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Monday, March 1, 2021

When the salmon are gone.....

 Today's walk started out with an interesting observation.....


a Bald Eagle was busy ripping the feathers off of a catch because when the salmon are gone, the eagles start hunting.

Unfortunately, after down loading the photos it became apparent that what the eagle was eating wasn't a mallard but....


a loon....which I find a little upsetting as loons have a hard enough time these days with loss of habitat and human disturbance.

We continued our walk which was a little quieter than yesterday although there were lots of

Canada Geese in the fields.

As we did our return walk...


the 'kill' had attracted more attention.


with lots of carrying on and juggling for a portion.


in total, we saw 8 eagles, all adults with the exception of one.


a pair of Raven also showed up in hopes of a share.


not exactly the start we'd expected for the month, but interesting!


Sunday, February 28, 2021

Misty month end

 It was a misty end to the month...


a month of some pretty weird weather including one day when it hailed all day long!

It might have been the last day of the month....but it gave us an indication of what is in store for the next month....


birds!  So many birds....such a treat to see the American Robins are back!

and there there are the flocks of European Starling suddenly seemingly everywhere.


not as many birds in the fields today, but that may be in part because some hunters just had to take advantage of what is hopefully the end of hunting season. These Northern Pintail were there as well as a few Mallard and some Canada Geese.

Yesterday was actually a sunny day....


that is actually a crow over at the log bay....there have been a pair hanging about


Red-wing Blackbirds have also been very active but are now spreading out to stake out their territories.

Back over at Harrison Bay...


there was a Belted Kingfisher out on one of the pilings.  Noticed several Common Loon today too that seemed to be more active than normal, so perhaps a school of some sort of little fish were in the area.

There were also a lot of smaller birds, Junco, Towhee, Song Sparrow, Chickadee, Creepers etc. but the weather wasn't really conducive to good photo taking.

As we were leaving.....


we spotted this guy on a wire....a bit of debate about what it actually is, but probably a Sharp-Shin Hawk.

March is the transition month when we move from winter to spring....as already mentioned, today the robins showed up, already we are seeing an uptake on Northern Flickers.  Tree Swallows could show up in the next week or so if the weather is at all decent, Mountain Bluebirds, Western Meadowlark are possible and by mid month we can look for the Rufous Hummingbirds to join our Anna's.  





Friday, February 19, 2021

Changeable

 Well it has certainly been changeable the last few days!


We had a beautiful, spring like day with all sorts of little birds busy in the bushes....


like this Spotted Towhee.....along with lots of Junco and Song Sparrow....

Next day...


we were back to dull and cloudy, but at least still dry....doubt you can see it, but there is a heron over against the far bank, and if you look really closely, there are pussy willows starting on the bush in the foreground.


there were also a number of Red-wing Blackbirds and now they are starting to do their territorial calling, I saw one female with all the males, no doubt more will be showing up shortly.

Come mid-day, we'd hoped for a nice walk at the dike...


unfortunately, it was not to be....there was snow being driving horizontally right at us....it was a very short walk!

Today's attempt went much better. On the way there, we noticed a number of swans in the fields, close to the road....


lot's of Trumpeters....


but also Tundra's....this one really noticeable!  That is a male Northern Pintail with it.

Also in the fields, but in another area closer to the dike,


lots of Canada Geese and they are getting to the stage where they are pairing up and chasing competitors away....

also, pairing up....


we've noticed a Red-tail Hawk almost every time we've been in the area lately, well today we realized there is a pair, and they seem to be spending time near the bedraggled eagle nest that seems to have been abandoned. It seems like maybe our fear that the injured eagle was one of the pair, or maybe they have just realized that there isn't enough branch structure left to support a nest, but perhaps it would be suitable for a pair of hawks.  Time will tell.


walking a bit the other direction....this Great Blue Heron was spotted on the shore...


and stayed, contentedly fishing, as we walked by.

As we were heading home, we were surprised to see a couple of Turkey Vultures! Turkey Vultures are common in the area, but we've never seen them in February before!  By the time we could pull over and stop and I could try and get a picture for proof, they had moved too far away.

