Sunday, July 29, 2012

Almost the end of the month

Here we are, almost at the end of July and I’ve been very remiss in doing any postings over the past week or so…

July 25, 2012

Water levels continue to drop steadily now, this picture was taken on the 25th…and shows, on the far right, the boat launch path gradually re-emerging…

the re-emerging estuary

You can now walk to the end of the upper portion (if you can stand the mosquitoes) giving hope that one day we’ll be able to walk out there again.  I understand that the path in the park is almost ‘walk-able’ again, except for two problems – there is still water in the very deepest section and there is also a large tree that has come down completely blocking the path – no doubt parks will take care of that pretty quickly now that the place is ‘dry’.

Goldfinch, Sisken and Finch

Not a lot has changed in the bird department….lots of young birds around now, American Goldfinch, Pine Siskin, House Finch, White Crowned Sparrows, Junco, Steller’s Jay, Black Headed Grosbeaks etc….

Purple Finch

Purple Finch too,

Townsend's Chipmunk

and we’re seeing more and more of these Townsend’s Chipmunks…so speaking of chipmunks I thought I’d post a few photos I took up in Manning Park last Sunday – normally I would post these on by ‘Birding by Shantz’ blog, but I’m still working on my last Tunkwa trip on that one…so here goes..

The meadows

up in the alpine meadows….

from the rear

I found this Blue Grouse having a dust bath….the bird was very co-operative for picture taking…

Clark's Nutcracker

at the lookout there were the usual Clark’s Nutcrackers…..

Common Raven

Common Raven….


and very pushy Chipmunks and Golden Mantled Ground Squirrels..

What a pig!

Look at the cheek pouches on this greedy little ground squirrel!

Mallards on a log




At the Beaver Pond there were a few Flycatchers, a Song Sparrow, and this Mallard family.

Lots of wildflowers everywhere, but those pictures will wait for when ever I get back to the other blog.


Any time now we can expect the shorebird migration to start….it would be nice to have some ‘shore’ so there would be a chance of some of them stopping by the estuary!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Our baby, maybe?

Haven’t ventured out of the yard today, but have amused myself with getting more baby bird pictures….  early this morning there were a lot of young Northern Flickers, one even came to one of my feeders, but they were far to shy for pictures….

Young Rufous

Not so for the young Rufous Hummingbirds!  There are so many of them out there today and they are anything but shy – I swear I could have reached out and touched this little guy!

Rufous at Monarda

and they are loving, and fighting over, the flowers of the Bee Balm or Monarda – one of the plants that any Hummingbird garden should have!

Dark-eyed Junco fledgling with parent

also out there today has been this very young Dark Eyed Junco – with, in this case, daddy.  No doubt a second hatch.

Black-capped chickadee on feeder

the Black-capped Chickadees (and the Chestnut-backed) are still visiting the peanut feeder regularly – I’ve never fed peanuts in the summer before but I am finding it is getting more use now than it normally does in the winter!

Purple Finch at fountain

a young Purple Finch stopped at the fountain for a drink….

Spotted Towhee Fledgling

and could this little guy be our poor baby Spotted Towhee?  The development stage looks about right – he’s got his tail now but his wings were still quite short and he still appeared quite fluffy….he ventured out of my neighbours yard to have a bit of a sun bath…. I’m hoping it is the same little guy so the story has a happy ending.  One very good thing about the complex I live in is that cats must be indoor cats – young birds like this stand a much better chance of survival when they aren’t been hunted by so called ‘domestic’ cats.

Friday, July 20, 2012

What a difference a day makes!

This was yesterday, July 19, 2012

July 19, 2012

sunny and a little too warm for my tastes….

July 20, 2012

and this was today…at least after the rain stopped – breezy – as you can see from the leaves….water levels also dropped at least 4 and maybe as much as 6 inches over night.  I went back and checked and to my surprise this is pretty much exactly where the water was at this time last year too!

light at the end of the tunnel

there is actually ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ or at least you can walk part way down the upper part of the path…if you can brave the mosquitoes…

Heron in the boat launch

Speaking of the path, when Ernie went down there earlier this morning, there was a Great Blue Heron fishing right in the boat launch – when you think about it, this year’s young must be out now and that will add up to a lot of Heron in our area and not all that many places for them to stand right now as so much is still under water.

Barn Swallow

When I wandered down in the middle of the afternoon, I could hear a lot of bird activity but couldn’t see all that much….Barn Swallows of course…

Young Goldfinch

and a lot of very vocal young American Goldfinch….

Red-wing Blackbird

also, something we haven’t seen for a while – Red-wing Blackbird – this one a young one.  Also, I have to mention the amount of Rufous Hummingbirds zipping around today – only a few days ago people had been asking where they all were – well they’ve shown up today!  No males of course, they’re long gone although we may see the occasional migrant passing through from further north.

And, for 2 days in a row a Turkey Vulture has been seen soaring quite low over our complex – don’t know if it is waiting for something to happen or what!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Just kind of a strange time….

I looked really hard today to try to find something to post since I seem to have a loyal following, despite the fact that this months reports have been slim to none!  Thank you for that. It just seems to be a very strange time of the year – or maybe it is the weather…

staying high

water levels are staying constant at a higher level than I ever remember for this time of the year.  I’m hoping to get out on that water one of these days, if it isn’t either blazing hot or too windy – which seems to the case lately as we switch from one extreme to the other.

