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Nature Notes: Coffee with winter birds

Coffee time and birding in Delta can be a spectacular West Coast adventure.

My favourite local coffee place is Beach Grove Cafe, run by a three-generation family!

Birds are constantly flying over it from Southlands farm fields, the adjacent Beach Grove Golf Course and Salish Sea waters to Boundary Bay Regional Park.

This park is an ebird “orange hotspot” citing 221 bird species in three main habitats: ocean and shoreline; saltwater cattail marsh and old-field meadows. Species like Snow Geese, Brant, Fox Sparrows and Sanderling winter here. No need to walk anywhere; just sit back and enjoy the morning sky, whisper of wings and chorus of song. Home feeders nearby attract Chickadees, Finches, Sparrows and Anna’s Hummingbirds.

Near Nat’s Coffee shop at the Tsawwassen Springs Golf Course, freshwater ponds support Red-winged Blackbirds, Ring-necked Ducks and Great Blue Heron. Elusive Wilson’s Snipe sometimes feed along the fairway edges. Bald Eagles soar by and American Coots grunt away in murky sloughs while Hooded Mergansers dive for freshwater fish.

The Kings Links by the Sea golf course restaurant offers beautiful, panoramic views of Mount Baker and Boundary Bay tidal flats where clouds of overwintering Dunlin fly in unison like an aerobatic Snowbird airplane display.

In December, a stunning Mountain Bluebird, a winter rarity, spent weeks catching insects at Kings Links. Western Meadowlarks forage in grasses there while Short-eared Owls (here from the Arctic) float over greens searching for rodents. They need to find food for winter survival before heading north to raise a family. Wild birds require green habitats and waterways to provide fish, insects, rodents, seeds and berries.

Coffee time and birding in Delta can be a spectacular West Coast adventure. We are lucky to live in an area that has the greatest diversity of wintering avian life in the country, especially birds of prey. 

Editor’s note: Nature Notes is a monthly column presented by the Delta Naturalists and their community partners. For info on monthly meetings and more see: and