Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Not much of a report....

This won't be much of a report - just a few odd's n ends but mainly wanted to let it be known that there probably won't be anymore postings now until mid-October.  It has been a very long trying summer but we are finally going to get a way for a while.

So before I go....

just wanted to show where the water levels are now.  That smoke is from the newest, human caused wildfire burning on the east side of Harrison Lake.  Initially it looked a lot closer to us, but fortunately, isn't.

it is pretty 'lush' down there right now but still pretty mucky under foot.  Could probably almost make it over to the park but don't think we'll try.  That is Pacific Water Parsley that is in flower all over out there.

and since the eclipse has been the big news this week, here is how the eclipse looked on our brick patio with the sun shining through the branches of one of our big cedar trees.

haven't got a lot to report in the bird department.  This Dark eyed Junco posed nicely on our new fence.

this one also posed nicely but seems to be lacking it's tail.

Last night a number of Common Nighthawk flew over, probably headed south.  Years ago Common Nighthawk were seen and heard here all summer long, but haven't been seen for a number of years now, although I guess the Purple Martin make up for it.

So that is about it.....see you come October.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Final 'catch up' post.

This post will catch us up to consists of just a few odd's n ends that happened while the computer was out of commission.

I'll start by saying there was another canoe trip on the 2nd of August, before the smoke arrived.  This photo was taken out by the log jam at the edge of the Harrison River.  Unfortunately the wind came up so the trip was cut short with no exciting sightings.

I had just downloaded the memory card with these photos of Eurasian Collared Doves having a drink in the water at the boat launch, when everything went wrong with the computer.

It was strange that I had just been thinking it was months since I'd seen....

a Dark Eyed Junco....when the next day this little family showed up in my yard.  Daddy (on right) and 2 youngsters...and haven't seen the since but they must still be around.  Junco are winter time birds but there have always been a few that nest in the area.

Yesterday we attempted a walk over at Harrison Bay...

even though temperatures were at least 10 degrees cooler than they have been, it proved too hot to walk for long...still not a lot of beach showing.

surprisingly, the fields are still very green despite the long, hot dry spell.  Plants right on the dike were dried up though.

Despite the shortness of the walk....was thrilled to find...

a family of Eastern Kingbirds!  Here one adult feeding one of the the Catbirds...this proves that this species is nesting in our IBA.

and deserving of a second photo!

Back at our boat launch....

this was the scene early this afternoon....notice the Canada Geese sneaking past.

Yesterday this young Great Blue Heron was so intense on his fishing that he didn't even realize we were approaching.

there has been a fair amount of Hummingbird activity, not only at the boat launch, but throughout the park.  This appears to be a young Anna's Hummingbird....

and of course we mustn't forget the Bald Eagles....I'd notice the one perched over in the eagle tree by the viewing platform....wasn't until I downloaded it that I saw the pair of them were they have been all summer long.

So, that brings bird activity right up to date...

The next day's canoe trip

As the weather continued hot, humid and smoky, we set out in the canoe for another short paddle...

this time heading over to the branch of the Chehalis River figuring there is usually so much bird activity over there....

you can see how much the water has the grass that had been underwater, towers over us.  I'll have more to say about that grass a little later...

as usual, when you expect things to be one way - they tend to be the exact opposite and so was the case here....instead of lots of birds....there were barely any.  This Belted Kingfisher was seen, not exactly cooperative about having photo taken but then these guys rarely are!

This quartet of young Hooded Merganser were seen....

and we had expected to see at least a few shorebirds as from reports seen on various sites, migration is well under way....we did see a few Spotted Sandpiper, like this young one, but that was it.

and then, remember that Beaver we saw at the First Bay....well he apparently has a lot of company.  This Beaver Dam had been built since our last foray up this branch of the river which couldn't have been longer than two weeks ago at the most....and this is actually the 3rd dam the beaver have built on this river this summer....this is a point where the river forks and we'd run into dams further up each of the forks earlier, now this one fork is completely blocked and the other so shallow we couldn't go any further up it either so had to turn back.

back into the smoke and haze....

only bird seen was this Song Sparrow....

now back to the grasses...

we'd pulled in close to shore so I could get a photo of a wildflower (using my phone) to post on the Facebook Group for Wildflowers of Western Canada, when we noticed that the grass was absolutely alive with these caterpillars and also those yellowish beetles.  I don't recall ever seeing either of them before and have no idea what they are.  I have since posted them on the FB Group to see if anyone else date, no response.

So after that creepy crawly encounter we headed back to that sheltered corner we had been at the day before....

