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Sunday, May 26, 2019

Interesting Purple Martin activity

As we are about to head out again for a few weeks of roaming about the province, tried to get out to get some pictures of the area before we leave.

Did an evening walk over at Harrison Bay....


water continues to creep up but definitely won't be a flood year this year.  We could hear lots of bird activity but between the time of day and all the leaves, hard to actually see anything.  Bullock's Orioles were calling from the tree tops.  For such a bright bird they can sure be elusive!


we'd seen one of the Bald Eagles fly out and grab something on the farm field and then head back to the nest with a crow in hot pursuit.  Still no indication as to how many might be in the nest though.



one White-crowned Sparrow made itself known.  Most are sitting on nests right now I think.


the Viper's Bugloss is coming into flower on the sides of the dike - in fact it is looking very lush right now, which probably means someone will decide it has to be mowed soon.  Hopefully not but that seems to be the way it goes.  Fortunately the birds seem to have sense enough to nest in the bramble hedge out of the reach of the mower blade.

Yesterday we did a walk over to the park....


have to take the long route now as there is 5 or 6 feet of water over the path.  Nice to see the Foxgloves coming into flower...


and the Ox-eye Daisies....the sides of the path should look beautiful in a few days...provided mowers stay away.


here is the view from the viewing platform.  There was water under the platform and on both sides of the path so probably by today you would need to wade to get to here.


this male Red-wing Blackbird was perched just out from the platform.



and this Song Sparrow was drying off as it had been raining pretty much all day.


the path is becoming almost tunnel like in places....but lets get to those Purple Martins



I haven't had a chance to get out on the water so not sure how much activity there is but could see a pair at one of the nest boxes, then something unusual caught our eye...


there were Purple Martin flying into this tree - a Pacific Crabapple I think.  As far as I know Purple Martin only eat insects 


and yet, in this one, it almost looks like it has the immature fruit....I am assuming that there are maybe little caterpillars of something as the leaves look kind of eaten.  I can only surmise that if that is the case, it is a good thing because one thing I haven't noticed many of is flying insects and there seem to be a lot of birds around right now whose diets rely on them.


this is what it looks like over at the log bay now....


lots of these, I think 'naturalized' roses in flower right now, along with the native....


Nootka Rose....

and I'll leave you with one more photo of a Purple Martin in a tree....


and we will see you again, sometime after the middle of June.

Friday, May 17, 2019

Finally......back home for a little while

Knew it had been a while since I did a report - hadn't realized it had been quite this long!  Here at home we have water....I'll try to get a photo tomorrow....it won't be a flood year, that is for sure, but nice to see the water has risen to where one would hope it would.

Yesterday we did get for a walk over at Harrison Bay.  It was the middle of a warmer than predicted afternoon, so not the best time for seeing birds....

when we left the fields were green and gold with dandelions....


now, the ones that haven't been cut, are gold with Field Buttercups.


and it is definitely 'green'....


before we left the Hawthorne and Crabapple were in flower....now it is the Wild Roses and the Red-Osier Dogwoods.

But what about the birds.....


well most notable was the fact that this years crop of baby European Starlings have now left the nest but are still demanding to be fed by mom and dad.  They are a noisy bunch and were just about everywhere, but very uncooperative for photos!

Perched near....


the Bald Eagle nest was, probably, dad....


and at the nest - well it is obviously occupied but not sure how many.


there continue to be Canada Geese....some, like these, on log booms on the river, others...


others were congregated out in the field where this 'pond' is now much more than a mud puddle.


White-crowned Sparrows weren't quite so visible as most are probably now sitting on nests in the black berry brambles.


by this time of the year, we expect to see Spotted Sandpiper and we weren't disappointed as there was at least one pair at the edge of the river.

