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Saturday, December 8, 2018

Robins?! and a determined eagle

An interesting day today.  I've been noticing talk on some bird sites about the lack of birds coming to our feeders - there are all sorts of theories out there, most of them dire, but I have a bit of a different take on it because even though my feeders are very quiet compared to what I would consider 'normal' for this time of the year, I am also noticing that there seems to be no shortage of birds in natural areas.  I am thinking that the reason birds aren't coming to feeders is because there is so much natural food available.


take these American Robins for example.  What I would consider 'normal' for around here, is that robins would have disappeared some time in late summer and we wouldn't expect to see them again until mid February....but this year we have large numbers of robins still around...and look at the fruit - in this case, that of the Pacific Crabapple - that is still available.

I am wondering, though, where are the Chestnut backed Chickadees?  haven't seen one of those since last winter?  Probably still up in the mountains since there hasn't been any snow to speak of.  Same with Pine Siskin.....I have seen occasional flocks of them but they are sticking to the tops of the trees that are full of cones....that isn't completely good news though because one of the reasons there is such a seed crop is because the last couple of summers have really stressed our trees, and when a tree is stressed, it reacts by producing seed in the hopes that the species itself will continue on, even if the individual tree doesn't.


here is another robin....and in the same area were, Black Capped Chickadee, Steller's Jay, Brown Creeper, Northern Flicker, Spotted Towhee....and even....


a couple of Downy Woodpecker....not that I could get a decent picture of one!


Song Sparrow too.....

Now, for that determined Bald Eagle....  


as I approached the log bay, this juvenile was down in the bay itself, hauling this still living Chum Salmon up and out of the water.  I immediately stopped and watched as the salmon would get away and flip back in the water and the bird would grab it and haul it out again....all this done in full view of a number of people standing right above it....


I took a few more shots and then retreated....


as I am sure the birds are getting as frustrated as we who live here in the area are.  It would have been great to have actually been able to do a count for E Bird as there was an amazing amount of waterfowl in the general area, but getting to where you could actually see them, without disturbance, was impossible.

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

A bit of variety

After the spectacle the other day, things seem pretty quiet now....


Sure there are still Bald Eagles around....


and some Trumpeter Swans,and yes, that is ice.....there is a pretty chilly wind coming down the river right now, which is typical in winter when we get a period of sunny weather.

But there are more birds than just these guys....


Mallard, of course are always around, some times just a few, sometimes a lot, but Northern Pintail, like these guys aren't seen all that often.  There are a couple of American Wigeon in the background here too.


lot's of Green-wing Teal out there too.  


and Common Merganser....

Yesterday we walked over at Harrison Bay....with the wind there wasn't much of anything to be seen...other than this....


a young American Goldfinch....that was a bit of a surprise for this time of the year.



back to today,  there was a trio of Eurasian Collared Doves flying around (only 2 in photo)....hadn't seen any of them for a while.

Should also mentioned we spooked a Wilson's Snipe.....no photo...with the sun low in the sky and shining straight at us, didn't see it until it was too late....


can hardly miss this little guy though....this male Anna's Hummingbird has his section along the trail staked out and if you just stand there for a minute you are sure to spot him somewhere.

Saturday, December 1, 2018

OMG

When you have had the privilege of living beside the Chehalis estuary  for over 20 years, although you always appreciate what you see out there.... you tend to get used to what others find extraordinary so it takes something really special to take your breath away....

and that is exactly what happened today when we set out for our usual after lunch walk....


pictures never do this sort of thing justice but each of those black flecks was an eagle and this was just a small portion of them....


there were more over here (I've darkened the photo in hopes of them showing up more).  All in all by 'guesstimate' was around 250 Bald Eagles soaring over the estuary at one time....

and that wasn't all....


see those white specs out there......swans, lots and lots of swans....


from the calls, it would appear that the ones in close to shore were Tundra Swans....


while ones further out were Trumpeter Swans...I'm estimating about 75 of them....and of course, look at all the eagles out there too


lets post another photo too because this is something you don't see all that often!


not only were there eagles in the sky and out on the flats, but lots of them were perched in trees all along the trails, and they stayed put despite visitors packing humongous cameras about.


this guy flew right in to feed in the grass despite numerous 'eye's' swiveling his direction


this, of course is what the birds are after.  With water levels dropping now, there must be salmon scattered all over.


besides eagles and swans, there were ducks....these being Mallard, but noticed more Goldeneyes today, in fact saw some Barrow's Golden eye yesterday.  Maybe our little 'herd' of Bufflehead that have spent the winter at our boat launch every single year, will show up soon.

A flock of Canada Geese flew in while we were watching....


and there were several Great Blue Heron, including this one sunning itself in a cedar tree.


Let's end with some twins.....

Thursday, November 29, 2018

And then it rained....

After the best viewing day so far for seeing birds.....the rain came, and when it was all over....


the water was back!


no more flats out there!  With the water, the swans returned and from the calls, quite a few of those were Tundra Swans as well as Trumpeters.


and the Canada Geese....but with no where really to walk, today we headed over to Harrison Bay because while driving by yesterday, we'd seen more eagles perched in the trees than we'd ever seen before.


and the trend continued today....


as well as on any dry spots out on the bay....a dozen total here.  With clear and cooler weather in the forecast, water levels should continue to slowly go back down.


adjacent fields are filling with assorted waterfowl.  Besides the geese, Mallard and Northern Pintails for sure.  Probably some American Wigeon as well.


we've noticed a lot more Northern Flicker than we'd normally expect to see this time of the year.


The European Starling are flocking up....must have been 60 or 70 in the group.


Song Sparrow were quite active today, unfortunately lighting was great with the sun behind and low in the sky.


Good size flock of Dark eyed Junco today as well.


and one shy Spotted Towhee.  Saw a couple of Downy Woodpecker, and one Pileated, as well as a Brown Creeper and some Black-capped Chickadee.


there was even a pair of eagles by the nest, but whether they were 'the' pair of not couldn't say as there were eagles perched all along the route.

Monday, November 26, 2018

Just eagles......lots and lots of eagles

Have no idea what is out there today because it is absolutely pouring and I'm not venturing any further than it takes my dog to do his business....but I did get out yesterday morning.  

I am hearing, that according to David Hancock, there are the most Bald Eagles he's seen in the area since 2010.....I know we are certainly seeing more than we have for sometime.  Unfortunately have also heard that it has been a pretty poor Chum Salmon run.  Seems to me the salmon were late starting - probably due to the low water levels at the time, there still seem to be quite a few so hopefully the run will continue for a while yet which will keep the birds around.....

Anyway, here goes.....eagles, eagles and nothing but eagles....


as I was starting out, this young one was determined to catch this still living salmon....there was a lot of splashing, but the bird succeeded and got it up on the shore.


this one guarding a pretty good size salmon.


over at the log bay....all those little black dots out there are eagles...


these two just had to perch on the same little stick....


this pond area to the south of the log bay is an absolute hive of activity....no wonder when you look at all the salmon carcasses floating in it!


the flats out there....with all the rain this will probably be underwater again if it isn't already


a pair squabbling over breakfast


and a third comes in to join the party


and take that!


Finally settling down to eat.


heading back....tranquil scene


and a final pair on the shore.