Photos by Brian Avent (BA), Chris McVittie (CMcV), Jim Kneesch (JK), Pat Smart (PS), Maureen Sinilaid (MS), & Terry Carr (TC)
More photos at our DNCB Flickr site
With a balmy summer’s morning and a light breeze off the water, six dedicated birders left Petra’s for the day’s outing. With Mike, Roger 2, Terry and Roger 1 in one car, and Jim and Chris in the other we headed out along the ferry jetty to the parking pull-out on the north side. Birds seen along the way included several Black Oystercatchers, a few Greater Scaup, a large flock of Caspian Terns on the point across the compensation lagoon, a few GBHs and Pelagic Cormorants and gull species.
Check out the photos on our Flickr site at: www.flickr.com/groups/dncb, then click the magnifying glass icon in the “Photo Pool” row, and add 2017-31 to “DNCB Photos” in the Search box at the top of the page.
Dodging traffic, we crossed the highway to the south side, where a GBH posed on a stump, and we could see a flock of Harlequin along the shore in the distance.
After making the turn at the terminal and returning on the south side, we were able to see several more Oystercatchers but there was no sign of the posted Whimbrel or Black Turnstones from the previous day.
A ferry began offloading so we had to hustle down to the light and make the turn onto the TFN road where we stopped at Kingfisher Slough and, although no Kingfishers were seen, we went around the fence and along the slough to photograph a pair of Spotted Sandpipers (check out Terry’s beautiful shots on our Flickr site).
Although it has nothing to do with birds, we were puzzled to find a dozen or more golf balls along the slough, but we left them there for Tom to pick up later.
At the south end of the road prior to leaving the TFN lands, a female Merlin flew alongside, and then over a dirt pile and landed, allowing a quick photo before it was spooked by a female Northern Harrier. We found out later that Maureen and Pat had seen a Pied-billed Grebe in the pond at that location.
We moved on to Reifel arriving as Susan was opening the gift shop. Here, waiting for us, we met Whiterock Al, and Richmond Brian, and decided to head directly to the south-west pond where phalaropes had been seen on previous days. Along the way were joined by Liz, Pat and Marion. We were rewarded almost immediately with a mixture of Dowitchers (nobody was willing to commit to species but I’m guessing Long-billed), Red-necked and Wilson’s Phalaropes and three Stilt Sandpipers!!!
It doesn’t get much better than that! We had heard reports that a Stilt had been visiting at high tides, but finding three and getting good photos was a definite bonus.
We made a circuit of the pond climbing the tower on the way but there was nothing much more to report. We did have a Belted Kingfisher fly by, see a few Cedar Waxwings, Wood Ducks, Mallards, and Jim saw a large owl fly by but we couldn’t find it roosting.
At the tower we took the group photo, missing only Maureen who was looking after the birds around the entrance to the reserve and probably saw more than we did in the field. After one circuit, we made a second trip down to where we saw the shorebirds earlier and found the light was better for photographs.
We returned to the parking lot via the south-east pond where there were large numbers of duck and Canada Geese. Of course, there were lots of the regular Red-winged Blackbirds, Brown-headed Cowbirds, House Sparrows, Eurasian Collared Doves, House Finches, etc.
Finishing at 11:30, we decided to call it a day.
Hopefully, our leader Tom – who is shirking his duty by basking in the sun of a private desert island with cold beer in hand – will be back next week to give us guidance.
Just for those interested in shorebirds: Right now is a great time to hit the shores of Boundary Bay and Brunswick Point. Check the tide forecast for the day on-line, or in the newspaper, and plan to be at the shore a few hours prior to the printed high tide. The best places are the foots of 104th and 96th. You can park at the Delta Airpark on 104th and walk east towards 112th (where there is no parking), or west to 96th and the Mansion. You can drive to the foot of 96th but there are signs that say “No Parking” and Metro Vancouver has been giving out warning tickets. The Mansion, large house seen west of 96th, is alongside a pump house where the outfall is great for water birds. Right now birds that are passing through include Black-bellied Plover, Bar-tailed Godwits, Baird’s Sandpipers, all three of the “peeps” Western, Semi-palmated, and Least Sandpipers, Sanderlings, and others like Red-knots, American and Pacific Golden Plovers, and gulls like the recently seen Franklin’s. At Brunswick you want to be around the picnic table area in front of the farm where the incoming tide forces the shorebirds into the last bit of shore in a small bay. Enjoy. Roger 1
There was some discussion re the next few trips, and the schedule has been amended as follows:
Next week, Wed Aug 16 – Point Roberts – leave Petra’s 7:30 am
Wed Aug 23 – Boundary Bay (Delta Heritage Air Park on 104th St) – leave Petra’s 7:30 am
Wed Aug 30 – Iona – leave Petra’s 7:30 am
On Sunday, August 13th, DNS will have their educational display at Richmond Raptor Festival, Terra Nova Park, from 11 – 4 pm.