Twelve DNCBers saw a lot of neat birds in relatively miserable weather on our Tuesday outing to Blaine and Semiahmoo State Park in Washington, USA. Check out the photo evidence on our Flickr site. Also, you can see Colin’s list of sightings on our eBird DNCBlist.
Some left Petra’s at 7:30 a.m. and all 12 of us eventually met at the Semiahmoo Bay Lookout, just passed the Fish Plant at the end of Marine Drive, at about 8:45 a.m. The border was smooth sailing and we had about six vehicles so poor car-pooling. Before meeting at the Lookout, some of us checked out the marina; very quiet with only a pair of Barrow’s Goldeneye and Glen’s photogenic Great Blue Heron. We blanked on Eared Grebes this day, occasionally seen here.
At the lookout were lots of Pelagic and Double-crested Cormorants, Harbour Seals, Horned Grebes and Common Loons close by. The channel was very busy with several boats passing by, loaded with Crab Traps, forcing the rafts of birds further out. Fortunately we had several good scopes. Other sightings here included: Red-throated Loons, Red-necked Grebes, Red-breasted Mergansers, Common Goldeneye, Long-tailed Ducks, Surf and White-winged Scoters, Bufflehead, and Brant Geese. Some saw Pacific Loons, and Mike B2 spotted Sealions lounging on the dock on the other side.
It was still dry, cool and overcast when we left the Lookout and drove through Blaine and around Drayton Harbour to Drayton Road. We stopped at Hillsdale where Colin spotted two weird geese with a Canada Goose; probably domestic hybrids. Green-winged Teal here too, There were tonnes of waterfowl in Drayton Harbour as we drove along to the Semiahmoo Park Museum parking lot where we finally all met again. It was a wayward, divergent group of drivers with us today.
The boardwalks were closed because of damage from last week’s storms, but we got to the shores on both sides of the Spit via side trails. On the Bay side were more of the earlier seen duck species plus a flock of Black Turnstones. On the Harbour side was a flock of Sanderling feeding along the shoreline with three Killdeer. We got good looks here at both Common and Red-throated Loons. It seemed to be getting colder here so I had to put on my new Christmas Fur Trapper Hat.
We continued on to the Semiahmoo Marina where we were entertained with Margaretha’s Muffins and a Belted Kingfisher. Then we walked the path back along the harbour. Both Lesser and Greater Scaup were in the marina, Black Oystercatchers and a Greater Yellowlegs on the shore, and a group of Ruddy Ducks was finally found huddled together among the many Scoters. A few gorgeous Harlequin Ducks were also posing nicely near shore. I felt like the inimitable Roger as I was the only one to see a Canvasback when I split from the group for a short spell.
We all met up again at the Marina and most went to the Resort parking lot. This Lookout was partially closed too as repairs were being made to the pylons, with divers. From the Lookout, we were surprised by a raft of Black Scoters sort of circling right in front of us. For Syd it was a Lifer sighting. Anne saw them “displaying.” We got better looks at Long-tails and Red-breasted Mergansers here too.
It was pissing down rain by now, very uncomfortable, so we entered the Resort for lunch. It was only 11:30 a.m., and the bonding was almost bearable as we waited for the noon opening for food (fortunately for some, beverages were served earlier). My fish & chips and two Aslan lagers were delicious, but some were not pleased with the 18 per cent group surcharge. However, the venue and view in this restaurant is worth it. Drive home in the rain, snow on White Rock hill, was smooth and I was home by 1:30 p.m., in time to pick up grandson Thomas at daycare, vacuum the house, chair a Nats executive meeting, and then pick up son Scott and his family at airport, returning from their holiday in Palm Springs. Just another awesome DNCB day.
Next Tuesday, Feb. 26, we are scheduled to board the 7 a.m. Ferry to Swartz Bay for our outing to Victoria. Check our website at www.dncb.wordpress.com for more info on this outing, as well as for other DNS info, reports and photos. As always, your comments are welcome. Cheers: Tom
Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists Society