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Thursday, August 27, 2020

Where has the month gone!

 My Goodness, Where has the month gone!  Guess I need to do a bit of catch up but maybe I will work backwards....


Headed out in the canoe today for probably the last time as the water levels are dropping rapidly now.  It is actually unusual for them to still be this high at the end of August.


Wanted to check out the situation at the Purple Martin boxes.  Had been hearing them so knew they were still in the area, which is unsual this late in the month. There were approximately 30 birds flying around but this female still had young in that nest box.  Lets hope the weather holds so she can get them raised and ready to migrate in time.


It was actually shockingly quiet out in the estuary area.  A number of young Great Blue Heron like the one above, some Canada Geese, a few Mallard and one young Gull.  That was about it....


oh, and one Savannah Sparrow on a little islet over by the Harrison River.

Since discovering iNaturalist, I have been busy taking part in some of their projects and this week it is the Nature Conservancy of Canada Backyard Bio Blitz....which was why I wanted to be on the water in hopes of seeing some shorebirds or something interesting.


the other day we walked over at Harrison Bay, in the morning before it got too warm for the dogs. Quiet over there too except for one small section....


where birds were feasting on the fruit of the Black Hawthorne....here a Black Capped Chickadee....


a young American Robin....


and Cedar Waxwing.

What I haven't been able to find yet to add to the bio species is a Bald Eagle!  Here we are in the heart of eagle country and I can't find an eagle.  Not sure where they have all gone.  Have 3 more days to find one.





Friday, August 7, 2020

A walk in the other direction

 It has probably been a couple of months since we could walk in the other direction along the dike, due to the high water, but we checked today and water levels have dropped enough that you can make it now....

It is kind of interesting how two areas so close together can differ.....

found quite a lot of this plant that I can't recall ever seeing before and have no idea what it is.

a lot of this Pea Vine growing here too.

Chicory with the River behind it.

Some things don't change....saw Bald Eagles often perched in this tree last winter, and here one was again today.

If you look closely at this Black Hawthorne bush there are at least 5 Cedar Waxwing and a young Robin were feasting on the fruit.

speaking of berries....

the Black Berries are ripening....which was a good reason to keep an eye out for bear as we know they hang out in this quieter area.

these White Water Lilies have had a tough time this year as the water levels rose so late and then stayed high....a little too high for water lilies....other years the whole surface has been covered, only saw the one flower today.

Thursday, August 6, 2020

Change in the weather

A bit of a change in the weather today which allowed us to take a walk on the dike after this mornings rain....

it was awfully windy which meant that there wasn't much to see in the way of birds...

nice to see some Queen Anne's Lace plants....there used to just be one, now there are a couple so maybe, eventually, there will be more....they are so pretty and well 'lacey'.

so nice that they haven't mowed the dike sides this year, at least this summer - they did earlier in the spring....now the sides are lined with Chicory and Spotted Knapweed.

Tansy in full flower now.

May not have seen birds....we do have a 'bird' at home....

this very young Black-headed Grosbeak has made itself at home in our honeysuckle bush where it is feeding on the ripe berries.

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Finally got out on the water

Into August now and we've finally managed to get out on the water, just in time to have a view of the first local area wildfire of the year....and hopefully 'only'....


it was pretty windy so didn't go far but did manage to check out the....


Purple Martins....there was a fair bit of activity, including this female who appeared to be feeding young in this natural cavity....  It appears that many of them are raising a second brood which is great news.


it was surprising to see a Tree Swallow nest box still occupied as most of the Tree Swallows have moved on by now.


seeing gulls flying down the river is more typical of the time of year...probably California Gulls migrating south


in the evening we ventured out again.  The number of Cedar Waxwing and various Swallows and Swifts was amazing....primarily Barn Swallows but others mixed in as well.


this morning it was beautiful out, so we ventured out again....the wildfire in the distance seems to have grown overnight.  The evening before it had almost appeared to be out....at least from the distance we are looking at it from.


there are a lot of Canada Geese out in the estuary area right now....groups of 10 or 20 or so, most still hiding in the grasses that is emerging as the water levels drop.


there was a family of Osprey up one of the branches of the river, the parents obviously introducing the youngsters to the art of fishing.


