Twelve DNCB participants enjoyed a sunny Wednesday morning walk on the dike path between 104th Ave. and the “mansion” near 96th Ave in Boundary Bay Regional Park (BBRP). Hi-lites were: lots of American Pipits, Peregrine Falcon, several Sparrow species and hundreds of newly arrived Ducks and Shorebirds. Check out photos on our Picasa site – see right column, under “Photos”.
We were: Vancouver’s “scope-bearer and expert IDer” Bryan & Janet, Photog Marion, always-affable Lorna, goodie provider Jane (plums this morning), granola bar provider Kay, young whipper-snapper Eleanor, Home-schooled Quinn and her Dad Paul from Richmond, refreshing newbie Frances E, late arriver from Richmond the demanding Donna, drop-in “professional birder” Wayne Weber and me. That’s 13 for the Obligatory photo, including drop-in Wayne.
We left Petra’s after 7:30 a.m. (late because I cannot find my Swarovski Bins) and drove to the parking lot at Delta Heritage Air Park at the foot of 104th Avenue. A mature Bald Eagle was standing guard at the top of a tree at the entrance, while several Eurasian Collared-doves were cooing around too. A Northern Flicker flew by as we walked up to the dike. The tide was coming in (High Tide at 9:00 a.m. which is why we chose this destination) and the Bay was full of ducks, mostly Northern Pintail and a few Green-winged Teal and American Wigeon. No Shorebirds seen here as we started our walk toward 96th. Many LBJ’s flitting in the shrubs and bushes along the way and we (at least a “number” of us) were able to identify Common Yellowthroat and Yellow-rumped Warblers (and perhaps Orange-crowned), Sparrows including Savannah, Song, lots of White-crowned, a couple of newly-arrived Golden-crowned, not-so-common Lincoln’s, and Finches, both House and American Goldfinches. Several Northern Harriers cruised by for nice views, and Crows mobbing one gave us a bit of entertainment. The Crows also raised a Cooper’s Hawk that some saw. A Peregrine Falcon flew by for a thrill.
A farmer harvesting his potatoes left a large group of Great Blue Herons in his wake, harvesting grubs I suspect. Further along, we started seeing American Pipits which was a Lifer for some of the group. At 96th Ave., Wayne Weber (Bird Alert guru) and Donna arrived, separately, and brought the fog with them. Here we saw our first Shorebirds, hundreds of distant Black-bellied Plovers huddled in the fog with smaller Western Sandpipers wandering in the mud with them. Marion took the mandatory Group Photo here.
We continued on to the “mansion”, cursing the unexpected fog but enjoying, especially Bryan, Paul and me, the nonsensical chatter that often accompanies nine female birders. At the mansion, we saw our only close-up Shorebirds, a few Dowitchers (likely Short-billed in the mudflats) near the shore. Most participants didn’t care and were more interested in seeing the mansion. After gobbling down Kay’s granola bars, we started our walk back. Newly-arrived Donna kept bugging everyone to show her a Pipit, which we did graciously on several occasions. It was helpful to have Quinn along, with her young eyes able to spot birds for us. We got back to Air Park and our vehicles around Noon, lamenting not seeing a Ruff, Horned Lark or other Sandpipers (Pectoral, Baird’s, Red Knot, etc), but happy after a very enjoyable walk, and relieved by the Air Park washroom.
We/DNCB’s will continue for the time being meeting on Wednesdays at 7:30 a.m. at Petra’s Kafe, next on Sept. 26. My Wednesday hockey has been cancelled. Next Wednesday we will “go local”, which could be Iona or somewhere outside Delta, so e-mail me on Tuesday or call me on my cell at 778-994-4726 to see if I know the destination. We are trying to avoid people driving unnecessarily to Petra’s. As usual, your comments are encouraged and let me know if you want off my List to receive this gibberish.
Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists’ Society