House Finch

Sometimes bird numbers are very sparse and at other times they seem to be everywhere.  There are quite a few House Finch around, like this male, I find they seem to visit the feeders in the evening, bringing a lot of youngsters.  Purple Finch show up then too but haven’t noticed any young with them.  Goldfinch are either in great numbers, or totally absent….and just the other day a few Pine Sisken started appearing again.

American Robin

there are still quite a few American Robin’s running around with mouthfuls of food.  The Bullock’s Orioles and Cedar Waxwing are still in large numbers down near the water….

Flicker in the grass

Spotted this Northern Flicker in the grass today…lots of Barn Swallows but haven’t seen too many Tree Swallows lately.  The male Rufous Hummingbirds are long gone but there are females and young ones around but more spread out now as they concentrate on natural food rather than feeders.  Both Black Capped and Chestnut-backed Chickadees show up from time to time and there is a family of Red-breasted Nuthatch in a cedar tree, identified by sound as they are too high up for pictures.

Fledgling Jay

It seems most of the adult Steller’s Jay are taking a vacation elsewhere because pretty much every Jay you see is a youngster.   Black-headed Grosbeak are showing up now and then, as are a few Brown headed Cowbirds – they normally pretty much disappear by the end of July.

Tent Caterpillar Moth

Spotted this out on the road today.  This is the moth from a Tent Caterpillar.  You may have noticed these guys on the news lately as the city of Prince George is apparently over run with them.

and just as a follow up, I haven’t seen that baby Towhee again, but I have see a male Towhee around now and then, so perhaps he is still busy feeding.  There has also been an adult White-crowned Sparrow in the yard occasionally, not sure what happened to the young ones that had been around earlier.  Oh, and I haven’t seen that Grackle again either.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Poor baby!!!

There hasn’t been much to see on the very short quick trips I’ve made around the complex the last few days…

July 11, 2012

water levels are remaining pretty stable, the sun is just a tad too warm for most of the birds and the mosquitoes are getting thicker, and thicker…however a trend has shown up at home with the few birds venturing out…

American Goldfinch

a great carry on alerted me today, to the first young American Goldfinch of the season.  That cinnamon coloured one is a youngster…noticed also that some of the males are already loosing their clear yellow ‘breeding’ colours.

Chestnutbacked Chickadee

there was a Chestnut backed Chickadee family out there this morning (not sure if this is a young one or a ‘worn’ adult.  Seems most of the Steller’s Jays around right now are young ones, and the first young Black Headed Grosbeak showed up yesterday….

fledgling Towhee

but the youngest, and saddest, baby to show up today was this poor little thing….I could hear it calling and calling and finally managed to spot it…

extremely young spotted Towhee

and there was daddy Spotted Towhee, trying to feed it.  This baby is far to young to be away from the nest.  Yesterday there was a tree cut down and some shrubs severely pruned close to this area and I have a horrible feeling there must have been a Towhee nest under those shrubs (they nest on or very low to the ground) and this poor little guy must have got chased out of the nest early (note the blood on the wing).  At least daddy is feeding it – I don’t know if that means that mom is still sitting or what – this would obviously be a second hatching, as Towhee usually nest very early in the nesting season.

extremely young spotted towhee

here is another look at the sad little creature – let this be a reminder that if you must do any tree or shrub pruning, to be very careful and examine the site carefully before you start – birds in our area start nesting as early as March and continue on until almost August.  I shudder to think about how many baby birds have met their demise in our complex alone, just from those that have to attack everything that is green with pruners and weed eaters!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012


Well here it is, the 10th of July and I’m finally getting a July posting done.  Was away for a few days and then all of a sudden summer arrived with vengeance – and so did the mosquitoes – so, not being a heat or bug lover,  I just haven’t been out and about very much…

6:00 am

Due to needing the ‘shared’ car, I was up at the 4:30 am this morning – took a walk down to the boat launch area about 5:30 am….

July 10 '12 021

Here is the same view at noon – water levels have dropped a couple of feet at least but are still very high, at least the pavement in here is high and dry now, or at least most of it, one parking area is still partially covered..

Fledgling Robin

during the early morning walk saw this fledgling American Robin – the parents were nearby…

Young Red-breasted Sapsucker

and there were at least 3 young Red-breasted Sapsuckers down in the willows, unfortunately the mosquitoes were so thick I couldn’t take staying there so this is the best picture I got – I’d mentioned before that I hadn’t seen any Red-breasted Sapsuckers here this year – obviously they were here – I just missed them.

Female Black-headed Grosbeak

this female Black-headed Grosbeak was in a boulevard tree…

trying to eat a stick

back at home I was trying to get pictures of a Townsend’s Chipmunk that was in the yard, failed at that, but this young Steller’s Jay was busy trying to figure out why it couldn’t eat this little stick…..  I’m so happy to see the Chipmunks again….we used to have lots until someone in the area took offence to them and decided to poison them – let’s hope that doesn’t happen again!

The big surprise of the day came at noon.  I had decided to not take my camera – probably the first time in months and months that I didn’t have a camera with me, but I figured I already had enough to do a blog posting….but wouldn’t you know it…

Common Grackle

that would be the very time when you see something that shouldn’t be here – a Common Grackle!  Luck was with me though as I hurried home, grabbed a camera, fully expecting the bird to be gone, but it was still there and I managed to snap a few quick pictures of it – this one being the best.  This wasn’t a ‘lifer’ for me, as I’ve seen Grackle in Alberta where they belong – in fact they are pretty much all over North America – east of the Rocky Mountains….but this was a first for this area and brings our area to 180 recorded species.