Spotted this female Wood Duck and a little further along there were a number of ducklings, still quite small, hiding in the grasses.  Surprisingly we only saw one female Common Merganser.....normally you see at least one family of them.  Could also hear a number of Gray Catbirds up in this area where they normally nest....just couldn't get a picture today.


did get a Belted Kingfisher....this one being a male as the females wear the 'belt' in the kingfisher family!


quite a few Great Blue Heron .....water levels are much higher than they normally are at this time of the year so they are probably having problems finding places to stand.  We also saw a couple of little shorebirds fly by....now we are into August, shorebird migration is underway...problem is, we don't have a lot of 'shore' right now although levels are dropping quickly.

Friday, July 24, 2020

Still in the nest!

We haven't had a lot of luck getting out and about lately.....it has been too windy to take the canoe out.  When it is hot the wind makes things bearable and it keeps the mosquitoes at bay, but it can also get annoying when you really want to get out on the water.

Yesterday started out cool but by the time we got for our walk over at Harrison Bay, the sun had come out and it was just too warm.

Today it did stay cooler so we managed a walk along the dike....


the Spotted Knapweed is coming into full flower....

Thanks to the wind, and partly the time of year, there just weren't many birds visible...


I had aimed my camera at this clump of Himalayan Blackberries because there was a family of Common Yellowthroat in there and I hoped I'd catch one, but no such luck!  It does show that the blackberries are starting to get ripe.  Have noticed some Bear scat on the dike, as the blackberries ripen, no doubt there will be more.

Yesterday when we were attempting our walk...


this young Red-tail Hawk flew into a tree and perched long enough for a few photos.

Today, we made it as far as the area with the....


Bald Eagle nest....and we were shocked to see that the young one is still in the nest!  He was hunched over, appeared to be eating something and there was an adult in the area but it just seems so late in the season for him to have not left the nest.  Seems to me in other years they are gone in June.



Friday, July 17, 2020

Back to the dike

Finally made it back to the dike at Harrison Bay.  Between some warm weather, some wet weather, and being away for a few days, today was the first opportunity to see where things were at. Weather was a bit misty but perfect for walking....


water levels are still high although have dropped from where they were.


saw several of these little guys ,Western Wood Pee Wee I think (flycatchers tend to confuse me)


saw a White-crowned Sparrow too. Haven't seen any young ones yet but the grasses and other vegetation are so lush this year that actually seeing birds is difficult. Could hear the Lazuli Bunting singing but couldn't spot it.  Really would like to see a young one this year to have absolute proof they are nesting here.

Was really surprised....


to see the young Bald Eagle still at the nest.  I would have thought it would have left by now.  There was an adult around as well.


the European Starlings have now gathered into their typical large flock.  There were also large numbers of all sorts of Swallows and Swifts flying overhead....impossible to capture in a picture.


surprisingly, and thankfully, the sides of the dike haven't been mowed so the mid summer flowers are able to bloom - this being Chicory,


this the invasive Ragwort Tansy


and this, the regular Common Tansy which is just starting to bloom.

Lots, and lots of berries and fruits this year which will be great for migrating and wintering birds....


these are the ripe fruit of the Black Hawthorne....


this Mountain Ash is covered in berries as well.

With some warm weather in the forecast, hopefully we will get out on the water within the next few days to check on things at the estuary.



Saturday, July 4, 2020

A better day

A better day today, so we headed out on the water....


headed over towards Eagle Point park first....


hmmm  won't be using the viewing platform anytime soon.


or the bench!


saw this male Black-headed Grosbeak....


there was still a lot of activity around swallow nesting boxes, including seeing these two Tree Swallow fledglings perched on the edge of one with no roof.  For some reason, most of them are without roofs...


there were a few Purple Martin - nothing like the numbers we've had the last few years but at least there are some.


heading out across the water we spotted something in the distance - middle of the picture...


turned out to be a mother and baby seal!  We've seen seal before, but never with a baby.


it is worth a second look.


saw a few Bald Eagles including this guy...


very few Canada Geese - these two were in a group of five. The only duck was one spooky Wood Duck.  A couple of Common Loon were way out and could hear Pied Bill Grebe.  


So much water right now that it is hard to tell what is river!