More photos at our DNCB Flickr site
A big crowd of twenty two DNCBers met on the Boundary Bay Dike Trail at 104th Street AirPark for a leisurely Wednesday morning walk, mainly to check out the migratory Shorebirds. It was a beautiful morning with some neat sightings; check out the photo evidence at: www.flickr.com/groups/dncb, then click the magnifying glass icon in the “Photo Pool” row, and add 2017-33 to “DNCB Photos” in the Search box at the top of the page.
Some left Petra’s at 7:30 am while others drove directly to the Heritage AirPark on 104th St. High tide was at 7:30 am, so when we gathered on the dike trail at 8:00 am it was already receding quickly. It was a very comfortable and sunny morning. There were lots of Black-bellied Plovers spread out on the mudflats. Several people started walking south on the dike trail to get better looks at the Plovers and occasional small flocks of Western Sandpipers, and a few Dowitchers. Then a Peregrine Falcon cruised past and out to sea, raising the birds. This was one of a few Falcons we saw this day. Anyhow, I had heard that the Godwits, five Bar-tailed and one Hudsonian, were seen yesterday at the Mansion, so I suggested we walk that way.
Terry took the Group Photo before we set out in a convoy of chatterboxes. Several Newbies (Colin & Stephanie, Allen B & his wife?) got grilled along the way. There was a mixed bag of DNCBers today from all over, including Langley, Surrey, Richmond, North & West Vancouver, north Delta and Vancouver, so there was continuous jabbering getting to know each other. That’s a necessary, and frankly desirable criteria of DNCB outings.
The tide was going out quickly, so I tried to go quickly. Some neat sightings in the shrubs along the way slowed our pace, but were worth it. We saw Common Yellowthroats and another unidentifiable Warbler (Orange-crowned?), both House Finches and American Goldfinches, Savannah, Song and White-crowned Sparrows, plus other common stuff (Northern Harrier, Barn Swallows, GBH’s, a huge “murmur” of Starlings). A Cooper’s Hawk sprung out of the shrubs, probably hunting the sparrows. Anne saw a small flock that looked like Least Sandpipers on the mudflats. The shorebirds were moving out with the tide, so became very difficult to see without a scope. We got to the Mansion, and there were only Mallards and Northern Shovellers in the stream. We met A Rocha’s Stan Olson and his son who were there at 6:30 am and had seen one Bar-tailed Godwit. I learned later that the other four were at Brunswick Point this day. So we enjoyed the Cedar Waxwing posing on a tree in front of the Mansion.
I had arranged earlier for White Rock Al, Ralph, Chris and Mike to bring their vehicles to 88th Street to pick up the group so we wouldn’t have to walk the 4 plus miles back to 104th. We scanned the horizon before leaving; thousands of Mallards, Northern Pintails and other duck species lined up all along the water’s edge way out. Back at 104th, it was only 10:30 am so we decided to walk south toward 112th St. The plovers were spread out and relatively close, so we put our three scopes (Jean’s, Brian’s and our Nats scope) on them and scanned. We should have done this earlier. Our Guru Anne finally interrupted her continuous morning chatfest and started to do some real birding. We found lots of Western Sandpipers among the plovers. Then, from closer looks, we saw a lighter and slightly larger Sanderling among them. Then, Anne identified a shorter billed Semipalmated Sandpiper in one group. Then there were several Baird’s Sandpipers in the area. Then we saw a mottled looking plover that was walking funny; it was a Ruddy Turnstone. Although we were blanked on the Godwits, these were very decent sightings. Some mentioned the Leader’s faux pas in walking all the way to the Mansion when we should have stayed here where the neat species were. I’ve got broad shoulders.
It was approaching Noon, so nine of us decided to have lunch at the Boundary Bay Airport restaurant. Good decision, as my Daily Special of BLT & Chicken Noodle Soup, with two pints of Canadian, hit the spot while being regaled with White Rock Al’s recanting of his conflict with a rather rude Delta or Metro Vancouver Bylaw Officer at 112th St who wanted to give him a parking ticket. Fortunately cooler heads prevailed, but the issue of “bona fide birders” being allowed to drive or park on or near the dike trail remains controversial. Nonetheless, home before 2:00 pm in time to pick up my Range Rover and its new $722 battery. it was another awesome DNCB outing.
Next Wednesday, August 30, we will leave Petra’s at 7:30 am for the always fun Iona Regional Park, expecting to be at the washroom parking lot around 8:00 am.
For more info on this and other outings, and reports and photos, check out our website. Apologies for the lateness of this report, but sometimes life gets in the way, e.g. golf, granddaughter ill at DayCare, host Gourmet Club dinner, Executive meetings for both Tsawwassen Men’s Golf Club and Delta Nats, etc. As always, your comments are welcome, and if these rambling and boring missives are annoying, let me know and I’ll remove you from my e-mail list. Cheers: Tom
Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists Society