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Where You Can Vacation - And Be Home The Same Day

 

 

 

 

TNT The Naked Truth

Don Pitcairn

 

Hell On Wings


Being an outdoors man, I often get to witness various creatures in the wilds that most people never get to see.  While this usually happens off the beaten track in remote areas with limited human activity, I sometimes get to witness nature up close in an urban setting.  Several years ago I had an amazing experience when a small falcon was racing through my backyard hot on the tail of a robin that was flying for its life.  After several high speed laps through the trees and bushes with the falcon matching the robin's every move, the prey decided that the bird chasing it posed less of a threat than me and it landed on the grass close to my feet.  The falcon immediately gave up the chase and flew off to other hunting grounds, leaving the robin panting like a dog and gasping for air only half a metre away.  This was the first and only time I've ever seen a bird lose its fear of humans in order to survive.

Not knowing exactly what the bird of prey was but pretty sure it was some form of falcon smaller than the well-known peregrine, i pulled out my trusty Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Birds and began searching for this lightning fast raptor.  This was when I learned of the merlin (Falco Columbarius), aka the "pigeon hawk."  It is a stocky falcon with pointed wings that is 25-34 cm. long with a wingspan of 61 cm.  Males are a blue-grey on top with black tail bands while females and immature merlins are brown above with tan tail bands.  All of these birds are buff on their underside with light brown streaking.  They are found across Canada in summer, living in open country and spaced coniferous forests, feeding mainly on small birds, rodents and even dragonflies.

These birds are usually silent killers but they make a quick high pitched kik-kik-kik-kik sound near their nest.  When I first encountered this speedy raptor in my backyard, I quickly learned that they were nesting in an old crow nest in a neighbour's tree.  When the four young took to the wing, it was a constant symphony of this high pitched song from the six members of the family.  Needless to say, we didn't have many songbirds around that year because they were either eaten or scared away.  My reason for writing this TNT now about this subject is that I have a jobsite in Sunnyside not far from 152 St. and King George Blvd. that has a family of merlins living in a grove of cedars.  Between the merlins in the day and the barred owls at night, the rabbit population in the area is quickly diminishing, especially now that the young merlins are flying with the adults and learning how to catch their own food.

Merlins have adapted well to the urban landscape with tall trees, thickets, landscaping and open areas.  Earlier this spring we were having lunch in Steveston, Richmond when a bird rocketed past us at warp speed before performing several tight turns in a small area before settling on a tree branch in the greenspace we were parked beside.  Considering the aerial maneuvers we witnessed, we figured it had to be a merlin and a quick peek through the bushes confirmed the sighting.  This was in the same area that several years ago saw a pigeon get attacked directly in front of our truck in an explosion of feathers.  By the time I got out of my truck to check on the birds, the raptor was quickly flying away with its substantial meal.  I was not able to positively identify this bird at the time but from the speed of its attack and its size as related to the pigeon, I suspect it was likely a merlin.

Keep an eye out in the Semi-pen for this wickedly fast raptor whose numbers and range appear to be increasing with climate change.  While most of the world's populations of merlins are migratory, in some temperate locations including here in the Pacific Northwest, merlins may simply move to higher elevations during the summer and return to the coast and lowlands during the winter.  If you have ever seen murmurations of starlings over Boundary Bay and local farm fields, often it is because these flocks of birds are trying to escape predation from merlins and other raptors.  It is quite the aerial ballet between predator and prey and with their speed and agility, the merlin is amazing to watch when it is on the hunt.  Remember to listen for their distinctive high-pitched kik-kik-kik-kik call, especially from several birds at once, that will alert you to their presence.

For more in-depth information about merlins, please visit the following links.

Naturally yours,

Don PItcairn

I wish to acknowledge we live work and play on the traditional lands of the Semiahmoo people

 

 

 

 


Local News

July 22, 2024

Dogs On Promenade Hours Expanded

White Rock has brought forth a trial period for dogs on leash on the promenade in the early morning hours during the summer months.

The trial period will be scheduled to start August 1st and will run until the end of September, per Council direction.

At the July 29th Council meeting staff will seek Council direction to waive enforcement of the current no-dogs-on-the-promenade restriction in the City’s Animal Control and Licensing Bylaw, for the 5:30am to 9:00am time-period during August and September 2024

 

Forest Fire Map

If you plan on travelling throughout the Province in the coming days, keep up to date on the current fires burning in our province. Please use extra caution as the fire situation escalates daily.

(click here for update information)

 

July 21, 2024

White Rock Pride family Day

It was a full on fun day @ Miramar Plaza yesterday as the WHITE ROCK PRIDE SOCIETY hosted their annual Family Pride Day.

You might say they were kicking up their heels.

LOVE IS LOVE Gala

Event by White Rock Pride Society / Peace Arch Curling Club

Join us Friday, July 26th for a "3+ hour tour" with our Gilligan's Island-themed gala!

Guests are invited to celebrate love in all forms while enjoying a wonderful night out featuring:
 Dinner from Ocean West Catering
Live entertainment featuring Billy White & the Rockettes
Live auction hosted by the magnificent Fred Lee
Silent Auction with incredible items including XXXX
50/50 draw

Individual tickets include a complimentary drink ticket OR reserve a table for 8, and you and your friends will each receive a complimentary drink ticket per person AND two bottles of wine for the table!

Purchase your tickets today: https://trellis.org/love-is-love-gala-2024

Part of the funds raised at the event will benefit the Rainbow Youth Connection groups at Alex House.

 

Anxious Moments At Crescent Beach Yesterday

A young child became separated from his Mom yesterday at Crescent Beach,. thankfully it ended well.

There are incredible rip tides running off of Crescent Beach near the swim tank/ doc and north of the mini pier. Use extra caution with children at the beach this summer.

