I’m baaaaack! About 30 participants, including ten newbies, enjoyed a sunny Wednesday morning walk on our quarterly Birds on the Bay (BOTB) outing in Boundary Bay Regional Park (BBRP). Lots of neat sightings and, of course inane chatter. Check out the brilliant photo evidence on our Flickr site at: https://www.flickr.com/search/?group_id=3027315%40N23&text=2018-50&view_all=1.
As we gathered at 9 a.m. behind historic Cammidge House (CH) for the preliminary introductions, a Cooper’s Hawk posed in a tree overlooking us. A nice start. Terry tried in vain to take one of several group photos here. We wandered along the road toward the park pond, scaring up a few Mallards in the slough. A few Bald Eagles, mature and juvenile, were roosting in the tall park trees. The pond was full, but only with Mallards and a few American Wigeons, but both Brewer’s and Red-winged Blackbirds around it gave us a bit of excitement.
At the beach, the tide was very high with no feeding shoreline available, so no shorebirds. Tonnes of waterfowl in the Bay; we got good Scope looks at Horned Grebes and Red-breasted Mergansers, and further out were large rafts of Scoters, Surf and White-winged, and American Widgeon with the occasional Eurasian among them. Further along we saw a pair of Common Goldeneye and Marti spotted a Barrow’s. Marion & Marti had also spotted a small flock of Trumpeter Swans flying over as they drove in to CH.
We took the inland trail past the concession stand in search of little birds. An Anna’s Hummingbird checked in, and some saw several Sparrow species, Fox, Golden- and White-crowned, Spotted Towhees. Perhaps the Bird of the Day was the Harris’s Sparrow among the House and Purple Finches. David & Noreen had seen a pair there earlier in the week, and we saw them a couple of times on this morning’s walk.
Jack took the traditional Group Photo at the Lookout. We had met 30 plus Metro Vancouver Parks staff on their morning “workout” and they told us of a Peregrine Falcon capturing a Dunlin. Just past the Lookout, the Falcon posed in a tree right beside the trail. Brilliant!
Continuing along toward the Pump House, the hordes of waterfowl were closer to shore; mostly Northern Pintail and a couple of Green-winged Teal and Gadwall. Then a few large flocks of Brant Geese cruised in. We searched in vain among the Gulls (mostly Glaucous-winged with some Mew and Ring-billed) on the spit for shorebirds. We saw a couple of small flocks of Sanderling go by, and then a huge swirl of Dunlin weaving back and forth along gave a few of us a nice thrill.
At the 12th Avenue Lookout, Anne found two resting Yellowlegs (Greater?) in the grass. We continued back to CH on the inland trail, showing our Tree Swallow and Barn Owl boxes to the newbies. No spectacular sightings, but did see a Northern Harrier, Northern Flicker, Robin, photogenic Great Blue Herons, more Sparrows including the Harris. Someone finally found a Marsh Wren. We got back to CH spot on 11:30 a.m., just as the predicted rain clouds began to move in.
Delta Nats Ladies Jennifer and Elizabeth met us with their array of scrumptious home-made scones and cookies (Rochelle was there earlier to set up, and Margaretha brought some goodies too). Of course, as expected the horde of starving birders wolfed down these delectables with their normal frenzy.
The 29 participants I recall included: Ten Newbies Warren, Bryan & Masae, Don, Gillian & Jim, Betty & Steve, Una & Jack, and regular DNCBers Anne, Roger, Terry, Jim, Jack, Marion, Marti, Colin, David & Noreen, Mike B2, Margaretha, Gabriele, Gerhard, Richard H, Nats Rochelle, Elizabeth, Jennifer and me.
It was a very enjoyable return to the DNCB fold for me, although the beautiful warm, sunny weather of Western Australia was tough to leave. Next Tuesday, Dec. 18, we will meet at and leave from Petra’s at 7:30 a.m. for Burnaby Mountain, expecting to meet others at the Horizon’s Restaurant around 8:30 a.m. Terry Carr and I have agreed (mostly Terry) to coordinate our Tsawwassen section of the Ladner Christmas Bird Count on Saturday, Dec. 22. We’ll meet at Petra’s at 7:30 a.m. and arrange count groups in the area; all welcome to participate.
For more info on outing reports and destinations, photos, and other good Delta Nats stuff, check out our website at www.dncb.wordpress.com. Roger and Jean’s excellent DNCB outing reports since September while I was away are well worth perusing. As always, let me know if this dribble bothers you and you want off my email list. Cheers: Tom (PS: The miniature Christmas Train Ride in Stanley Park among the Fireman brilliantly decorated trees was awesome last night with family, even in the rain)
Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists Society