Thursday, September 8, 2016

Last few days

Figured I'd better do a bit of 'catch up' as this may be the last post for a while.  Sunday we will be setting out 'on the road' for a month or so, so by the time we return it should be salmon and eagle time.

I'll work backwards, starting with this evening....

perfectly calm with several Great Blue Heron scattered about, including this one on the broken off piling (earlier today there were 3 Pied Billed Grebe in this bay).

and this one further along the shore.

this Northern Harrier flew past tonight....first one of the season (at least that I've seen)

earlier today, in the rain, there were a number of these young Common Yellowthroat.

this male Anna's Hummingbird wasn't amused with the Yellowthroats....I've already mentioned how the numbers of these guys are increasing, or at least they are becoming more visible again...

day before yesterday we had quite a few unusual visitors stop by, starting with this Band-tail Pigeon....

followed by this Townsend's Warbler....

and quite a few Western Tanager....

including this little guy whose wings and tail have barely started to grow in.

Another youngster...

was this fledgling House Finch with it's rather 'worn' looking father!

The last couple of days we've walked the dike over at Harrison Bay but have been rather astonished at the lack of birds!

Maybe now the summer crowd at the campground has gone the birds will be brave enough to reappear!

Monday, September 5, 2016

Snipe, Sandpiper & Swallows

So now the shorebirds start showing up.....or at least getting close enough to actually see them.

started out the walk with the usual Great Blue of 3 out there today.

then all in one little spot ....

a Killdeer with 2 Wilson's Snipe visible.....

a couple more snipe in this one and a Solitary Sandpiper.....with one of numerous Barn Swallows flying past.  There has been a huge mixed flock of mainly Barn Swallows, but also a few Violet-green swallows and Swifts, both Black and Vaux's - far to 'swift' to even attempt a picture.

here we have all 4 snipe and the sandpiper.

Saw this flock flying around tonight, almost acting like shorebirds...

I think they are American Wigeon.....definitely not Mallards but obviously ducks.  Wigeon tend to arrive in large numbers this time of the year but are difficult to ID as they are in their eclipse plumage.

Speaking of large numbers....the number of American Robins here right now is amazing and the numbers of Anna's Hummingbirds is increasing too.  Think they've been here all along, they are just making themselves more visible now.

Saturday, September 3, 2016


Today is, I think, the second annual shorebird count I had hoped to see some of those elusive shorebirds....  I know they are out there....

I've been catching glimpses of them, like these ones last night....too far off to figure out what they are and then today a Peregrine Falcon flew over the flats and shorebirds took off in every direction but as to what kind they were ~ who knows!

I think I mentioned last post that there just has to be some  Wilsons Snipe in this area...well...

I was right....this guy flew out of there and across to the other side of the first bay this afternoon.  Of course by the time the camera was ready he had just about disappeared into the grass - but not quite.

starting to be quite the collection out there....Geese, ducks and gulls.

and that same silly Great Blue Heron was in the same spot.  Still haven't figured out just what it is doing there.

there weren't a lot of birds along the trail today but did see a few American Robin eating the Red-Osier Dogwood berries.  There were also a lot of Barn Swallows mixed with Swifts flying about overhead today.

Thursday, September 1, 2016


It is September and suddenly it feels like we've turned the corner to fall.

The hips of the Nootka Roses (Wild Roses) are ripe as are those of the Red-Osier Dogwoods

the Pacific Crab-apples are ripening and boy is there a good crop!  So many berries around this year that these haven't been touched yet.  Good news for winter feeding.

easily over a hundred Canada Geese out there today.  Ducks too, could hear Mallards but think there are American Wigeon as well and most likely some shorebirds.

There must be some snipe in there but couldn't find any.  Thought I had spotted something really special when I saw this.....

from a distance it appeared to be a Clark's or Western Grebe swimming....turned out to be a young Great Blue Heron.....was it swimming?  Do heron swim? or was it just wading about belly deep....not sure.  Down in the left corner there is a glimpse of one of the many young Barn Swallows that were flying around as well.

Youngsters continue to be the general theme...

this is probably the last Black-headed Grosbeak of the year as hadn't seen or heard any for a week or so until this one showed up this afternoon.