Of course we are getting to 'that time of year'.....any day now we expect an influx of robins, we've had Tree Swallows before the end of February before, although the very beginning of March is more likely....Mountain Bluebirds and Western Meadowlark can be expected to show up pretty soon too.



Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Guess that was winter

Well, I guess we've had winter.


 Yesterday we woke up to a little bit of snow.....today, it is all gone.

The bird count is finished for another year, 


I guess the most exciting find were these 2 Red head ducks....in the middle to the left.  I'm not sure I've ever seen them in this area before.  Will have to check my species list.

Today we started out with birds all over the place...


a male Hairy Woodpecker....

and


a male Downy Woodpecker....

and for another comparison...


a chunky Fox Sparrow....


and the streaky Song Sparrow....

Unfortunately the pleasant walk didn't continue as a very heavy misty rain started, we were quickly soaked through!  

On a sad note.....


this winter we have lost one of the sets of Purple Martin boxes.  This is the piling they were on, so rotten, that it has broken.   Lets hope the other two sets survive....it would be such a shame to loose the colony that has built up here over the past few years.

Saturday, February 13, 2021

Half way through the bird count

 Well we are half way through the four day Backyard Bird Count, and it has been a pretty chilly endeavor!  Yesterday, about the only birds that got counted were the ones that were going through seed and suet like crazy in our yard.

This morning, with the wind having died down a bit and just the odd snowflake coming down we ventured out....


this was the scene over at the log bay....a lot of the water is frozen, but there are actually little springs that feed into this, and the other bay, and that has kept the water open....those were all a mix of.....


Red-wing Blackbirds with some European Starlings mixed in....one wonders how birds can actually bath when the temperatures are well below freezing....but these were certainly busy doing just that.

The most exciting find this morning (in fact all day) was a Red-breasted Sapsucker.  Unfortunately I wasn't able to get a picture.

After lunch we got brave and ventured over to Harrison Bay....


it was snowing on the hills, but no where we were.  Started off in one direction, but it was obvious all the activity was back off of the beach at Kilby.  Had to be well over a hundred swans, 


This adult and young Trumpeter were some of a few in close by the beach.  You can see the ice build up along the shoreline...also the young one is getting that 'patchy' look as it molts into adult plumage.

We turned around and headed the other direction...


more ice lining the shoreline...


that is the Fraser River way over there...


and when you zoom way in....that is ice flowing down the Fraser....

So back to birds...


here are a few bottom's up Mallards....there were also Green-wing Teal, a few American Wigeon, a very few Northern Pintail and one Ring-neck...

Tomorrow is another day and the temperature should be more bearable...whether we get snow or not is yet to be seen.  We didn't really get any today...perhaps the birding will be better, or at least pleasanter to stand around looking for them!

Monday, February 8, 2021

A touch of winter

 We are finally getting a touch of 'winter'....


this was the scene at Harrison Bay yesterday afternoon....it looks lovely and sunny, and it was as long as you didn't look at the very dark clouds all the way around...


today wasn't as sunny, the clouds were still around, but not as dark, and as you can see, we'd had a bit of snow. It was quite pleasant walking though, as long as you could stay out of the wind, which was why we did the walk out towards the Fraser, rather than our normal one.


there were a couple of Bald Eagles....this one perched on pilings.....


a Belted Kingfisher was also making use of the pilings.

the scene as we headed back....

now apologies for the next picture, if anyone is creeped out by rodents....skip past quick...but my little dog, a breed of which, whose original purpose was to find and dispose of these things...spotted this on the beach under the railway bridge....


a rat... they are part of the ecosystem after all....as long as they stay there!


the campground is nice and quiet right now, that will change as it is due to open the beginning of March.

Back at home, nothing like a bit of snow to bring birds to the feeders...


this Northern Flicker was around today...


one of many Song Sparrows....


and then there are the Anna's Hummingbirds....they are everywhere.  This little guy has the heated feeder staked out as his own.