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Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Single Coot

Wandered down to the boat launch this afternoon....

 

and noticed a single bird out there....now yesterday there was a single bird down there too.  Yesterday it was this Pied Billed Grebe....today, it looked a little different....



because it was an American Coot!  I don't know if I've ever seen a coot right up here in our boat launch area before.  I have seen them a couple of times at the log bay and they are sometimes found in fairly large flocks on Harrison Bay.  I think this must be an older juvenile.


It was still down there this evening....still all by itself...well if you don't count...


the Great Blue Heron that are seen regularly down there now that the water levels have dropped. 

A few other items of interest the last few days....


Steller's Jay are feasting on the sunflowers that they planted in our habitat garden....


and it appears the baby Cedar Waxwings have left the nest.  Look at the size of that mouth!


for a couple of days we had a large flock of Pine Siskin with some Goldfinch mixed in.  Must have been at least a hundred of them....


lots of Dragonflies right now, especially these Eight Spot Skimmers...

and causing no end of turmoil....


is this Raccoon family.  Get over it people ~ you live in the country ~ enjoy it!

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

More Purple Martins

Monday we took the canoe out again....


it may look like there is a lot of water out there but look closer and you can see the bottom...in fact we grounded out quite a lot.  However in this spot which is the first bay we spooked a very large.....


Beaver!  you can just make out the brown body there under the water.


Here he is again after showing his displeasure with a vigorous tail slap!  It seems we have quite the population of Beaver now as the following morning a friend was out kayaking in another spot and saw a pair with 3 young. 

But again, the exciting thing was...


seeing lots more activity at the Purple Martin boxes!  In fact there were a total of 4 very young (2 above) fledgling still being fed by adults.  So these are in addition to the young ones we saw when we were out there a few weeks ago.


here is another youngster with another adult.  This is good news as it means that this year has been the most productive yet for this colony.  I've heard that there is a possibility that some more nest boxes may be put up in the area which is great news.  The big concern is that the existing pilings are getting so rotten they may not last another year.


it was really rough out there so once again couldn't get everywhere we wanted to go.  I had really hoped to see some shorebirds but again, not a single shorebird to be seen.  I've checked back and normally we are seeing them by the beginning of August and we are half way through already.  There were quite a few Canada Geese out there....some way off in the distance.


we did notice quite a few gulls.  Most too far off to get a good look at.  These 2 were part of a flock of 11 - I think, with the long swept back wings, they must be California Gulls.  There was only 1 adult, the rest were young ones.


getting to be a lot more ducks out there too.  Pretty much all Mallard...you can see that these ones are just starting to get a greenish sheen to their heads after molting out of their breeding plumage, into their 'eclipse' plumage and now starting to molt back into their familiar plumage.


and of course there were a number of Bald Eagles out there.

Now in my last post I said that it looked like the Black-headed Grosbeak had left.  While I was wrong....


there are still a lot of them around, especially young ones.  It must have been a very successful year.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Almost dry land again

Water levels are dropping so fast now we almost have dry land again....


something we have this year that we've never had before is this coating of muddy slime over everything as the water recedes.  I suspect this has been caused by a couple of large jet boats that have been launching frequently from the area of our boat launch....not sure what, if anything we could do about it. 


it has got to the time of year when you never know what might show up out there.  The above is a Pied bill Grebe....have seen 4 of them at one time, probably a family.


in the other direction....a Great Blue Heron and some ducks way in the back.  There were some Canada Geese swimming by at the same time.


on the shore, lots of Cedar Waxwings around.  Haven't seen a young one yet.

on the other hand....


until today there have been lots of young Black-headed Grosbeaks around (male above), could hear them this morning but there has been silence this afternoon so they must be heading south.

Brown headed Cowbirds have vanished too with the exception of the occasional fledgling...


like this one seen today, being raised by...


a White-crowned Sparrow who also had one youngster of their own.


