Sunday, July 31, 2011

Last day of July

The last day of July so took a walk over to the park to see what we could see…

The viewing platform

you can now actually get to the viewing platform…still a bit muddy and slippery and overgrown…

Forbidden trail

the ‘forbidden’ path is still under water…

The log bay

over at the log bay…the bench is once more high and dry…

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There were a lot of Cedar Waxwing throughout the park..

Cedar Waxwing

here it’s head is slightly turned….saw some Red-wing Blackbirds and Barn Swallows as well as a pair of Bald Eagles and an Osprey…lots of other calls but the mosquitoes were horrendous so didn’t stick around to see what else might be there.

bit of water

This was the only part of the path that still had water on it, and it was only a couple of inches deep.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Dropping water levels

Water levels are finally getting serious about dropping…

Down the boat launch

this is the furthest I’ve been able to walk down our boat launch, for probably a couple of months…being another cool, gray, showery day I decided to wander over to the park…

Viewing Platform around that bend

I had thought that I might be able to get to the viewing platform…but it is a long ways off yet – still around that last bend


the trail the other way is still pretty wet as well…there was also a pile of ‘bear poop’ at the edge of the water, so even though I hadn’t heard any reports of bears in the area, obviously there are.

Very quiet bird wise over here too…Swallows flying over head, could hear Cedar Waxwings and I’d seen a couple of Bald Eagles flying over on my way to the park but not much of anything else..


What was noticeable were the flowers of the native ‘Hardhack’ shrubs..

Closer look

here is a closer look at the flowers…my mother used to call it ‘wild spirea’ which is a prettier name than ‘Hard hack’.  The flowers don’t stay pink for long, turning brown very quickly, but setting tiny seeds that are a food source for a lot of birds over the winter.

I’ve been noticing a lot of juvenile Brown headed cowbirds this year, more than I ever recall seeing before.  There were two young Bullock’s Oriole in the tree in front of my place last night, so still a few around…lot’s of American Goldfinch…youngsters showing up now too.


Thought I’d put in this file photo of a young American Goldfinch..taken in my former back yard a few years ago…but showing the coloration.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

1/3 gone

Today, being the 21st of the month, means 1 month of ‘summer’ has already passed us by.  At least today, after a rainy night, we are seeing some sunshine but it seems every time you venture out to enjoy it ~ a big black cloud sails over!

No pictures because there just hasn’t been anything to take pictures of!  The water levels are dropping – slowly – but are still too high to actually get anywhere to see anything.

Birds around right now are:  Purple Finch and a few House Finch, also Gold Finch, Steller’s Jay, Evening and Black Headed Grosbeak, a few Hummingbirds, a few Junco, occasional White Crowned Sparrow, some Towhee, some Brown Headed Cowbirds although their numbers are decreasing…they should be gone by the end of the month.  Some Robins, Barn Swallow and Tree Swallow…and that is pretty much it.  Raven can be heard on the hillside from time to time and Bald Eagle and Osprey are seen over head if you happen to look up at the right time and I can hear Spotted Sandpiper so they are still in the area, haven’t actually seen one for weeks.  Bullock’s Oriole were heard up until yesterday, a few may still be around…Cedar Waxwing are still being heard as well and that is about it – at least on a regular basis.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

A bit of bird activity

A short walk before the showers started – again - revealed a bit of bird activity…

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down by the boat launch, where water levels are staying pretty stable…there was a surprising number of Barn Swallows – the nest in the gazebo had at least 4 youngsters hanging out of it (pictures I tried just didn’t work – too dark in there), but I think there must be quite a few more advanced youngsters out and about now as well as there was lots of excited chattering over head.

One section of trees had a mixed flock of Bushtits, Pine Sisken AND Chestnutback Chickadees!  Couldn’t manage pictures of any of them as they were too high up.  I could also hear a Bullock’s Oriole calling…these ones are a bit late, most are on their way back south now.  Still seeing Black headed Grosbeaks with their young, also some Evening Grosbeak and fledgling Steller’s Jay keep showing up as well.

Although you wouldn’t know it here in our watery neck of the woods, I’m hearing that shorebird migration is now underway.  Adult shorebirds have been spotted in flooded fields…youngsters will be following along in a few weeks.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Wet canoe ride

Today we attempted taking the canoe out…

Not the best day for a canoe trip

not the best day for a canoe ride…but I guess if you don’t do stuff in the rain this year, you never get it done…besides when husband’s make up their mind they are going to do something, it’s best just to go along with it..

Chehalis River

showery when we set out….lots of Swallow activity, Tree and Violet Green’s primarily…Red-wing Blackbirds in the bushes as well…quite a few Canada Geese, all in their molt and therefore flightless so they were hiding amongst the bushes…and we heard one of those Loons as well.

Yellow Warbler nest

That is a Yellow Warbler nest in there…the bush is a Red Osier Dogwood and look at the leaf colour already…leaves change colour due to stress and although this native shrub is used to being in high water for a while, I don’t know that it is used to being in water this high for this long…

Common Mergansers ahead

as we headed up an arm of the Chehalis I spotted Common Mergansers ahead…

Torpedoing across the river

there is the family…the youngsters pretty much full grown but not yet able to fly – that doesn’t mean they can’t move though!!

The shoreline

there were a pair of Gray Catbirds here but I didn’t manage a picture…we, in fact saw or heard at least 3 pairs of them.  Lots of Swainson’s Thrush calling from the vegetation as well…and Cedar Waxwings zipping back and forth…a few Black Cap Chickadees calling as well.

Mergansers along the shore

There are those Mergansers…hugging the bank – but it looks like fall already, not mid-July, when you look at the colour of the vegetation!


