Twenty-five folk enjoyed another beautiful Wednesday morning wandering around Boundary Bay Regional Park (BBRP) on our quarterly Birds on the Bay (BOTB) outing. The tide was high, the weather was fine, the chatfest was illuminating, and we saw a few neat birds. Check out the brilliant photo evidence on our DNCB Flickr site.
We met at and left from Cammidge House at 9:00 am. Following introductions, especially of the several Newbies and guests from Calgary, Switzerland, and North Vancouver, we walked along the driveway toward the pond in the park, escorted by a couple of Anna’s Hummingbirds. The pond was boring with only Mallards, so David took the first mandatory, but painful, Group Photo here.
It was a bit overcast when we got to the beach, and we couldn’t see Mt. Baker in the clouds, but the tide was in, which is rare for us on these outings. We expected to see Shorebirds, but I guess the tide was too high as none were there. We know that across the Bay at 104th Street there would be thousands of Plovers and Sandpipers feeding. Nonetheless, we scoped the birds in the bay and saw Common Loons, Surf and White-winged Scoters, Northern Pintails, American Wigeon and Horned Grebes. The photogenic Great Blue Herons are always popular.
Moving to the trail, there wasn’t a lot of activity in the bushes until we got near the boardwalk. A flock of Bushtits whizzed by. There were lots of small birds in the reeds, trees and bushes. With 25 folk we were spread out and having difficulty coordinating our sightings. Lots of House Finches, Savannah & Song Sparrows, Spotted Towhees, Chickadees and Robins, but most warbler sightings were unconfirmed. Some saw Yellow Warblers and Common Yellowthroats. Perhaps someone heard/saw a Marsh Wren and other usually-seen sparrow species (Fox, White- or Golden-crowned?). We witnessed Northern Flickers playing, and Cedar Waxwings posing.
Dragging folk from a Downy Woodpecker sighting, we finally got the 2nd Group Photo at the Lookout Tower. “Beady-eyed” Brewer’s Blackbirds were foraging in the sand while a few Northern Harriers gave us some excitement flying close by. A perched Cooper’s Hawk was obliging as we walked by our now empty bird nest boxes. We saw only a very few Tree and Barn Swallows hawking insects high above us.
Approaching the Pump House, the tide was going out so lots of birds were close to us, such as Green-winged Teal, Greater Yellowlegs, and several duck species that we saw earlier further out. I couldn’t find any bands on the Caspian Terns that were resting among the Ring-billed, California and Glaucous-winged Gulls (and other species?). An unusual white bird flew off; we surmised it was a Sanderling. Roger and a few others saw the Franklin’s Gull, a target bird for today. These BOTB outings are often too rushed, so some of us aren’t able to persistently pursue a bird like a patient birder normally would.
Past 11:00 am we almost raced back along the inland trail to CH. Mike B2 explained our Barn Owl Box program to a few newbies. Others enjoyed the wildflowers and bonding chatter. Earlier, we had seen Bald Eagles and Red-tailed Hawks circling above, but near CH some saw and photographed American Kestrels, which we don’t often see here. We straggled into CH just past 11:30 am, and were welcomed by the Delta Nats Ladies Rochelle and Elizabeth.
The post BOTB Banquet of home-made delights was its usual success, and not surprisingly wolfed down by the masses. Elizabeth’s shortbread & brownies, Margaretha’s plum pudding (and fresh plums), Sandra’s notorious egg salad sandwiches, and Rochelle’s breads, cheeses, fruits and flowers, were scrumptious, washed down with coffee or apple juice (no beer). We missed our “godmother” Jennifer and her scones as she is fighting a bug; we wish her a speedy recovery. Another awesome BOTB outing, and I was home in time to help with Grandparent Daycare.
The 25 were: newbie cyclist Haddie L, visitors from Switzerland David & Patty and from Calgary Tom & Isabel with their North Van friend Ruth B, 2nd time newbie Pam, hopefully new regular Neil S, regulars David & Noreen, Terry C, our Guru Anne, Roger M, our Bird Box Team of Jim K, Chris McV, Ladner Jack and Mike B2, Rochelle & Don, photog Glen B, gourmet queens Elizabeth & Margaretha, full time Delta Nats from New York, Chief Bill & Carolyn, returning home for the winter (see you next Spring), and me.
Next Wednesday, September 19, we will meet at and leave from Petra’s at 7:30 am for Iona Regional Park. We expect to be at the Iona washroom parking lot by 8:15 am.
For more info on this and other outings, reports and photos, check out our website. As always, your comments are welcome, and let me know if you want off my email list to receive these weekly meandering missives. Cheers: Tom
Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists Society