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Friday, August 24, 2018

Found shorebirds

Turns out our last canoe trip wasn't the last of the season.  Last Tuesday morning with the water like glass we put the canoe in for one final time....


the wildfire smoke was still with us and the water was getting pretty shallow as we headed out in the direction of the Harrison River.


Canada Geese and lot's of ducks.  Most of the ducks were Mallard and all were so flighty that they took off before you could get a picture....


so I was really surprised when I down loaded this one because those are Northern Pintail!  The last year or so we have seen a lot more pintails in this area than in the past, but it seems early for any to be here.


it was starting to sound like fall out there with the cries of gulls in the distance.  The only one we actually saw was this Glaucous-wing on the fallen over tower, now decorated with yellow markers that people in the neighbourhood attached to dangerous items out there when the water was high....this does at least demonstrate the difference in water levels between high water and now.


the 2 stone rings have also reappeared.


but what was most exciting was spotting shorebirds ahead.


a few little guys with their black legs and long slightly drooping bills being Western Sandpiper....


the rest of them being the slightly larger Baird's Sandpiper - only the second time we have found them out there.


there was another little group flying around finally settling, this being part of them.  At this point we headed back planning to go up the arm of the Chehalis but with a trio of kayaks heading up it, figured there was no sense doing that so cut directly across to .....


the spot where there had been so much bird activity our last trip....of course no two trips are ever the same and this time there wasn't much of anything happening in that spot.  It must have been a mixed flock moving through the last time.


conversely there was more activity at the Purple Martin boxes...notice the 2 Great Blue Heron....the one on the right was attacked by a Purple Martin moments after this photo was taken.  In fact there were heron all over the place, in one spot 4 of them were spread along the shoreline.


still some young Purple Martin at the boxes although most did seem capable of flight.  I don't expect they will be hanging around much longer.

Back at home in the afternoon, which had turned quite warm, there was a lot of activity in the garden out back with a few surprise visitors....


Western Tanager were enjoying the garden with the bird bath....


and the berries from the laurel bushes.  Cedar Waxwings flew about in the tree tops almost constantly, occasionally coming down for a berry but not cooperating for photos.


a number of young Black-headed Grosbeak were there....

but most surprising were....


a pair of Yellow Warblers!

Of course also the regulars, robin, Steller's Jay, Spotted Towhee etc. etc.  Anna Hummingbird activity has really picked up recently with the Rufous Hummingbirds pretty much gone.

So now this definitely is the last post until we return in October.....so, see you then!  We will return like the eagles.

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Another poke about in the canoe

Yesterday we got out in the canoe again....


the wildfire smoke was thicker than it had been - and is getting thicker - but just to show how things can change, almost day to day, there wasn't nearly the activity around the Purple Martin boxes....


although there were still some Purple Martin around....


including some really young ones, but I think the bulk of them have started heading back to where ever they spend the winter.


it was actually pretty quiet out there....or 'in here' as this is inside the poor, collapsing, log bay...

at least it seemed really quiet until we snuck into a corner away from any public access...


and oh my goodness!  The birds just started to appear - unfortunately we couldn't get very close so between that and the fact that most of them stayed in behind bushes and debris, the pictures weren't great - in fact missed some completely like the Black-throated Grey Warblers...  Here we have a young American Robin and a young Song Sparrow sharing a branch.


this was the best I managed of a Pacific Slope Flycatcher....


and this young Warbling Vireo isn't much better.

the variety of warblers was amazing...


Yellow-rumped Warbler....like this one...



Yellow Warblers....possibly some Wilson's Warblers as well...

and it wasn't until I downloaded that I found....



a Townsend's Warbler down there in the corner....with possibly an Orange Crowned Warbler up above.

It wasn't just Warbler's either....



the first Chestnut-backed Chickadees I've seen in months....


as well as a young Hairy Woodpecker, hiding behind this young robin.  Besides all these there were House Finch, a number of Hummingbirds and we could hear a Catbird....

what we didn't see or hear the entire 3 hours we were out there were any Canada Geese!  We did spot....


 a Pied-billed Grebe - in fact there had been a young one with this adult, but it decided to dive as I took the photo...

also very conspicuous by their absence were heron....it wasn't until we traveled to another section and could hear 'muttering' from the shore....



that we found where the Great Blue Heron were - up in trees!



more and more Blackbirds are showing up, like this young Red-wing Blackbird, but there was also a flock of Brewer's Blackbirds out on a section of emerging grasslands.

