At 8:45 a.m., a group of nine hardy DNCBirders, comprised of regulars Mike, Hans, Kirsten, Lorna, Gareth, White Rock Leona and Al, together with some-timer Wim as well as newcomer Tom from Langley, assembled at the entrance to Blaine Marine Park for another outing around the second favourite “foreign” destination, Drayton Harbour and Semiahmoo Spit.
It turned out to be a windy and initially nebulous morning and the tide was very high. Because of the foggy conditions, BNSF Rail’s brand new bridge across the mouth of the Little Campbell River was barely discernible. Nonetheless, several species of waterfowl could be made out in the bay, but no shorebirds other than a few Greater Yellowlegs were visible. However, Lorna was delighted when her dream bird, the Belted Kingfisher, suddenly showed up.
Our next stop was the Lookout at the end of Marine Drive which, while accessible on foot, is now, according to a worker on the site, permanently closed to vehicular traffic. At the Lookout, about a dozen species were tallied including Surf and White-wing Scoters, Lesser and Greater Scaups, Red-necked and Horned Grebes as well as Common Loons and lots of Pelagic and Double-crested Cormorants. A scope-check revealed a Red-throated Loon, Brant among the Canada Geese, Bufflehead and Common Goldeneye. The obligatory group snapshot was taken by Mike at the entrance to the yacht harbour. Because none of the other photoists were along, only a few pictures were taken during the outing.
Participants convoyed in four vehicles along the perimeter of Drayton Harbor to the resort area on Semiahmoo Spit, with a short stop at Dakota Creek where a few LBJs were observed; Leona heard but did not see a Golden-crowned Kinglet. On the walk along the paved path from the lookout on the harbour side toward the coffee shop at yacht club number two, we saw the ever present Harbour Seals lying on the floating pier while about six Harlequin Ducks were hopping on and off it. A Red-breasted Merganser kept popping up out of the water, and Dunlin, Sanderling and Black Turnstones were scurrying along the very narrow band of rocky shoreline. The single large wildlife tree in the field, which often serves as a perch for raptors, had turned into a Starling tree; it was covered by several hundred of the invasive avians.
The final stop was the observation platform at Tongue Point where a Ruddy Duck, Bufflehead and Western Grebes were spotted in addition to the species observed from the vantage point on the other side of the inlet. The bird feeder set up by the Semiahmoo Resort and the adjacent bushes yielded a number of Song, White- and Golden-crowned Sparrows as well as House Finches, Juncos and Black-capped Chickadees. Another Kingfisher flew by; because it never faced us, we could not tell whether it was a boy or a girl. Nonetheless, that second appearance made Lorna’s day and she announced that she was ready to go to lunch. Not wanting to disappoint her, the remaining six decided to visit the same Beach House in Birch Bay as on the previous trip. Because that establishment is open only for dinner at this time of year, lunch at a pub located a few doors south had to do. While the weather was somewhat unfriendly at the beginning of the day, it improved as the morning progressed; that and the fact that 43 species were sighted made for a successful day for all partakers.
Report by Al Schultze
Next outing is Wed. Dec. 3, to Maplewood Flats Conservation Area, Dollarton Highway, North Vancouver, leaving Petra’s at 8 am. Meet at Maplewood Flats parking area at 9:15.