Monday, September 21, 2009

Last Day of Summer: Celebrating Shorelines

What better way to spend the last day of Summer than celebrating our local shorelines! In my case, I decided to start with Blackie Spit, at Crescent Beach (In South Surrey).

I awoke before sunrise and quickly packed up all my gear for the day. I was out the door before 7AM, heading South to Crescent Beach, stopping briefly for an XL Double Double at my local Tim Horton's.

As I was winding through the final stretch to Crescent Beach, I noticed a number of movie location signs nailed to telephone poles and sign posts. Oddly, the signs were pointing towards Blackie Spit. As I pulled up , I was stopped by security at the gate. I explained to a burly female guard that I was planning on photographing shorebirds today; pointing to the distant shoreline. She reluctantly let me through, after I assured her I wasn't there to stalk movie stars (unless it was Robert Pattinson...then all bets were off - LOL)

I parked, grabbed my gear, and headed for the shore. I was about midway to the spit when I noticed footsteps behind me. I turned to see a security guard standing on the path, watching me. "Gahh, this is going to be fun", I thought to myself.
I walked to the peak of Blackie Spit and peered through my binoculars. Soon, the security guard was a distant memory. I stood for a while, scanning the Bay when I heard the first huge fish jump...and then another....and then another. They were leaping right out of the water. While I was waiting for the next fish to jump, I noticed something moving in the water and then quickly disappear below the surface. I waited for a moment...and then SPROING! Up came a Common Loon:

While I was photographing this Loon, I noticed soft chirping nearby. Finally, I spotted the source. It was a very chubby Semipalmated Sandpiper:

Similar to my last visit to the Spit, I noticed a lot of activity on the adjacent shore. I was shocked when I looked through my binoculars to find a flock of Great Blue Herons in the distance. There were so many so I decided to count them - 26 in total, including 4 on the Blackie Spit side, perched on posts near the old wooden railway tracks. In this shot of the adjacent shore, you can see 14. Note to self: Get a better camera AND a scope!

Since my camera is rather low in the magnification department, I did what every normal person would do. I high-tailed it to the adjacent shore, in an effort to get a closer look at the "herd".

In less than 30 minutes, I was parking my car at the foot of the East Delta Dyke Trail at Mud Bay. I quickly ran up the trail to the crest, with binoculars in hand. In this shot, you can see Blackie Spit (and the movie trailers) on the adjacent shore, along with a Great Blue Heron, preening.

I walked for quite a while along the East Delta Dyke Trail, walking out to the shoreline once I had passed the Wildlife Boundary Marker.

It was so peaceful, with lots of shorebird activity...until...the Amtrak passenger train rolled through. My "mellow had been harshed". Birds flew off and I was left there, alone, on a cold rock. It was time to go.

On my way back to the car, I noticed this lonely Bull Thistle buzzing with fat bumblebees. This one fuzzy bumblebee was nestled in, enjoying his breakfast. Soon, this Bull Thistle will melt into the landscape as the colder months approach.

I was almost at the car when I noticed a mass atop a nearby power pole. I went over to investigate. Perched, was a gorgeous Red-Tailed Hawk, scanning the field for a snack.

So, all in all, it was an exceptional morning. I think every morning should start this way!


  1. Awesome, awesome awesome!!!!!!!!!

  2. Hey! I really enjoyed your post! Great photos and diary of your trip! I wish I had as great a camera as you do!! Grass is always greener, I guess...LOL. I am doing a watercolor pencil painting of a Semipalmated Sandpiper that I caught a photo of here in Kansas.

  3. Outstanding!! I love that you got out to Blackie's Spit.

  4. Looks like a great morning! That sandpiper looked well fed. I love herons, how cool to see so many. I am usually happy to see one or two around here. They are common here but no place I know here attracts all that many. I need to go do a birding morning again soon.

  5. Great birding..But no movie stars? at least they let you go through...all those

  6. lovely way to spend the last day of summer. Beautiful pictures

  7. Hi Kim

    Such a great title for your blog. The last day of summer! It came down very well and it got 239 clicks from the Birdbloggers tweet club. Hope you want to take part in the next issue.Just leave your post in the comment section of tweetclub #006.