What we still haven't seen any of is any sort of shorebird, not even snipe, which seems strange.

Oh yes, of course there were a few....


Bald Eagle.....still just all adults though.



Thursday, August 16, 2018

It has been a while!

Well I knew it had been a while since I'd posted anything - but I didn't realize it had been quite that long!!!  Almost 3 months....geesh!

We were away, came back, went away again for a little while and have been home again, guess my biggest excuse has been the weather - just too darn hot most of the time to go for walks....so looking forward to fall, but before that happens, we'll be away again, probably until October.

So lets do a little bit of catch up....where are the water levels?


well they are dropping....but still enough water out there for canoeing and kayaking and the path over to the park is still under water although won't be for much longer.  You will notice the haze in this photo taken the other evening....like most of B.C. we are getting smoke from all the wildfires....


this was Harrison Bay Sunday evening....see the beach is reappearing.

I guess the most important thing to report on is the success of the 


Purple Martin colony.  Every single one of those martin boxes has been used this year....in fact I'm wondering if they have each been used more than once because we've been seeing young purple martin since June and there are still young being fed.


here is a young one begging for food.  The colony has actually been so successful that this year another group of martin boxes have been placed on pilings just out from Kilby campground....hopefully this years feeding martins have taken note and when they return next spring, will start expanding there as well.

Appears there has been a good crop of 


Great Blue Heron this year too as there are young ones scattered all over out there, in fact there was one day a few weeks ago when we were canoeing that we had....


Twenty some odd heron circling around over head - these were just a few of them - something I've never seen before.

Of course....


Canada geese are out there in large numbers, in fact numbers are increasing daily it seems.  Mallard ducks are starting to return as well.  Up to 4 Common Loon spent the summer out there and quite a few Pied Bill Grebe, but no unusual visitors like last years Red-necked Grebe.

Haven't noticed anything too unusual in song birds either....


Eastern Kingbirds nested over at Harrison Bay again....


Common Yellowthroat were quite abundant.



and there seems to be a healthy population of Barn Swallows....in fact all swallows have been quite prominent.

Someone else that has become quit prominent and busy....


are Beavers!  Beaver houses and dams are popping up all over the place!

This being mid August we keep watching for shorebirds, but so far all we've seen are...


are Spotted Sandpipers....which of course spent the summer with us.

I guess I should mention Bald Eagles....seems there are more of them here this year than we've had other years....but just seem to be seeing adults so have no idea if the nest at Harrison Bay was successful this year or not.

So that is about it.....


I'll leave you with a peaceful scene from the other night on the river....with just a bit of mist rising....a sign that fall isn't all that far away!

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Haven't left yet.....

Well we haven't left yet....and the water continues to climb, albeit slowly....so we went for another walk along the dike at Harrison Bay yesterday evening....


it was dead calm out there....so here is the flooded parking lot...


and towards the campground.  Two days before we could actually walk into the campground- not so now.


quite a few damp spots like this now in all the fields, in fact all the properties that back the dike a bit further back have standing water in them, along the back edges.


this is a little disconcerting as this water is coming in from under the railroad tracks which form the dike in this spot.

As for bird activity....well there was quite the carry on ....


it seems the European Starlings have fledged 'en-mass' - they were all over the bushes and making sure everyone knew they were there!


caught sight of this female Common Yellowthroat....


this American Robin obviously feeding a family somewhere....

Speaking of families, while I was looking at a male Mallard in a flooded location, wondering if there were any mallard ducklings yet, we spotted....


Canada Geese in the few dry spots still in the campground and one pair had some freshly hatched goslings with them, but I couldn't get a photo through all the vegetation between us and them.


that poor Osprey nest is still hanging in there....just wish boat owners were a bit more considerate of their wakes.  The eagle nest was occupied with one of the parents sitting up in it.  Youngsters still too small to show up from the ground.



White-crowned Sparrows were much in evidence - especially this guy who really stood his ground as we walked by.  Obviously a nest nearby.


a few Song Sparrows, like this one making themselves more visible than they have been lately...



This male Red-wing Blackbird is usually hanging about in this location, so again, must be a nest nearby.  Notice the Red-Osier Dogwood flowers are now getting past their peak.



while the Viper's Bugloss is just starting to flower.  Hopefully they won't mow it all down like they did last year.....all that vegetation sucks up water which is what is needed right now.  Of course if they do mow it, we won't be here to see it.  Sounds like they don't expect water levels to peak for another week or so yet.