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Friday, October 19, 2018

Strutting their stuff!

While on our morning walk, came across a pair of....


Great Blue Heron....seems they had both decided this was 'their' fishing spot!


much strutting about...


on both sides....


unfortunately, when a 3rd showed up, I wasn't in the right position to get a photo as feathers really flew.

While all this was going on....


there were these Bald Eagles feeding not too far away and could hear a lot of eagle activity out along the river, so it is starting to sound more like one would expect this time of the year.


this adult was perched over at the log bay today.

Seems there are more....


Northern Flicker around now too.  This one being a female (no red 'mustache)


Here is a view of what is 'out there' right now.  See at least 13 eagles and some Glaucous-wing Gulls.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

High and dry.....

So it isn't my imagination.....while all we humans are enjoying this wonderful stretch of warm and dry weather....it isn't usual and it sure isn't helping the spawning salmon or the birds that are supposed to be eating them.

Lets take a look at what it looks like around here right now....


high and dry!


there were 6 or 8 Chum Salmon in this one spot that had enough water to support them...


you can't really call this the log 'bay' right now....bays require water!  and it isn't any better over at....


Harrison Bay....we are walking along the river here....at least there is still water in the river 


but sure doesn't look like it is past mid October....  I went back to 2011 and can't find a year when water levels were anywhere near as low as they are this year....


take, for example, 2015.... 


2011 with the log bay full of water and spawning salmon...


2014 we had the opposite - too much water!

So what does it all mean?  Who knows!  Today, if I counted the few eagles I could see way out there and those flying over the hillside, I got about 25 - a far cry from the 100's we should be expecting to see about now.  Of course why would they come here while they can still be feeding all up and down the coast?


this young Bald Eagle flew into a tree by our boat launch today and there have been a few feeding on the very few fish that somehow have made it through the shallows....

even other birds seem to be out of sync from normal....


we are still seeing lots of American Robins, like this young one, while normally they have pretty much disappeared from around here by now.


Walks at Harrison Bay have been distinctly 'bird-less' although seeing these 2 Pileated Woodpecker one day was a treat.

I guess all we can do is wait and see how things go - we know things can certainly change in a hurry when weather patterns change, lets hope they change in time for the spawning salmon!

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

First Chum Salmon & Sparrows

The first Chum Salmon was spotted off of Eagle Point park today....sorry, no picture.  It was a beautiful day today but it sure was quiet in the bird department.

Yesterday we had taken a walk over at Harrison Bay and it was pretty quiet over there too but what we did see gives a lesson in Sparrow identification, so here goes....


Gold-crowned Sparrow - this time of the year, just a slight wash of colour....it could possibly be a young one too as I'm not sure I know what a young Gold-crown actually looks
 like.


this one should be familiar....the streaky Song Sparrow....


a young White-crowned Sparrow....

and the find of the day....


a Lincoln Sparrow....unfortunately the little guy really stuck to the back of the bush so couldn't get a clear picture, in fact I didn't know what it was at the time....wasn't until I downloaded that I could make the ID


and this is just a 'seasonal' scene along the river.

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Rare Rusty!

Just when you least expect it....something exciting shows up and so it was this morning....heard a Red-wing Blackbird, and since I hadn't actually seen any here since we got back, thought I'd try for a picture.....so imagine my surprise when....along with the Red-wing.....


I spotted this - a Rusty Blackbird!.....of course it was in the middle of the bushes and my camera battery was going dead and I'd forgot my spare....so I was desperate for a picture...


fortunately I was able to get a couple that show no doubt as to the ID.  I think it is a female in non-breeding plumage.  Rusty Blackbirds are one of the most rapid declining bird species, estimates give anywhere from an 85% to a 99% decline in their numbers in the past 40 years.  They also don't belong here, although last week there was a report of one off the northern tip of Vancouver Island and in Feb. 2014 I had one stop at my feeders briefly.  This is a species that nests in the boreal forests of Alaska and Yukon, migrating diagonally across the continent to the southeastern states where it spends the winter.

After lunch we went for another walk, of maybe spotting the bird again, but of course there was no sign of it, or even the Red-wings.  There were lots of ....


American Robins....


Black Capped Chickadees....


and Spotted Towhee....and you will note they are all in the Pacific Crabapple trees feasting on the fruit.  There were warblers there too, and Ruby Crowned Kinglets and who knows what else....


mustn't forget the Anna's Hummingbirds, including this one that posed so nicely for me!

Out on the estuary....


lot's and lot's of ducks...look like pretty much all Mallards and can see one Bald Eagle way over there on a gravel bar.


there was also a Belted Kingfisher by the log bay...this one a female as she is wearing the rust coloured 'belt'.



Wednesday, October 3, 2018

A chilly start to October....

