More photos by Jonathan (JM), Terry (TC), Tony (TM), Marion (MP), Ken (KB) to be added soon!
On Monday morning, twenty-one DNCBers visited Blaine Washington and toured around Drayton Harbour to Semiahmoo Park on our first 2014 outing. It was a very cold (<5 degrees Celsius) but clear morning and we had lots of good sightings. Check out the photo evidence including Tony’s “nose-hair” shots (https://picasaweb.google.com/113054762837389191201/BlaineUSA6thJan2014), as well as other DNCB Photogs’ shots (e.g. Terry, Bryan, Glen, Marion) on our DNCB Picasa site.
We car-pooled nicely from Petra’s at 8:00 a.m. Newbie Ladner Float-Homers Rob & Marylile took Marian and Terry. Roger took PB Lorna and jet-lagged Jonathan & Lorraine. Anne and Tony lucked out with me. We made good time on the new SFPR and 99 to the Peace Arch Park parking lot where Kirsten, Marion and White Rock Al (formerly South Slurry Al) met us. Following intro’s, we left for the Border crossing at variable times. One vehicle was “delayed” as the idiot driver locked his keys inside his SUV which stranded him and his passengers out in the cold. His sleeping wife was not amused when she was called to bring a spare key to save the frigid group. Fortunately, despite a few red faces, it all worked out, smooth border crossing, and all 21 meeting at the end of Marine Drive past Blaine Marine Park at about 9:30 a.m. Those patiently waiting there included: Ken & Anne, Richmond Bill, White Rock’s Alice & Pauline, North Delta Jean and local expert Leona (they like their names in print). More intros and futile attempts at car-pooling and finally, we could do some birding.
Lots of stuff in the entrance to Drayton Harbour from Semiahmoo Bay including three Loon species (Common, Pacific and Red-throated),
three Grebe species (Western, Horned and Red-necked, no Eared seen today), two Cormorant species (Double-crested and Pelagic), both Goldeneyes (Common and Barrow’s),
probably both Greater and Lesser Scaup species, but mostly Greater, Red-breasted and at least one Hooded Merganser
and PB Lorna’s Belted Kingfisher.
Several Long-tailed Ducks were there too as were a few Pigeon Guillemots in the distance. On the rocks with the Cormorants was a small group of Dunlin, but later we were entertained by large swarming flocks weaving back and forth for us.
Our convoy moved, under Leona’s capable guidance, to the Blaine side of the Marina where Terry saw, photographed and scared away a nice Peregrine Falcon before others could see it. Our 4th Grebe species, Pied-billed, was alone in this little bay. Lots of dabblers here too including, Northern Pintail, Green-winged Teal, American Wigeon, Gadwall and Mallards. We were blanked on Yellowlegs, but didn’t care. After rousting some wimps from their warm cars, Ken and Tony took the obligatory Group Photo here.
We moved along through Blaine and around Drayton Harbour, stopping at a few lookouts. We saw more of the same species until we got to Semiahmoo Park. On the Bay side lookout were all three Scoter species (Surf, White-winged and Black) which were up-close-and-personal until Terry (again?) scared them away.
Fortunately we had several good scopes. Beaut Harlequin Ducks here too. Lines of Brant were further out on both the Bay and Drayton Harbour side.
Here we met the renowned Randy Hill, Deputy Project Leader at the Ridgefield National Wildlife Reserve, and his wife (I forget her name) who showed us the Canvasbacks and Ruddy Ducks. Nice sightings, but wish they were closer to shore. We stopped at other spots along the Semiahmoo Parkway and searched in vain for the Mountain Bluebird that was seen on the Christmas Bird Count and by Randy earlier this morning (note Lorraine and our prevaricator Roger saw the bird later in the afternoon). At the Semiahmoo Marina, some Sanderling were on the dock among the Gulls.
When we got to the Semiahmoo Marina Café, several “Mexico-clothed” rookies of our group were already inside warming up. Some of us walked to the Whale-watching lookout and around the Resort; gorgeous views of the mountains and White Rock. The Resort Restaurant was closed so some ladies decided to eat at the Hotel Restaurant while others wanted the soup at the Marina Café. The latter group suffered through supine service and no soup (apparently sold out) and the conversation was forgettable. Fortunately for me, reliable PB Lorna had snuck me an egg sandwich and tasty fruitcake. Carloads left for home at different times, but I think/hope that we all had a memorable morning. On the ride home, we saw a Rough-legged Hawk and some Trumpeter Swans doing a mating dance, while Indian Land Baron Tony snored in the back seat.
Next Monday, January 13 we will leave Petra’s at 8:00 a.m. for an outing to Iona Regional Park and Sewage Lagoons. We expect to convene at the Iona Beach parking lot around 8:30 a.m.
Don’t forget our first 2014 Delta Nats meeting, also this Monday (13th) evening at 7:30 p.m. at Cammidge House. Anthony Dalton will give a Presentation on “Tracking Bengal Tigers in Bangladesh”.
As always, your comments are encouraged and please advise if you want off my List.
Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists’ Society