Sitemeter

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Boat launch birds

With the weather heating up again there have been no walks and with various chores and appointments, no canoe trips either (maybe tomorrow)....so the only sightings have been during brief sit downs at our boat launch....it makes one wonder just what one would see if you could just sit there by yourself all day long!


We'll start with this, which when I spotted it...asked myself...what the heck is that?  Well as it turns out it what it usually is about this time of year....a juvenile Brown Headed Cowbird.  This is a species where the female lays her egg in another species nest and leaves it up to the new species to raise the youngster, usually to the detriment of the other chicks as the cowbird tends to be larger and more demanding.

A bark from my dog drew my attention away from the above to...


this...a Ruffed Grouse that had come up out of the bush on the water side....


and was quickly sneaking its way across the open part of the boat launch.


the Song Sparrow was in its place....another further over on the other side where I could hear it, but not see it.


this morning when I looked out there, did a double take because....


straight out there was this Red-necked Grebe.  If you recall we had first seen this (or another) of these grebes while out canoeing and it was noted then that this is a species that has not been seen in this area, this time of the year before.  Now I know that the bird has stayed around and wasn't an accidental over night stay.


there are quite a few Barn Swallows still around...this male was picking up nesting material again...something I've noticed before...they seem to be in nesting mode for as long as they are in the area.


this Pine Siskin was down there all on it's own which is a little unusual, they are normally in large flocks or often mixed in with Goldfinch.


with the water receding, the Great Blue Heron are showing up...of course the young ones are fledged and out on their own now as well which increases the numbers.


I've noticed several hummingbirds, most had been Anna's, the ones we now have year round, but this particular one is a Rufous Hummingbird....either a female or one of this years youngsters as the males are long gone, in fact they seemed to have left 2 or 3 weeks before their usual time which is the end of June.  Females and young are usually found until early September.


of course the American Robin's are still here and enjoying the water...


and then I saw this....not sure what it is...could be a California Gull although last year about this time we saw some Caspian Tern....what ever it is...it means that birds are on the move!  Have been hearing reports of shorebirds in the Okanagan so, maybe soon!

Sunday, July 23, 2017

A bit of this and that....

Nothing terribly exciting the last few days, no walks, no canoe trips....so just a bit of this and that found around home....

This is 'mummy' .....


Raccoon.  I have been packing my camera at all times in hopes of getting photos of her with her 4 youngsters, but she is pretty smart and so far I haven't managed.


after taking this, and continuing on down the street, looked back to see the babies running across the road, one at a time....oh well...

Down at the boat launch...


the water continues to recede at a rapid pace.  This was this evening.  Maybe by tomorrow we'll be able to get far enough down the path to peek around the corner towards the park once more!


there has been far more Canada Goose activity the last few days with small groups flying here and there as they complete their molt.


Bald Eagles continue to be seen and heard....in fact it has been reported that there seem to be more in the general area now, what with the interior fires.  Not sure if that is correct or not but for sure the amount of area burned is going to throw a lot of wildlife and bird into turmoil with a hard winter looming....might be a year to consider putting out some bird seed if you've never done it before...


this Song Sparrow is back in residence in its' favorite willow tree....seems to be perched there almost every time we venture down.


this little guy....a Willow Flycatcher, was in the same tree the other day....camera had problems focusing on him so a bit blurry.


American Robins, like this juvenile are enjoying the muck left behind.


Friday, July 21, 2017

A good news kind of day......

Yesterday, July 20th was an all round good news kind of day.....

for starters, it was raining....


the first real precipitation in over a month.....

which meant we finally got for a walk over at the dike along Harrison Bay.....


where despite all the dry weather we've had, and because of the high water table, everything is very green and lush....

of course we saw the regulars...


Song Sparrows.....this one in a Black Hawthorne tree with a good crop of ripening fruits.


here is a closer look at this native fruit that feeds so many critters.....including bears, of which we saw evidence that they are in the area again.

but here is some more good news.....


a nearly fully fledged Bald Eagle in the eagle nest....after all the speculation, proof that they had another successful year.  Appears only one young one this time although given calls we heard possibly a second might have already left the nest....at least we know for sure there was one!


and of course one of the adults was close by.


there were American Goldfinch lined up on a wire....2nd from left looks like a youngster.



that wire, that only runs part way along the dike, makes a great perch....this time for a Barn Swallow.


White-crowned sparrows all along the walk....didn't see any youngsters this time but we know they are there.



Black-capped Chickadee too....a whole family in this location.  (only one in photo)

further along spotted something unusual on a fence post....


turned out to be a male American Kestrel.  Kestrel's are in the general area, especially on Nicomen Island and have been seen here at the IBA before but couldn't be classified as regulars.

all of a sudden...


this Spotted Sandpiper flew up out of the field onto a fence post.  Guess they decided the farm fields were a safer place than along the side of the dike.

apart from the baby eagle, the most exciting finds...



were the number of Bullock's Orioles!  Here a male is feeding a fledgling in a blackberry bush.  With Orioles the whole family gets involved in raising the years crop of youngsters, mom, dad, and even siblings from the previous year.


here is a closer look at that particular fledgling.