We're thrilled to hear a number of Bullock's Oriole but couldn't get a picture as they were high up in the trees, but also found....


a male Western Tanager.  He appears to just be developing his breeding colour as the head should be a much brighter red.


this just hows the level of the water now....nice to see it back up.


here is a female Red-wing Blackbird...obviously feeding youngsters....

and finally, just because we love them...


a closer look at the Nootka Wild Roses.  They have such a beautiful perfume.

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Last day of April.....

Another month gone already! 


and with another wave of winter like weather that swept down the province, the snow melt has slowed so the water levels are heading back down....that whole drive had been under water until a few days ago...

and here is something interesting....


a Trumpeter Swan!  It is a young one, doesn't appear injured or sick but definitely shouldn't be here this time of the year.


this Bald Eagle pair are nearly always in the vicinity of the 'eagle tree' by the viewing platform.  Seems to me they were last year too, so not sure why they aren't nesting somewhere.

The Canada Goose pair remain hanging about our complex and the male Calliope Hummingbird is also still here.

This afternoon we got back to Harrison Bay for a walk.  I'm pretty sure there was a Western Kingbird on a wire on the way there but  can't be positive.  It wouldn't be the first time one has been seen here during migration.


Canada Geese continue, this one enjoying the nice field....there was a male Goldfinch eating the dandelion seeds at the same place.


The two sitting on nests on pilings are still there, this being one of them, with daddy standing guard down below.


lot's of Tree Swallows....


including ones gathering nesting material off of the dike and the parking lot.

Something we hadn't seen for a while...


were Great Blue Heron - there were 3 of them today.  Probably all last year youngsters.


this Bald Eagle was perched near the nest, where all is quiet so mom is probably still sitting.



the Black Hawthorne are in full flower now....



as are the Pacific Crabapples.

Sunday, April 28, 2019

They're back! Purple Martin's and other firsts

Today has been a day with a number of firsts of the seasons.....  it started out with our morning walk when saw the first Barn Swallow of the season....no way to get a photo, and then once we got down to the water, could hear a Pied Bill Grebe out there....

Yesterday had been a 'first' sort of day too.  Not that the birds are rare....Canada Geese


but finding a pair of them on the playing field in our complex is....in 22 years I've been here, this is a first.

After lunch we walked over to the park.  Have to go the long route now....


and here is the first bay.....and another first of the season, as we spooked a pair of Wood Ducks.  Again, no chance for a picture....


and then, a bit further along....a familiar call....that is a European Starling on top....but...


but there....on the bottom box...a female Purple Martin!  They are back.  Saw as many as four flying about.  Will be interesting to see how many return and how soon they find their new colony off of Kilby beach.


Water levels haven't really risen too much the last few days, probably due to the unseasonably cool weather that would have slowed any melting.  

Back home....we have the last 'first' of the day....in fact this is the 'first' I've seen here in probably 10 years or so....


a male Calliope Hummingbird!  Not a great photo, but enough to prove it was there.  


Guess I should also post this Bald Eagle photo, one of a pair flying around today.  There was also a pair of Osprey.

Hopefully tomorrow we will get back to Harrison Bay to see what is happening over there.

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Finally, Yellow-rump Warblers

I guess sometimes all you have to do is stay home!  I've been watching for Yellow-rump Warblers for several weeks.  Today I was working out in my yard and realized the open area behind our yard was absolutely alive with birds!


in fact the big Broad-leaf Maple that grows there was full of Yellow-rump Warblers.


they were pretty high up but managed to get a few photos.



the bird bath out there was busy too, here a couple of female Purple Finch


this Black-capped Chickadee was headed there too.


and then a female Yellow-rump Warbler headed that way as well.

While I was standing out there, a female Rufous Hummingbird flew up to me, landed on my chest and sat there for at least a minute!  Have never had something like that happen before.  Had my camera in my hands but there was no way I could get a picture although I sure would have loved to.

Earlier in the day, when I didn't have my camera, I saw a pair of Bush-tits down by the estuary, the first I've seen in the area in a year or so.