Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Dreary end to the month

What a horrible way to end the month!  Eagle trees

Today’s pictures aren’t going to earn any acclaim – that is for sure!  It was so dark and wet out….you can see the ‘eagle trees’ by the viewing platform were well populated…

Northern Flicker

I had actually been surprised to see a total of 5 Northern Flicker, all feeding in the ground in one spot, along with a handful of Varied Thrush and even a Robin.

Herring Gull and Mallards

Over at the log bay – where the water level is rising once again – there was this Herring Gull along with a few Mallard…notice the number of dead salmon in the water and there are still lots of live ones in the area as well.

Dismal day

while I was at the bay a pair of Great Blue Heron flew in and circled, with one landing on this piling and the other….

Heron in a tree

in this tree – these birds always look so ungainly perched on a tree branch.

Heron over head

the bird stayed perched as we walked underneath it to head back home.

One thing I do want to mention for today is the spotting of a Gray Squirrel.

Gray Squirrel

This is what I classify as a ‘proof it was there’ photo.  It has been at least 2 years, possibly 3, since I’ve seen a Gray Squirrel in the area of the estuary – and yes I know it is black….they are called ‘Gray’ squirrels even though they can be gray or black in colour.  They are a species of squirrel that is native to the eastern half of the continent but were introduced to the lower mainland, Stanley Park to be precise, early in the last century and were content to stay there until about the 1960’s when they started spreading out.  They are now standard fixtures as far east as Chilliwack on the south side of the Fraser River and Agassiz on the north side, but in the 14 years I have been watching this area, this is only the 3rd time I have seen one.  There are conflicting opinions on how their presence affects the populations of our little native Douglas Squirrel.  The opinion that I tend to agree with is that they don’t really have a lot of effect as the two species prefer different habitats.  Our native Squirrel (of which we have an abundance this year) like undisturbed forested areas where the Gray Squirrel  prefers open ‘park like’ areas such as our parks and suburban gardens offer. 

Monday, November 29, 2010

Typical gray November day

Nothing out of the ordinary to report today.  Just a typical, cloudy, cool late November day.

Bald Eagle at boat launch

This fellow was perched watching us go by when we started our walk, and was still there when we returned.

Typical Nov. scene

There were Bald Eagles scattered all along the shoreline, others flying over head…probably a hundred could have been counted without really trying too hard.

Gray day

there were a number feeding just off of the log bay – I didn’t get any pictures as I didn’t want to disturb them.

Heron on a post

A Great Blue Heron was perched on one of the pilings and the Belted Kingfisher was in the area as well (no picture today).

In the eagle tree

Only thing moving in the bushes were some Dark Eyed Junco – this guy was in one of the ‘eagle’ trees on our way back home.  A few ducks around, just the usual varieties.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Eagles and Ducks galore!

Today turned out to be a much better day than had been predicted.


The snow did turn to rain over night and the temperature did rise to above freezing, so everything was a little slushy…but it stayed dry.

Eagles and Gull

Bald Eagles were everywhere.  Here an adult while a juvenile enjoys some breakfast…and I’m not sure on that gull…that one definitely had black wing tips…

Nov.26 011

another adult sat over this way and all those black dots out there are – you guessed it – eagles!

Hoodies in foreground 

and there were ducks – masses of ducks…

Heron and ducks

In fact, at lunch time, when I took this picture which, of course, includes a Great Blue Heron, I counted 162 ducks just in this area.  I have never seen so many Hooded Mergansers (52 to be exact), American Wigeon, Mallard, 8 Gadwall, and a Common Merganser.

Mainly Hoodies

I just can’t get over the numbers of Hoodies.  Any day now some Bufflehead should be showing up as well, as a small flock normally winters in this little stretch of water – for some reason they don’t usually appear until December, although there are lots out on the open river right now.

The log bay

Here was today’s wintery look at the log bay….look at how low the water is…it is now at about the lowest level it ever gets…

Eagle Trees

Looking south from the log bay was this amazing sight….

18 in this one

The one tree held at least 18 Bald Eagles (they kept coming and going)

at least 26 in this one

and the second held at least 26 with more in trees behind and beside…

3 a bit closer

These 3 were perched quite close to where I was standing.  It may seem I am going over board on the Eagles, but they will only be here for another month or so….we have to celebrate their presence while they are here.

