photos by Terry (TC), Glen (GB), Marion (MS), Pascale & Alberto (P&A) at DNCB Picasa site
Seventeen DNCBers enjoyed another gorgeous Wednesday morning in Blaine, Washington, circling Drayton Harbour. Hi-lites included many Grebes and other Waterfowl in beautiful breeding plumage and some Whimbrels too. Check out the photo evidence on our DNCB Picasa site.
Fifteen of us met at the Blaine Harbour Park after car-pooling from Peace Arch Memorial Park at 8:00 a.m. and passing through an unusually-quiet Border. The tide was out, but we had our first glimpses at Shorebirds in breeding plumage. Black-bellied Plovers had black bellies. Lots (hundreds) of Dunlin and other Peeps (Sanderling, Western Sandpipers, etc.) in the distance and a couple of Killdeer close to us in the mud. While Roger took the Group Photo with the Peace Arch behind in the distance, a Cooper’s Hawk flew past and House Finches, Song and White-crowned Sparrows sang in the bushes. Time-challenged Alberto and Pascale arrived to make 17 as we moved to the Marina parking lot; the short walk to the Semiahmoo Lookout at the entrance to Drayton Harbour took us past a beaut singing Savannah Sparrow on the grass.
A flock of Brant flew by as we struggled to ID the Peeps through our single scope. Then we got excited with our first looks at Red-necked Grebes, then “puffy-headed” Horned Grebes in beaut breeding plumage. Lots of Pelagic and Double-crested Cormorants around and both Surf and White-winged Scoters were in rafts and flying by. We also saw Bufflehead, some Scaup and a couple of Long-tailed Ducks, but disappointedly quite far out. I saw only one Caspian Tern fly by. Common Loons were scattered about in various plumages, but we saw no Pacific or Red-breasted Loons this day. Back among the boats in the Marina were a Red-breasted Merganser and Common Goldeneye with more beaut Grebes and Loons, up-close-and personal.
Next stop at the foot of the Marina, we saw Green-winged Teal and Northern Pintail before being held up from proceeding into Blaine by a train heading north, that stopped and started annoyingly for seemingly hours, but really only minutes. Our in-car conversation was getting boringly repetitious. Fortunately, Marg C joined us today for a celebrity appearance and briefed us incessantly on the innumerable, humongous events that her Friends of Semiahmoo Bay are undertaking this year. Very impressive List. We eventually got across the tracks and drove through Blaine to our next new stop at Dakota Creek Kayak Launch. At this interestingly-treed area, we saw the Belted Kingfisher, several Yellowlegs (including perhaps Lesser Yellowlegs passing through, but mostly Greater), and Pine Siskins and Golden-crowned Sparrows at the feeder.
We drove on to the Semiahmoo Museum and looked at both the Bay and Harbour sides. On the Bay side were 7 Whimbrels and about a dozen Black Turnstones neatly camouflaged among the stones, but all close for excellent viewing. Harlequin Ducks were resting on a rock in the water near a flock of Mew Gulls. On the Harbour side, the ducks were way out and we couldn’t ID any Canvasbacks. Lots of Bald Eagles and Great Blue Herons around which I don’t normally mention because they’re so common now, but the photogs like them. At the Museum stop were up-close Black-bellied Plovers, and Sanderlings. The Museum signage and an early mechanical fish processor (named the Iron Chink) used at Fish Plants there at the turn of the 19th century were interesting. An Anna’s Hummingbird posed for brief look.
We drove on to park at the Semiahmoo Marina. Lots of Harbour Seals on the dock and more of the same waterfowl. A couple of Black Oystercatchers were feeding along the shore. My hockey friend BobbleHead Craig was working on his sailboat home in the marina as we walked by. No new stuff as we wandered past more heritage stuff and the Blaine Summer Ferry terminal, but the sunshine was glorious. Local Birder and Semiahmoo Resort employee, Cliff told us he hadn’t seen the Eared Grebes for a while, nor Western Grebes, and we probably missed the Black Scoters between here and the Museum. Just past Noon, it was time for lunch in the re-opened Semiahmoo Resort restaurant. The “Koelsch” draught and pepperoni Pizza were scrumptious, and the view out onto Semiahmoo Bay and across to White Rock was magnificent. Pascale let our waiter “Handlebar” Roger take our lunch photo. Another awesome DNCB outing.
Next Wednesday, April 22, we will leave Petra’s at 7:30 a.m. for Brunswick Point via Deltaport way (click HERE for more details) to see the thousands of migrating Shorebirds and hopefully meet Mark Drever and his Western Sandpiper Survey folk.
Don’t forget Delta’s Watershed Park Fish Release this Sunday, April 19 which includes a Birding/Nature Walk (led by me) at 11:30 a.m. from the Pinewood Elementary School entrance down the Park trails to the Fish Release site. Your Nats Display will be set up at the release site.
As always, your comments are encouraged, check out Ken’s DNCB website (surely you know the coordinates by now) for more info, reports (e.g. White Rock Al’s report on last week’s outing to Brydon Lagoon & Hi-Knoll Park) and photos and, don’t hesitate to let me know if you want off my List to receive this drivel. Cheers: Tom
Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists’ Society