Pine Siskin are here constantly.  Sometimes just a few and sometimes in masses of them.

Eurasian Collared Doves are are Anna's Hummingbirds although haven't been able to get a photo of them yet....

Caught this young Spotted Towhee in my neighbours Beauty Berry shrub this afternoon.  Perfect subdued autumn colours.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Finally....the park is accessible

Finally.....water levels have dropped so with a bit of bush whacking we are able to walk over to the park....hadn't been there since very early April.

Here was the first bay last night.  You can see the gravel bars starting to show up out there.

and here is the log is always surprising and good  to see how much vegetation has filled in, especially along the path.  What was a bit concerning was the sad state of 2 of the very large cedar wonders why they look so sick while others further along look just fine.

This pair of Mallard were at the log bay this afternoon.  It is so nice to be seeing ducks in the area again.

there was also a young Pied-bill Grebe out there today.

Yesterday we attempted a walk over at Harrison Bay but it was just a little to hot out so didn't get too far.  There were lots of Canada Geese close to shore in the bay...

and lots of young Cedar Waxwings feasting on the dried up Black Hawthorne fruits.

also spotted this Black-throated Gray Warbler.....the above 'proof it was there' photo was as good as I could manage.

back home, youngsters are a common theme right now with lots of young American Robins around eating the fruits of some of our boulevard plantings.

the bird bath also continues to be very popular!

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Single Coot

Wandered down to the boat launch this afternoon....


and noticed a single bird out yesterday there was a single bird down there too.  Yesterday it was this Pied Billed, it looked a little different....

because it was an American Coot!  I don't know if I've ever seen a coot right up here in our boat launch area before.  I have seen them a couple of times at the log bay and they are sometimes found in fairly large flocks on Harrison Bay.  I think this must be an older juvenile.

It was still down there this evening....still all by itself...well if you don't count...

the Great Blue Heron that are seen regularly down there now that the water levels have dropped. 

A few other items of interest the last few days....

Steller's Jay are feasting on the sunflowers that they planted in our habitat garden....

and it appears the baby Cedar Waxwings have left the nest.  Look at the size of that mouth!

for a couple of days we had a large flock of Pine Siskin with some Goldfinch mixed in.  Must have been at least a hundred of them....

lots of Dragonflies right now, especially these Eight Spot Skimmers...

and causing no end of turmoil....

is this Raccoon family.  Get over it people ~ you live in the country ~ enjoy it!

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

More Purple Martins

Monday we took the canoe out again....

it may look like there is a lot of water out there but look closer and you can see the fact we grounded out quite a lot.  However in this spot which is the first bay we spooked a very large.....

Beaver!  you can just make out the brown body there under the water.

Here he is again after showing his displeasure with a vigorous tail slap!  It seems we have quite the population of Beaver now as the following morning a friend was out kayaking in another spot and saw a pair with 3 young. 

But again, the exciting thing was...

seeing lots more activity at the Purple Martin boxes!  In fact there were a total of 4 very young (2 above) fledgling still being fed by adults.  So these are in addition to the young ones we saw when we were out there a few weeks ago.

here is another youngster with another adult.  This is good news as it means that this year has been the most productive yet for this colony.  I've heard that there is a possibility that some more nest boxes may be put up in the area which is great news.  The big concern is that the existing pilings are getting so rotten they may not last another year.

it was really rough out there so once again couldn't get everywhere we wanted to go.  I had really hoped to see some shorebirds but again, not a single shorebird to be seen.  I've checked back and normally we are seeing them by the beginning of August and we are half way through already.  There were quite a few Canada Geese out there....some way off in the distance.

we did notice quite a few gulls.  Most too far off to get a good look at.  These 2 were part of a flock of 11 - I think, with the long swept back wings, they must be California Gulls.  There was only 1 adult, the rest were young ones.

getting to be a lot more ducks out there too.  Pretty much all can see that these ones are just starting to get a greenish sheen to their heads after molting out of their breeding plumage, into their 'eclipse' plumage and now starting to molt back into their familiar plumage.

and of course there were a number of Bald Eagles out there.

Now in my last post I said that it looked like the Black-headed Grosbeak had left.  While I was wrong....

there are still a lot of them around, especially young ones.  It must have been a very successful year.