DNCB Outing No. 2016-5 to Point Roberts, WA

Point Roberts Birders (RM)

Point Roberts Birders (RM) – click on photo to see large version

Twenty-three DNCBers, including several Newbies, enjoyed a beautiful Tuesday morning in Pt. Roberts (see participants’ names at end).  Check out the photo evidence by Roger (RM), Terry (TC), Glen (GB), Brian (BA), Jim K (JK), Marion (MS) and Chris (McV) on our DNCB Picasa site.

Fourteen of us met at and left Petra’s at 8:00 a.m., car-pooling with limited success to the Border.  Even with our weak Canadian dollar, several participants wanted to drive to buy gas, which continues to be cheaper in Point Bob at US 51 cents/litre.  Border was smooth and we met the other 8 at Lighthouse Marine Park, before the scheduled 8:30 a.m.  Following introductions, I struggled, as always, to coral the “chat room” of many, seemingly long, lost friends to take the Group Photo.  Plus, our new KOWA Scope aroused an inordinate amount of attention and excitement.

Not a lot of birds in the bay here, but several species were seen clearly, especially through our new scope, including: Common Goldeneye, Bufflehead, Red-necked and Horned Grebes (perhaps a Western too), Red-breasted Merganser, Common Loons, Surf and White-winged Scoters, Greater Scaup, Pelagic and Double-crested Cormorants, and a Long-tailed Duck.

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Three Black Turnstones were spotted on the pier, below a perched adult Bald Eagle.  Some identified a Thayer’s Gull, a few Brandt’s Cormorants flying by, and a raft of Brant Geese in the distance.  A Steller Sea Lion close to shore raised its huge head out of the water for our photogs.  Then it seemed to jump at a Common Loon which scampered away across the water; not sure if it was hit because it ran on the water rather than flying.  Weird sighting.

We walked the path toward the Lighthouse (that doesn’t exist and was never built).  Pigeon Guillemots were the attraction here, with at least one in breeding plumage.

Several gorgeous Harlequin Ducks here too.

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Roger 2 & flounder

Roger Two successfully stole a Flounder from the bill of a feeding Glaucous-winged Gull.  A flock of Sanderling flew by as did three Black Oystercatchers.  Later we were surprised by two of the Oystercatchers doing a mating ritual and dance – captured by Roger M’s video.

Some saw a Merlin being harassed by a Crow.  We walked back to the parking lot via the inland Park trail.  Again, much quieter than normal re. birds calling or singing.  Some heard Bewick’s and Pacific Wrens.  Several golden-crowned Sparrows aroused a bit of interest.

We drove from Lighthouse Park to the Marina.  A pair of Gadwall were in the slough along the road and lots of American Wigeon and Mallards in the pond on the left.  The break wall at the Marina didn’t produce much new stuff other than a Killdeer.  No Snow Buntings, Belted Kingfishers or Western Meadowlarks.  More Harlequins, Turnstones and Oystercatchers which were nice.

So we continued on to Lily Point Park.

From the lookout at Lily Point, we scoped many of the same species down below that are mentioned earlier.  It was mild and clear and the view across to the San Juan Islands, White Rock and Mt. Baker was spectacular.  Veering from our normal walk in the woods, we decided to descend down the cliff to the beach.  The long and winding trail down was fortunately well-groomed and fairly easy for us old folk.

GB_2016 Pt Roberts 0399 - Witch's Hat

Witch’s Hat (GB)

The inimitable (i.e. deranged) Roger M picked and tasted a brilliant red mushroom; I think he’s still alive.

Resting on the beach was very pleasant; we chatted about the few remnants still there of the many buildings associated with the APA (Alaska Packers Association) Cannery.  We gazed at the many “lines” on the cliff and wondered what activities created them over the past thousands/millions of years.  Nine playful Bald Eagles entertained us above, with their circling and claw grabbing.

Kinglets were flitting in the bushes; we saw both Ruby- and Golden-crowned.  The walk back up was eventful for sighting three Woodpecker species, Downy, Hairy and Northern Flicker (blanked on the Pileated).

Hairy Woodpecker (BA)

Hairy Woodpecker (BA)

Back at the washroom parking lot, nearing 1:00 p.m., nine of us decided to return to Canada and have lunch at Mario’s in Tsawwassen.  Good decision.  My Steak Sandwich and Fries was not only delicious but the tab was gratefully “picked up”, including for the two beer (a German draught lager and a Coors Lite).  Obviously, another awesome DNCB outing.

Next Tuesday, February 9, some will meet at and leave Petra’s at 8:00 a.m. on our outing to Blaine and Semiahmoo Bay, USA.  Car-pooling at the Peace Arch Park parking lot (behind Duty-Free shop) will leave there at 8:30 a.m. to meet at the regular spot at Blaine Marine Park around 8:45 a.m.  I will be visiting friends and relatives in Niagara Falls and Dorset, Ontario next week so hopefully you kids can manage without me.

Tonight (Tuesday), over 70 folk attended our Delta Nats monthly meeting to hear Ian Thomas give a passionate and riveting presentation about his adventures with the Birds of the Coffee Forest.  As always, your comments are encouraged, check out our website for more Nats info, reports and photos, and please let me know if this meandering drivel has finally exhausted you to the point that you want to be removed from my List.  Cheers: Tom

Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists Society (3:00 a.m. – bedtime)

The 23 Participants included: Anne M, Roger M, Terry, Liz, Chris McV, Sisters Pat & Maureen, Rob & Marylile, Kirsten & Marion, Mike B, newbie BC resident Janice M, Mary T, Jim K, Ladner Jack, Roger Two, Glen B, Margaretha, Newbies David & Nora, Richmond Brian and me.

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About dncb

DNS: Delta Naturalists are a group of nature lovers whose aim is to foster interest in the natural history of the Fraser delta by sharing and enjoying nature and promoting environmental awareness and conservation. DNCB: Delta Nats Casual Birders is a group of Casual Birders who go Birding at different locations each week, usually within the Lower Mainland or in nearby Washington State.
This entry was posted in *DNCB, Bald Eagle, Black Oystercatcher, Black Turnstone, Brandt's Cormorant, Harlequin Duck, Lighthouse Marine Park, Lily Point Park, Long-tailed Duck, Merlin, Pelagic Cormorant, Pigeon Guillemot, Red-breasted Merganser, Red-necked Grebe, Steller Sea Lion, Thayer's Gull. Bookmark the permalink.

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