Fifteen DNCBers enjoyed a productive and fairly comfortable outing this morning (Tuesday) to Blaine Marine Park, and around Drayton Harbour to Semiahmoo Park, Marina and Resort. Check out the photo evidence at our DNCB Picasa site.
Only Terry, Mike, Glen and I met at Petra’s at 8:00 a.m. and we drove fluidly (against Rush Hour traffic) to the Peace Arch Park parking lot where we met Kirsten, Marion and Pat. At 8:30 a.m., we car-pooled through the border (no wait at all; obviously exchange rate affected) and met the others at Blaine Marine Park, exactly at the pre-arranged 8:45 a.m. time. The tide was high; it was cloudy and chilly, but not raining. Lots of Northern Pintail, Surf Scoters, a few Common Goldeneye, Bufflehead and Canada Geese in the Bay as Pascale took the Group Photo (without time-challenged Fern and Korean visitor Cecelia) with the Peace Arch behind us. Purple Finches and Golden- and White- crowned Sparrows were in the bushes. Terry got bored, so we quickly moved on down Marine Drive to the Lookout at the end.
We saw lots of waterfowl in Semiahmoo Bay including a gorgeous pair of Harlequin Ducks, 3 Grebe species (Horned, Red-necked and Western, no Eared seen), Common Loons (no Pacific or Red-throated), two Scoter species (Surf and White-winged; couldn’t spot a Black), Greater Scaup, Pelagic and Double-crested Cormorants. From the Lookout, several Long-tailed Ducks (one of my Target birds) gave neat fly-pasts. Gareth pointed out a posing Mew Gull for us neophytes to note ID markings. Terry got bored again, so we quickly moved on to the Marina.
More Grebes here and a beautiful female Belted Kingfisher posing on a sailboat mast. We almost missed seeing about 35 Great Blue Herons camouflaged in line along the rock break wall. A flock of Sanderling gave a fly-past. Terry got bored again, so we took off quickly and drove around Drayton Harbour to the APA Museum at the entrance to Semiahmoo Park on the Spit.
My vehicle spotted three Ruddy Ducks (another Target) on the way, which we stopped to scope and photograph. We couldn’t find any Canvasbacks, but did see several Steller’s Jays. At the Museum, on the Bay side were lots of Scoters, a big raft of Brant Geese, and several Red-breasted Mergansers close to shore. An Anna’s Hummingbird and House Finches were in the bushes. One of a few Harbour Seals seen today, was lolly-gagging in the Bay about 20 feet off shore. On the Drayton Harbour side, a Black Oystercatcher stayed, unperturbed, a few feet from us while we scoped the various rafts of mixed duck species. Terry got really bored here and took off (just kidding, he had an appointment back home). Meanwhile, Pascale & Alberto bailed on us too, and White Rock Alice had a vehicular melt-down here. Fortunately, our Good Samaritan Gareth shepherded her and got Battery assistance so she could drive home. A possible catastrophe averted, thanks to Gareth, and Alice’s persistence and patience.
Now down to ten, we continued on to the Semiahmoo Marina & Resort. Marion, Kirsten and Pat walked the shore path and saw Dunlin, Black Turnstones and a possible Pacific Loon. A Bald Eagle waving in the wind excited Stormcat Paula so much, she left on her long drive back to North Van. And I don’t know what happened to Fern. Obviously, the Outing Leader had lost control, if he ever had it. So, approaching Noon, and feeling the cold a lot more now, the remaining eight decided to have lunch in the Semiahmoo Marina Café. Good decision; the Chowder Soup & Slider Special was delicious, albeit no beer. When we left the café, it started to rain, but we had to check out the Resort Lookout onto the Bay. A few of the same waterfowl here, but nothing new and exciting so, before getting soaked, we decided to abort the outing and return to Canada. Approaching 1:00 p.m., the Border was almost empty of entering vehicles. We all jointly commented on the success of the outing; tonnes of neat sightings in a beautiful area.
Next Tuesday, December 22, we will leave Petra’s at 8:00 a.m. on a “local” outing to Reifel and/or Alaksen. Then the renowned Ladner Christmas Bird Count is Sunday, December 27 (participants needed). For more reports, photos and info, check out our website, and, as always, comments encouraged, and let me know if these tirades annoy you and you want off my List. And lastly, to each of you and your family, I wish a Merry Christmas and a happy and healthy 2016. Thank God for Grandkids. Cheers: Tom
Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists’ Society
PS: DNCBers love their name in print, however, I need not give today’s Participant List because I think I mentioned all 15, except Lidia, somewhere in the report.