DNCB Birds on the Bay Outing No. 2019-38 in Boundary Bay Regional Park

With Tom still whooping it up in Newfoundland, and Roger and Terry off gallivanting somewhere, I was designated to lead today’s quarterly Birds on the Bay walk in Boundary Bay Regional Park, meeting at 9.00 am.  We had a great group, 23 in all, including several newbies, and gorgeous calm, sunny weather, though the sky was filled with ominous looking rain clouds all around.  I started the event with strict instructions to the group to behave like serious birders: no charging off ahead disturbing everything and no engaging in long chat fests and missing the birds.  Of course, no one took the slightest notice.  However, I did try and pace the walk better than my usual slow dawdle, so we made it round the park quite punctually.  David kindly volunteered to do the eBird list (below) and took group photos.  Check out the photo evidence at our DNCB Flickr site.

Birds on the Bay gang 2019-38_DH

BOTB group at Cammidge House – photo by David Hoar

An Anna’s Hummingbird, a Northern Flicker and an American Robin got our list started near Cammidge House, followed by some fleeting views of White-crowned Sparrows in the roadside bushes, with a Western Tanager emerging for a microsecond among them.  At the pond, 5 Brewer’s Blackbirds helpfully posed behind leaves in the overhanging willow.  A few scruffy Mallard were seen here and at the pump house.  The tide was very low so it was not a good day for waterfowl or shorebirds, but we were able to scope 7 Great Blue Herons at the distant tideline among the large flocks of miscellaneous gulls (too far away even for scope ID).  We should schedule these walks for better tide conditions in future, if at all possible.

Walking north, we appreciated the new rope fencing for the sand dune area, which will benefit nesting Savannah Sparrows and Killdeer among other species.  Savannahs were spotted in the nearby bushes along this stretch of the path, as were Orange-crowned Warblers (lots of warm yellow colour, signifying the coastal subspecieslutescens) and more Anna’s Hummingbirds.  A Merlin flew north ahead of us, unhelpfully presenting only its rear view. Dead trees in the central area of the park had Northern Flicker, Downy Woodpecker, yet more Anna’s Hummingbirds and a couple of Cedar Waxwings.  We took another group photo at Ursula’s bench (in memory of long-time DNS member and gifted photographer, Ursula Easterbrook, who passed away a couple of years ago).

Grouped at Ursula's Bench BOTB 2019-38_DH

BOTB group at Ursula’s Bench – photo by David Hoar

During a lull in the birds, I pointed out some of the park’s native plants, such as big-headed sedge, silver burweed, gumweed, etc.  Spotted Towhees were heard and occasionally seen, as were Yellow-rumped Warblers and a lone Song Sparrow.  3 Barn Swallows flew over.  Northwestern Crows were ubiquitous on the beach and elsewhere.

As there have been large numbers of migrating American Pipits at other locations in Boundary Bay, we were alert to the possibility of this species and scanned the shoreline dune area carefully.  We soon spotted a group, distinguished by their walking gait and long tails edged with white.  They were not too cooperative, keeping in the lower part of the dunes and hiding behind logs.  Everyone got a good look, however, when they gradually took flight, and we counted 31 in all!

The lagoon area that is so rewarding near high tide was pretty dry and quiet.  A single Greater Yellowlegs flew over as we approached and 7 Killdeer posed nicely on the sand.  The outflow area was occupied by a several hundred Canada Geese, all talking at once.  We continued our loop back through the interior of the park, as usual strung out along the trail and animatedly chatting.  Most paused to watch a Red-tailed Hawk and a young Northern Harrier circling overhead.  Two Caspian Terns flew west.  A lone female Purple Finch was on a bare branch.  Young White-crowned Sparrows hopped off the path into the bushes.

The best was yet to come, however!  Nancy and I were conversing energetically when my arm was tugged – our lead group had walked right past a beautiful Great Horned Owl, sitting in a tree just off the trail.


Great Horned Owl (DH)

Great spot by newbie Cathy who now gets bragging rights over her sister!  After that we were able to chat our way happily back to Cammidge House arriving more or less punctually at 11:30.  As usual for the Birds on the Bay event, Elizabeth, Jennifer and Rochelle had coffee on and delicious goodies spread out for lunch. Thanks also to Margarethe who brought chips and hummus.  It was a lovely walk with good weather, great company and some neat birds.

The group today included Noreen and David, Chris, Glen, Mike B, Pam, Debbi, Pat, Jonathan and Lorraine, Val, Tony, Margaretha, Johnny Mac, Gerhard, Aussie Nance, Chief Bill and Caroline, newbies Cathy, Lindly, and Tobin.

Next week, Wednesday 18 September, we are going to Iona Regional Park.  Leave Petra’s at 7:30 am, and meet at the Iona washrooms around 8:15 am.

Report by Anne Murray for Tom Bearss, absent in Newfoundland

eBird List by David Hoar
Boundary Bay Regional Park
29 species (+1 other taxa)

Canada Goose X Several hundred
Mallard 19
Anna’s Hummingbird 5
Killdeer 7
Greater Yellowlegs 1
gull sp. X
Caspian Tern 2
Great Blue Heron 7
Northern Harrier 1
Red-tailed Hawk 1
Great Horned Owl 1
Downy Woodpecker 1
Northern Flicker 2
Merlin 1
Northwestern Crow 32
Black-capped Chickadee 6
Barn Swallow 3
American Robin 3
Cedar Waxwing 2
House Sparrow 2
American Pipit 31
Purple Finch 1
White-crowned Sparrow 10
Savannah Sparrow 15
Song Sparrow 1
Spotted Towhee 4
Brewer’s Blackbird 5
Orange-crowned Warbler 2
Yellow-rumped Warbler 5
Western Tanager 1

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, American Pipit, Birds-on-the-Bay, Boundary Bay, Caspian Tern, Cedar Waxwing, Great Horned Owl, Merlin, Purple Finch, Red-tailed Hawk. Bookmark the permalink.

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