Sitemeter

Friday, October 20, 2017

After storm number two

All I can say, is 'oh my goodness' ......with 2 storms done but with a 3rd due to arrive, managed to get briefly....and here is how it looks around here right now.




at the estuary, the gravel bars have completely disappeared...and walking over to the park is now impossible...the path is underwater.


a few days ago there was barely a trickle of water out there....look at it now.

Over at Harrison Bay....


it wasn't just water....although our walk was cut short by this rain storm rushing in...


but the winds...that had been just screaming on Tuesday....wrecked a lot of havoc.  The Campground on the left side behind this screen of trees had to be closed while they clean up the mess....


of course all of this is actually 'normal'.  It is natures way of pruning and creating habitat....when big branches or tree tops break off like this, it creates future nesting sites for birds and other creatures to use.  


back up at the estuary, the high water is being made use of by the Canada Geese....


and there are a few Bald Eagles around, like this pair arguing over the same log.

Now we have another rain warning so who knows where water levels will be when that one is over!  

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

What a difference a day can make

What a difference a day can make!  Couldn't post this yesterday because the first major storm of the season brought high winds that knocked out our power for fourteen hours or so, but I did get out between downpours to get some photos....


so just one rain event and the water has come up so the gravel bars are shrinking.  At the point when I took this, an eagle had dive bombed a flock of ducks....those are just some of them that took flight...


this photo might demonstrate the water levels better....this is the first bay, now with fish spawning in it, where the day before, it was high and dry.


A lot more Bald Eagles out there now, although not as many as were here this time last year.  Of course as the water levels rises and the gravel bars shrink, the birds get condensed into a smaller area.


this guy was in close....you can see how choppy the water was, even right in this sheltered spot....out on the river it was really howling.


the rain let up in the afternoon which is when I got this shot of this youngster.

Besides eagles there were a lot of ducks, Mallard and American Wigeon for sure, some crows and...


also this Common Raven family.  

Today the rain has come down steadily all day, water should be even higher by tomorrow.  Good for the fish, lets just hope it doesn't get too high....and just think, a few days ago it was too low.  Ever changing out here at the estuary.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Wet.......and dry.....

Headed over to Harrison Bay today in hopes of getting a walk in before the rain started.  Didn't quite make it but at least we got it done before the really heavy rain arrived.

Started out promising...


as we could hear a Pileated Woodpecker....and there he was...on the very dike's very first hydro pole.


here is a closer look at him.  You can tell it is a male as he has a red 'moustache' that the female lacks.

Carrying on it was pretty quiet bird wise....


a flock of Dark eyed junco were on the dike at one point....


here is a closer look of one on a fence post.  Further down there was a White Crowned Sparrow on a post but it didn't hang around long enough for a photo.


a number of Song Sparrow were seen scattered all along the length of the dike...


and one Spotted Towhee in this Pacific Crab Apple tree - notice the fruits.


not much of anything out on the bay.  A few gulls, that was it, but with the amount of boat traffic running up and down the river right now, that isn't a surprise and notice the amount of beach now, compared to the last time we walked here.


a flock of Canada Geese flew over and there were well over a hundred of them in nearby farm fields.

What was spectacular were the fall colours of the foliage....


with the wind warning in the weather forecast - this might have been our only chance to see them!

One last spotting...


was this Brown Creeper.  There were a lot of Black Cap Chickadees and also a Downy Woodpecker.

Now for the 'dry' part....  people have been commenting to me on how low the water levels are right now, and I've been saying that this is fairly normal for this time of the year....well seems my memory is failing because today I went and checked back in my records for this date over the past few years going back to 2011 and water levels right now are lower than any of those previous years.  We are going back to the estuary now. Here is how it looked 1 year ago....

 

will mention that this morning, when I hadn't taken my camera because I thought it was raining (won't do that again), there were about a dozen eagles in close feeding, but nothing like the above scene.

In 2015 ....


same thing....look at the amount of water and the number of eagles....  here is a photo of Harrison Bay in 2015...


compare the beach, or lack there of, with the photo posted earlier in this report....of course with the weather forecast for the rest of this week, all that could change.  For the sake of the salmon and the eagles, we can only hope.



Sunday, October 15, 2017

Eagles today

Since I'd said that yesterday I hadn't seen a single ....


Bald Eagle.....so wanted to report that it was a different story this morning.  With this 4 to 5 year old on the left (just developing it's white head) and youngster on the right, both down on the ground feeding on the spawned out Chum Salmon.  A lot more gulls around today as well.  All of the above ones are Glaucous-wing Gulls....all grey with no black on wing
tips.

Took the photos from a distance as this early in the season the birds tend to be quite skittish.  I've noted before how, as the season progresses, and provided people behave themselves, keeping to the trails and keeping both themselves and their pets away from the shoreline....the birds seem to recognize the 'regulars' and the regular flow of foot traffic, becoming quite tolerant.  Of course, even then, any deviation from the norm tends to set them flying.


Walked over to the log bay after lunch.  Of course with the sunshine and it being a weekend, there was a lot of human activity, so not much chance of seeing anything too exciting.  A good time to mention 'etiquette' when viewing salmon though.  No trying to catch the fish (don't know who would want to but it has been known to happen), no throwing of rocks at them, no allowing dogs to molest them.....in fact no one, two or four footed should be anywhere near the edge of or in the water while the Salmon are there.


