A Short-eared Owl flying above the bay, Dunlin flock wheeling in background
Saturday was a gloriously calm, sunny day and perfect for birdwatching on Boundary Bay. Owls were present in abundance: we counted 13 Short-eareds between Beach Grove and 72 Street and also saw the first Snowy of the winter (a friend saw two out in the marsh). Huge Dunlin (sandpiper) flocks were doing their amazing aerobatics across the bay at high tide, easily avoiding the Merlin that was pestering them. As the tide fell in late afternoon, the shorebirds descended to feed on the glistening mud. Four Trumpeter Swans flew in, giving a nice contrast in size.
Along the dyke trail, we saw plenty of other birds: a highlight was two American Tree Sparrows. Song Sparrows and White-crowned Sparrows were common, there were numerous Northern Harriers, after the same prey (Townsend’s voles) as the Short-eared Owls, and the usual birds such as Northern Flickers, Great Blue Herons, American Robins, Red-winged Blackbirds, Eurasian Starlings and House Finches. A Eurasian Wigeon was hanging out with some American Wigeon in the pond, where female Shovelers and some American Coots were also feeding. Offshore, the duck flocks were typically enormous, as every waterfowl in western Canada heads to the coast for winter.
I was so taken up by looking at all this beauty, I forgot to take photos!