Saturday, October 18, 2014

Too much water

In my last post I stated that water levels were just about perfect.  Well not anymore.  I don't know where it is all coming from but....

today the water's have risen right up over the path!

There isn't much 'estuary' left out there!

Some Canada Geese, Mallards and American Wigeon....seen today.  

We thought we would walk over at Kilby today but to our shock it was so busy we couldn't even find a place to park so I'm afraid this is a very short report.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

They're back!....and don't think it couldn't happen here.

We are back....and 'they' are back....the Chum Salmon are returning and with them the eagles....

to set the is very green out there.  Not only does it seem greener than normal, the water levels are higher than normal for this time of the year, in fact the current level is just about perfect, it would be nice if it stays that way but of course  that won't happen.  Levels are always fluctuating either up or down.

here is the first bay and see those swirls in the water?  Those are created by spawning Chum  Salmon.

further along we're at the log bay....those high water levels are really noticeable here.  Another noticeable thing is that top log out there.  Those logs have been there since early the past century but that top one seems to in danger of toppling...will be interesting to see how that all plays out.

way out there, over by the Harrison River, you can make out a few eagles and gulls

The Bald Eagles are just starting to return, their numbers will depend on how many  fish return and how quickly bad weather comes up country.

Of course it isn't just the eagles that are returning...

those are American Wigeon out there grazing on the exposed gravel bars....

on land more and more Song Sparrows are showing up, some of course have been here year round.....

more surprising were the number of Fox Sparrows seen today.  It almost seems a bit early for these guys to be showing up.

a lot of Dark-eyed Juncos have shown up the last few days too.  Again, a few have been with us all summer.

Now I want to share something very upsetting that happened where we were camped in a provincial park.  All bird lovers need to know that this sort of thing happens 'out there' and we would be naive to think that the same thing couldn't happen right here in our IBA.

The particular park is a relatively new one.  Prior to being designated a provincial park, it had been one of those free for all, anything goes forestry recreation sites, so as a conciliatory measure duck hunting was, and still is, allowed in this park but only in certain sections at certain times....

 so on the first of 3 consecutive evenings, just as the sun was setting (read the above sign), 2 pick up trucks sped through the campground and parked just adjacent to this location.  Several people got out, shot guns in one hand, beer in the other and proceeded to start shooting.  This continued until well after it was so dark that there was no possible way they could actually see anything.  The next morning....

this Mallard duck was floating dead in the pond....upsetting but....   Next evening the same two trucks once again showed up, this time earlier and although there was some shooting it appeared to be within the time limits.  I should note that the above Mallard wasn't the only injured or dead duck found.  A Ring-neck was found by another concerned camper, we found a Barrow's Golden-eye with it's head shot off and another, sadder situation where one was still alive but suffering as only it's lower mandible shot off.....but the worst was yet to happen...   On the third night the same two trucks arrived, this one of the trucks left, while the other stayed and the shooting commenced...

while I was sitting not that far away taking pictures of this Great Blue Heron, one of a pair that had spent the summer in the park....

these so called 'hunters' shot it's mate.  Now between ourselves and the other camper both the R.C.M.P. and Conservation officers were contacted and supplied with numerous photos and other evidence but the sad part is that because no one witnessed the actual shooting the chances of anything happening are minimal.  The conservation officer asked to be called immediately if we saw the trucks again (which we never did) - but consider this....the conservation officer that attended the scene came from Pentiction, a 2 1/2 hour drive away...even if the trucks did return and we called immediately what were the chances of someone arriving in time. The other sad thing is the fact that this officer also said this sort of thing happens a lot more often than you'd think.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Back but away again

Just to let you all know that we are back from the island trip but are off again until mid-month.  By then there should be some activity happening here at the estuary.  As it is right now it has been very, very quiet.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

See you in October

Thank you to the faithful who keep checking.....there won't be anything new now until October.  We feel the need for some ocean breezes so are heading to Vancouver Island for a few weeks.  Will be back in time to start recording the arrival of the salmon and the eagles.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Getting back to normal

It is nice to have the estuary returning to it's normal state....

this was the scene this morning.  We've even had a little bit of rain, something that we haven't seen much of for the last couple of months!  There were a lot of Swallows flying around, most of them appear to be Barn Swallows.

you can just see one of those swallows behind this Great Blue Heron, one of two we saw this morning.  Could hear a Kingfisher as well.

the ducks are returning too.  Mainly Mallard but we've seen some American Wigeon as well.

over at the log bay there was a big mixed flock of....

Pine Siskin and American Goldfinch.

one thing I've noticed is the change in vegetation....I don't recall seeing as many of these Lesser Bladderwort flowers before.  There are a few of these sort of mucky areas right now, perfect habitat for Wilson's Snipe....still trying to catch one with the camera, we did spook one today.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Walk to the park

Today, for the first time since I guess about last April, we were able to walk across the grasslands to the park.

it is a little mucky still in some places but so nice to be able to access the area again!

here is the first bay....apparently a large log got washed into this area during high water...

and the log bay.  There wasn't a lot in the way of bird activity if you don't count the masses of swallows and possibly swifts that were flying around over head.

there had been a large flock of Bushtits just as we started the walk.

and there are a lot of Cedar Waxwing around right now enjoying the bounty of berries.

it might be almost the end of August but there are still a lot of very young baby birds of a number of species.  This one being a White-crowned Sparrow....still in the 'fledgling' and not yet to the 'juvenile' stage.

Yesterday on an evening walk I had seen a large variety of birds so headed out again this evening, of course no two days are ever the same....

tonight the only birds I saw were these....

young Mallard, obviously raised in the area where someone must have been feeding them because they were a little perturbed when I had nothing to offer.

there was also a Great Blue Heron perched a little ways out and a few gull flying around.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Evening Grosbeaks!

Awoke yesterday morning to a call I hadn't heard for almost 18 months - Evening Grosbeaks!  A small flock came to the feeder but then disappeared for the rest of the day so wasn't able to get a photo....but today they have come back several times....

Here is a male feeding a youngster....

here is the young one patiently waiting.  Actually it seems that it should be past the being fed stage.

There have actually been a lot of young birds around considering we are now well past the middle of August.  There has been another American Goldfinch family and today a very young Spotted Towhee....

perhaps the most interesting family is this, one of two fledgling White-crowned Sparrows....

who share a nest with a Brown-headed Cowbird (on left).  One of the parents feeds this cowbird baby while the other one feeds the two sparrow babies.

there are a few young Black-headed Grosbeak still around, the adults seem to have left already.  Saw some really young looking Purple Finch late this afternoon too.

Made it down to the water today, the first time since last Saturday's canoe trip that turned out to not be such a good idea for someone with back issues....

water levels seem to have leveled off, in fact I hear they actually went up a bit.  We haven't seen a drop of moisture here but there has been some heavy rain in the interior and I guess it was enough to influence the water levels for a bit.