Autumn at Blackie Spit

An autumn morning on the path at Blackie Spit in Delta, BC.
The sun rises on a chilly autumn morning at Blackie Spit in Surrey, BC.

This weekend I visited Blackie Spit Park, located on the eastern shore of Boundary Bay, a vital stop-over location for migratory birds along the Pacific flyway.

I got there shortly after sunrise, not dressed particularly well for the temperature. But once I get focused on finding birds I barely notice how cold it is — and I always remind myself that the birds I’m watching have been outside all night with only their feathers to keep them warm.

A Common Loon

Fall migration is in full swing right now — perhaps you’ve seen lines of Snow Geese flying overhead, or spotted lots more ducks than usual around (and not just Mallards). Millions of birds are flying from their summer grounds in the Arctic to their wintering grounds that range across North America down to Patagonia in South America.

Wetlands, mudflats and salt-marshes are especially important habitats for many birds, and their destruction is in large part responsible for the almost unfathomable loss of three billion birds in the last fifty years. Protecting these vital environments needs to be a priority if we hope to stave off even worse declines in the future. If you’ve got a little extra money, please consider donating to The Friends of Semiahmoo Bay Society who are working hard to protect and restore Boundary Bay and the Fraser River delta.

A Long-billed Curlew in the gold morning sunlight.

Apart from hundreds of ducks and the usual suspects, I had the luck of spotting two lifers (a birding term for the first time you see a species of bird). A Long-billed Curlew and two Marbled Godwits. Neither are rare, but I’ve never spotted either before.

A Greater Yellowlegs

There were also a few Greater Yellowlegs around, including this one that I was able to get much closer to than the Curlew.

And to end, here’s a Ring-billed Gull in flight I captured shortly before leaving.

A Ring-billed Gull in flight

For more photos, please take a peek at my flicker account.