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Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Interesting day on the water.....

Sunday morning looked like a beautiful day to head out on the water...


we started out skirting the shoreline, heading  down along the front of Eagle Point park as I wanted to confirm what I'd already seen on the Fraser Valley Birding Facebook page that


our little colony of Coastal Purple Martins had returned and successfully raised young again.  The little guy in the above photo was not quite fledged to the flying stage.


Every single bird house was occupied by either Tree or Violet Green Swallows.  It is too bad something couldn't be done as so many of these nest boxes are in need of work but even though they are falling off, the birds have made use of them.


We then did an about face and headed over to the mouth of a branch of the Chehalis River.


the landscape was marred slightly by this decaying structure.  If you follow this blog you will recall my reporting that last summer, for the first time, local first nations set up 'camps' out on the estuary and spread nets in areas they had never been before.  Obviously that included across this branch of the Chehalis river.


headed up the river itself....


and then up a further branch, one we'd never made quite this far before until a fallen tree blocked further progress.  Right in the middle of the above photo there is a male Wood Duck.  Also spotted a young Hooded Merganser and a young Common Merganser had fled as we approached.

 

Bird calls had accompanied us the whole trip but not many were visible until a pair of Red-breasted Sapsuckers caught our attention as they were busy 'fly catching' - an activity I had no idea they did.


We put ashore on some recently exposed land and 'spotted' this Spotted Sandpiper.....


we were also being scolded by this Gray Catbird as obviously there was a nest in the vicinity.

About this time it was getting pretty hot and we decided to head for home.....we'd just started across the open water when we could hear a lot of eagle 'carry on' over close to Morris Valley Road.


Between what we could see and a first hand account from a couple kayaking only a few paddle lengths from where it started....there had been a mature Bald Eagle attacked by a second mature eagle and driven into the water.  The first eagle in the above photo had managed to swim to the stump while the second bird circled around for another attack.


a third eagle (again a mature) then joined in and between the two, drove the first bird back in the water and proceeded to attack, attempting to drown it.  At this point the kayaker intervened giving the bird a chance....


and it managed to lift out of the water and fly over to this submerged log quite close to our canoe.


although wet from it's swim it didn't appear to be too injured.  We did go out later in the evening just to make sure it wasn't still stuck out there somewhere but there was no sign of it so we assume it made good it's escape.


One last photo...spotted this male Bullock's Oriole as we were launching the canoe for the evening trip.

Friday, June 12, 2015

It's been a month.....

It has been over a month since I've done a report.  We've spent three weeks away at various favorite birding spots and then an early record breaking heat wave discouraged going for walks.....but today, being cooler, we made it over to Harrison Bay to see what a months change looked like.


First thing to point out is the water level.  Higher than we would have expected given the low snow pack, at least locally.  Water normally peaks at this time in June, so this is probably it.


The other notable thing is how dry the vegetation is already.  The green field has been irrigated, the brown grass is on the outside of the fence and has already turned brown.


Nice to see the Salmon Berries ripe and juicy....Robin's love these...


and I'm always promoting the values of this native tree, the Cascara...notice the berries...they aren't ripe yet, when they are they will disappear fast - so many birds love them.


So speaking of birds.....saw this Spotted Towhee.....


and I think that is a fledgling one....

We saw lots of....


White-crowned Sparrows....all adults but most had mouthfuls of feed so I think there were a lot of babies hidden down in the grasses.


There were a lot of Swallows of various types flying over the hay fields....Tree Swallows, Barn Swallows, and like this one, Violet Green Swallows.


There was a Great Blue Heron hiding down in a slough....lots of Spotted Sandpiper around too but none staying still long enough for a picture.

Some wildflowers too....


like these Oxeye Daisies....


and this Chicory....


and these cute little flowers, obviously members of the Morning Glory family...hopefully not a horrible invasive weed!  Will have to do some research on them.

If the winds we've had the last few days die down we'll try and get out on the water because I hear our Purple Martin colony is back and active.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

A beautiful day......

I should have done this report yesterday evening, but the same holds true for today....it is a beautiful day....