 

JULY 20, 2024

Emergency Emergency

Health authorities across the province are offering large incentives for doctors to pick up extra shifts at the local emergency departments. Despite the offers a number of emergency wards are considering closures.

White Rock's Peace Arch hospital emergency department is one of the hardest hits. Authorities at the hospital have stated they are too short handed to handle the volume in the summer months. Fraser Health is offering between $3,060 and $4,125 for an eight-hour shift, plus travel and accommodation reimbursement for “all critical to fill shifts.”

Langley Memorial Hospital is struggling to keep its emergency department open overnight in the first week of August, while Mission Memorial Hospital is critically short-staffed during the days and evenings for the entire month of August; both are officering the same incentives as Peace Arch.

Mission Memorial could see overnight closures as soon as Sunday.

 

Pride Flag Raising

A large crowd turned out to White rock city hall yesterday afternoon for the annual Pride Flag raising event. MAYOR KNIGHT and councillor ERNIE KLASSEN hosted the event and raised the flag which will fly over city hall for the coming week.

The event kicked off PRIDE WEEK in White Rock. The flag raising event was followed by a PRIDE PARADE from Centennial Park through White Rock and concluding with a tour along Marine Drive.

See below for the event schedule for today's activities in Miramar Plaza.

 

Hot weather is expected to continue for the next few days so here are some places to cool down in White Rock Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.:

White Rock Community Centre, 15154 Russell Avenue

Centre for Active Living, 1475 Anderson Street

Kent Street Activity Centre, 1475 Kent Street

White Rock Library, 15342 Buena Vista Ave

? Splash Pad at Memorial Park, 15300 Block Marine Drive (open 8 a.m. – 7 p.m. daily)

For updates on heat events please visit https://tinyurl.com/ys4tj89r.

 

Celebration of Light/Vancouver Kick Off Tonight

The skies over Vancouver's English Bay will light up tonight. The annual fireworks display draws tens of thousands of visitors to the West End and Kitsilano viewpoints.

 

Prior to the start of the fireworks this evening there will be an RED BULL precision airplane display plus a drone show.

(click here for more information)

 

July 17, 2024

East Beach Fire

Huge Clouds of black smoke billowed up over east Beach mid afternoon yesterday. White Rock Fire & Rescue along with the White Rock RCMP responded quickly.

A fire broke out in some out buildings behind the above house located in the 800 block of Lee Street. Cause of the fire is being investigated. The resident of the home suffered burns to his upper body as he tried to contain the fire until the fire department arrived. He was transported to Peace Arch hospital with non life threatening injuries.

The fire quickly jumped to two large trees on the property which made the fire appear more serious than it actually turned out to be.

(click here for archived news stories)

 

 

 

IN MY OPINION

David Chesney

July 19, 2024

 

I would like to get a few things off my chest today.

I love White Rock, it has been my home for nearly 40 years, prior to that I grew up in the Guildford area, though it was not called that back in those days.  Due to Surrey’s size when asked where we lived we simply said North Surrey.

Back to White Rock.  As most of you that are reading this know I am a third term city councillor in this City by the Sea..

Have you noticed the increase in homeless that have like us, decided it would be great to live in White Rock.  Council for the past three years have elected to fund a “warming centre” which has been located in Centennial Park.  I did not support the warming centre, not out of meanness, but simply because there seemed to be no thought put towards what happens when the warming centre closes @ 10 p.m.?  

(read the full story - click here)

 

Sunday Funnies

(click for more)

 

Video Of The Day

 

A racetrack just south of us thought it would be funny to have a "garandparents race"

You be the judge

 

Joke Of The Day

Jungle Drums

An anthropologist went to study a far-flung tropical island. He found a guide with a canoe to take him upriver to the remote site where he would make his observations. About noon on the second day of travel up the river they began to hear drums. The anthropologist asked his guide, "What are those drums?"

The guide turned to him and said, "Drums okay, but VERY BAD when they stop."

As they traveled the drums grew louder and louder. The anthropologist was nervous, but the guide merely repeated, "Drums okay. Drums not bad. When drums stop, then very bad!"

Then the drums suddenly stopped. Terrified, the anthropologist yelled to the guide: "The drums stopped! What now?"

The guide crouched down, covered his head with his hands and said, "Guitar solo."

 

Thought For The Day

 

 

 

 

 

Community Events

Book Donations are Needed!

Donations of books in good condition are welcome. We cannot accept magazines, textbooks, encyclopedias, manuals, or damaged books. Thank you for your understanding.

Books can be donated 24/7 at the Blue Bin on the North side of the Rotary Fieldhouse, located at 2197 148 St, Surrey, south of the Surrey Eagles Hockey Arena.

Large donations can be dropped off Monday or Thursday mornings 9-11 am.

We can help you unload directly into the book warehouse and not fill up the bin.

If you need help picking up a large donation of books, we can help. Contact us at rotaryclub.booksale@gmail.com for assistance.

Our Charity August Book Sale is:

August 23 & 24, 10am - 6pm, Books $3 ea

August 25 & 26, 10am - 4pm, Books are $2 ea

August 27, 10am - 4pm, Books are $1 ea.

at the Peace Arch Curling Centre, 1475 Anderson St. White Rock

** Proceeds go to local and international charities. To read more about rotary, visit: www.whiterockrotary.org

 

 

White Rock TIDE TABLE

(click here to check today's tide levels)

 

 

 

 

 

Check the waterfront weather in White Rock in real time.

It's always sunny in White Rock - Below is the West Beach Camera

 

..as an added feature the city of White Rock now has installed an East Beach camera where most day visitors to White Rock can check to see if the tide is in, or out?

 

 

 

 

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