The 3rd of October and.....


yes, that is snow up on the hillside beside the estuary!  Didn't notice any on Mt. Woodside but it was on all the other mountain tops.


things are starting to get active....had to be between two and three hundred Canada Geese out there.....you'll note it was windy out on the river so they were in where it was calmer.


lots of ducks gathering out there too....in this instance a pair of Bald Eagles flew over and put this bunch to flight.  Most are Mallards but there are some American Wigeon as well and I think Green Wing Teal and maybe even some shorebirds.


some Hooded Merganser as well.  Looks like maybe a female with her young.

This afternoon we finally made it over to Harrison Bay....


Very quiet out on the bay itself and seemed pretty quiet elsewhere too although we did end up with some sightings, including a few interesting ones....


this one being a Song Sparrow of course....


and an American Robin....there were actually lots of these guys feeding on various berries.


but here was a surprise....it's rust coloured tail makes identifies it as a Hermit Thrush....only one I've ever seen here.


and another surprise given the time of year, a Black-throated Grey Warbler.


several Northern Flicker, including this female....


and if you look closely you can see the tail of one here, with a European Starling above...both eating the berries of the Red-Osier Dogwood.


also a lot of Cedar Waxwings, like these two it appeared that they were mainly young ones.

As far as Eagles and Salmon go....well no sign of any Salmon yet - they will be out in the river, but the Chum that come into the shallow areas of the estuary will be a week or two away yet....and until the fish come, not many eagles around....have seen a half dozen or so at a time but that is pretty much it.






Thursday, September 27, 2018

We are back

After a month 'on the road' we are back.  Haven't really had time to even catch my breath but thought I'd better let you all know that by the time the salmon start to arrive in a week or two, we will be ready to start reporting.


haven't made it over to Harrison Bay yet, but did make it over to the park this morning...here is the 'first bay' - you can see our gravel bars are back.  There were a dozen or so Mallard in this bay and they weren't there this morning, but there have been lots of geese out on those flats.


getting to the park is no easy task!  Appears the water levels were high enough this year to have deposited a lot of large logs and bits of driftwood all through the trail - but where there is a will - there is a way.


always surprised at how 'lush' the vegetation is after high water.  Have to remember that while most of the area was baking and thirsty, the park was under water so a sort of greenhouse effect - warm and  moist equals jungle like.


and here is the log bay.  There is lots of bird life around so will get to reporting on it very soon.

Friday, August 24, 2018

Found shorebirds

Turns out our last canoe trip wasn't the last of the season.  Last Tuesday morning with the water like glass we put the canoe in for one final time....


the wildfire smoke was still with us and the water was getting pretty shallow as we headed out in the direction of the Harrison River.


Canada Geese and lot's of ducks.  Most of the ducks were Mallard and all were so flighty that they took off before you could get a picture....


so I was really surprised when I down loaded this one because those are Northern Pintail!  The last year or so we have seen a lot more pintails in this area than in the past, but it seems early for any to be here.


it was starting to sound like fall out there with the cries of gulls in the distance.  The only one we actually saw was this Glaucous-wing on the fallen over tower, now decorated with yellow markers that people in the neighbourhood attached to dangerous items out there when the water was high....this does at least demonstrate the difference in water levels between high water and now.


the 2 stone rings have also reappeared.


but what was most exciting was spotting shorebirds ahead.


a few little guys with their black legs and long slightly drooping bills being Western Sandpiper....


the rest of them being the slightly larger Baird's Sandpiper - only the second time we have found them out there.


there was another little group flying around finally settling, this being part of them.  At this point we headed back planning to go up the arm of the Chehalis but with a trio of kayaks heading up it, figured there was no sense doing that so cut directly across to .....


the spot where there had been so much bird activity our last trip....of course no two trips are ever the same and this time there wasn't much of anything happening in that spot.  It must have been a mixed flock moving through the last time.


conversely there was more activity at the Purple Martin boxes...notice the 2 Great Blue Heron....the one on the right was attacked by a Purple Martin moments after this photo was taken.  In fact there were heron all over the place, in one spot 4 of them were spread along the shoreline.


still some young Purple Martin at the boxes although most did seem capable of flight.  I don't expect they will be hanging around much longer.

Back at home in the afternoon, which had turned quite warm, there was a lot of activity in the garden out back with a few surprise visitors....


Western Tanager were enjoying the garden with the bird bath....


and the berries from the laurel bushes.  Cedar Waxwings flew about in the tree tops almost constantly, occasionally coming down for a berry but not cooperating for photos.


a number of young Black-headed Grosbeak were there....

but most surprising were....


a pair of Yellow Warblers!

Of course also the regulars, robin, Steller's Jay, Spotted Towhee etc. etc.  Anna Hummingbird activity has really picked up recently with the Rufous Hummingbirds pretty much gone.

So now this definitely is the last post until we return in October.....so, see you then!  We will return like the eagles.