tsawwassen. It was cool at 9:00 a.m., but developed into a warm and sunny walk. After introductions at our Cammidge House starting point, we noticed the resident Red-tailed Hawk perched on the telephone pole, one of his regular spots. We walked toward Centennial Beach and watched the first pair of many Savannah Sparrows foraging in the grass. One of the several Bald Eagles, mature and juveniles, we saw today was perched in the trees lining the ball field. A family of baby Mallards entertained us in the pond by the beach, while a few members of the resident Brewer’s Blackbird flock and Red-winged Blackbirds looked on. The tide was in, but unlike the Winter, Spring and Fall months when we see thousands of Shorebirds and hundreds of Ducks and Geese, there were none of these in the Bay today. Only Great Blue Herons and few Baldies on the mudflats with some Glaucous-winged Gulls, and a male Dungeness Crab body in the sand. So we followed the inland path, and noted that a few of Don & Terry’s Bird Boxes had Tree Swallows as tenants. We also saw a few Barn and a couple of Violet Green Swallows hawking insects over the grass. We heard elusive Common Yellowthroats at many spots along the trail, and I think/hope that at some stage during the morning walk each person got a good look at at least one of them. See Rochelle’s photos attached for a shot of one. While searching for one of these beautiful warblers, a neat pair of Northern Harriers soared above us. Then on the boardwalk, a Marsh Wren perched on a reed right in front of us and began serenading us. Thank God a few got shots of this bird as brilliant photo opportunities were not plentiful on this day. Continuing along the bay-side path, Anne and Roger identified many of the beautiful flowers, plants and other vegetation which pleased a lot of us, even if some of us forget the names within a few minutes. A Northern Flicker flashed its brilliant red under-wings as it flew past while we were focusing on some colourful American Goldfinches. At the lookout by the pump house, we scoped a group of Killdeer foraging in the mud, our only shorebirds of the day.
On the path back to Cammidge House, a pair of Gadwall were in the stream by the pump house. The inhabitants of a dead tree entertained us: House Sparrows were feeding young in a top branch while a baby Tree Swallow stuck its head out of a hole in the trunk to grab insects from Dad’s beak. Meanwhile House Finches were perched on other branches. Several Rufous Hummingbirds buzzed by us, but unfortunately only a few of us got decent looks at landed birds. Noisy Spotted Towhees were quite common, and some saw a not-so-common Mourning Dove. A Northwestern Crow on the path, feeding on a dead rabbit was a bit gruesome to some, but nonetheless interesting.
We arrived back at Cammidge House at 11:45 a.m. to be met by the Delta Nats ladies, Eleanor and Rochelle, and their scrumptious selection of home-made goodies and refreshments. Don took the obligatory group photo, which I will send to outing participants on receipt. Our next Birds on the Bay outing will be on Wednesday, September 15, starting at 9:00 a.m. at Cammidge House.