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.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Canoeing the Harrison

The Harrison River runs from Harrison Lake to Harrison Bay and ultimately the Fraser River.  

Yesterday morning we set out from the shore of Harrison Lake at 7:30 am.  The weather was calm but cloudy so unfortunately the scenery  wasn't as spectacular as it could have been.

the entrance to the river is just around that point.

Never having been down the river before, I was surprised by how wide it was.  Notice the burned trees on the left side hill - that is where there was a wild fire, started by fireworks, earlier this summer.  You can't see them in the photo but there are hydro transmission wires running right over head so no wonder the concern when the fire was burning.

there are some interesting rock formations along the route (also way more cabins and even elaborate homes than I ever would have expected!)

this Great Blue Heron was one of the few birds we saw.  In fact the lack of life was rather disturbing considering the Sockeye Salmon are supposed to be running.  We saw a couple of Osprey and a Bald Eagle, that was pretty much it.

off in the distance there is the start of what we hope will be the Wildlife Management area.

stopped at this point for a snack can see the river is still really wide.

There is a foot path up this very steep rock - not for me!  At this point you can turn and paddle up through the grasslands to Morris Lake....a side trip we didn't do.  I think this is also the northern boundary of the IBA.

Now the river changes dramatically and becomes very swift.  

To my mind this is the most scenic part of the trip but unfortunately the river is flowing so fast that taking pictures is virtually impossible.  

Took this looking back as we were leaving the rapids and headed across the estuary towards home.

What we didn't expect to see was this.  A shelter of some sort with some comfy chairs inside and attached to this shelter, extending out and right across to the structure that holds Hancock's cameras in season, were fishing nets.  The weird thing is that the water is very shallow here, in fact we ran aground a few times....there were nets all along the river but we've never seen them out here before, so not sure what that was all about.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Some yard birds

Would someone please turn off the heat!!!  Yesterday we spent the day in our shady yard, today it is even too hot for that.  It is inside with the air no photos today but here are some from yesterday....

The Chestnut-backed Chickadees are a constant in the yard all day.  

most of the youngsters are getting the hang of the peanut feeder but a couple of them still prefer mom or dad to feed them.

We could hear a fledgling of another sort....

and eventually this Dark-eyed Junco baby showed up with daddy.

here is another look at the little guy.

Lots of young Steller's Jay out there too.  Other species seen but whose portraits didn't turn out (patio is so shady it is hard to get photos) were:  House Finch, Purple Finch, Goldfinch, Pine Siskin, Spotted Towhee, Song Sparrow, White-crowned Sparrow, Eurasian Collared Dove and some Cedar Waxwing flying around the tree tops.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Turkey Vultures!

Well this morning we set off in the canoe in search of shorebirds....

it was breezier than we would have liked but beautiful non the less.  Here we are sitting right over the path that we'll be walking on by the end of the month if not before, the way the water levels are dropping!

we headed over towards the log jam between the Harrison River and the Chehalis and could see there was lots of activity going on.  It was also getting rougher...taking photos from a bouncing canoe does not lead to clear crisp photographs.

as we got closer we could see lots of Common Raven and.....

Turkey Vultures!  Lots of Turkey Vultures, counted at least 35 of them.  The Sockeye Salmon are running in the Harrison, hence the interest.

thanks to the bouncing canoe none of the really close up shots worked out but this is one of the better ones.

of course we'd set out to see shorebirds and there was definitely lots of 'shore' now but although we saw evidence by way of foot prints and beak probe marks, not a shorebird in sight.

a number of Red-wing Blackbirds though and also some swallows or maybe even swift of some sort, couldn't really ID any of them.  From this point we turned back to wander up the arm of the Chehalis...

quite a few Great Blue Heron, mainly young ones like this guy, were spread around the area.

a lot more ducks too, these were young Hooded Merganser....

up and around the corner were some Mallard....there were flocks of various ducks flying around as well, all very restless and spooky as they tend to be at this time of the year.

the only shorebirds we saw the entire trip were the Spotted Sandpiper that have spent the summer in the area.  It was very quiet for other bird life as well.  Cedar Waxwing were flying back and forth across the river but that was about it.  Perhaps it was the almost gale force conditions that were keeping the birds out of sight.

there were still lots of Canada Geese just about everywhere you looked, most were now finished their molt and able to take flight again.  It was at this stage that the camera went in it's bag and I had to pick up the paddle to help my husband as it took all our strength to fight the wind and make it across the bit of open water to home.  So still no shorebirds.....

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Pied-bill Grebes

Oh my goodness!  I can't believe how quickly the water levels are dropping!

walked down to the boat launch this evening with my camera - went down the other night without a camera and there were Geese and ducks right in the boat launch.....of course not tonight!

however I did spot some Pied-bill Grebe over in the grasses on the west side - saw 3, only 2 in this photo.

back to water won't be long until we can walk right to the end of the path!  I'm really hoping to get out in the canoe tomorrow, thinking that if we don't get out there in the next few days we aren't going to be able to get out at all until next spring.

Back in the yard, the Chestnut-back Chickadee family continues to entertain in the yard...

here are two of the babies.

Monday, August 4, 2014


Another stretch of way too hot weather has had us spending all our time on our shaded patio, and today we were entertained by yet another family of Chestnut-backed Chickadees....

this time there were at least 5 of the little guys and they were very taken with our little water feature.

this little guy sat on our patio table, with both of us there as well.

here a couple decided to bath together.

at one point a Pine Siskin dropped in to see what was going on.  Haven't seen Pine Siskin for a while but a few are starting to show up.

Chickadee's aren't the only baby birds still around.  

this fledgling Song Sparrow has been out there the last 3 days but isn't as co-operative as the chickadees when it comes to having it's photo taken.  A mother robin was seen with a mouthful of worms while Steller's Jay have been in and out.  Still some American Goldfinch babies as well although not as many as a week or so ago.  All this should serve to remind that the nesting season stretches well into the month of August so no tree cutting or heavy shrub pruning  yet!

One more look at the sweet little guys....

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.