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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.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Another canoe trip

Boy I hadn't realized it had been that long since I'd posted anything!  Between heat, bugs and a husband who managed to trip over a door sill and injure a knee we just haven't been out and about lately.  Yesterday, we did, however, manage to get out for another canoe trip...


it wasn't the most productive trip for seeing birds....mid afternoon on a warm day and also we didn't make it into areas where you can usually expect to see things....we set off heading in the direction of Eagle Point park....you can see the silly sign that normally sits right in the middle of the path to the park is now re-emerging from the watery depths.  There are the 2 'eagle tree's' by the viewing platform straight ahead...


and we have a pair of Bald Eagles that have taken up residence in one of those trees.  I don't know if this is a new pair or the pair that have the nest on the dike that didn't seem to have a successful hatch this year.  I've heard too that the pair that nest in the golf course had problems in that the male has disappeared so the female is raising their young on her own....  It isn't nest building time....if that were to happen here (which would be great) they would start working on it probably in November.


next we had to check out the Purple Martin boxes....note the fledgling peaking out of the top left one.  I knew they were still here as can hear their distinctive zit call in the evenings when they are busy catching bugs....of which we've had no shortage this year.

Further along....


spotted a 'Spotted' Sandpiper at the log bay....there was a young one on the shore but it vanished before I could get a photo.  Could hear various twittering from the shore, including Bullocks Oriole and there were some swallows of various species flying about although not a lot of any particular ones.  

A last look at...


Martin boxes where there were 2 of the males....


and another fledgling.  Have a feeling there were probably a dozen or so all told.

Headed....


across to the other side as wanted to check out if we could see any sign of that Red-necked Grebe....didn't.....in fact didn't see much of anything except...


very quiet Canada Geese....about a dozen in this location but probably close to a hundred out there...all in their flightless molting stage so not drawing any attention to themselves.  A couple of ducks, I think Mallard flew over at one point too.

What were vocal and busy flying over head were....


Osprey.  This one has a fish in it's talons.  At one point there were 3 overhead which tells me the youngsters had left the nest...



Perhaps this one was getting a fishing lesson.

Just as we were heading back one of the eagle pair took off from his perch, flew out and grabbed something from the water (hopefully a only a fish)...


where his mate joined him.  I really cropped the above photo in hopes of seeing just what it was he had caught but this definitely proves we have a pair as otherwise there would have been squabbling over the catch.

Lastly....

spotted one of the Common Loon who have been hanging around out there all season.  Just as we brought the canoe in a beautiful male Bullock's Oriole landed right in front of me, but of course by the time I fumbled for my camera, he'd gone.  Oh well!  Will have to try to get out for a walk soon....see what is happening over at Harrison Bay.