It wasn't quite as busy as it had been the day before but still we were able to add Gray Catbird to the species list and as this is obviously a youngster, definite proof of something we've known for a while....they do nest here.

another, and probably final (for this year) look at the Purple Martins....evenings now we can still hear them as they join large numbers of Barn Swallows flying over the water but I expect soon they will be feeling the migration urge as so many birds are now on the move.

and then a final surprise as we headed back...a small flock of Brewer's Blackbirds...a male, with his yellow eye at the top and a youngster below.

Before I close off I will mention that people in the Fraser Valley are being asked to watch for molted feathers from Sandhill Cranes.  Wouldn't I love to see some Sandhill Cranes here and it is a possibility as they have been heard out here before (and seen flying overhead)and with their migration just beginning and large areas in the Cariboo where they normally take rest stops on fire or completely burned, some may have to settle down here.  We can only hope!  The reason they want the feathers is to get the DNA to track various populations.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Back in business

OK we are back in business.  Won't go into details but at least it was cheaper than having to buy a new computer!

So, have some catching up to do.  We've done a couple of canoe trips while waiting so will start with the first one...

it was a hot smoky every day had been for the last couple of we are in the 'first bay'....

where we disturbed a Beaver....

headed down along the shoreline of Eagle Point park....

lots of activity at the Purple Martin boxes.  It appeared most of the young had fledged although there were still a couple of young being fact 'young' has been the theme the last week or birds everywhere as you shall see.

we tucked into this is just past the park and before the golf course, so in an area that doesn't get disturbed and the bird activity was amazing...

the first thrill was finding this Black-throated Gray Warbler.  This type of warbler is never seen in great numbers at the best of times but this was actually the first one I'd seen here in probably close to 10 years.

here is one of the many young Common Yellowthroat that were there.  This one a young male as he is just developing the black mask.

and then there were the American Goldfinch....masses of them.  This one, with the sort of cinnamon colouring, being a youngster.

and then here, a young Western Tanager.

there were also an amazing amount of Woodpeckers....this one being a young Downy Woodpecker, one of several, but also saw Hairy Woodpeckers....just couldn't get a photo.

and then, along with the goldfinch (bottom), there were Pine Siskin (top)

lot's of Pine Siskin....the ones with the yellowish cast being the young ones.

of course there were some American Robins, like this youngster.  Actually saw a young Swainson's thrush too but it just wouldn't cooperate.

Yellow Warblers in abundance too.  When we returned to this area the next day, we found even more, but I'll save those for the next post.

Will mention...

this baby Spotted Towhee has been hanging around my yard, along with his 'daddy'...

and we also seem to have a whole new batch of young Steller's Jay.

I'll leave the rest for now....more tomorrow.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Testing this method

With So computer has developed some horrible disease apparently called BSOD which is short for 'blue screen of death'. Don't know how serious this will prove to be and of course these things always happen on a long weekend so can't start seeing about it getting looked into until next week so thought if try using my ancient I phone and the blogger app and how it goes.

We drove along Morris Valley road where the interior wildfire smoke is laying 
thick.  Now already I am finding there must be some trick to posting more than one photo!!!

Think I've got it. No I don't. This is the slough on Nicomen. There were ducks but can't take photos of them with iPhone.  Have no idea how to get rid of last photo. Now they are both gone. Will try slough once more 

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Part 2....Evening Canoe trip

Come early evening the wind had died down so we set out again...

this time headed....

directly to the branch of the Chehalis since we hadn't made it there earlier.  Lots of Canada geese pretty much finished their molt now.

noticed an assortment of birds in this dead tree....Most of the ones on the top are European Starling.  Not a surprise as we've seen them up there before.

there were also a few Brewer's Blackbird, like this male ....identified by it's shiny black plumage and bright yellow eye.

and I'm pretty sure that the top two birds here are Rusty Blackbirds.  Although during breeding season they are black like the brewers, they have the 'rust' colouration the rest of the year, these could possibly be young ones...another identifying feature is the pale eyes.  Rusty's are uncommon just about everywhere this side of the continent but since I have had one at my feeders once a few years ago, this sighting isn't a 'first' but is definitely 'rare'.

I couldn't even 'guesstimate' what the smaller bird on the bottom left of the group photo was.

further up the river we could see a number of ducks in the distance.  Most appeared to be Mallard although one young Pied bill Grebe stuck its head up momentarily before vanishing from sight.

in one spot there were many Cedar Waxwing doing their fly catching routine...also so a few flashes of yellow, warblers of some sort, they didn't stay visible for long.

movement on the muddy bank of the river caught our attention....turned out to be this Song Sparrow....had heard a number of them along the route.  Of course the whole trip there were swallows and swifts flying over head catching insects.

quite a few American Robins as well, like this juvenile.

and finally as we started back, this female Common Merganser with her brood of 10, so not the same family we had seen our last trip....led the way.