DNCB Outing No. 2018-07 to Drayton Harbor/Semiahmoo Spit

More photos at our DNCB Flickr site

With a beautiful, but cold morning, 11 eager birders arrived at the meeting site at the entrance to Drayton Harbor in Blaine, USA, after an easy border crossing.  We won’t mention Jean’s tardiness.  For Tom’s benefit (our absent leader) we mention those present being Mikes One and Two, Rogers One and Two, Terry, Glen, Jack, Brian, Jean, Marion and newbie Angela.  Photos will be found on our Flickr site:  www.flickr.com/groups/dncb, then click the magnifying glass icon in the “Photo Pool” row, and add 2018-07 to “flickr_search_dncb-photosDNCB Photos” in the Search box at the top of the page.

At the base of the spit we scanned the bay, where we found large numbers of Pintail, Mallards, and a large flock of Dunlin, with many more flying in followed by a hunting Merlin which perched on top of a tree for us all to get a good look.  Farther out in the bay we could see an enormous number of loons, several Black Brant, more large flocks of Scoters, gulls, etc.

From the pier at the end of the jetty, looking at hundreds of loons, we were able to put names to Pacific, Common and a few Red-throated.  The Scoters were mainly Surf and White-winged.  There were Common Goldeneye and Bufflehead.  Some of us saw a Long-tailed Duck fly by, and there were several Horned and Red-necked Grebes spotted along the way.  Jean having arrived, we found a civilian willing to take our group photo to prove to Tom that we had actually done an outing.


11 DNCB at Drayton Harbor – photo by Terry Carr

Moving on, we walked out between the boats in the marina where we had Common Goldeneye and a small group of beautiful Barrow’s Goldeneye.  A female Common Merganser, and a small number of Red-breasted ones were sighted, but no sign of the Belted Kingfisher which we had expected  to find.

Leaving the jetty, we headed for the Semiahmoo Spit, taking a brief stop at the end of the bay, where we found Lesser Yellowlegs (2), large numbers of Dunlin, more Pintail, some Bufflehead, and small numbers of Green-winged Teal (much greater numbers later on our return trip).  Moving on, we reached the parking lot at the base of the spit by the museum.  Unfortunately, we weren’t able to replicate our December sightings of Common Redpolls.

Looking out from the western shoreline, we could see more of the same species, but we also identified a single Black Scoter.  Looking south, there was a mirage-like vision of Black Brant and other birds looking like they were suspended in air… a trick of the light (hopefully our photographers will have evidence for our readers to see).  On the shore south of us there was no sign of any Roseate Spoonbills!

Crossing the road for a look along the east side of the spit, and then moving north along the shore, we found: a good look at a Red-throated Loon, Black Oystercatchers (2), Sanderling, Killdeer (2), Harlequin, Cormorants, and at least 25 Harbour Seals on the  marina floats.  We had seen in most of the locations, several Scaup, all of which appeared to be Lesser?  There were lots of gulls here, and over each of the areas, but the only identifications we made were for mostly Glaucous-winged, Mew, and Herring.  A Northern Flicker was sighted atop a tree along the way, and several Hummingbirds (probably Anna’s).

The real excitement began at the end of the spit looking back towards the Blaine side pier.  We started to pick up more Long-tailed Ducks, one flock contained seven.  We were able to sort out the loons, most of which were Pacific, many Common, and several Red-throated.  There were pockets that must have been rich with fish, as the group of Harbour Seals were very active in a confined area, and were surrounded by the loons eager to share the find.  Also, we had a good look at a group of 7 Black Scoters (Marion and Jean report seeing a group of 13 after their lunch… more than we’ve ever seen in one group before!)

The highlights of the day include the enormous numbers of loons, and the fact that, being close together, we were able to compare and contrast, enabling us to firm up our identification skills of the three species!  The sighting of the large number of Black Scoters and Long-tailed Ducks was exciting as well.  I also discovered that two of our members shared this day as their birthday (hint: their names are Mike One and Marion…)  Happy Birthday, you two!

Some members finished the day with lunch at the resort, while others of us headed for home to answer the call of various duties.

Next week our delinquent leader will have returned and will offer a more literate and interesting blog for every one’s reading pleasure.  Our outing on Tuesday Feb. 20th will be to Victoria. We will meet on the 7am ferry as foot passengers, and return on the 5pm ferry.  More details on the 2018 DNCB Outings page.

Roger One

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, Black Scoter, Drayton Harbor, Dunlin, Harbour Seal, Harlequin Duck, Herring Gull, Long-tailed Duck, Merlin, Mew Gull, Pacific Loon, Red-breasted Merganser, Red-necked Grebe, Red-throated Loon, Sanderling, Semiahmoo Spit. Bookmark the permalink.

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