Young Birders Christmas Bird Count 2019 at Boundary Bay!

Young Birders at Boundary Bay on the CBC4KIDS - Photo: Melissa Hafting

We had a great Christmas Bird Count for Youth (aka CBC4KIDS) today!. We had 11 participants and we started off at the Boundary Bay Dyke at the foot of 72nd St in Delta. The Short-eared Owls were flying around with Northern Harriers that got the teens excited. They posed well for us. We saw Wilson's Snipe and a Peregrine Falcon for highlights as we walked to the mansion at 64th St. We looked for Long-eared and Snowy Owls but came up empty. Lots of Green-winged Teals, Northern Shovelers, Northern Pintails and Gadwalls were about and many Bald Eagles and a few Common Ravens. At the pond a single American Coot was seen. The best bird we saw here was a late Orange-crowned Warbler that was hanging out in the bushes by the mansion.  A couple of Anna's Hummingbirds made some of the new youth to scream out with glee. It warmed my heart because I remember myself as a little girl seeing an Anna's Hummingbird for the first time and shrieking like that!.

Anna's Hummingbird at Boundary Bay - Photo: Alice Sun

On Friday I did a CBC Radio 1 Interview with the program called "The Early Edition." You can listen to it HERE. Thanks to that program we got some new friendly faces on our count today, which was great.

Youth looking for birds at Boundary Bay - Photo: Alice Sun

After walking back and running into a hybrid Northern Flicker and seeing flocks of and Red-winged Blackbirds, White-crowned, Golden-crowned and Song Sparrows we saw a large flock of Trumpeter Swans. There were tons of beautiful Gray Ghosts flying around which was a delight. 

The girls looking out on the marsh as the sun rose - Photo: Alice Sun

The marsh was flooded creating lots of drowned voles which was making the Short-eared Owls and Northern Harriers hunt all day. Some of the Shorties came close to the trail allowing for great photos as they perched and flew over our heads.

Short-eared Owls flying over the marsh at Boundary Bay - Photos: Bridget Spencer

Short-eared Owl at Boundary Bay - Photo: Bridget Spencer

Taking photos of a beautiful Spotted Towhee at Boundary Bay - Photo: Alice Sun

I was so impressed by how good this dad could digiscope without an adapter! It's a true skill! - Photo: Alice Sun

We went to the Turf Farm to look for a Glaucous Gull but came up empty. Bridget mentored the teens and gave them some tips on Thayer's (Iceland) Gull identification. We took a break and had some delicious hot chocolate to warm up. 

We then walked from 72nd St to the 80th St pump house.  On the walk we were looking for Palm Warblers but came up empty we settled with Purple Finches, Golden-crowned Sparrows and Chickadees. We looked on the golf course and saw 6 male Eurasian Wigeons in a large American Wigeon flock. At the 80th St pump house we spotted 2 American Tree Sparrows which was a highlight for the trip!. We looked hard for a Harris's Sparrow in this large sparrow flock but could not find one.

American Tree Sparrows at Boundary Bay - Photos: Bridget Spencer

On our walk out to meet the parents we were mesmerized by a Short-eared Owl that had at least 30 respectful photographers around it.  The owl was very relaxed and he posed right by the trail giving us all good views and everyone was happy. The owl was calling out too which was really cute. As we walked down the trail the owl seemed to follow us as he hunted alongside us. The youth got some great shots of this bird. Some of the youth ended the day by checking out OWL up the street. Some notable misses during our count were Rough-legged Hawk, Northern Shrike and Long-eared Owl.

Short-eared Owls were the star of the show today! - Photo: Alice Sun

This Shortie was calling and giving us great views - Photo: Bridget Spencer

A big thank you to Alice Sun for helping me on this trip and for taking such great photos for us today also thank you to Bridget for handling our checklists for me and for mentoring the younger youth.

Thanks to all the young birders for coming out to the count! Thanks also to all the young birders for such a great year! I was thrilled to be part of it and will never forget the great memories we made in 2019!.

Young Birders at Boundary Bay - Photos: Alice Sun

Here's to wishing you all the best for 2020!


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