People weren't the only ones enjoying the weather....this was just one 'kettle' of Bald Eagles out there.


Did see this line of Mallard ducks....


this view, taken from the viewing platform, shows some more Mallard and some tinier ducks, probably Green-wing Teal but hard to tell.  

Saw a few Dark-eyed Junco and this...


Spotted Towhee.  Other than hearing an Anna's Hummingbird, that was pretty much it.



Saturday, October 14, 2017

Back!

We're back.  In fact everything's back!  We are back from our travels, the Chum Salmon are back, the Bald Eagles are coming back and even some Swans are back....

So let's break it down....


Finally found the time to get out for a walk today....as you can see, what isn't back, is the water!  In fact it is extremely low....but that has been a common theme the last few years at this time.  Remember last year we were concerned about the lack of water and then within just a few weeks we had too much water....always an adventure to see what each season will bring.


and here is the 'first bay'....no fish spawning in here until water levels rise.  No Bald Eagles anywhere today either, at least during the walk, but we have been hearing them and yesterday afternoon there for 18 or so soaring over the estuary....so they are around, just not in great numbers yet.

There was a small flock of....


Yellow rump Warblers moving through the area around the first bay while we were there, also heard a Song Sparrow but not much else seen or heard in the way of birds.


Fortunately, there is enough water just off of the 'log bay' to support a few salmon (and gulls)


here is a closer look at some of the Chum Salmon....


seem to be a number of the smaller, daintier, Mew Gull....like this one... This is the gull that likes to either fly up, diving in head first for salmon eggs or else to spin around in tight circles, which disturbs the bottom and causes eggs and other tidbits to rise up within grabbing distance.


Not sure about this one....can't really tell if it has a light eye or not.  If it does, it's a Herring Gull, if it doesn't, most likely a Thayer's Gull.  Thayer's have bright pink legs, but as you can see, the legs are visible.


this view, looking south shows just how lacking in water it is out there right now.  Look, though, at the mountains in the distance with their topping of snow. Even Mount Woodside, the little mountain on the east side of the estuary, had a topping of snow this week - the earliest I can recall that happening.

  The fact that winter has arrived hard and fast to the interior is probably why some Swans have already been spotted on Harrison Bay...pretty much a month sooner than normal.  Going to need a lot more water before we can expect to see any up our way.


Just a view of the log bay itself.  There were a few Dark-eyed Junco's on the edges but not much else.


Only other thing of interest were these fungi growing along side the trail.  Ones closest to the trail had been stomped on (why do people have to do that?!).  Fungi are one of those things that just says 'Autumn'.

Should note that there have been Canada Geese around and a few ducks.  Lot's of Steller's Jay....of interest is one whose entire tail consists of one pure white feather!  Have also had reported to me a pair that are lighter blue than normal and 'pleasanter' 'less obnoxious' in behavior.  Haven't spotted them myself, at least not yet.  Although Steller's Jay are strictly a B.C. bird, they do vary slightly in different regions and I'm wondering if these might be ones normally found further north that have been forced south in search of food.  With the thousands of hectares of burned forests in the center of the province, there are liable to be all sorts of birds this winter, forced further a field in search of food.  It could be a very interesting winter. 

Project Feeder Watch starts in less than a month.  If you are interested in taking part in this Citizen Science project, just go the Bird Studies Canada Website.

Sounds like the coming week is going to be wet, which might bring water levels up a bit....we will try to get out between showers, and check out what is happening at Harrison Bay.




Saturday, September 9, 2017

Between trips....

We've been home now for almost a week but the weather had been so incredibly hot that there was no way we were doing anything but staying inside with the air conditioner on.  All that changed yesterday when we finally got a bit of rain and cooler temperatures.  So took advantage to go for a walk over at the dike.


where, incredibly, the fields beside the dike were still green....you can see that was not the case right beside the dike....and once again, they've mowed it - hopefully that will be the last time now until next year.


there were some Canada Geese out in the fields....


and a few more in flight.....if that photo doesn't tell you that fall is on it's way I don't know what might!

The most notable sighting....



were the numerous number of young Cedar Waxwing filling up on the fruits of the Black Hawthorne.


they were everywhere!


and if it wasn't hawthorn they were eating, it was Black Berries.  Could hear a number of robins too but none cooperated for a photo!


did see this Spotted Towhee with a mouthful of bug....


and further along this late family of White-crowned Sparrows.  Obviously a second or possibly third hatching.


and yes, there was one of the adult Bald Eagles perched not too far from the vicinity of the nest.


a bit of movement on the bark of this tree turned out to be what I suspected it might be....a Brown Creeper.


and in another spot, a young Red-breasted Nuthatch.

Waxwings weren't the only birds devouring berries....


Black-capped Chickadees were eating the berries of the Red-Osier Dogwoods.

Not eating berries, but equally busy were any number of ...


warblers.  This one being a Yellow Warbler, but also saw Orange-crowned and Black-throated Grey.  Who knows how many others were in the mixed flock.  An impatient husband and pair of dogs got tired of standing peering at birds....so had to carry on.


so just one final look.....still not a lot of beach there considering the lateness of the season.  The campground was still pretty full though.