Only six DNCBers spent a cool Tuesday on the ferry and wandering the seawall and parks of Victoria. Check out Terry’s beautiful photo evidence on our Flickr site at: https://www.flickr.com/search/?group_id=3027315%40N23&text=2018-08&view_all=1.
Five of us (Terry, SLB Syd & Viviane, Mike B1 and me; we met Van City Lidia in Victoria) met in the dark on the 7 a.m. ferry to Swartz Bay. Still half price ($8:35) but going to ree in April for Seniors, we think. Some of us had the renowned White Spot breakfast on board, while Terry caught the gorgeous sunrise over Mt. Baker (see photos). No rarities seen today; lots of gulls and cormorants seen from the side deck (Front deck was closed due to possible slipping on ice; it was cold). We tried in vain to pick out Brandt Cormorants among the many Pelagic and Double-crested. Among the thousands of gulls in Active Pass, we identified Mew and Glaucous-winged, and I’m sure there were Bonapartes too. A few Pigeon Guillemots were near to where they nest on Galiano Island.
At Swartz Bay we loaded onto the top of the Double Decker Bus ($5 for all-day transit). It was a very pleasant drive through Sydney and downtown Victoria to the Parliament Buildings, although different from our normally later trips here as the trees and flowers were not in full bloom. Lidia met us at the Parliament Buildings; lots of folk hanging around as it was Budget Day. It was almost 10 a.m. when we started our walk along the harbour front toward Ogden Point.
Victoria Harbour is a beautiful setting; among the yachts were several Hooded Mergansers, the resident Belted Kingfisher, and a few Common Mergansers resting on rocks. Both ferries to the USA, the ancient Coho and the Clipper were there. Interestingly, as the Clipper pulled into the harbour, Mike said it was it’s final run. We also saw the new colourful “Luxury” V2V Catamaran ferry training for it’s new service between Victoria and Vancouver. It’s always an interesting walk along the seawall here seeing the magical float homes at Fisherman’s Wharf, water taxis and Mike’s Condo. Not many birds seen though as we reached the long break wall at Ogden’s Point around 11 a.m. Although windy, the walk along the newly-protected breakwall produced some neat sightings. Lots of Harlequin Ducks, Bufflehead, Surf Scoters, Pigeon Guillemots, both Horned and Red-necked Grebes, Red-breasted Mergansers and a brilliant red Starfish. Two Black Oystercatchers followed along with us on the inner harbour side of the walk. A pleasant Walker took our group photo at the Point as my hockey mate Kevin P. flew his Helijet Helicopter overhead into the heliport.
Now noon, we dined at the Breakwater Restaurant (formerly Ogden Point Café). I wimped out with the delicious soup and salad special and a coffee (Have I mentioned that it was cold?). Fortunately, SLB Syd carried on the DNCB tradition, and had an IPA Lager. After lunch, we continued our walk along the seawall toward Clover Point Park. It’s a pleasant walk too; we several Hummingbirds, regular little sparrows and finches, and more of the previously mentioned seabirds seen in the bay. A Bald Eagle perched on top of a Totem Pole at Mile Zero was striking. About here, Mike, who had left us earlier to check on his condo, picked us all up (yes six in his Toyota) and drove us to Clover Point. We hope to see Heermann’s Gulls and Brant Geese here, but didn’t, so he drove us back to the Beacon Hill Park entrance.
Approaching 2:30 p.m., we were pressed for time so we sort of raced through the park. The best sighting was a couple of Anna’s Hummingbirds, and Viviane found the nest where the female, we suppose, was sitting on eggs (early, but not unusual). The Peacocks were in full form, and the huge flocks of Mallards and Wigeons were being well fed by visitors. The Heronry was empty, but several Rhododendrons were in bloom (see Terry’s photo). We cut through the museum and got to the Bus Stop in time for our 3:39 departure to Swartz Bay. Syd’s snoring didn’t bother us at all on the ride to the ferry.
The Ferry ride to Tsawwassen was fairly uneventful. It was cold and windy on the deck; we saw many of the same species before warming up inside. The ferry was packed; unfortunately Lidia who had driven to Victoria, missed the 5 p.m. sailing. Only Terry had the buffet and Mike and I sponged Syd and Viviane’s ice cream. We landed at Tsawwassen on time at 6:40 p.m. and Syd and I got to my house in time for our 7:30 p.m. DNS Executive Meeting. Although not as warm and exciting as our usual Victoria outings, this one was still very enjoyable with some hard core and very compatible DNCBers.
As always, your comments are welcome, check out our website at: www.dncb.wordpress.com for more info, reports and photos, and let me know if this drivel annoys you and you want off my email list. Cheers: Tom
Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists Society