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Monday, December 22, 2014

First full day of winter

Today being the first full day of winter, thought we'd get out and see what was around.


did a quick run up along the road....you can see that water levels are still higher than they should be, but are going down.  There wasn't much in the way of birds along here, could see Swans way out and there were a few Hooded Merganser and that was about it.


drove over to Kilby and Harrison Bay and were thrilled to have the place completely to ourselves.  That doesn't happen very often.  The campground is open all winter and we've noticed a lot of people come out for a picnic, having a campfire and just enjoying the day.


This Bald Eagle was perched right over head when we parked the car, and was still there when we left.


There were a lot of Scaup ducks out on the water, whether Lesser or Greater I really don't know.  A trio of Double-crested Cormorant flew by but didn't manage a photo.


here we are looking up the Harrison River....a lot more water and a lot less beach than there was this time last year!

Went up on the dike ....


and were thrilled to see that the gate that is usually locked across it was wide open, so we were able to walk further than we ever have before.


saw a number of Song Sparrows.....


quite a few eagles perched in trees all along the edge of the river, including this juvenile...


this Loon, I think a Common but am wondering about that now I look at it....was on the river at the point we turned around.


in another spot there were this group of Mallards, swimming in formation.  

When we got back to the parking area it was one of those times when there were so many birds of so many types it was impossible to take them all in....


this Black-cap Chickadee was the only one I barely managed to capture....other species seen were Junco, Steller's Jay, Varied Thrush, Red-wing Blackbirds, Starling, a Hairy Woodpecker, a couple of Northern Flicker and who knows what else!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Unusual season continues

The unusual season continues....


the water levels are slowly dropping but still up over the grasslands so no walking over to the park.  Monday was the day the Christmas Bird Count was done in our area, haven't seen any reports on what were found but did talk to the counters when let them into our complex and they hadn't seen anything too exciting or unusual at that point, which is pretty much the way it has been.  


Lot's of Bald Eagles perched in trees, mainly because there isn't any where else for them to be.  No flats to loaf on this year!  

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Just a lot of water

Haven't been posting much because there just hasn't been a lot of change.  This is the most unusual season we've had since I started doing this.  Every time the water starts to drop down and things seem to be getting back to normal, something happens that is anything but normal.  Last posts we had ice all over, then we got warm rain, it melted all the snow that had been in the hills and consequently we were back to high water.  Now it is on the way down again, but still high.

Headed over to Kilby today....


sunny but chilly and very, very quiet bird wise.  



the cornfield beside the dike had a bunch of Killdeer in it, almost impossible to see until they moved - there are at least 4 in this picture.


The Red-wing Blackbird flock was there as well...


this one has a corn kernel in it's bill.  It is kind of amazing that they are still finding corn in the few stalks left around the perimeter of the field, considering the numbers of birds feeding on them.


This 4 year old Bald Eagle was perched right beside the road as we headed back our way.


We then drove up Morris Valley Road where large numbers of ducks and swans were sheltering.  Earlier the sun had been shining on this area and the swans (mainly Tundra) were in close but all parking areas were taken up with 'photographers', so wasn't able to get any photos.

Tomorrow is the Christmas Bird Count in this area, hopefully all these waterfowl will still be here to be counted.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

5 days later....

How things change in just a few days!  Such a strange 'not yet even winter'!


this was the scene on the 3rd of the month...water levels dropped way down but sheets of ice remained all over the grasslands.


and of course there were Bald Eagles feasting on the salmon that were showing up as the water disappeared.

Fast forward to today....


no more ice and the water back where it should be this time of the year.  There were a lot of Common Merganser, Bufflehead and Mallard in the water in this area, although a bunch flew as duck hunters were also out there today.


on the way down to the foreshore I managed some photos of this male Anna's Hummingbird.  Of course the only one I got showing the beautiful magenta colour of the head wasn't in focus - but this is one of the best photos I have of these guys yet.

After lunch we decided to take a drive over to Kilby....as we drove I spotted this....


Northern Pygmy Owl, perched on a branch, right over the road!  Wondered how many people drove right underneath it without even noticing.  


not a lot of activity out on Harrison Bay today...possibly due to a couple of boats that kept running up and down...


Noticed a couple of Bald Eagles....this guy had been busy preening...


and there were probably several hundred Red-wing Blackbirds along the edge of the cornfield adjacent to the dyke...


and at the other end there were these Eurasian Collared Doves perched on the railway bridge.  

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

The cold continues

The last few days have continued, crisp and cool...


during this time the water levels have been receding....leaving large sheets of ice behind.


here is another view.


there is definitely lots of activity out there right now.  Ducks by the hundreds.....


lots of Swans (hard to tell which type, probably both), lots and lots of gulls and of course....


Bald Eagles.....this one an adult.


this one a juvenile. 

 Yesterday there was a large flock of Red-wing Blackbirds in the bushes, the day before it was a mixed flock of Gold-crowned Kinglets, Chickadee's (both Chestnut-backed and Black capped) and Brown Creepers.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Brrrrr

What a crazy 'not yet winter'!  First the rain....


which, when it finally ended, has brought water levels up to spring flood levels!  Again, most of these photos have been taken by my husband.


here is another one....these were taken on November 28th....a day coincidentally when record high temperatures were being set all over the place.

I did get out for one walk once the rain stopped...


and managed this photo of a Bald Eagle perched in the top of one of the Cedar trees in our complex.

Now, skip forward 24 hours .....


back to the log bay...yes, that is ice...we now are setting low temperature records....


there are wicked outflow winds which is what is driving the spray that is coating everything and then freezing.  They say with the wind chill it is close to minus 20 and I must say that when I ventured out for a short walk, I've braved a lot of outflow winds here, but that was the coldest I've ever experienced.

No doubt, because of the bitter temperatures, our feeders have been very busy...


visitors included this male Purple Finch...first one I've seen for a while.


the Anna's Hummingbirds are lined up at the feeder.....


and a lot of birds, like this female Varied Thrush were taking advantage of the sunshine in a sheltered spot to thaw out and warm up a bit.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Never ending rain

Between this never ending rain and other obligations I haven't managed to get out for a walk yet this week, so these photos are courtesy of my husband, taken while walking our two dogs whenever the rain lets up enough to just be 'rain' and not torrents!


all this rain is, of course, bringing water levels back up but there is no shortage of...


Bald Eagles.....they are everywhere right now.  Crossing the highway 7 bridge over the Harrison River yesterday the trees on both sides of the river were full of eagles.


these ones were lined up along the park.  


also, hanging out at the park has been this Trumpeter Swan family, adults and 3 youngsters.

If weather forecasts are right, this heavy rain, dark and low cloud should move out on Friday so maybe I'll actually get out that day.