Blog: Delta birders explore White Rock and Blackie Spit Park

Delta BC

Twenty DNCBer’s broke in the New Year with our first chilly but dry Tuesday morning outing to White Rock and Blackie Spit Park. It was a particularly good birdy morning with lots of neat sightings that you can enjoy by clicking on our Flickr site at: https://www.flickr.com/search/?group_id=3027315%40N23&text=2019-01&view_all=1.

 

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Some left Petra’s at 7:30 a.m. and we all met around 8 a.m. at the Museum on the White Rock boardwalk near the storm-devastated historic pier. Of course, construction fences blocked access to the pier, but we were able to walk along the railroad walkway and see the pelagic birds close to shore as the tide was high. Sightings included: several rafts of Surf and White-winged Scoters (No Black Scoters found today), Common Goldeneye and Terry got a shot of a Barrow’s Goldeneye; Common Loons and Anne saw a Red-throated Loon and others saw a Pacific Loon; Buffleheads, Horned Grebes, Red-breasted Mergansers (Marti and Marion saw a Common Merg) and a few pairs of Long-tailed Ducks; Double-crested Cormorants and common Canada Geese, Mallards and American Wigeon there too. It was kind of weird watching the trains going right by us toward the USA border, first the AMTRAK Cascades passenger train, then a long empty Coal train, then a tanker, lumber and container train. A jogger told me that 26 trains go by daily. We left the boardwalk around 9 a.m. and drove to Crescent Beach and Blackie Spit Park.

 

Cape May Warbler
Cape May Warbler - David Hoar

 

Noreen took the Group Photo in front of the Blackie Spit Park sign. We walked toward the spit and there was very little on the beach side but lots of ducks on the Nicomekl River side. Northern Pintails, Green-winged Teal, American and several Eurasian Wigeons (We even got good at identifying female Eurasian Wigeons). More Cormorants, Common Loons, Horned Grebes were diving in the river. Then a huge aerial display emerged at the spit. Ten thousand Dunlin (I counted them, but if someone said 60,000 I’d believe them) were weaving back and forth above the water in their always spectacular display. When they landed and huddled it created a beautiful carpet covering the spit.

 

We continued our walk back from the spit toward Savenye Trail. We got Greater Yellowlegs in the scope, then we identified three reddish-brown “clumps” as the two Marbled Godwits and Long-billed Curlew, our Target Birds for here. We got different views of these sleeping birds, although they never showed their bills. Small birds got our attention; both Red and Golden-crowned Kinglets were seen flitting low among the bushes. Some saw Anna’s Hummingbirds, and other commonly-seen sparrow species, Northern Flickers, lots of Bald Eagles, etc. We have an e-Bird List which you can now see at DNCBlist (David Hoar is our eBird Guru; we had 30+ species today).

 

Gareth led us through the woods to the Crescent Beach pier where we saw more of the afore-mentioned diving ducks, and more wigeons. Back at the parking lot, and approaching noon, eleven of us decided to go to the Ocean Park Pizza Pub at 16th & 128th. Some had pizza, but I had their weekly special of Roast Beef & Yorkshire Pudding with a Salad and Annie’s chips, plus two sleeves of Okanagan Springs 1516 Lager. It was scrumptious and a fitting end to a glorious beginning to our 2019 DNCB outings.

 

Next Tuesday, Jan. 15, we will leave Petra’s at 7:30 a.m. for Serpentine Fen, meeting near the barn at 8 a.m. (Park at Art Knapp’s or near the barn). Check out our website for info on this and other outings at www.dncb.wordpress.com. As always, if these weekly missives of my unabashed drivel annoy you, let me know and I’ll remove you from my email list. Cheers: Tom

 

Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists Society.

 

We 20 DNCBers were: Mexico-bound Roger M & Mikie B, Guru Anne & Organizer Terry C, eBird experts David, Noreen and Richmond Brian, Marion & Marti, Photog Pat S, local experts Gareth P, Colin & Stephanie & Warren, Owler Mike B2, new member Richmond Angela A, always-happy & “timely” Margaretha, Ladner Bryan & Masae and me.        

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