The Mergansers snuck past us again…keeping tight to the shore…by this time it was pouring so we turned around to head for home…

Western Toad

and spotted this guy….

Western Toad

I’m not an ‘amphibian’ expert – but I think it is a Western Toad…it was a pretty good size…I’ve asked a friend for verification of that ID and will let you know.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Mid July

Well, here we are, the middle of July…

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the water is receding again now, for what, the 3rd time???   A report in the newspaper the other day said that water levels, for this time of the year are the highest since 1920 – in other words, water levels haven’t been this high, in mid-July for over 90 years!!  Just confirms what an unusual situation we are in.  This morning, there was even a mist out there on the little bit of water you can see…more reminiscent of fall than mid summer.  I guess one thing we should be grateful for though is the continuing cool weather because anytime the sun does peek out and the temperature rises, the mosquitoes respond accordingly!!!

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Baby birds continue to show up…there seems to be a whole new batch of baby Spotted Towhee – I had 6 or 7 around my place this morning.

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some more baby Dark Eyed Junco as well.  I’m seeing a few more Hummingbirds again, mainly youngsters, other species showing up with their families are the Black Headed Grosbeaks, Steller’s Jay and now a few Evening Grosbeaks..

A lot of American Goldfinch around as well, they are probably nesting now as they are have one of the latest nesting times…

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Still rising…..

and the water levels continue to rise – again…

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The path now completely underwater – for the 3rd time this year…

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and almost up to the parking area – again – while the parking lot, itself is almost completely covered.  There were children pretending their bikes were hydroplanes while I was there, so no parking lot pictures today.

Bird wise it continues quiet…have heard a young Black-headed Grosbeak today..

Another look at the juvenile

here is a file photo of a young Black headed Grosbeak – they look very similar to the females, but make a distinctive, ‘wee – ooh’ sound…

juvenile at Bergamont

and last night there was a young Rufous Hummingbird at my flowering Bergamot plant….this isn’t the one I saw last night, this was a young one seen several years ago in my former backyard. Again, the youngsters look a lot like the females, but there is no red under the chin…just green dots…

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Oh so quiet!

I really can’t remember another year like this one!  It is so quiet, bird wise it is almost scary…I also don’t remember seeing as many sick birds as I’ve seen this year…Evening Grosbeaks and Purple Finch in particular, or so few Swallows…numerous people have commented on how few Swallows there are around, of all species…but then I don’t ever recall a year like this with the water levels either…

falling water on the 11th.

over the past weekend, water levels dropped substantially ~ I can’t tell you how much in relation to the marker post, because someone who can’t steer straight ran the post over on the weekend and it is now laying submerged in water…but yesterday, I could walk part way down the upper part of the trail…

rising water on the 12th

and today, the water is once more rising and filling in the path…all this caused by events 500 or even a thousand miles away where unprecedented rainfalls have caused rivers in the north eastern part of our province to raise, ultimately all this water ending up in the Fraser River, and thus past us….

Yesterday it was dry

Yesterday, this parking area was bone dry…

Little fishes

Today, there are little fishes swimming on it again!  So where does that leave the birds?  Well in 3 weeks or so, shorebird migration should be under way…unless water levels start to drop quickly,with no ‘shore’  they won’t be stopping here!  The chattering of the Orioles is no more, obviously the family at the boat launch have now left the nest and moved on…if I really listened I could hear a few in another area.  The numbers of Hummingbirds has decreased dramatically as well, whether they are just now sitting on eggs or if they’ve moved on to those alpine or at least sub-alpine meadows as they gradually emerge from the snow cover…I don’t know. 

Friday, July 8, 2011

Exercise in frustration!

Boy! trying to keep this blog up this month is proving to be an exercise in frustration! either the weather is sunny and warm and the mosquitoes are thick…or it is chilly and pouring with rain…

The log bay

I beseeched my husband to take his camera with him last night to see if he could find anything to photograph on his evening walk….so thanks to him you can see what the ‘log bay’ looks like these days…a long way from being a ‘bay’

Spotted Sandpiper

there was a Spotted Sandpiper wandering around on that log in the foreground…

the trail

and here is the watery trail…

Young robin

back here in the park we’re still seeing lots of young birds like this American Robin

Baby Robin

and here is an even younger one…

Robin with cherry

an adult feasting on some cherries (picture obviously NOT taken today with that blue sky!)

Young Oriole

From all the chattering I knew that the Bullock Oriole youngsters were out of the nests…today I spotted this one at a neighbors oriole feeder…

Fledgling Junco

There seems to be another crop of young Dark Eyed Junco, and we’re still seeing young Spotted Towhee, House Finch and Steller’s Jay.  Not seeing as many Hummingbirds, although I’m pretty sure it was a male that zipped past me today.   There are still lots of Evening Grosbeak and of course Brown Headed Cowbirds.  Black Headed Grosbeak as well…haven’t seen a young one of those yet, but they should be showing up soon.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

July and the water is rising…again

After a few days away thought I should post something…but the only thing of note is the fact that the water has risen again…

July 5, 2011

not really surprising when you’ve just come over the Coquilla and seen there is still snow right down at highway level from the snow shed to the summit….and of course from that elevation upwards.

Very green

Here, at our boat launch, it is over the 3 foot marker again…and see how thick and ‘green’ everything is…hard to see much in the way of bird life.  There were 3 adult Bald Eagles today when we went for our walk….they were having a bit of a ‘set to’ but with all the vegetation and no where with a clear view out over the ‘estuary’…couldn’t tell what all the fuss was about.