The good news doesn't stop with the walk though....on July 18th representatives from FVRD parks and members of the Georgia Basin Ecological Assessment & Restoration Society who were responsible for installing the initial 6 nesting boxes for Purple Martins here at the estuary, installed 12 more nesting boxes and as they balanced on ladders, in boats they had a chance to really examine the little colony and found that all 6 of the original boxes that I've posted photos of, were full of youngsters....so a very successful nesting year....and as the adults were busy examining the new boxes almost immediately, sounds like next year will be even better.  Next time we get out on the water, we will check out the new boxes.

back to some fledglings and possibly the only not great news of the day....



was the spotting of this very young Black-headed Grosbeak out back.  It is so young that it would appear to have been forced off a nest early, probably by the tree holding the nest being cut down or pruned severely.  The good news is that it's dad was with it, feeding it, and since pets aren't allowed to roam free in our complex, it will hopefully survive.


I've had fledgling Purple Finch coming to the only little feeder I have out at present, for the past few weeks, in fact last week a female was collecting dog fur...possibly thinking of raising a second hatch, which would be very late.

so by evening the sun was shining once again.....


and we finished off the day with yet more youngsters down at the boat launch....


an American Robin youngster...


and a Yellow Warbler....there were lots more including Chickadees, Towhees, and even Warbling Vireo that I didn't manage photos of.  

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Creeper surprise....

Still haven't got for a walk at Harrison Bay...hopefully tomorrow if the promised, brief, cooler and maybe damp weather system materializes, but after missing a few great photo opportunities lately, I've decided to start carrying my camera with me at all times....and this morning it paid off when I spotted this....


Brown Creeper in one of the trees at our boat launch....for some reason I never think of them being around this time of the year.

also at the boat launch...


a Song Sparrow....


and a male American Goldfinch....


after lunch all was quiet at the boat launch so just sat for a while...the trail is starting to appear again soon we'll be able to get down onto the grasslands again....


Dragonflies are showing up all over now....this is one of my favorites, an Eight-spot Skimmer.

While we sat there (my dog and I)....


this adult Bald Eagle flew into one of the nearby trees....not used to them being this close this time of the year but then every year is a little bit different.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

and yet another canoe trip.....

Still haven't got for a walk (other than the usual 3 per day around the complex with the dogs) but when we were on our 1st of 3 yesterday morning and noticed how calm it was out there, figured it would be a good time to go....after all no two trips are ever the same, just like no two walks are ever the same...


the reason for the calmness was a shift in the weather pattern, the westerly breeze we've had for weeks now had let up, that of course allowed some of the smoke from the interior wildfires to invade the area.


this time we headed directly across to the log jam at the edge of the Harrison River.  Usually there is a lot of activity there, but apart from a few Canada Geese didn't see anything and the water levels were still a bit high so none of the gravel bars were available yet for a landing and water flowing so swiftly couldn't hang around.


once again there were at least 4 Bald Eagles in various spots....all adults, have yet to see a 'this season's' juvenile.


for interests sake it is kind of interesting to see how delicate the balance is here in this area with civilization encroaching onto the estuary although hopefully, this is as 'civilized' as it will take.  The above is this eagles view to the west....


and there is the eastern view along the shore of the river....

but lets get back to more pleasant subjects....we were headed to the branch of the Chehalis we normally head up when I spotted 2 birds perched in a tree...


one quickly flew but the other stayed....even with binoculars I couldn't quite make out what it was, only that it wasn't one of the normal subjects....


turns out it is a Western Kingbird !.....only the 2nd time in 20 years I've seen one here at the estuary.

A little further along...there was a lot of bird activity....


several families of Barn Swallows (adult at top, fledglings below)....not as many or as exciting as the 'nursery trees' we've seen other years when there were fledglings of many different swallow species..


but nice to see never the less as Barn swallows are a species of concern.

In the same area....


there were more Red-wing Blackbirds than we've seen for sometime.  The above 2 being juveniles.

and the theme of 'juveniles' continued....


with a young Mallard....(a bit further up the river we flushed about 20 Mallard from out of the grasses....mainly juveniles but saw at least 1 male in his 'eclipse' plumage)


and then it was young Hooded Mergansers....this one was perched on a log but there were at least 3 or 4 more slipping in and out of the grasses...

Everywhere along the route there were bird calls but trying to spot them in the bushes was another thing....heard many Marsh Wren, and Pied Bill Grebe....


one of the 'commonest' call's was that of the Common Yellowthroat...I'd seen movement and just pointed the camera in that direction....you can just make out the yellow head and black mask...


when we put ashore for a bit of a break....


we managed to really upset a pair of Song Sparrow....they obviously had a nest, probably
 a 2nd or even 3rd hatching near by....so we didn't stay long.


was pleased to see that the Gray Catbirds must have had a successful nesting season as there were about 5 of them in this particular alder tree.  Of course not sure how many pairs actually nest in the area....

We had been wondering why we hadn't seen any spotted sandpipers or....


Common Merganser....when we saw this female with I think, 7 young ducklings.  She kept well ahead of us so this was about as good a photo as I could get.

Didn't see an Osprey either which was a little strange as they have been so vocal and active the past little while, however, when we were loading the canoe back on the truck we did hear one so guess they were just fishing elsewhere for a little while.  Hard to believe but in another couple of weeks the first migrating shorebirds could be showing up....at the rate the water is dropping it should be perfect viewing conditions.