Out on the flats

There is a look at just one very small section of the flats today…looks like about 32 of them out there in that spot…

Heron and ducks

and heading back home, one more look at the Heron, a Mallard, a Hoodie, and a pair of Wigeons in the back.  I keep thinking that a Eurasian Wigeon has to show up soon…I hope the weather holds, the ducks hang around and I get a chance to get down there with some binoculars to take a good look! 

Thursday, November 25, 2010

and then there was snow….

Snowy scene

as we knew it would, snow started falling in the wee hours of the morning.  Temperatures have risen, although still below freezing, but a lot of the water that had a skim of ice over it, is now open…

Hoodies in the snow

which means there was a lot more activity down there today.  I counted 4 Great Blue Heron and you can see there was quite a flock of Hooded Mergansers, along with the other usual duck species.

Red Wing Blackbirds at log bay

the path was once again open, allowing us to complete our usual, full walk.  This area over at the log bay was full of Red Wing Blackbirds.  By the way there is also a Wilson’s Snipe over here.  Didn’t see it today but here is a picture of it taken last Sunday during the Eagle Festival…

Feeding Snipe

sorry it is a ‘rear end view’…

Belted Kingfisher

This female Belted Kingfisher was over there today….

Eagle in the snow

This guy was perched above the viewing platform…

Eagle and Killdeer

While this Bald Eagle was enjoying lunch.  Look carefully at the bottom left hand corner of the picture and you can just make out a Killdeer as well.

Now for any ‘Gull’ fans looking at this, I am posting these pictures of two gulls that were down there this morning…

GlaucousWing-Western Hybrid?

I am most definitely not an expert on identifying gulls but I think this might be a Glaucous-wing Western hybrid….based on the extensive smudging on the neck, the dark gray wing tips, yellow bill and pink legs….

Gull with fish

This other one had even more extensive smudging on the head and neck.  The only other choice I can see might be a Thayer’s Gull but I believe they have black wing tips and these are not black, just a dark gray.  If anyone knows for sure please comment.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Another chilly day….

Our morning walk was done in minus 10 degree temperatures…

Icy morning

the only birds in sight were a pair of Glaucous Wing Gull…..

Icy bath

which were actually bathing…..if that doesn’t make you feel cold I’m not sure what would!

Glaucous Wing Gull on ice

that is ice the bird is walking on, now it’s bath is finished.

Gray day

by mid-day the sky had clouded over and we’d warmed up to a balmy minus 4 (centigrade).  The outflow winds we’ve had for the last few days have also died, which means the weather is about to change.

Lunchtime Eagles and Gull

There were a few Bald Eagles and Glaucous Wing Gull around…including the fellow guarding his salmon lunch….

Stay away!

a juvenile eagle was going to join in but thought better of it when it’s approach brought this response.

Eagle Eating

It is always tempting to try to get a bit closer for a better shot – but that is the worst thing you can do in weather like this (or any time for that matter) as the birds need all the fuel they can find in order to survive the cold.  Therefore these pictures were taken from well back with a zoom lens and then cropped even further.


I wanted to show that there are still live Salmon spawning, so there will be a food supply, albeit ‘limited’ for a while yet.  The park access path remained blocked today, so once again, our walk was limited in length.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


The past few days have brought frigid temperatures to the area, coupled with several lengthy power outages that has resulted in my falling behind in my postings, so I’m going to combine some pictures from yesterday and today.

another frigid morning

That is the scene that has greeted us both days…brilliant sunshine but with a cold wind ‘right in the face’

Eating Salmon

Yesterday morning, this Bald Eagle was feeding on a frozen salmon at the foot of our boat launch….


it’s ‘hair do’ is testament to the wind that was blowing….and yes, that is ice along the shore line….in fact today there is very little open water left.

log bay

Yesterday, the ‘first bay’ was full of ducks seeking shelter from the wind..

Sheltering ducks

ducks seen yesterday…

The first bay.

Today there were only 6 ducks in the area, no eagles feeding although I did see a lot soaring over head late in the day.  This, by the way, is as far as we are walking these days as the path is once more blocked off.

Varied Thrush thawing out

I did notice this Varied Thrush this morning…hunched up in a patch of sunshine ~ no doubt trying to warm up!

Varied Thrush in Callicarpia

Later in the day there were several Varied Thrush feeding on these berries on my neighbors ‘Beauty Berry’ bush.