DNCB Outing No. 2019-41 to White Rock Pier & Blackie Spit Park

Thirty-two DNCBers joined part or all of our Tuesday morning outing to the White Rock pier then Blackie Spit Park in South Surrey.  We saw lots of neat stuff, including rarities, and you can see the incredible photo evidence on our DNCB Flickr site.

Some car-pooled from Petra’s at 7:30 am and we all met at the entrance to the “new” White Rock pier around 8:00 am.  The rising sun made the area very picturesque for our photogs, and it was a bit chilly (15 degrees) but comfy.  We walked the pier and got mandatory Group Photos at both ends.

2019-41_WR Pier_DH

DNCB at White Rock Pier – photo by David Hoar

2019-41 DNCB at the end of WR Pier_DH

DNCB at South end of WR Pier – photo by David Hoar:  “I’ve looked at Piers from both sides now…”

The tide was high and there were rafts of Surf Scoters close by, along with Common Loons, both Red-necked and Horned Grebes (Western Grebes in the distance), Pelagic and Double-crested Cormorants, a few White-winged Scoters, but we were blanked on Black Scoters and Eared Grebes.  The resident flock of Black Turnstones made a guest appearance on the stone breakwall during one of the many bonding chatfests that occurred throughout the morning.  We had several newbies, visitors and “occasionals” with us this morning, including locals from White Rock.

As we waited for a train to pass, a Savannah Sparrow posed on the rocky shoreline below the pier entrance sign (is it really the Longest Pier in Canada?)  Some walked the promenade to the promenade end (Bayview Park), passing the Museum and Friends of Semiahmoo Bay Marg’s Native Plant Demonstration Garden.  We mistakenly thought there were Black Scoters here.  Unidentified warblers were in the bushes.  We drove on in many vehicles to Blackie Spit Park.

Blackie Spit did not disappoint us.  The wintering resident Long-billed Curlew and a Marbled Godwit, our Target Birds, were feeding along the Nicomekl River shore, with Green-winged Teal, Northern Pintail and American Wigeon.  Savannah Sparrows were flitting, and bathing, but we didn’t see any Western Meadowlarks (seen on weekend).  Across the river, a hundred Harbour Seals were lounging, as were flocks of Gulls (Glaucous-winged, Ring-billed, California, Mew, Western, etc.) and Caspian Terns.

At the end of the Spit, it was interesting to watch the dynamics of this huge group of DNCB birders.  Many were flocked together in small groups on the sandy shore, gazing periodically out onto the water.  Their mouths were flapping continuously; occasionally smiling and laughing.  There wasn’t a bird anywhere in sight, but they were having a ball.

We left the Spit toward the Rene Savenye area.  A dozen or more Steller’s Jays were gathering acorns from a single tree.  Northern Flickers were noisy, and Terry got a photo of an uncommon (here) yellow-shafted species, normally only found east of the Rockies.  Many Yellowlegs (30+) were in the river bed and we got great looks, and photos, of a Greater and Lesser feeding beside each other.  Lots of little birds were flitting in the bushes, including warblers, but we could only confirm Orange-crowned and Yellow-rumped, and Purple Finches, Anna’s Hummingbirds, both Black-capped & Chestnut-backed Chickadees, White-crowned Sparrows, Dark-eyed Juncos, and Cedar Waxwings.  Jean identified a Pine Siskin that I saw.  Our eBirder David recorded 42 species seen today at the three locations (see below).

Approaching Noon and, since I’d lost track of the whereabouts of most participants, a few of us (10, see Tony’s photo) decided to go for lunch at our regular South Surrey spot, the Town Hall Pub.  The very pleasant and colourful Maegan served us and, although my Cottage Pie was just okay, the two pints of House Lager (Red Truck) along with Glen’s Pork Ribs, Mike’s Fries and David’s “almost” Calamari were delightful.  I was home before 2:30 pm, in time to rest and prepare for Tuesday night’s Nats meeting.  Another super DNCB outing.

