DNCB Outing No. 2017-05 to Beach Grove Park and Pt. Roberts, WA

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DNCB at Point Roberts – photo by Tony Mitra click on photo for large version

Photos by Brian Avent (BA), Terry Carr (TC), Tony Mitra (TM), Roger Meyer (RM), Jim Kneesch (JK), Pat Smart (PS), Glen Bodie (GB), David Hoar (DH)
more photos at our DNCB Flickr site

Twenty-one DNCBers (list of participants at end) enjoyed a brilliant sunny Tuesday morning checking out the Great Horned Owl (GHO) nest at Beach Grove Park, then wandering around several spots in Point Roberts, USA.  Check out some spectacular photos on our DNCB Flickr site: go to www.flickr.com/groups/dncb, then click the magnifying glass icon in the “Photo Pool” row, and add 2017-05 to “flickr_search_dncb-photosDNCB Photos” in the Search box at the top of the page.

Leaving Petra’s at 7:30 am, we (11) had a convoy of vehicles (poor car-pooling) to Beach Grove Park.  As we wandered into the Park next to the elementary school, lots of little Juncos, Towhees and Robins were in the trees, but no Owls.  Roger led us down the path to where the GHO pair were nesting, closer to the farmer’s field deeper in the park than where they have nested in past years.  As our photogs took shots of the nest, Roger proclaimed that he had never seen the male GHO.  I went a bit further down the trail, and looked back at the nest.  The male Owl was perched about 3 feet above where Roger was standing when he made his Proclamation.  You will see on our Flickr site beaut shots of the nest-guarding future Dad Great Horned Owl.

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We left Beach Grove Park, and smooth sailing through the Border, we got to Lighthouse Marine Park around 8:45 am.  Lots of folk met us there, and the water was high and very wavy in the Strait of Georgia.  We saw a few bobbing birds in the waves including Common Loons, Common Goldeneye, Red-breasted Mergansers, Bufflehead, Greater Scaup and Horned Grebes.

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Close to us on shore were some Black Turnstones.

We walked toward the non-existent “lighthouse” as a small flock of Sanderlings flitted along the shore.  We gathered among the piles of driftwood and Roger and the ILB took the Group Photo as we faced the rising sun and the Strait behind us.  At the lighthouse, we scoped a lot of neat birds including Long-tailed Ducks, Surf and White-winged Scoters,

gorgeous Harlequin Ducks and Sanderling on shore.

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Mew Gulls and both Pelagic and Double-crested Cormorants flew by and Roger, of course, spotted a Common Murre in the distance.  I’m sure there were Auklets and Guillemots there too but we couldn’t see any well enough to identify them.  Seeing fins of Harbour Porpoises going by was a bit exciting, but no Sea Lions seen today, only Harbour Seals.

As we walked further along and then onto the bush trail, Glen (when not sun-bathing) and Jim got shots of the resident Killdeer.

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Anna’s Hummingbird (DH)

The Park was quieter than normal with few little birds around, but we did see Anna’s Hummingbirds,

 

Song, Fox & Golden-crowned Sparrows, Northern Flicker, etc.  Two Red-tailed Hawks circling above us enchanted Mike.

Leaving the Park we stopped at the pond along Marine Drive.  Several Hooded Mergansers here along with American Wigeon, Mallards and a couple of Green-winged Teal.

Next stop was the Marina where several of aforementioned duck and grebe species were seen a bit closer.  A posing Black Oystercatcher pleased the photogs.  On the Strait side, Roger, of course, sighted a Red-necked Grebe, while the rest of us only saw the Scoters and Scaup.  Lots of Eagles around, as everyone knows now from the CBC News story on Delta’s Eagles.

We drove up to Lily Point Park and went to the Lookout.  We “scoped the Scaup and Scoters” (neat alliteration) below, but mainly just enjoyed the spectacular panoramic views across the Bay to White Rock, the snow covered mountains including Mt. Baker, and the San Juan and Gulf Islands, brilliantly showcased by the sun and clear sky.  Still only 11:00 am we decided to drive to Maple Beach on the east side of the Point near the border.  On the beach were Black Oystercatchers, Sanderling and Black Turnstones, all up-close-and-personal.

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In the Bay was an amazingly huge raft of Scoters stretching across the Bay; estimated 6,000 birds.  Another raft of a few hundred Scaup too, and a couple of flocks (about 20 birds each) of Brant Geese flew by too.

The excitement was just too much for us, and it was approaching Noon, so we decided to leave the Point and have lunch at the Rose & Crown Pub in Tsawwassen (no restaurants open in Pt. Roberts anymore; probably because of Border hassles).  Leila looked after the eight of us very well and my Beef on a Bun with Fruit Cup (on a health kick) was delicious, and cheap, along with a pint of Canadian of course.  I got home before 2:00 pm, in time to take Sandra to La La Land; a very entertaining flick.  Another awesome DNCB outing.

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photo by Roger Meyer – click on photo to see large version

We 21 were: Roger M, Terry C, my chauffeur David H w/o Noreen (Costa Rica bound), Jim K, infrequent newbie Angelika H, North Delta Liz S, ILB Tony M, Mike B, Debbie H and daughter Kathryn (have fun in Perth), Margaretha S, returnee Lidia J,  Richmond Brian A, Glen B, Denise (Uma) K, Rob M and Marylile M, Pat S w/o Maureen, Marion S, newbie Nature Trust Sammy and me.

Next Tuesday, February 7, Outing 2017-06  CANCELLED for safety reasons.

Tuesday, February 14 Roger will meet at Petra’s at 7:30 am and lead the outing to the Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal and then Reifel Bird Sanctuary (White-throated Sparrow?).  I  will be in Ontario for my 58th annual February Weakend to Paint Lake (near Dorset) with a dozen childhood Niagara Falls friends.

Don’t forget our monthly Delta Nats meeting on Tuesday evening (7th) with Peter Ward giving a Presentation on his Adventures in Oman last Fall.

As always, your comments are welcome, keep checking our website for more info, reports and photos, and don’t hesitate to let me know if these long-winded epistles annoy you and you want off my List.  Cheers: Tom (written on a snowy Friday morning in Delta; what an unusual Winter here!)

Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists Society

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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, Beach Grove, Black Oystercatcher, Black Turnstone, Common Murre, Great Horned Owl, Harbour Porpoise, Harbour Seal, Harlequin Duck, Lighthouse Marine Park, Lily Point Park, Long-tailed Duck, Mew Gull, Pelagic Cormorant, Point Roberts, Red-necked Grebe, Sanderling. Bookmark the permalink.

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