Photos by Marion S & Ken B – click on photo to see larger version
It was a glorious Wednesday morning as Lucky 13 DNCBers (PB Lorna, Photog Marion, Second-timer Kirsten, “Sick Day” Deborah, Scope Bearer Mike, Bird Book Back-up Hans-Ulf, Loquacious Eleanor, Guru Anne, Spotter Kay, Do-It-All Ken & Anne, and our new best friend, historian and Scope Carrier, Point Roberts Paul) enjoyed a “bird-packed” outing to Lighthouse and Lily Point Parks in Point Roberts, USA. Numerous up-close-and-personal hi-lites included: Ruddy Turnstone, Pigeon Guillemots. Lorna’s Pileated Woodpecker, Long-tailed Duck, Red Crossbills, California Sea Lions, Harbour Porpoises and lots more. Check out Marion’s and Ken’s photos (soon) on the Picasa link.
Twelve of us met at Petra’s at 7:30 a.m. and car-pooled to the Border. Surprisingly, the crossings were quick and smooth, both ways today. First stop was Whatcom County’s Lighthouse Park where local “expert historian” Paul Ferry joined us. A Savannah Sparrow also greeted us as we grooved on the beautiful vista across to the Ferry Port, Vancouver Island and the other Gulf Islands. The water was as calm as glass, the sky clear with a brilliant rising sun. Pelagic Cormorants were flying by as we scoped both Common and Pacific Loons. Lots of Surf and White-winged Scoters, dazzling Harlequin Ducks, and at least one pair of Long-tailed Ducks (Kirsten’s target bird) gave us good looks.
Harbour Seals were cruising about as were several California Sea Lions (see article on Sea Lions by Anne Murray); Kay spotted the first of several Harbour Porpoises popping up not far out. Little fish were jumping out of the water; I think they were herring.
Hundreds of Brant in flocks of 20 to 50 birds were flying by us toward the Ferry Port. Killdeer were calling; we
found one later on a nest near the washrooms.
We wandered down to the “lighthouse” and while watching a flock of Black Turnstones nicely disguised on the rocky shore, Guru Anne picked out a red-legged Ruddy Turnstone (uncommon here). A Sanderling was there too. A few non-breeding plumage Pigeon Guillemots were diving there along with several brilliant Red-necked Grebes (perhaps Horned and Western Grebes too).
Lorna alerted us, several times, to fly-overs of a female Pileated Woodpecker which eventually posed for us on a hydro pole.
Violet-green Swallows were also swooping above us. Rabbits on the path were not bothered by the many Bald Eagles flying by.
We took the inland trail through the bushes back to the car park. We got great looks at a singing Orange-crowned Warbler
and White-crowned and Song Sparrows. Also saw a neat flock of Red Crossbills, Brown-headed Cowbirds, and some saw a Bewick’s Wren, Lincoln’s Sparrow, Pine Siskins and Rufous Hummingbird. We almost recruited a new Group Leader as a Grampa’s wandering infant invaded our group and latched adoringly onto Anne A (see photos). Ken took the obligatory Group Photo here too. Then we briefly toured the very informative Orca Museum before enjoying our Smoko at the parking lot. Along with PB Lorna’s banana and PB sandwiches, Eleanor, between her ongoing and continual outbursts of senseless blathering, supplied some tasty mixed nuts, and Marion some healthy biscuits, all supplemented with pretzels, peanuts and the high-class Trail Mix with M&M’s.
We drove on, past the horse and weird cattle farms, to the newly modified Lily Point Park. After another pee break in the new washroom facilities, we wandered down the freshly stoned path to the Southern lookout. New signage was impressive and informative, and amusingly supplemented with PR Paul’s musings. As we gazed out to White Rock, the Olympic Mountains and US Gulf Islands, 200 feet below the Bluff in the Bay, many Harbour Seals were crowded on various rocks in the water. Around them we saw rafts of Red-breasted Mergansers, Scaup and Scoters. Paul reiterated the history of the Alaskan Packers Association (APA) and their salmon cannery which closed in 1917. We followed the trail through the Second/Third Growth Woods, heard lots of stuff (which we could not identify as Guru Anne had left), and Kay spotted a singing and flitting Ruby-crowned Kinglet which entertained us all. We stopped at other lookouts with beautiful vistas, saw a Baldy sitting on her nest, then trudged back to the parking lot on the well-groomed trails. It was just past Noon, and after prying a few grapes from miser Marion and some orange pieces from reluctant Kirsten, we left for the border to Canada, stopping for the mandatory gas and wine purchase on the way. It was a truly awesome morning; I probably missed some sightings but this report is frightfully long already.
Next Wednesday, May 1, we will leave Petra’s at 7:30 a.m., going to Blackie Spit, then the White Rock pier. For those meeting us, I expect to be at the Blackie Spit parking lot around 8:00 a.m. As usual, comments are encouraged and let me know if these annoying missives must be stopped. Cheers: Tom
Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists’ Society
Tentative Schedule for DNCB outings…
1) May 1 – Blackie Spit/White Rock;
2) May 8 – Campbell Valley;
3) May 15 – Local, Ladner Parks;
4) May 22 – Colony Farm;
5) May 29 – Local, North Forty;
6) June 5 – BOTB in BBRP;
7) June 12 – Pitt Lake.
Addendum by Marion
and managed to flush a pair of Killdeer
both of which tried to lead us astray in different directions. As we followed them, we flushed a tiny “too cute for words” baby Killdeer who
stayed within 10-20 feet of us, allowing us a good look. As we left the
area, we watched while one of the parents immediately went to where the
offspring had settled, so we knew that for the time being it was being guarded. We also observed a Red-tailed Hawk land on a branch very close to a large nest which belonged either to it or an eagle. The hawk was doing lazy circles in the sky as well as some fancy acrobatics. (By now you should be singing either “the bear went over the mountain” or “Oklahoma”.) Marion