DNCB Outing No. 2017-07 to Blaine and Semiahmoo Bay, Washington

Photos below by Brian Avent (BA), Terry Carr (TC) & Pat Smart (PS)
more photos at our DNCB Flickr site

Ten happy DNCBers enjoyed a magical morning of birding around Drayton Harbour in Blaine Washington, seeing lots of neat species, some uncommon. Check out the spectacular photo evidence on our Flickr site:  www.flickr.com/groups/dncb, then click the magnifying glass icon in the “Photo Pool” row, and add 2017-07 to “flickr_search_dncb-photosDNCB Photos” in the Search box at the top of the page.

Only three of us (Terry, on-time Margaretha and me) left Petra’s at 7:30 am and met sisters Pat & Maureen at the Peace Arch Park parking lot at 8:15 am.  No line-up at the Border and we crossed easily to meet the others at Blaine Marine Park at 8:30 am.  Marion, Jean, Pauline and returnee Richmond Bill D were excited to see us, so we took the Group Photo with White Rock behind us.


DNCB early birds – photo by Terry Carr

Richmond Brian A met us at the Harbour lookout, so we recruited a dog walker to take the second Group Photo there with all ten of us.


DNCB at Blaine Harbour – photo by Terry Carr

As for birds, not much at the first stop, only Surf and White-winged Scoters in the distance and a few Black Oystercatchers flying by.  House Finches, Juncos and Golden-crowned Sparrows were noisily feeding in the bushes.

The Lookout wasn’t packed with birds either as it usually is.  We saw a few Horned Grebes and a couple of Red-necked Grebes, Common Loons, Greater Scaup, Common Goldeneye.

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Lots of Gulls but very few Cormorants, and a herd of Harbour Seals.  Walking back to our vehicles, some saw a Pied-billed Grebe


Pied-billed Grebe (TC)

and we heard the resident Belted Kingfisher but I didn’t see it (but didn’t much care either).  We stopped at the Marina and walked among the boats.  On entering the Marina, I mentioned that I have only seen a few Eared Grebes, here and at White Rock several years ago.  Then, a weird Grebe dove in front of me, and Richmond Brian identified it as an Eared Grebe.  We excitedly called everyone and got great looks and photos.  Interesting stuff eh?  Some saw a second Eared Grebe too.

We left the Marina and stopped at the boat ramp near the railroad tracks.  Lots of Northern Pintail, a neat pair of Barrow’s Goldeneye, and some “Almost Brant Geese”.

More Greater Scaup in the harbour and Black Oystercatchers on the rocks.

Continuing on through Blaine around Drayton Harbour, we next stopped at the Museum parking lot in Semiahmoo Bay Park.  We normally see all three Scoter species from the Bay Lookout here, but the water was rough and there were only a few Surf and White-winged in the distance.  The Harbour side was a different story.  Lots of beauties here.  One of our Destination species, the Canvasbacks were not too far out and we all got great looks, especially through our million dollar Scope (no Redheads seen).


Canvasbacks (BA)

Large rafts of other species too, including Bufflehead, Greater Scaup (not sure about Lesser), Scoters (but no Black seen today), Common Loons (could have been some red-throated), then a huge raft close to shore of Red-breasted Mergansers.


Red-breasted Merganser (BA)

Many of the waterfowl seen today were in brilliant breeding plumage.

We moved on closer to the Semiahmoo Marina where Sanderling and Black Turnstones were rummaging along the shore. Lots of Double-crested Cormorants on the wooden dock, Sanderling among them.  We did see a few Pelagic Cormorants, but no Brandt’s.

Interestingly too, the large rafts of ducks here were White-winged Scoters and Greater Scaup.

Brilliant Harlequin Ducks swam close to shore and jumped onto the dock for photo ops.

As we looked at Horned Grebes in the marina bay, two were different; they were another Destination species, Ruddy Duck.  We all got great looks and photos.

Continuing along the walkway toward the marina restaurant, some saw and photographed


Bewick’s Wren (PS)

a Bewick’s Wren, certainly not commonly seen there.

At the big Lookout behind the Resort Restaurant was a huge raft of several hundred Pacific Loons.

Among them was another Destination species, Long-tailed Ducks.  More Grebes here too, but we didn’t see any Westerns, so only a four-grebe day.

It was approaching Noon, and I had a dentist appointment at 2:00 pm so we couldn’t stop for our usual lunch at the elegant Semiahmoo Resort Restaurant.  Not sure whether Pat, Maureen and Brian did.  Anyhow, Terry, Margaretha and I crossed the Border very quickly, and comfortably, in my new Range Rover, and discussed how enjoyable and productive our Blaine outings are.  In the fields along 99, we saw Trumpeter Swans, Snow Geese and Red-tailed Hawks.  Margaretha’s tasty dried plum skins helped alleviate my starving.  After dropping them at Petra’s, I stopped at McDonald’s take-out and ate a couple of Cheeseburgers on the way to the dentist, with a “Root” Beer.  Nonetheless, another awesome DNCB outing.

Next Tuesday, February 28, our destination will be Queen Elizabeth Park.  Hopefully a tanned Roger will lead us and we’ll meet at the QE parking lot near the golf course around 8:15 am.

Don’t forget:
1) the Raptor Watch at 72nd St on Boundary Bay dike on Saturday, Feb 25, 10:00 am to Noon, and
2) Heritage Day at Cammidge House on Sunday, Feb. 26, Noon to 3:00 pm.
Also, for more info and photos, check out our website, and, as always, let me know if this “rambling drivel” annoys you and you want off my List. Cheers: Tom

Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists Society

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, Barrow's Goldeneye, Black Oystercatcher, Blaine Marine Park, Canvasback, Drayton Harbor, Eared Grebe, Harlequin Duck, Long-tailed Duck, Pacific Loon, Pelagic Cormorant, Pied-billed Grebe, Red-breasted Merganser, Red-necked Grebe, Red-tailed Hawk, Ruddy Duck, Semiahmoo Spit, Trumpeter Swan. Bookmark the permalink.

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