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Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Redpolls!

Exciting news!  Set out for our normal walk this morning....


this Bald Eagle was concentrating on breakfast as we walked by...


while this fellow was perched on the old broken piling at the first bay.....see how low the water is now...  Wandered over to the log bay where there wasn't much going on, an eagle or two, a couple of swans, and a Kingfisher....

on the way back, saw this...


male Anna's Hummingbird....he has taken up residence in the same area he (or a relative) has been for the last few years....

and then all of a sudden I realized there was activity right over my head....


the lighting was terrible but I was pretty sure they were Common Redpolls  and this photo confirms it.  Haven't seen any of these little finches from the far north in the area since 2014 but with the vast area of burned forest in the center of the province, had a feeling they might show up here this year and turns out I was right.  There were 10 or 12 of them feeding from the cones of the alder trees.  Hopefully I'll see them again and be able to get a better photo in future.

While we are discussing little birds and photos in difficult conditions....


took this photo of a Bushtit on the seed head of the native Hardhack or Pink Spirea shrub the other morning, in this case the sun was shining straight in my face so I couldn't even really see it, and surprisingly, turns out to be about the best picture of have of one of these little guys.

back to today, after lunch we headed over to Harrison bay...


a lot of beach there now....


the eagle nest was occupied today....


while others perched nearby...


not much in the way of little birds....this Song Sparrow about the only exception, although we did hear Chickadees, Junco and a Pileated Woodpecker.

Back near the parking lot...


a House Sparrow 


and a couple of Eurasian Collared Doves...

and here is something we've never seen here before....


a Gray Squirrel!  These are the squirrels that were initially imported to Stanley Park from back east and have spread throughout the lower mainland.  They are often seen in Agassiz, but it has been years since ones been in this area.  This wasn't the only animal seen today, there were 2 of the red listed sub species of the snowshoe hare spotted at the edge of one of the farm fields but they dove back into the shelter of the blackberry brambles before I could get a photo.

and one more thing of interest....I've mentioned the female Evening Grosbeak that has been around for several weeks now....well today...


I looked out and she had been joined by 5 males!  It is Christmas Bird Count week.....hope they stick around.


Saturday, December 9, 2017

The down side to nice weather

Even before it was daylight, gun shots were echoing across the estuary this morning...the downside to this beautiful stretch of weather is it brings out people....all sorts of people


not a bird in sight as we started out on our morning walk....and here is the reason why....doesn't matter how much signage there is asking people to stay off the flats....


and apparently the fact that the area is now a Wildlife Management Area doesn't make a bit of difference either since duck hunting is still allowed out there.


later in the day gun shots were still ringing out but there were a few birds over here on our side....those specks of white were....


snoozing Trumpeter Swans....


but over here we have another situation....these ones armed with cameras, not guns, but they just don't 'get it'.....if you move 'closer' the birds just move further away...if you stay where you are supposed to be - that is on the trails - and just wait patiently, the birds will quite often move closer.


there was a scattering of Bald Eagles out at the leading edge of the estuary....


as well as a few perched in the trees over looking the estuary....I'm sure the birds are like the rest of us...grit our teeth and wait for the weekends to be over.

One item of note...


not a great photo but that female Evening Grosbeak is still here.  Haven't seen the male for a while.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Another carbon copy day

Another carbon copy of the last two days...


touch of frost over night and brilliant sunshine during the day...


lots of Bald Eagles out on the flats that are rapidly reappearing.


a bunch of Common Merganser snoozing in the morning sunshine..


this female Belted Kingfisher was soaking up the rays in an even more sheltered spot.


quite a few Green-wing Teal....not a great photo but included them because we hadn't seen them for a while.

Clear sunny skies, especially in winter, usually means some brisk out flow winds which means that we don't see much in the way of small birds....


but did see this Spotted Towhee in some brambles.  It had actually been eating one of the native snowberry shrub berries and I'd hoped to be able to show that as it is always important that people realize the role that our native plants play.




Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Sunshine!

Finally, Sunshine!  All these photos were taken yesterday, but since today was a carbon copy, they could just as well been taken today....


what a treat to get up to this.


a little morning activity....was rather surprised to see the Trumpeter swans just stand their while the Bald Eagles were having a bit of an argument.  Notice the Northern Pintail in the duck mix?  


speaking of ducks....the numbers of them in the area right now are astonishing.  Thousands of them.  This bunch up in one of the corners appeared to be mainly American Wigeon.


with no other commitments for the day, was able to take the time to walk over to the log bay....first time since the water levels had dropped.  Here is the first bay.


and here the log bay.


and one of the eagles perched nearby.


also managed a picture of one of the Steller's Jay....for some reason they aren't normally cooperative for a photo.  There were also lots of Gold Crown Kinglets, Bushtits and Black Capped Chickadees.


heading back, this gives a hint at some of the activity out there.


spotted this male Common Merganser having a snooze and a gull, not sure what type, preening.


after lunch we thought we'd go back to Harrison Bay, thinking the sun would have brought on some bird activity...in fact it had the opposite effect, about the only thing of note was that flock of ducks out there....


which turned out to be that bunch of Ring-neck Ducks we'd seen the day before.  Counted about 70 of them in the flock with a couple of the related, Lesser Scaup mixed in.

So mid afternoon, headed back over to the log bay...


and it was well worth it as quite a few Trumpeter Swans had moved in close.


Like these ones, juvenile in the back....notice the youngster is molting out it's grey plumage to it's adult white.

one last picture to show just how much is out there.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Harrison Bay again

We are still waiting for that sunshine but ended up back over at Harrison Bay today for our after lunch walk.


very calm out there today....could see ducks scattered all over the surface, mainly various species of diving ducks...


although of course there were also Mallards, in fact there were several hundred of them in a puddle in one of the nearby farm fields.


lots and lots of little Buffleheads (3 at bottom, all females) and Common Goldeneyes (2 males at top.  I know there are also some Barrow's Goldeneyes out there and lots of Common Merganser.


this is a terrible photo....trying to get a shot through all the twigs proved impossible, but it is enough to make out that there are Ring-neck Ducks....another diving duck species that tends to stay in more hidden spots.


the activity wasn't all out on the water....look at that calm river!


but will add this Great Blue Heron perched on a piling.

Not a lot of activity small bird wise....


although there were several Song Sparrows....


thought this was yet another one so didn't worry too much about the photo quality...then found out when I downloaded it that it was a Fox Sparrow.  The larger, chunkier sparrow.

and here is something interesting...


the flock of Canada Geese in the field wasn't as large as it has been.  Counted about 70 of them today, took this as it really demonstrated the difference between the small Cackling Goose on the left and the larger, Canada goose on the right....but look at the markings on the head of the Canada goose....that isn't normal either!

and here is another mystery.....and another terrible photo...


I could hear this bird, took a while to spot it and only managed this one shot before it flew back over in the direction of the local farm.  My instinct told me Common Redpoll....which would be unusual but not impossible...can only hope we see it again.  Definitely a finch of some sort, in fact sounded like a Goldfinch, but definitely isn't that.

and of course there were....


Bald Eagles.