Sunday, July 27, 2014

A morning out in the canoe

It was a nice morning so we decided to take the canoe out again....

We are sort of between 'season's' right now.  Checked out the Purple Martin boxes but they were empty,no sign of any Martins today, in fact there was no activity at any of the swallow boxes either and very few swallows,other than Barn Swallows around.  We did see some young...

Spotted Sandpipers....there were actually 3 here at the first bay.  

decided to head over to the edge of the Harrison River, the 'islands' are just about re-emerging but not quite.  Shorebirds should be starting to migrate through any time now so happy to know there will be some 'shore' for them to settle on.  Water was flowing very swiftly here so turned back.

lots of Canada geese everywhere you looked.  Most still in molt but obviously some were now finished and able to fly again.

quite a few Great Blue Heron including this very young one.  Once again we could hear a Loon but never spotted it.  Headed up the Chehalis River and saw....

young Hooded Merganser up ahead, there was also something large crashing about in the vegetation and worried that it might be that mother bear with her cubs, we didn't go any further. 

Could hear Pied-bill Grebe but couldn't spot them.  Headed back home.....of note lately around the feeders are the number of....

American Goldfinch....lots of youngsters (none in this photo), the adults are already loosing their bright breeding plumage.

lots of Chestnut-backed Chickadee families too.  Also still seeing lots of young Steller's Jay and the last few days, Northern Flicker seem to be all over the place.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Short walk at Harrison Bay

The heat wave over the past while has kept us inside but since today it is easing up to more reasonable temperatures we went over to Kilby for a short walk along the dike.

Could hear quite a few birds but didn't see that many....

there were quite a few young swallows, like these two Tree Swallows....

and this young Barn Swallow.  Also saw a Great Blue Heron, a few Robins, and a Bald Eagle.

Since the campground is full, took this photo of the bay from further along the dike.

as you can see the water levels are still high with not much in the way of beach showing.  It was also quite windy today.

stopped and took this view looking up the Harrison River...there is apparently a wildfire burning further up the river but no sign of it from this end.  We're hoping to get back out in the canoe again soon, there should be a few areas of dry land re-emerging and in another couple of weeks we should be starting to see migrating shorebirds.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Calmer canoe ride

Got brave and attempted heading out in the canoe again this morning...

it was much calmer out there today.  We decided to just creep along the edges alongside Morris Valley Road and over to the Nature Trust lands.

We sure heard lots of birds but they were staying hidden.  As we got into this area there were Red-wing Blackbirds, Common Yellow throat and Marsh Wren but spotting them was hopeless.  We could hear Pied billed Grebe and unfortunately, we also heard bullfrogs.  Bullfrogs are an invasive species that are depleting the population of native frogs.

worked our way in as far as we could, haven't been in here for years.  Again, birds everywhere but not co-operative for photo taking.

did find some aquatic wildflowers....looked them up and this is Lesser Bladderwort

As we headed out we could hear a call that neither of us recognized....couldn't find anything so have no idea what it was...a water bird of some sort I think.  As water levels drop the water birds will be forced into channels and that is when there is more likelihood of spotting them.  Right now there are just too many places to hide.

speaking of hiding....more molting Canada Geese.

The only bird sighting of note today was this.....

Eastern Kingbird.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Rough ride

After much debate as to what the weather was going to do, we decided to chance it and take the canoe out this morning.  

that piling is obviously a favorite Bald Eagle perch as there was one on it again this morning.  Headed over to check out the situation at the martin boxes...

they were still there but not as many so I  expect that as the young become more independent they will probably be leaving...

notice the leg bands on this Purple Martin.  So after quickly checking here we made a bee line for the arm of the Chehalis River.  Skies were still iffy, 

as we approached saw a very large flock of Canada Geese sneaking along, obviously in their molt stage when they are incapable of flight so stay hidden and very, very quiet.

once we were in the river there were swallows everywhere!  Mainly Northern a bunch of young ones (there is one young Tree Swallow at the extreme right).

All the swallows, like this Tree Swallow, were flying low over the river and actually dipping and picking bugs up off of the surface...tried to capture that but didn't manage too.

There were also Violet-green Swallows, like this one above.  Headed further up the river keeping an eye out for the mother black bear that is apparently in the area and rather protective of her two cubs.  

Found a number of Spotted Sandpiper....there were also lots of Cedar Waxwing, but keeping high up in the tree tops.  There were at least 2 Belted Kingfisher, 3 Great Blue Heron, and a whole mess of young Common Merganser, unfortunately they were hugging one side of the river and we were on the other with a screen of grass between us, so no photos.