We'll start over at Harrison Bay where it was so calm and quiet.  Water levels have actually dropped slightly (and even more today) but that is due to cool nights the past few days.  With temperatures on the rise now I expect the water levels will be coming back up.


the Osprey were back at the piling....when I zoomed in I could see that the nest under construction is actually down in the piling group, not on top...there was actually another pair working on a nest on another set of pilings further out.


in fact at one point this Osprey came towards us, circled behind the trees and I thought it was going to perch when it suddenly snapped a branch off just as neat as you please and took it off to the nest.  My regret was not having my DSLR camera with me as I could have got a spectacular shot.


Still a number of Canada Goose pairs although I noticed that the numbers of them in the adjacent farm fields has dropped dramatically.  I'm still waiting to see any goslings.


It looks to me that there is a nest down in that rotten piling so maybe some goslings will be seen soon.


did see a Spotted Sandpiper though......


and the Wild Roses are coming into flower.


this European Starling was taking what looks like a beetle to it's nest....


and there is one of those White-crowned Sparrows in the same general spot we've been seeing them.


back up at my end.....


look at all the baby fish enjoying the sunshine! 


a big surprise was turning around and spotting this Ruffed Grouse sneaking across the path!


This female American Goldfinch came down for a drink....

Then in the evening.....


this male Wilson's Warbler was in the same general area, in deep shade so not a great photo!

also, not a great photo but wanted to show a rather interesting happening in the sky....


on the bottom left you can just see an Osprey with a fish, beside it is an adult Bald Eagle, intent on grabbing the fish and above both were a pair of Common Raven both going after the eagle.  It was quite the carry on!


and we'll end with a beautiful spring evening scene at the Chehalis Estuary.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Some first of the seasons....

Haven't been out with the camera for a few days now but did want to report that the 'first of the season' sightings are happening thick and fast right now....

Yesterday, May 4th....the Bullock's Orioles arrived!  So nice to hear their chatter....


this is a photo of a male taken several years ago in my former backyard.  These birds love the large poplar trees (like the ones recently destroyed) growing close to the shoreline where they build their hanging nests.

Today....


the first male Black-headed Grosbeak showed up at the feeder (this photo again taken some time ago).

and tonight.....


it was the first Spotted Sandpiper of the season...again a photo from way back when.

Of course the Brown-headed Cowbirds are back 'enforce' as well.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Pelicans!!!!

This first day of May we had some rare visitors..... American White Pelicans!  I didn't get to see them but my husband did while walking our two dogs....


he managed this 'proof they were there' photo but that was all.  They were way over close to the edge of the Harrison River.  This is just the 2nd sighting of Pelicans here that I know of, the last time was in August of  2010.


The above photo was taken at Elk Island National Park in Alberta.  I've just posted it so you can see what they look like a bit more clearly.  Pelicans are common on the prairies but there is also a population of them that nest in the Chilcotin area of our province. 


I went down later in hopes of seeing the birds for myself, but of course no such luck.  Here are the water levels....this first day of May.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Last Day of April

This last day of April, 2015 we ventured back over to Harrison Bay....really didn't want to considering what has taken place over there but with water levels once more on the rise there is really no where else to walk.


the weather was much like most of this month has been, kind of cool and showery but not too bad considering.  There isn't much in the way of beach again as this photo shows, notice the Pacific Choke Cherry tree in full flower.  There are a lot of these trees all along the dike and even left in the park, they don't grow large enough to be deemed 'dangerous' thank goodness as they are so important to the birds.


here is a closer look at the flowers.  There was no sign of the Osprey pair that we had seen on our last visit but there was activity at the Bald Eagle nest so I suspect there must be young...with the tree leafed out it is impossible to see but there was an adult flying to and fro and suspicious noises.

The most noticeable birds today were....


Gold-crowned Sparrows.  At one point there were 3 of them in one of the choke cherry trees.


this view definitely shows the 'gold' crown!  There were also still....


White-crowned Sparrow in the same area we've been seeing them all along.  I'm sure there is a nest in this spot.


I'm actually surprised at the number of Canada Geese still in the fields adjacent to the dike.  I would have thought numbers would have thinned by now.  Haven't seen any goslings yet.  Could hear Killdeer and a Common Yellowthroat today and there were a number of Starlings flying back and forth from the trees...


and here we are....the view from the campground...it would appear that the goal is a larger boat launch parking lot....


and here is what paid the price for it....the trees and the birds that used them!