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Saturday, March 19, 2011

Different Kind Of day!

Black Turnstone Takes Flight
Just like in the U.K. the spring migration is well underway here in Canada too. With this in mind I hooked up once again with Rob Catchpole for a days birding with a difference. We arrived at the Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal around 9.30am in the hope of catching a few early migrants in or around this deep water terminal.

The Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal is a major transportation facility in Delta, British Columbia. It is located on a 2 mile man-made causeway off the mainland at Tsawwassen, and is less than 550 yds from the 49th parallel, Canada's border with the United States.

With a strong easterly wind hammering the terminal we battled away for around an hour, much to the surprise of the many passengers setting off for the weekend to Victoria. This was hopefully a good opportunity to increase my Gull count but unfortunately the only additions were a Thayer's and California, the majority being Mew, Herring, and Glaucous Winged.

Brant Geese
The surrounding waters provided better results with large flocks of Brant Geese, plus among the many Scaup, Common Loons and Common Goldeneye a lone Red Necked Grebe, another welcome first for this visit.

After battling the wind for long enough we decided to take shelter and so took the 2 mile walk back across the causeway. The walk provided the first Waders of the day, firstly Black Oystercatcher, and then some 20 or so Black Turnstone (pictured above), their appearance is striking in flight, with white patches on the back, wings and tail, these birds are also high Arctic breeders and were definitely flighty and on the move.

Our next stop was Boundary Bay Regional Park a short distance away, renown for having Canada's largest population of wintering birds of prey. I can tell from today, having seen over 15 Northern Harrier, 12 Bald Eagle, Coopers Hawk, Red Tailed Hawk and Rough Legged Hawk, that the reputation is sound!

The bay also provided further additions to my birding day with Ring Billed Gull, Greater Yellowlegs, Pacific Loon and  2 Northern Shrike, a Virginia Rail was also heard but not see. Another wonderful day out, adding fifteen new species to my current visit list, which also included a small flock of Brewer's Blackbird seen while waiting for the bus back to Vancouver.