Friday, August 7, 2015

August catch up

Here we are, a week into August already and it has been nothing if not interesting...probably the biggest item is the wildfire burning in our area,

The above photo, showing smoke was taken on the evening of the 4th, just a day after it started. 

This photo, taken at about noon today shows the haze of smoke we are now experiencing.  Fortunate for us, but not for fire fighters, there had been, until today, a stiff breeze blowing the smoke away from us.  Last we heard the fire has grown to at least 6 sq. kilometers and is zero percent contained.

You will have noticed, no doubt that water levels have really dropped....soon we will be able to walk right across the grasslands to the park again...not quite yet though...

That young Great Blue Heron is standing right in the 'path'....

Here is a better look at the had actually almost landed in front of me while I was taking pictures of this.....

which I have learned is a young Bullfrog.  NOT a welcome addition to the estuary so I'm glad the heron had it's eye on it and hopefully when we left it nabbed it.

I'm saying 'young' a lot aren't I...but it is that time of the year.  The number of young birds around right now is are just a few...

American Goldfinch...this youngster was part of a family of four at the feeder this morning with one frazzled daddy trying to feed them all.  There have been masses of goldfinch for several weeks now.

Have never seen as many  young Black-headed Grosbeak as there are this year!

This must be a second hatch as Spotted Towhee normally nest early in the season.  This one showed up with two youngsters in tow this morning.

Yesterday was a rare (this summer) showery cool day so we took advantage to go for a walk on the dike at Harrison Bay.  There were all kinds of Barn Swallows swooping around barely skimming the ground.  Impossible to get photos of them, but did spot this young Cedar Waxwing....

and this young male Downy Woodpecker.  You can tell it is young as the red patch is migrating from the back of the head to the front.

I'm not sure how many batches of local Dark-eyed Junco raised this year.  This one is a bit older, molting into adult plumage while there are still quite a few really young ones showing up.

Mustn't forget the humming birds!  The male Rufous are long gone and numbers of females and young have dropped dramatically as they are probably up in the alpine meadows about now.  Like last year, as the Rufous disappeared the Anna's started showing up again...this young male was harassing some young White-crowned Sparrows yesterday.

This is just a brief selection of what is around right now.  Shorebirds should be migrating through now but I haven't seen any.  Did have a Band Tail Pigeon show up yesterday.  Perhaps driven out of the mountains by the fire. 

This will be the only report for a while....may squeeze in another one the end of the month before taking off again until about mid-October....when, of course, it will be time to start the Bald Eagle watch!

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