Eleven birders (Ken & Anne, Bryan & Janet, Jonathan & Lorraine, Anne M, Lorna, White Rock Al, John Mac and me) enjoyed a chilly but fun Monday morning in South Surrey at Elgin Heritage Park and Blackie Spit. We saw a lot of neat species today including: Long-billed Curlew, Marbled Godwit, Long-billed Dowitchers and other wintering Shorebirds, several Varied Thrushes and lots of duck species in beautiful plumage. As nice as the birds were, the hi-lite was “Smoko” and the chicken noodle soup at the Esquire Café followed with one of Lorna’s PB sandwiches. See Jonathan’s entertaining photos (and hopefully Ken’s soon) on our Picasa site at: http://picasaweb.google.com/dncbirding.
We all met at about 8:30 a.m. at the Elgin Park parking lot next to the historic Stewart Farm House. Anne M spotted a Pacific Wren there, one of three Wren species with Bewick’s and Marsh that we saw today. A Red-tailed Hawk looked down on us as we cased a flock of American Wigeon at the marina, finally Ken found a beaut Eurasian Wigeon (one of several seen today). In the Nicomekl River, and close for viewing, were Red-breasted and Hooded Mergansers, Bufflehead, Greater Scaup, Common Goldeneye, Northern Pintail, lots of Bald Eagles around scaring up the hundreds of Wigeon and Mallards. House Finches were brilliant red, with other Sparrow (Song, Fox, Golden-crowned) species in the shrubs too. Walking through the Park, White Rock Al described the various tree species, including Sitka Spruce, and we saw a colourful Golden-crowned Kinglet and the Bewick’s Wren. Several Varied Thrush hung around us for good looks. Among the Green-winged Teal in a pond area was a flock of about 20 Dowitchers, likely Long-billed. Jonathan got a neat shot of a Downy Woodpecker eating a just-caught bug. The wandering minstrel Mike Hoskins took our mandatory Group Photo, with his trusty canine Will included in the shot.
Anne M started to whine about cold feet, so we hustled back to the vehicles, and then quickly drove to Ken & Anne’s recommended Esquire Coffee House on Crescent Road at 128th Street to enjoy our Smoko.Anne M felt better, so we decided to check out Blackie Spit. Ring-billed Gulls welcomed us in the beach parking lot. We scanned the ducks in the river for the Curlew and Godwits, but no luck there, but did see two more Eurasian Wigeon. We walked to the Rene Savenye area and Jonathan unknowingly photographed a bird in the reeds which turned out to be a Marbled Godwit. The Long-billed Curlew was nearby too. Lorna spotted her destination bird, the Belted Kingfisher, while the rest of us enjoyed the appearances of several Yellowlegs, probably both Greater and Lesser, Killdeer and Dunlin. About 20 Double-crested Cormorants formed an interesting photo op roosting on individual stumps all in a row. A silver male Northern Harrier resting on the ground was also an entertaining sighting. Despite the whining, depolarizing wedding chatter and lack of a Scope Bearer, it was an awesome morning.
I will be at Petra’s next Monday, January 23 around 7:30 a.m. for departure at 8:00 a.m. on an outing “somewhere around the Bay”. As usual, comments welcome, check out our DNCB Blog at: https://dncb.wordpress.com/, and let me know if you want to be removed from my List.
Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists’ Society