DNCB Outing No. 2011-11 to White Rock, Blackie Spit and Elgin Heritage Park

Nine intrepid (aka weirdos) enjoyed a miserable Monday morning of birding at White Rock pier, Blackie Spit and Elgin Heritage Park.  We were Bill & Mary, Roger & Mike, Rick & Marg, Lorna, Hans and me (few enough for me to remember their names).  Hi-lites of the morning were: two Scoter species and a Harlequin pair up-close-and-personal, Belted Kingfisher and, most importantly, soup for our Smoko at the Wired Monk café.  See Bill and Rick’s photos of our outing on our Picasa site at: http://picasaweb.google.com/dncbirding.

We all met at the Railway Museum in White Rock and began our walk out the pier in the pouring rain.  The water was very high and small rafts of both Surf and Black Scoters were close and photographable. Horned Grebes, Bufflehead, Common Loons and both Double-crested and Pelagic Cormorants were diving close by as well.  We could not find an Eared Grebe but saw a few Brant Geese.  A pair of Lesser Scaup and a gorgeous pair of Harlequin Ducks caught our attention at the end of the pier.

We left White Rock, drenched, for Blackie Spit.  We had a lovely unwanted view of downtown White Rock as our amateur explorer Roger decided to take a convoluted route to the Spit taking a half hour longer than required, but at least it was dry.  Through our foggy binoculars, we saw a few Common Goldeneye and Red-breasted Mergansers along with more Horned Grebes and Common Loons.  A brilliant Eurasian Wigeon was foraging near the path with a flock of American Wigeon.  Lots of Green-winged Teal as well along with a few Northern Pintail, Gadwalls and of course, Mallards.  European Starlings were hanging around the Purple Martin boxes.  The water was too high; we saw no Shorebirds (e.g. missed the resident Long-billed Curlew and Marbled Godwits).

We decided to go to a dry place for our Smoko and found the Wired Monk, a cozy café in Crescent Beach.  The potato-leek soup hit the spot, which fortunately overweighed the inane conversation.

At Elgin Heritage Park, we saw the resident Belted Kingfisher at the marina. A fly-past of three Yellowlegs was our only Shorebird sighting of the day.  The woods produced a few Golden-crowned Sparrows, Flicker and Downy Woodpeckers, lots of Robins and we heard Pacific (Winter) Wrens.  Four hundred Trumpeter Swans are feeding daily on unharvested potatoes in the field in front of our home.  A dozen or more Bald Eagles roost in our trees nightly.  The Pileated Woodpecker and Anna’s Hummingbird still frequent our feeders. Glorious living in Delta, except for the bloody rain.

Last night’s monthly Delta Naturalists’ Society meeting at Cammidge House was awesome (about 35-40 attendees); Abby Schwarz spoke on Beavers and Blackbirds.

Next Monday, March 21, I will be at Petra’s around 7:30 a.m. for departure at 8:00 a.m. on a DNCB outing somewhere around the Bay.  We may go somewhere in downtown Vancouver, or Burnaby Lake, or somewhere else.  Check out our Blog for other Reports and photos at www.dncb.wordpress.com. Comments welcome, and if you want off my list, please let me know, again.

Cheers:   Tom

Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists’ Society

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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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