Thursday, September 10, 2009

Birding @ Mud Bay

On this day, my birdwatching partner (Robbie) and I decided to rise early and head out to Mud Bay and the East Delta Dyke Trail. Check out the map of the Mud Bay area HERE

Last Sunday, we searched for birds on the adjacent shore @ Blackie Spit but found ourselves peering through binoculars, across Mud Bay, to where flocks of Caspian Terns and Gulls had gathered. See the Blackie Spit blog post from Sunday HERE

It was a day not unlike Sunday; cold and rainy. It was pouring, in fact. Robbie arrived from Mission shortly before 8AM and we immediately drove to Mud Bay, parked the car, and walked a short distance to the East Delta Dyke Trail. The trail, itself, encircles the shores of Boundary Bay from Mud Bay Park in Surrey to Beach Grove in Tsawwassen -- an 18km walk. To see an earlier post from my trip to Boundary Bay, Tsawwassen, go HERE

We saw many Great Blue Herons at this location, as well as Ring-Billed Gulls.

I found this area much more difficult to bird because of its sheer size. Most of the shoreline is well behind Boundary Conservation Markers so it was difficult to get a shot, when it wasn't raining cats and dogs.

About a .5 mile in, I followed a pathway to the shoreline where I stood, in the rain, for quite a while watching Sandpipers and Mallard ducks in the distance.

After a couple of hours, Robbie and I started back to the parking lot feeling deflated and disappointed. We were discussing how, not just 3 days ago, that very shoreline was full with hungry shorebirds...and today, there was nothing. This place was suppose to be a designated IBA (Important Bird Area) for Migratory Birds. We joked that they were all across the shore @ Blackie Spit. Sadly, that joke wasn't funny.

We were only a short distance away from the lot when we both noticed something darting out of the grass and onto the path in front of us -- a single Western Sandpiper. Oddly, it was meandering further and further away from the shoreline and appeared to be disinterested in flying. He occasionally flapped his wings but, for some reason, was unable to take flight. He did keep a safe distance in front of us, however. I likened him to a little wind-up toy, tinkering from one side of the path to another.

Was this little Sandpiper lost, or was he placed here to make sure we didn't give up our on-going search for more shorebirds? I'd like to think it was a little of both.

It's because of little moments like these...that we keep searching...

For more information about the birds on the Bay, visit The Birds on the Bay website


  1. I love the shot you got of the heron in flight!!! Beautiful.

  2. Glad you got at least one peep out of a rainy day


  3. I've only ever seen Sandpipers in groups. Glad to have found you so I know where to go on birding field trips! I live in Delta so I'm close to lots of great places.