More photos at our DNCB Flickr site
Ten DNCBers rode ferries and double-decker buses, and strolled among flowers beds, trees and on beaches on our annual outing to Victoria last Wednesday.
We ten were: Organizer Terry C, Richmond Brian A, local Expert & Historian Mike B, Pat & rookie Manli, Gerhard, our new SLB’s Syd & Viviane B, White Rock Al and me. Not a lot of birds seen, but a very relaxing and wonderful way to spend a beautiful Summer day in BC. Check out the photo evidence on our Flickr site at: www.flickr.com/groups/dncb, then click the magnifying glass icon in the “Photo Pool” row, and add 2017-28 to “DNCB Photos” in the Search box at the top of the page.
We all met at the Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal to catch the 8:00 am ferry to Swartz Bay, only $8.35 for us frugal BC Seniors. Lots of smiling faces and nonsensical chatter with the pre-boarding excitement. Before departing, we were entertained by several multi-coloured Glaucous-winged Gull chicks on nests only a few feet from the Waiting Room’s outside lookout. On board, as is tradition, we took the Group Photo facing the sun at the bow of the Coastal Celebration. Cormorants, both Pelagic and Double-crested, were diving in the harbour as we departed. The view back toward the city and surrounding mountains was spectacular, and we determined that the haze along the mountains was from the interior forest fires. I passed on the Traditional on-board Breakfast and enjoyed the pleasant ride across the Strait, along with the seemingly thousands of tourists.
Active Pass wasn’t too active either. We saw lots of the nesting Pigeon Guillemots off Galiano island. Harbour Seals were napping on small islands. We saw other Gulls including Ring-billed, but not sure of other species. No black headed Bonaparte Gulls seen.
We arrived at Swartz Bay on time at 9:40 am and, as instructed by our Ferry Guru Mike, got to the front of the line to ensure good seats on the Bus to Victoria. We were first on the No. 70 “express” Double Decker bus, paid our 5 bucks for a Day Pass, and got the front seats up top. An awesome scenic ride through Sydney and into Victoria. Some thought the sighting of the day was an antlered Deer on the roadside; others, an abandoned Pot Grow-up Building. We disembarked at the last stop beside the BC Legislative Buildings, and took another Group Photo, including the phantom Gerhard.
Under Terry’s leadership, we headed toward Beacon Hill Park and it’s manicured flora gardens. The park also boasts wondrous displays of exotic and native trees, including Garry Oak, Arbutus, Douglas Fir, Western Red Cedar, birch, willow and maples – to name just a few. Our Tree Guru, WR Al pointed out many of these before he got tired and went to the Empress Hotel for a “spot of tea”. Some Great Blue Herons were still hanging around their heronry in the Douglas Fir grove. Lots of Red-eared Turtles in the ponds with families of Mallards. The park’s history, including prior to Confederation in 1867, was fascinating as depicted in old photos on the historic “octagon” building (which was also once an Aviary). As for birds, we saw Red-breasted Nuthatches, Chestnut-backed Chickadees and Bushtits. Approaching Noon, we decided to stop at the Beacon Drive-In restaurant for lunch.
Mike’s recommended Cheeseburger & Fries hit the spot with a Root Beer and Banana Swirl Ice Cream Cone for dessert. We then walked toward Mile Zero of the Trans Canada, passed the once tallest Totem Pole in the world (now 4th), to the path along the sea wall. No shorebirds on the beach, but some DNCBers were entertained by the other “birds” sunbathing. A few Hummingbirds in the bushes along the trail, and three Swallow species, Barn, Tree and Violet-green, were hawking insects beside the path. We didn’t go as far as Clover Point, so didn’t see the Western Sandpipers, Brant and Heermann’s Gull, but re-entered the Park at its northern entrance. The resident Peacocks were noisy but colourful. We saw juveniles too, but did not see this year’s babies. The Rose Garden was spectacular.
It was only 2:00 pm when we got back to the south end of the Park, so we decided to go to the Sticky Wicket Pub for a refreshing drink. I think everyone had a beer, me two sleeves of “almost Happy Hour” Canadian (the waitress didn’t honour her offer for the lower price since we were there before 3:00 pm). Anyhow, you could distinguish those who had beer as they were the ones snoring on the 3:40 pm Double Decker Bus on the return trip to Swartz Bay.
We caught the 5:00 pm Ferry to Tsawwassen, some had the Buffet, others cafeteria, and one person enjoyed an Apple, Costco Granola Bars and a smuggled pint of Coor’s Lager as the only person on the outside front bow. A very pleasant but birdless trip back. I saw the fin of one Harbour Porpoise, a couple of Bald Eagles, and some wishful Brandt’s Cormorants on a faraway island. On time again at 6:40 pm Tsawwassen arrival, everyone seemed happy as went our separate ways home; WR Al chauffeuring me. Another glorious DNCB outing.
Next Wednesday, July 26, we’ll meet at and leave from Petra’s at 7:30 am for Minnekhada Regional Park. We should be at its historic Lodge parking lot by 8:30 am.
Apologies for this late report; busy times here with grand-parenting, golf yesterday, White Rock Theatre tonight, Car Boot Sale on Saturday, Invasive Species Removal at BBRP on Sunday, plus a seemingly too frequent $350 plus visit to Costco for milk & eggs.
As always, your comments welcomed, and let me know if this verbal diarrhea annoys you and you want off my e-mail List. Cheers: Tom
Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists Society