As we were in the river we noticed it getting darker and the temperature was dropping but didn't realize how wild it had got out there until we rounded the corner to head for home....

it was a very rough ride....but the rain actually held off until the canoe was back on the truck!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Purple Martins!!!!

Yesterday we finally got the canoe in the water and set out for a paddle....

headed over towards Eagle Point Park....this is where the path is when it isn't covered with water.

there was a pair of adult Bald Eagle on the piling that sits at the entrance to the first bay...

one then flew to this piling where swallows....and it turns out Purple Martin's were dive bombing it.

this is the first year in quite some time that I've been on the water at this time of the year and I was thrilled to see that all of the martin boxes that were erected a number of years ago were occupied by Purple Martins!  How exciting to see that a population is in the process of being established in the area.  The bird on the left isn't a martin....looks suspiciously like a female House Sparrow...but every other box had a collection of youngsters in it.

here is a closer look at one of them, either a female or a juvenile...not sure which.  I'd only taken my oldest, slowest camera as we were introducing my new puppy to canoeing and one never knows what might happen...didn't want to take chances with my better camera.

continued on down towards the golf was such a beautiful calm morning!

spotted something swimming near the turned out to be this River Otter that wasn't terribly happy with us, judging from the noises it was making!

turned around and headed into the vegetation on the far side of the estuary opposite our boat launch.  Could hear Red-wing Blackbirds, Yellow Warblers, Common Yellow Throat and a Pied Billed Grebe..... know there are Canada Geese out there but they are in their molt stage and very good at hiding...also saw a couple of ducks sneaking through the bushes but staying out of sight.

the other exciting find was this Eastern Kingbird!  In fact I'm sure there were two of them.  It isn't the first time I've seen Eastern Kingbirds here but they definitely can't be considered common.

so with a successful maiden voyage for young 'Dempster' we'll be trying another one shortly, hopefully making it up the Chehalis where there is usually lots to see.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

It's summer

Hello has been a while!  Now it is officially summer....

and as is usual for this time of the year, the entire estuary area is under water.  What isn't usual is the fact that the water levels peaked early and levels are already dropping...

the north end of the estuary is re-emerging, levels must have dropped a couple of feet already so it will be interesting to see how it plays out the rest of the summer.

We drove over to Kilby this afternoon...

there is no beach at the moment...between the number of people, the heat and the mosquitoes all it did was serve to remind me why these next two months are my least favorite out of the entire year!

there is a view of the Harrison River, taken from just before the bridge...hopefully we'll get out in the canoe in the next few days to see if we can find anything of interest.  There is a pair of Osprey nesting on a piling on the other side of the river, we did see some crows, a flicker, a robin, some Barn Swallows, a hummingbird and heard some chickadees while dodging mosquitoes at Kilby.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

A bit of a swan puzzle!

There is something a bit strange going on right now here at the Chehalis Estuary....

the water continues to rise, slower now as there is a vaster area to fill, also there have been some pretty cool evenings of late although today and tomorrow that won't be the case as temperatures are rising to way above average....

No, what is strange is that about 4 days ago my husband was over at the park and noticed a swan of some sort way out.... due to the distance and the fact he was having to fend off a number of off leash dogs he couldn't make out what kind of swan or even get a photo of it.  Yesterday I managed to spot it way over near where the arm of the Chehalis river joins the estuary....

got this very distant photo and then drastically cropped it and by the head and bill shape it is a Trumpeter Swan.  Why is it here by itself, or could there possibly be a pair that has decided to nest here???  I guess only time will answer that question.

Now to add to the confusion, when my husband walked over to the park this morning he could still see the trumpeter way over in the same area, but then he spotted this...

out off of the area of the log bay....this also spotted him and came in  towards him so he got a good look...

this is definitely a Mute Swan.  You will recall that a pair were seen out there early last fall, probably the same pair that have been seen in the slough at Deroche off and on all winter...Mute Swan  are not native to our area although I understand there is a small population of them becoming established.  It is too bad, in a way, that as of Friday we will be away from here for a month or so, it would be interesting to see how this swan thing plays out.

It wasn't just swans that my husband spotted recently at the park...

this  Coyote was over there the other day.  We know, of course that there are several packs of coyote in the area and with the rising water their area to roam gets condensed.

The sunshine of the last few days is certainly making the....

Tree Swallows happy, there have been lots of them flying over head chirping away...spotted this guy yesterday letting those over head know that this spot was his!