DNCB Outing No. 2020-01 to White Rock Pier & Blackie Spit Park

Seventeen brave souls spent a rainy, windy, Tuesday morning on the White Rock pier, then at Blackie Spit Park.  Despite the crappy weather there were tonnes of birds around and our photogs got some great shots which you can enjoy on our DNCB Flickr site.

Some car-pooled from Petra’s at 7:30 am and we all met at the entrance to the re-built White Rock pier around 8:15 am.  It was raining lightly, not real cold (actually approaching 10 degrees C), but the wind on the pier was horrendous.  The tide was high with no shoreline (therefore no shorebirds or dead Anchovies seen) but tonnes of birds, seals and sealions around, so the anchovies or other small fish and crabs must still be abundant.

Close to the pier were Surf and White-winged Scoters (someone saw a Black Scoter), both Common and Red-breasted Mergansers, Bufflehead, Greater Scaup, a few Common Goldeneye, Horned Grebes and at least one Red-necked, Double-crested and Brandt’s Cormorants, and many Gulls, Harbour Seals and California Sealions.  A herd of about eight sealions huddled and diving in unison was impressive.

We marched against the wind to the end of the pier where a friendly walker took our Group Photo.


DNCB at White Rock Pier – photo by David Hoar

Three Black Turnstones were wandering on the pier among the Pigeons.  Some picked out Bonaparte’s, Mew, and Ring-billed (possible Thayer’s Gull too) among the many Glaucous-winged Gulls.  The wind and waves restricted our view further out so we didn’t see any Alcids.  The walk back, with the required chatfest, was more comfortable with the wind, and “my new best friend” Colin carrying the Scope was a real blessing.

We left White Rock around 10:00 am for Blackie Spit.  Overcast, but not rainy or windy, wandering the spit and Rene Savenye park area was relatively pleasant.  And there to welcome us were the resident Long-billed Curlew and three Marbled Godwits.  And they were brilliant, posing on land and in flight.  Lots of Common Loons in the Bay and we picked out a Pacific Loon.  Surprisingly, there were very few waterfowl here, unlike the hundreds of wigeon, teal and pintails we normally see.  A couple of Greater Yellowlegs flew in to test our ID skills, but we were blanked on the other shorebird species; possibly missing because no shoreline to feed on with the high water.

In the grove of trees near the off-leash dog park, we saw most of the neat little birds, such as Anna’s Hummingbirds, both House and Purple Finches, American Goldfinches, Golden-crowned Sparrows, Northern Flickers, Spotted Towhees, Juncos, etc.  David logged 39 species on his eBird report (see below) of this morning’s outing – interestingly, no one saw a Starling.

Back at the parking lot approaching 11:30 am, we aborted the outing and nine of us decided to retire for lunch at the Ocean Park Pizza Pub on 16th Avenue.  A super decision as the lovely Ariana made us all feel comfortable, and my Welsh Meatloaf (House Specialty) with Mashed Potatoes and Green Beans, with two pints of Bavarian 1516 Lager really hit the spot.  I was home before 2:00 pm with plenty of time to prepare for the monthly Nats meeting where Jocelyn Demers screened his brilliant documentary film, The Future of Birds.  Our first 2020 DNCB outing was another gem.

Next Tuesday, January 14, we’ll leave Petra’s at 7:30 am for Burnaby Lake Park (Mandarin Duck?), meeting others at the Nature House parking lot around 8:30 am.

For more info on this outing, other events, reports and photos, check out our website.  As always, your comments are welcome, and let me know if this Mailchimp isn’t working, or you’re annoyed with receiving this weekly drivel and you want off my email list.  Happy New Year.  Cheers: Tom

Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists Society

White Rock Pier, Jan 7, 2020
27 species
Canada Goose  6
Greater Scaup  2
Surf Scoter  65
White-winged Scoter  80
Black Scoter  2
Bufflehead  12
Common Goldeneye  18
Common Merganser  75
Red-breasted Merganser  75
Horned Grebe  4
Red-necked Grebe  2
Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon)  35
Black Turnstone  4
Bonaparte’s Gull  30
Mew Gull  3
Ring-billed Gull  8
Iceland Gull (Thayer’s)  X
Glaucous-winged Gull  135
Pacific Loon  1
Common Loon  2
Brandt’s Cormorant  8
Double-crested Cormorant  50
Bald Eagle  4
Northwestern Crow  11
House Sparrow  4
Song Sparrow  2
Spotted Towhee  1
Trumpeter Swan  ~2

Blackie Spit (Incl. Dunsmuir Farm & Nicomekl estuary), Jan 7, 2020AM
26 species
Surf Scoter  4
White-winged Scoter  5
Bufflehead  2
Common Goldeneye  2
Red-breasted Merganser  3
Horned Grebe  2
Red-necked Grebe  2
Anna’s Hummingbird  7
Long-billed Curlew  1
Marbled Godwit  3
Greater Yellowlegs  1
Ring-billed Gull  2
Glaucous-winged Gull  6
Pacific Loon  1
Common Loon  18
Great Blue Heron  10
Bald Eagle  3
Northern Flicker  4
Northwestern Crow  32
Black-capped Chickadee  10
House Finch  3
Purple Finch  2
American Goldfinch  2
Dark-eyed Junco  10
Song Sparrow  2
Spotted Towhee  4

Total 39 Species for 2020-01

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, Bald Eagle, Black Scoter, Black Turnstone, Blackie Spit, Bonaparte's Gull, Brandt's Cormorant, California Sea Lion, Harbour Seal, Long-billed Curlew, Marbled Godwit, Mew Gull, Pacific Loon, Purple Finch, Red-breasted Merganser, Red-necked Grebe, Thayer's Gull, White Rock Pier. Bookmark the permalink.

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