Photos by Terry Carr (TC), Tony Mitra (TM), Jim Kneesch (JK) & Bill Denham (BD)
Thirteen lucky DNCBers had a very productive Tuesday morning of birding around Drayton Harbour in Blaine, Washington. Hi-lites included four Grebe species, some pelagic divers, and a tasty lunch in the recently re-opened and renovated Semiahmoo Resort restaurant. Check out photos of the outing by Terry and others on our DNCB Picasa site, and Tony M’s photos on a separate Picasa page.
Eight of us left Petra’s at 8:00 a.m. to meet others for car-pooling at the Peace Arch Park parking lot. We left this lot at 8:30 a.m. in two vehicles and with no Border line-up, we got to the Blaine Marina Park meeting spot at the scheduled 8:45 a.m. Interestingly, the Nexus vehicle got “pulled over” for a “random check” while our vehicle driven by the loquacious Indian Land Baron sailed through Customs. The tide was high as we scanned the Canada Geese in the Bay (no Cacklers or White-fronts). A few House Finches, Robins and Song Sparrows were in the bushes as we waited for others to arrive. Tony took the Group Photo here looking back at the Peace Arch monument.
We thirteen were: Photogs Terry, Tony, Richmond Bill and Jim, Scoper and the Indian Land Owner’s NBF Leona, PB Lorna, WR Al, time-challenged Gareth, Yachties Rob & Marylile, Newbie Fern, Hans and me.
We moved to the end of Marine Drive to the Lookout over the Bay. Greater Scaup and both Common and Barrow’s Goldeneye were on the Bay side, with Surf Scoters and Common Loons there too. Interestingly, from the lookout, we saw four Grebe species, Horned, Red-necked, Western and “eagle-eyed” Leona got an Eared Grebe in her scope. We were blanked on the Pied-billed, but didn’t care. Red-throated Loons were also diving and flying by for photo ops. Both Double-crested and Pelagic Cormorants were on the breakwall, with several Great Blue Herons.
Unfortunately, PB Lorna was blanked on her Belted Kingfisher which is regularly seen there, but a lone Lesser Scaup was diving among the boats in the marina.
We drove around Drayton Harbour, through Blaine to the Semiahmoo Park parking lot. Some in our convoy got a bit “off track” and delayed. Instructions were often on the back burner as the Indian Land Owner’s constant and nonsensical gibberish about anything and everything that no one was interested in, took precedence. No worries; he kept Hans, PB Lorna and I amused. Both sides of Semiahmoo Park were productive. First, the Semiahmoo Bay side produced a raft of Scoters, Surf and White-winged but we were blanked on the usually seen Black Scoter. Red-breasted Mergansers and Bufflehead were also there. On the Drayton Harbour side a Red-throated Loon was close to shore while rafts of Ruddy Ducks and Canvasbacks were further out. We could “recognize” them in our bins, but through Leona’s scope both “not very commonly seen” species were brilliant.
Moving on to the Marina Restaurant parking lot, we walked around the harbour marina. Many harbour seals were lounging on the jetty, along with a disturbingly large number of dead Gulls (at least 7, Avian Flu?). A Sanderling was on the jetty too; then we saw about 20 on the rocky shore with about a dozen Black Turnstones. These were our only Shorebird sightings on the day. Harlequin Ducks were here too. We walked through the marina to the Semiahmoo Resort Lookout, seeing many of the afore-mentioned species, up-close-and-personal. At the Lookout we had both Long-tailed Ducks and Pigeon Guillemots close by for good photo ops.
Also Loons and Grebes were photographed eating crabs and other stuff. The excitement of all these amazing sightings was so exhausting that we were forced to retire to the Resort Restaurant to rest and reinforce our bodies with beer and pizza. We twelve (work-challenged Gareth left early) enjoyed a delicious lunch, more inane chatter from the ILB, but in a beautiful setting overlooking Semiahmoo Bay. The Border was smooth sailing again and I was home in time for my Golf meeting at 2:30 p.m. Another awesome DNCB outing.
Next Tuesday, January 13, we will leave Petra’s at 8:00 a.m. for an outing to Iona Regional Park. We expect to be at the Iona rest room parking lot around 8:30 a.m. Don’t forget our Delta Nats monthly meeting this Monday, January 12 at 7:30 p.m. at Cammidge House. Paul Berlinguette will give a Presentation on “Save the Wetlands and its Critters”. Check out our DNCB Blog for other reports and photos, including one on our check last Wednesday of our Barn Owl Box in BBRP. As always, comments encouraged and let me know if you want off my list to receive this far-too-lengthy drivel. Cheers: Tom
Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists’ Society