Lots of Pine Siskin around while the numbers of American Goldfinch are dropping.  Have seen lots of young Spotted Towhee the last few days and a few late fledgling American robins like this one.....


Am still watching for a shorebird to show up but did hear a Killdeer out there yesterday and have been hearing....


Northern Flicker almost every morning.  This male showed up outside my place this afternoon.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Birds galore....

We got for a walk over at Harrison Bay today.  It was one of those days where there were so many birds you just didn't know where to look!


there were a number of House Finch picking up something on the dike...


saw a lot of these little guys...not sure what they are..young Yellow Warblers maybe...


young Song Sparrows like this guy....lots of young Towhee too but didn't manage a picture of any of them.


Many birds, like this Cedar Waxwing were busy feasting on the berries of the Black Hawthorns.


Black-capped Chickadees were everywhere.


Saw 2 Eastern Kingbirds which makes me wonder if there is a nest somewhere there.  Have to find out if they are cavity nesters or not.


the woodpecker family was well represented with lots of Northern Flickers, Red-breasted Sapsuckers, and Hairy Woodpeckers (like this fellow).


most of the Bullock's Orioles have already headed south, but there was still one family left.


a big flock of Bushtit was moving through the Red Osier Dogwoods.


There were a number of Great Blue Heron, in fact it was nice to see some of the water type birds coming back as there were over 60 Canada Geese in the area, several Osprey and Bald Eagles.  Also saw 4 gulls but not well enough to figure out what kind they were.


now for some concerning news.  For years this field, which is apparently owned by the FVRD has been leased out and grown corn.  This past year it lay fallow much to the wildlife's delight.  It has now been mowed down because, apparently, a campground is being built here!  There is already the Kilby campground between the dike (which we are standing on) and the river, now there is supposed to be 25 sites with a washroom/shower room built in this wide open field.  Surely they will at least plant some trees but then we are all still waiting for them to plant the promised trees to replace the ones they massacred a year or so ago.  How all this will impact the entire area remains to be seen I guess ~ seems the people that actually live in the area had very little chance to express their displeasure to the whole thing.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

B.C. Day Canoe trip

August 1st, B.C. Day, we took the canoe out for probably the last time this season....


as water levels are really dropping quickly now.  I had hoped to get out closer to the river to see if there were any migrating shorebirds yet but it was just too windy out there so had to just poke about in this northwest corner.


you can see the grasses are taking over.  Look carefully in the middle....see the little spot of yellow?


that is the aquatic plant 'Greater Bladderwort' - if was in flower all over the place over there.

Another flower that we weren't so thrilled to spot was this....



Purple Loosestrife.  This invasive plant tends to take over wetlands....so far this is the only plant out there (at least as far as we know) but something to keep an eye on.  Speaking of 'invasive' we were hearing Bull frogs all over the place.  Didn't see any but...


there we these large (baseball size) egg cases all over.  Don't recall seeing such a thing before.  I don't know if they are associated with Bullfrogs but if they are we have a scary situation happening out there.


fortunately there were also a lot of these Great Blue Heron out there who happily eat frogs...

there wasn't a lot of bird life out there...mainly..


Red-wing Blackbirds....must be second or maybe even third hatches.

Was thrilled to see a lot of activity around the....



Purple Martin boxes.  There were a number of them flying around but it looked like there were still a couple of active nests as well.  Saw one pair of Tree Swallows still taking food to a nest but most of them have disappeared now, in fact swallows are down to a few Barn Swallows and Northern Rough Wings.

A big surprise was....


this Coyote!  Of course we know there are coyotes around here - lots of them - but to have one stop and pose for a picture is a treat.  Perhaps it had it's eye on my little dog that was in the canoe with us.


not so cooperative were the hundreds of Dragonflies....none of which would land long enough for a picture.  I took this photo a few days ago as it is a type I had never seen before...apparently it is a Blue Dasher.


and here is an evening view from a day or so ago.  Where the water is will be dry land in the next few days.