Twenty-four DNCBers enjoyed another glorious sunny Tuesday morning wandering around a number of Parks in Point Roberts, USA. Hi-lites included seeing lots of neat species, some in breeding plumage, plus 3 Grebe species, 3 Scoter species, 3 Cormorant species, and a delicious lunch in the Caffe Capanna. Check out Jim’s, Liz’s and other’s photos on our DNCB Picasa site.
Ten of us left Petra’s at 8:00 a.m. in far too many vehicles; we all wanted cheap gas at 49.9 US cents per litre. We met the horde of DNCBers at Point Roberts Marine Park. The water was very calm and the sun was gorgeous rising in the east beyond Mt. Baker. We were amazed at the number of species seen from this spot by the boat ramp: Common and Pacific Loons, Common Golden-eye, Red-breasted Mergansers, three Cormorant species including Double-crested, Pelagic and the “hard-to-ID” Brandt’s, three Scoter species including Surf, White-winged and Black, beautiful Long-tailed Ducks. While examining rafts of about 300 Brant Geese in the distance, two Harbour Porpoises swam by. We saw Red-necked, Horned and even a few Western Grebes, but we couldn’t find an Eared Grebe. As we walked along the beach toward the “lighthouse” corner, a Killdeer flew by and a lonely Sanderling posed on the shore. Some saw and photographed Pigeon Guillemots. Some even saw our target birds Common Murre and Marbled Murrelets in the distance, but I didn’t. Both Roger and Tony took Group Photos at this Point of the 23 (newbie Pt. Bob’s George had to leave for work). Some gorgeous Harlequin Ducks landed near shore for some to photograph. Further down the shore were a couple of Black Turnstones and more Sanderlings.
We took the inland trail through the Park back to the parking lot. Gliding Northern Harriers glistened in the sun. Mixed flocks of Sparrows were feeding in the bushes: Song, Golden- and White-crowned and Fox. House Finches and a few beautiful Anna’s Hummingbirds posed higher up. We missed Chestnut-backed Chickadees and Wrens (Bewick’s) normally seen here. We moved on south along Marine Drive to another regular stop along the beach between some cottage homes. Roger found the resident flock of Black Turnstones and some saw a couple of Black Oystercatchers. Then we drove around the Marina to another regular stop near the break wall. The recent storm damage was very evident here as the beach was chocker-block full of huge logs of driftwood. A raft of Lesser Scaup (pointy heads) was close to shore here, along with more attractive Harlequins.
On driving in our huge convoy to Lily Point (LP) Park the resident pair of Red-tailed Hawks gave a fly-past. At LP Park we walked to the Lookout. The view across to White Rock, the Gulf and San Juan Islands and to Mt. Baker was electrifying. Looking down the 200 foot cliff to the water we identified the three Scoter species again, and although there were lots of “specks” in the distance, we couldn’t confirm other pelagic species. Lots of Bald Eagles around. The impudent Roger and his legion of followers got bored with the lethargic Leader and took off on their own to get away from him. Approaching 12:30 p.m. six “faithful” were hungry and drove to the Caffe Capanna (near Larry’s Liquor Store) to enjoy the French Onion Soup with grilled Ham & Cheese sandwich Special. The border was smooth sailing on return; another awesome DNCB morning.
Next Tuesday, January 27, we will leave Petra’s at 8:00 a.m. on an outing to Terra Nova Park in Richmond. We expect to be at the park parking lot on the dike around 8:30 a.m. Check out our DNCB Blog for reports, photos and other Delta Nats info. As always, comments encouraged and let me know if you want off my List to receive this drivel. Cheers: Tom (going now to Wednesday Noon Hockey)
Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists’ Society