Eleven participants (Terry C, Anne M, Eleanor C, Peggy K, Gerhard L, Mike B, Deborah T, Eric L, Ken B. & Anne A come lately, and me, plus Annie K and Eileen who left for coffee before we arrived at Blackie Spit) enjoyed some decent birding on a spitting rain day at the North Forty Park and then Blackie Spit in South Surrey. Hi-lites were: a couple of Whimbrels, Willow Flycatcher, Purple Martins, Black-headed Grosbeaks, some pretty flowers in the Dunsmuir Community Garden plots and some other unexciting incidents. Check out Ken’s, Eric’s and Terry’s photos very soon on our DNCB Picasa site at http://picasaweb.google.com/dncbirding.
We left Petra’s around 7:30 a.m. under a cloudy but dry sky, smiling and unwittingly believing the forecast for sun and clear skies shortly. That didn’t happen. After one of our group returned home to get his forgotten bins (for the umpteenth time), then had a friendly chat with a gentleman in an unmarked vehicle about driving in the HOV lane without a passenger, eight of us met at the North Forty Park (near Boundary Bay Airport) to check for the arrival of the Lazuli Buntings. Lots of Common Yellowthroat Warblers and Savannah and Song Sparrows near the entrance and along the road in. Seven of the eight saw a Willow Flycatcher near the spot where they have been seen the last few years. We walked the side streets of where the old Wireless Station residences once stood and saw two very young but now big Bald Eagles standing on their nest with Mom on a branch near by. We left the Park around 8:30 a.m. (following a successful search for Eleanor’s purse) and were blanked on our target birds, the Buntings and Bullock’s Orioles, on this brief visit.
We met Ken and Eric at Blackie Spit shortly after 9:00 a.m. (unfortunately Annie K and her friend Eileen got tired of waiting for us since our scheduled arrival at 8:30 a.m., so they took off for shelter and coffee). On the mudflats along the Nicomekl River, Ken and Eric showed us two photogenic Whimbrels. Not much else on the Spit, and the unforecasted spitting rain was annoying us, so we headed for a bit of tree cover along the path toward the Purple Martin boxes. Lots of Barn and Tree Swallows around and several Caspian Terns gave us fly-overs. Brilliant yellow American Goldfinches were the only sun we saw. Several Purple Martins were on and flying around their boxes, along with a few Starlings which I think were also using some of the boxes. A Bald Eagle stood guard on a post among the boxes. A flock of about a dozen Killdeer called and flew by above us.
We followed the trail along the creek and around to the Community Garden plots. Sightings included several Cedar Waxwings, Brown-headed Cowbird, lots of House Finches and Red-wing Blackbirds, Gadwall and mottled Mallards already entering their molt season, a brilliant Rufous Hummingbird and several Black-headed Grosbeaks, singing and posing for some of us “slower” birders. Eric got a shot of another Willow Flycatcher (we think). At Dunsmuir Community Gardens, we surveyed all the neat flowers and veggies before hijacking resident gardener Madam Karsh to take our mandatory Group Photo, unfortunately minus Anne A. who arrived too late. On the walk back to the parking lot, a Great Blue Heron caught something (large tadpole?) and swallowed it; hopefully the photos will confirm the ID of what was eaten. It was Noon and some of us drove back to Tsawwassen while others enjoyed warmth and sustenance at the Crescent Beach “Wired Monk”. Despite a few non-threatening setbacks, it was another very enjoyable morning of casual birding with some occasionally interesting folk.
I missed Anne Murray’s presentation on Nature around Boundary Bay tonight at the Tsawwassen Library because I was “roped” into going to a surprisingly very enjoyable movie, set in India and about elderly people like us, called The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. Don’t forget to stop by our Delta Nats Display when you go to the annual Father’s Day Pancake Breakfast at Centennial Beach this Sunday morning, June 17.
I will be at Petra’s next Wednesday, June 20 for departure at 7:30 a.m. on an outing somewhere around the Bay. Again, comments encouraged, check out our DNCB Blog at www.dncb.wordpress.com, and let me know if this drivel has finally worn you down.
Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists’ Society