More photos by Terry (TC), Roger (RM) & Liz (LS) at DNCB Picasa site.
Seven hardy birders braved the gusts of wind coming off the outgoing high tide at the foot of 104th Street in Delta to walk the Boundary Bay dyke to “the mansion”.
At 8:00 am Roger, Terry, Hans, Bryan and Janet, and Liz and I started out on a three hour stroll surrounded by tableaus of rolling, dark grey clouds broken occasionally by shafts of light bursting out from patches of blue sky, and curtains of rain drawn over the south end of the bay. We had already been greeted on 104th by two Bald Eagles, sentinels on their enormous nest in a dead tree by the road, as well as by two billy goat trolls ensconced on the front steps of a local farmhouse.
Highlights of the morning included a juvenile Peregrine Falcon who sat on a beach log for a great photo shoot, and the high drama of a Northern Harrier trying to make a meal of a Glaucous-winged gull with a Crow in hot pursuit. Two V formations of Snow Geese flew low overhead and flocks of over a thousand Dunlin wheeled over the bay to settle in the shallows in the company of Black-bellied Plovers and Sanderlings. Roger’s scope was so buffeted by the wind that it was difficult to identify the assorted other “peeps” – perhaps they were the Pectoral and Western Sandpipers that Russ Canning and Mike Tabak both spotted recently from the dyke. There were also a lone Horned Grebe and a Northern Shoveler close to shore, while a Yellowlegs sought refuge in a field on the other side of the dyke. Along the way, Chickadees, a Marsh Wren, House Finches, and Fox, Song, Savannah, and Golden-crowned and White-crowned Sparrows flitted in amongst the bushes and boulders.
Donna joined the group just before we returned to the parking lot. Back at the airport, everyone enjoyed watching close up an Ash-throated Flycatcher.
Terry and Roger’s photos go to prove how little credit this bird’s name does to his delicate lime yellow colour. A small flock of Ruby-crowned and Golden-crowned Kinglets flitted in a nearby tree and there were numerous Eurasian Doves. (The latter appear to be increasing their numbers at an alarming rate.) A lot of discussion ensued over the bloodlines of a small brown Falcon perched in the top of a tree but, after closely studying Terry’s photo, it was decided that it was not a kestrel, as first thought, but probably a Merlin.
As we drove home, we felt well rewarded for our efforts in crawling out of our beds in the dark to face what had looked to be a cold, wet morning. In the end we’d managed to stay warm and bone dry. Still, I envy one Delta Casual Birder who remained conspicuously absent as he is, no doubt, enjoying 25 degrees Celsius in dazzling sunshine in Western Australia – Sandgroper twitcher that he is! “Good on ya”, Tom!
Next week, DNCBers will meet at Petra’s at 8:00 am (note new start time) and should arrive at Blackie Spit near the tennis courts at Crescent Beach at around 8:30. After checking out the spit, they’ll head to the pier at White Rock. Hope to see more of you there!
Happy “twitching” to all!