Eleven DNCBers enjoyed our Gulf Island Ferry outing to Salt Spring last Wednesday. Check out the photo evidence on our website at www.dncb.wordpress.com. Note: Our Picasa site is not working; we are working on other methods of posting photos.
We all met on the 10:20 a.m. Gulf Island Ferry that stops at Galiano, Mayne and Pender before arriving at Salt Spring around 1:35 p.m. From the waiting room at the Tsawwassen Ferry terminal, activity among the docks was interesting including lounging Harbour Seals, Black Oystercatchers, rafts of Surf Scoters and Harlequin Ducks, and three Cormorant species. Roger got a photo of a Brandt’s Cormorant on the breakwall as we were leaving. Around this time, we (Roger and newbie Claudio) also took the mandatory Group Photo. We eleven were: Roger & Mike, Ansa & Claudio, White rock Al with Alice & Maggie, New Yorkers Chief Bill & Christine, Margaretha and me.
It was a beautiful day and we spent most of it outside on the deck. The Georgia Strait crossing to Galiano was a bit uneventful, so a number of us (one is a number) enjoyed the White Spot Special breakfast on board. Entering the Active Pass there was a flock of Gulls feeding in the distance that were perhaps Bonaparte Gulls. At Sturdies Bay, we saw our first Belted Kingfisher; they seem to be at all Island ports. A pair of Purple Martins had nested in a pipe right where the ferry docks. We got good shots of the parents feeding a young bird in the pipe. Two Turkey Vultures cruised above us. A few Pigeon Guillemots were in the water near their nesting cliff on Galiano. At Village Bay on Mayne Island, Mew Gulls were resting on the dock among the Glaucous-winged. Some weird looking Jelly Fish were in the water; Roger said the brilliant orange one was dead. At Otter Bay on Pender, the entertainment was a River Otter wandering along the rocky shore.
We got to Long Harbour on Salt Spring around 1:35 p.m. and, of course, the shuttle bus wasn’t there. We continued “bonding” for more than half an hour until it arrived and took us to Ganges. Then we realized that in order to catch the 5:00 p.m. ferry to Tsawwassen, we had to leave Ganges on the next bus (3:05 p.m.) to Fulford Harbour. So we had about 20 minutes to eat lunch in Ganges. Bad planning; we’ll change itinerary for next Island outing. I “smelled” a beer in the Local Pub and had a renowned Salted Caramel Ice Cream Cone for lunch. Interestingly, as only Roger, Mike, Margaretha and I were boarding the bus to Fulford, Carolyn and Chief Bill raised their beer to toast us in the hotel across the road. They, along with future Salt Spring land barons, Ansa & Claudio, and White Rock Al and his “girls” Alice & Maggie, decided to stay in Ganges and have a decent lunch. They caught the 7:00 p.m. ferry back to Tsawwassen.
Salt Spring was packed with tourists and the shops at Fulford Harbour were busy too. We caught the little Schwartz Bay ferry, buying our return ticket on board (Cheaper, the whole outing including Salt Spring bus was less than 20 bucks, for old, BC retired folk). I saw a Harbour Porpoise, and a couple of Whale Watching boats sped by us, but we didn’t see the Orcas they were chasing. Margaretha left us at Swartz Bay to visit friends in Victoria. Mike and Roger entertained me again on the trip home with their tales of camping, climbing and carousing on the various Islands back in the 50’s and 60’s. This was just what a needed to enjoy a nice nap as they rambled. We got back to Tsa at 6:45 p.m., picked up Roger’s car at the TFN parking lot ($11.00), and after dropping Mikey, I got home at 7:30 p.m. Not a lot of sightings, but it was another glorious day wandering among the spectacular Gulf Islands.
Next Wednesday, August 17, we will leave Petra’s at 7:30 a.m. for Cypress Mountain and an outing on the trails past Yew Lake. We plan to meet at the Cypress Bowl Olympic parking lot around 8:30 a.m. Park at the far west end of the parking lot as close to the lodge as possible and we meet at the lodge itself. (see route map from Petra’s)
see Reports on previous outings to Cypress Bowl
As always, comments encouraged, and let me know if you want off my List to receive these reports. Cheers: Tom
Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists Society