Saturday, October 25, 2014

Northern Pygmy Owl!

So I should mention first that the water levels are finally starting to reverse and go back down....

The above was taken two days ago and that is pretty much where the water levels are right now, although more heavy rain is forecast for tonight so we shall see.

Today we put out another bird feeder, this in preparation for Project Feeder-watch which starts up again in a couple of weeks.  Shortly after putting it out I looked out to see if the birds had found it yet and did a double take.....

when I saw this Northern Pygmy Owl and nailed a Spotted Towhee!  The above photo was taken through both a glass and screen patio door.

The owl picked the towhee up and flew across the road and perched on a neighbour's fence....

you can see the towhee is as large as the owl, although I've seen one of these tough little guys take down a Steller's Jay....which is even bigger.  

after a while he dragged his prize under a hedge and presumably ate dinner.  This is the earliest in the season that I have ever seen one of these little guys.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

It just keeps coming!

Water levels continue rise.....

of course after the amount of rain we've had in the past 24 hours I guess it isn't that surprising now.  Notice those two chairs out there.  Three days ago I was sitting in them.  Water came up so fast they were stranded.  I guess the question now is, how high can it get?

There are a few white heads out there where ever there is somewhere to perch.  Probably a lot in the trees too but with the leaves still on them they are high to see.  Have noticed quite a few ducks and geese, especially when an eagle flies over.

Only other thing we saw was this Great Blue Heron out there on a piling.  If weather and a few other things permit we might try getting out in a canoe - something we've never done this time of the year.

Monday, October 20, 2014

What is going on!

I didn't get down to the estuary today at all but I hear it is now impossible to walk the path over to the park.  Water levels just continue to climb.

I took this photo yesterday....pretty much all of the gravel bars have disappeared.

as a reminder....this is the sort of activity we should be expecting on this date.  This photo was taken in 2012  which was also a high water year but not quite as high as we have right now.

this photo, taken on this date last year shows the estuary the way one expects it to look on this date.

with all that water there are quite a few Canada Geese around but not much in the way of eagles.

Did spot this juvenile Bald Eagle sitting drying his wings.  There was also a large flock of Bushtits in the bushes at the edge of the estuary but didn't manage a picture.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Too much water

In my last post I stated that water levels were just about perfect.  Well not anymore.  I don't know where it is all coming from but....

today the water's have risen right up over the path!

There isn't much 'estuary' left out there!

Some Canada Geese, Mallards and American Wigeon....seen today.  

We thought we would walk over at Kilby today but to our shock it was so busy we couldn't even find a place to park so I'm afraid this is a very short report.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

They're back!....and don't think it couldn't happen here.

We are back....and 'they' are back....the Chum Salmon are returning and with them the eagles....

to set the is very green out there.  Not only does it seem greener than normal, the water levels are higher than normal for this time of the year, in fact the current level is just about perfect, it would be nice if it stays that way but of course  that won't happen.  Levels are always fluctuating either up or down.

here is the first bay and see those swirls in the water?  Those are created by spawning Chum  Salmon.

further along we're at the log bay....those high water levels are really noticeable here.  Another noticeable thing is that top log out there.  Those logs have been there since early the past century but that top one seems to in danger of toppling...will be interesting to see how that all plays out.

way out there, over by the Harrison River, you can make out a few eagles and gulls

The Bald Eagles are just starting to return, their numbers will depend on how many  fish return and how quickly bad weather comes up country.

Of course it isn't just the eagles that are returning...

those are American Wigeon out there grazing on the exposed gravel bars....

on land more and more Song Sparrows are showing up, some of course have been here year round.....

more surprising were the number of Fox Sparrows seen today.  It almost seems a bit early for these guys to be showing up.

a lot of Dark-eyed Juncos have shown up the last few days too.  Again, a few have been with us all summer.

Now I want to share something very upsetting that happened where we were camped in a provincial park.  All bird lovers need to know that this sort of thing happens 'out there' and we would be naive to think that the same thing couldn't happen right here in our IBA.

The particular park is a relatively new one.  Prior to being designated a provincial park, it had been one of those free for all, anything goes forestry recreation sites, so as a conciliatory measure duck hunting was, and still is, allowed in this park but only in certain sections at certain times....

 so on the first of 3 consecutive evenings, just as the sun was setting (read the above sign), 2 pick up trucks sped through the campground and parked just adjacent to this location.  Several people got out, shot guns in one hand, beer in the other and proceeded to start shooting.  This continued until well after it was so dark that there was no possible way they could actually see anything.  The next morning....

this Mallard duck was floating dead in the pond....upsetting but....   Next evening the same two trucks once again showed up, this time earlier and although there was some shooting it appeared to be within the time limits.  I should note that the above Mallard wasn't the only injured or dead duck found.  A Ring-neck was found by another concerned camper, we found a Barrow's Golden-eye with it's head shot off and another, sadder situation where one was still alive but suffering as only it's lower mandible shot off.....but the worst was yet to happen...   On the third night the same two trucks arrived, this one of the trucks left, while the other stayed and the shooting commenced...

while I was sitting not that far away taking pictures of this Great Blue Heron, one of a pair that had spent the summer in the park....

these so called 'hunters' shot it's mate.  Now between ourselves and the other camper both the R.C.M.P. and Conservation officers were contacted and supplied with numerous photos and other evidence but the sad part is that because no one witnessed the actual shooting the chances of anything happening are minimal.  The conservation officer asked to be called immediately if we saw the trucks again (which we never did) - but consider this....the conservation officer that attended the scene came from Pentiction, a 2 1/2 hour drive away...even if the trucks did return and we called immediately what were the chances of someone arriving in time. The other sad thing is the fact that this officer also said this sort of thing happens a lot more often than you'd think.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Back but away again

Just to let you all know that we are back from the island trip but are off again until mid-month.  By then there should be some activity happening here at the estuary.  As it is right now it has been very, very quiet.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

See you in October

Thank you to the faithful who keep checking.....there won't be anything new now until October.  We feel the need for some ocean breezes so are heading to Vancouver Island for a few weeks.  Will be back in time to start recording the arrival of the salmon and the eagles.