Monday, November 30, 2015

On the river

Yesterday, Sunday November 29th we were given the opportunity to take the Safari boat trip from Kilby beach, up the Harrison River to the point where the Chehalis River joins. 

Let me take you along for the ride....

water levels have dropped so dramatically the past ten days or so that the jet boat had to access the beach on the far side of the railway bridge. The Harrison River joins the Fraser River not to far from that point of land. I'll mention right now that the coniferous trees on the far shore had a number of Great Blue Heron perched in them.

This American Dipper almost came aboard but veered at the last minute and went to join the heron on the far shore.

On our way will note weird reflections in some of the photos as I was taking them through a window.  You can't see it in this photo but there were large numbers of swans all along the shoreline.  The arctic front that moved southwards through the province this past week has really brought up the numbers of swans.

We've past under the highway 7 bridge now and headed up the river....

Really cropped this to give a bit of an indication of the number and variety of birds there were just off of the Sandpiper Golf Course.  All kinds of different ducks, swans, geese, and gulls to name a few....

another really cropped and not very clear one showing a little bit of the concentration of birds....that is Sandpipers viewing deck in the background.

not to be out done, the other side of the river looked like this.  Yes, those are all Bald Eagles.

we're getting up to the estuary itself now, those flats probably just showed up over night as the water levels continue to drop...eagles and gulls were taking advantage to clean up what ever was now exposed.

further along now, this is one of the permanent gravel bars that separates the Harrison River proper from the estuary area....even though these poplar trees are still relatively young they manage to support a large number of eagles, which is a good thing as you'll see as we move further along.

Continuing on it is surprising to see how shallow the river could easily see the water weeds growing just below the surface.

a couple of eagles feeding in this branch of the Harrison that in high water, flows so strongly we've never been able to canoe through it.  This is the area where there was a large log jamb, we couldn't spot it yesterday so maybe it has cleared itself.

Now here is a sight!  Such perfect weather conditions too.  In a way though this is sad because up until last weeks wind storm there were 3 of these very large Poplar trees, 2 blew down so now there is just the one, hopefully it will survive because it's going to be a long time before any others reach this stature.

here is a close look at just some of the 37 (I think) Bald Eagles that were perched in that one tree.

Pretty much at the turn around point now....

one last close up shot of a pair on top of one of the metal pilings....

eagles were perched in all the, mainly coniferous trees all along the shoreline, going up I was on the wrong side to get photos and going back the sun was in the wrong location so this is the best I could manage.  I think I heard that the guesstimate for the number of eagles in the area yesterday was somewhere in the neighbourhood of 2,000 or 2,500. 

Even for someone who lives here and sees eagles and the other various water fowl every year, it was spectacular and the numbers were phenomenal.

Heading back to Kilby on this spectacular, sunny but cool day.  Thank you to those who made the trip possible!

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