The 32 were: Organizer Terry and Wandering Roger, PB Lorna, Roger Two, Glen B, our Indian Land Baron (ILB) Tony, back in the fold Jonathan & Lorraine, visiting Torontonian Brian R and his newbie friend Cindy C, sisters Pat & Maureen, Jean G, Marion & Kirsten, our Guru Anne, eBirder David w/o Noreen, my private fisherman Richmond Brian & Louise, Collin w/o Stephanie; affable White Rock magnate FOSB’s Marg C & David, newbie White Rocker Mahara S, sophomore Lindly L, VanCity Lidia, our lovable Germanics Margaretha & Gabriele, “occasional” Langley Joanne, Chris McV, Debbi H w/o Kathryn, Mike B and me.

Next Tuesday, October 8, we’ll leave Petra’s at 7:30 am for the Brunswick Point trail.  We should be at the River Road entrance before 8:00 am, depending on our route to get there.

For more info on our outings, and other events, reports and photos, check our website.

A reminder that the BC Nature FGM starts Thursday, Oct. 3 to the 6th at Pitt Meadows Golf Course and, Delta Nats is a co-sponsor of the 100 Debates on Climate Change on October 10 at Kin Village, with all Delta Candidates for election in the federal election on October 21 participating.  All welcome at these events.


As always, your comments are encouraged, and let me know if this weekly drivel bothers you and you want to be removed from my email list.  Cheers: Tom

Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists Society

White Rock Pier 1-Oct-2019
13 species (+1 other taxa)
Canada Goose 42
American Wigeon 15
Surf Scoter 32
White-winged Scoter 3
Red-necked Grebe 2
Western Grebe 5
Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon) 26
Black Turnstone 9
Mew Gull 2
Glaucous-winged Gull 12
gull sp. 44
Common Loon 5
Great Blue Heron 1
Savannah Sparrow 1

Bayview Park, White Rock
11 species
Canada Goose 8
Surf Scoter 55
White-winged Scoter 5
Horned Grebe 12
Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon) 15
Mew Gull 1
Ring-billed Gull 2
Glaucous-winged Gull 12
Steller’s Jay 1
Northwestern Crow 7
Song Sparrow 1

Blackie Spit (Incl. Dunsmuir Farm & Nicomekl estuary)
36 species (+3 other taxa)
American Wigeon 53
Mallard 7
Northern Pintail 4
Green-winged Teal 11
Horned Grebe 1
Red-necked Grebe 4
Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon) 7
Anna’s Hummingbird 2
Killdeer 2
Long-billed Curlew 1
Marbled Godwit 1
Greater Yellowlegs 42
Lesser Yellowlegs 1
Ring-billed Gull 9
California Gull 3
Common Loon 10
Double-crested Cormorant 3
cormorant sp. 1
Great Blue Heron 32
Northern Flicker 7
Northern Flicker (Yellow-shafted x Red-shafted) 1
Steller’s Jay 7
Northwestern Crow 6
Black-capped Chickadee 5
Chestnut-backed Chickadee 2
Bushtit 10
European Starling 1
American Robin 22
Cedar Waxwing 12
Purple Finch 2
Pine Siskin 1
Dark-eyed Junco 8
White-crowned Sparrow 6
Savannah Sparrow 7
Song Sparrow 2
Spotted Towhee 3
Orange-crowned Warbler 1
Yellow-rumped Warbler 1
passerine sp. 1

Total 42 Species

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, Black Turnstone, Blackie Spit, California Gull, Caspian Tern, Cedar Waxwing, Harbour Seal, Long-billed Curlew, Marbled Godwit, Mew Gull, Orange-crowned Warbler, Pelagic Cormorant, Purple Finch, Red-necked Grebe, Western Gull, White Rock Pier, Yellow-rumped Warbler. Bookmark the permalink.

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