I spent the weekend in Vancouver hitting some of the Lower Mainland’s birding hot spots including the 72nd Street access to the Boundary Bay dyke. I arrived there fairly late in the day so there wasn’t too much in the way of birds aside from the ubiquitous Northern Harrier. Any of the dyke access points are good for a variety of salt flat specialties including Northern Harrier and Short-eared Owl. I have seen Long-eared Owl roosting in the shrubs over the ditch on the near side of the dyke but didn’t see any this time.
The wide open spaces and plenty of food (ducks, shorebirds, voles) attracts other raptors as well. I was lucky to run into a group of birders from Victoria who were watching a Gyrfalcon on the flats – timing is everything. It flushed shortly after I got out on the dyke and I was fortunate to see it fly over. Peregrine Falcon is possible as is a number of buteos including Red-tailed and Rough-legged Hawk at this time of year. Some years also see large numbers of Snowy Owls moving down from the north.
While I didn’t see too many birds this late in the day it was still a pleasant way to end a day of birding in the Lower Mainland. Bring a scope to watch raptors that are perched on logs out on the flats or join a group of birders who have one – there is almost always someone with a scope or camera with a long lens out on the dyke for the show!
To access Boundary Bay drive east on Highway 10 from Ladner and look for signage marking access points at 64th St., 72nd St., and 104th St.