More photos at our DNCB Flickr site.
Ten DNCBers enjoyed a cool (~7 degrees Celsius), but dry and comfortable Tuesday morning of birding around Drayton Harbour and Semiahmoo Bay in Blaine, Washington. Check out the photo evidence on our Flickr site at: https://www.flickr.com/groups/dncb, enter DNCB 2016-51 in top Search box.
Five of us (Roger, Mike, Glen, Chris and me) left Petra’s at 7:30 am, met sisters Pat and Maureen at the Peace Arch Park Parking lot at 8:15 am, then proceeded across the Border (only 5 minutes) to Blaine Marine Park. While waiting for White Rock Al, Leona and Mai to arrive, we scanned the huge flotilla of waterfowl in this little Bay as we looked back at the Peace Arch. There were huge numbers of Northern Pintail, Mallards, Surf and White-winged Scoters, a few Green-winged Teal and Scaup (Greater and Lesser), and a few Yellowlegs (Roger said Lesser, Leona said Greater, I said both) on the small bit of shoreline.
The tide level was very high. We took our obligatory Group Photo here with the Peace Arch behind us and a Belted Kingfisher calling.
We drove down closer to the Lookout at the end of Marine Drive. Lots of Loons in the Bay here; mostly Common, but I think some picked out a Red-throated or two.
What caught my attention was seeing four Grebe species, Western, Horned, Red-necked and a Pied-billed.
We were blanked on the Eared Grebe. More Barrow’s Goldeneye here, but we also saw Common Goldeneye too.
Both Double-crested and Pelagic Cormorants were roosting on the rocks.
Rafts of Brant Geese were a bit further out, but beautifully seen through our DNS Scope. Mike was very pleased at my return since he avoided having to have shoulder surgery from carrying the Scope the last couple of months.
Next stop was the Boat Ramp near the Marina and railroad tracks. A pair of Gadwall were here along with many of the afore-mentioned waterfowl species. We didn’t stay long here because the bright sun (yes, I’m not lying) was shining right at us, poor for photography. We followed Leona to the next new spot, but Chris and Glen were blathering so much that I missed the turn. So we spent 15 minutes unsuccessfully searching for the other two vehicles. We gave up, and decided to continue across Dakota Creek and around to Semiahmoo Bay Park. From the Lookout here onto Semiahmoo Bay, we saw the three Scoter species, together and up-close-and-personal; Surf, White-winged and the less common Black.
Leona, Mai and WR Al found us here, and merely smirked at our incompetence.
Across the road on the harbour side were lots of ducks, and in the distance we saw a raft of Canvasbacks. We wished they were closer, but at least we recognized them. I didn’t see a Ruddy Duck, but I think others did. They are usually here. A small flock of Sanderling flitted along the shoreline. As we left here, a few Dunlin were on the shore too for close-up photos. Next stop was the small parking lot south of the Semiahmoo Marina. We walked from here toward the marina. Flocks of Golden-crowned Sparrows and House Finches were in the bushes. At Mai’s request, the Black Oystercatchers were on the dock, and with them were both Dunlin and Sanderling.
In the Bay were lots of Scaup , Red-breasted Mergansers and some brilliant Harlequin Ducks.
Harbour Seals occasionally popped their heads up. From the Marina, WR Al drove me back to my car and we drove to the Resort parking lot.
Off the lookout here toward White Rock, we saw more Loons, Mergansers, Grebes and Goldeneye, but couldn’t find a Long-tailed Duck.
Lots of Mew Gulls among the Glaucous-winged. We were also blanked on other seabirds like Pigeon Guillemots, Rhinoceros Auklets and Murres. No worries; we (all 10) entered the Resort Restaurant and enjoyed a delicious lunch along with two delectable Kolsch Draught beer. They make their own pizzas here; Mike and I each had Pepperoni & Cheese and it was scrumptious.
It was refreshing to be back on a DNCB outing and listen to the gibberish, especially about Roger’s storied teaching career and some of his wild and weird students (Maureen?). We left the resort around 1:30 pm, but the Border was brutal (45 minute wait) so we didn’t get back to Tsawwassen until 3:15 pm. Nonetheless, it was an awesome outing.
This is my first report since early October, but Roger has done some entertaining linguistic gems while I was in Western Australia, and I encourage you to check them out on our website. Terry, as expected, did a super job organizing the outings, and our webmaster Ken has really enhanced the reports with photos, etc. on our site.
Next Tuesday, December 27, is the Ladner Christmas Bird Count (CBC). We will meet at and leave from Petra’s at 8 am in designated groups to survey south Delta. Some may choose to do Westham Island and meet at Reifel’s entrance at 8 am.
As always, if these incoherent missives annoy you, let me know, and I will remove you from my e-mail list. Meanwhile, wishing each of you and your families a very Merry Christmas and a happy and healthy 2017. Cheers: Tom
Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists Society