Posted by: Anne Murray | August 29, 2009

Black-bellied Plovers on the bay

A stroll along Boundary Bay dyke today, from the 104th Street entrance to 96th St, revealed tens of thousands of “peeps” (small sandpipers) and hundreds of strikingly-coloured Black-bellied Plovers. Migration is in full swing for the shorebirds. The tide was just going out and the birds were all feeding on the wet mud. The distance to the tideline became greater as I headed east, and the species became difficult to distinguish with only binoculars. Luckily I encountered another birder, Roger, who shared his telescope and quickly found me 2 Red Knots, looking rather grey in their fall plumage, some Short-billed Dowitchers, and a more colourful Marbled Godwit. That one I could see with binoculars, as it stands taller than the plovers. The peeps swirled around in a big flock, perhaps spooked by a falcon though we didn’t see one. There was also a Pectoral Sandpiper, a couple of Yellowlegs and some nice little Semipalmated Plovers, that look like miniature Killdeer.  The MetroVancouver Regional Park field at the Delta Airpark had 42 Great Blue Herons standing around on it, many of them young ones, and I saw another 6 young ones near 96th St, so the herons have had a good year at this end of the bay. A Caspian Tern was diving for fish out in the water and some Ring-billed and Glaucous-winged Gulls were hanging around on the wrack line with the NW Crows.

The dyke path was fairly quiet – other than us birders, there were only a few cyclists and walkers out to enjoy the calm, late summer afternoon.

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