NAPTON ON THE HILL WEATHER

Monday, March 21, 2011

100 Up!

Red Throated Loon (Library Picture)
The first day of spring and the rain returned to Vancouver overnight after a very spring like weekend.

Notwithstanding, I met Rob at Bridgeport Station, around 20 minutes out of Vancouver, for another days birding near the Canadian U.S. border, a further 40 minutes by bus. This time the plan was to try Crescent Beach and Blackie Spit in the hope of more spring arrivals.

Blackie Spit is renowned as one of the best bird watching areas in Canada with almost 200 species of birds recorded in a calendar year. The park is managed as a wildlife conservation area and habitat enhancement activities are ongoing throughout the park.

The sand bars are a favourite resting place for Harbour Seals and their pups. The sandy spit, surrounded by tidal marsh and eelgrass beds, is an important stop for migrating and wintering waterfowl and shorebirds, as they make their way up and down the coastline of North and South America.

Before trying Blackie Spit we spent a good 90 minutes at White Rock Pier surveying the surrounding shore, and although raining constantly we managed good numbers of Common Loon, White Winged Scoter, 8 Long Tailed Duck, 15 Red Necked Grebe, and 11 Horned (Slavonian) Grebe, the latter another addition to my current visitors list.

Marbled Godwit (Library Image)
When we arrived at Blackie Spit the rain was falling heavier than ever and visibility wasn't too good for birding, but we continued on and were happy with the results. Despite the tide not working in our favour, it was ebbing when we arrived, we managed several notable species. Common Loon were in excellent numbers and amongst the many we were able to pick out Red-throated, another addition to my numbers. Rob had his first Belted Kingfisher of the year and I recorded my first ever Marbled Godwit for Canada, which was wading quite close in, accompanied by a lone Greater Yellowlegs.

A walk around the surrounding scrub areas provided us with an excellent view of Anna'a Hummingbird, which was looking quite forlorn perched in the pouring rain, and my 100th species for this visit as a group of American Goldfinch were seen feeding in the Alder. An excellent days birding despite the weather, and we eventually cut short our day due to the deteriorating conditions, and with little chance of any photography I've used library images for the day.