Thursday, December 23, 2010

We have a problem

Well I was about to do an entry for today, noting that today is not a nice day!  I meant ‘weather wise’ but apparently not just ‘weather wise’ – apparently I have used up all my ‘free’ space on this blog….so now I have to decide if I am going to pay for more room or what.  I guess I can post ‘words’ but no more pictures….

So if there is nothing here for a little bit…that is why….

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Finally a Fox Sparrow

Another gray day – although the occasional drop of rain fell while we were walking….

a gray day

Where yesterday had been a  ‘bird less’ day – today was the exact opposite.  This stretch of the trail was full of all the bird species you would expect to see scratching about on the ground – Varied Thrush, Spotted Towhee, Song Sparrows and – finally – for the first time this season – a Fox Sparrow.

Rear view

Here is a lovely ‘rear end’ view -

Fox Sparrow

and here, a slightly out of focus view of him on the ground. (My dog will happily sit and watch large birds like Geese, Swans and even ducks but she finds staring into the bushes looking for little birds just plain boring – she’d had it by this time so I gave up trying to get better pictures)

Fox Sparrows are a larger ‘chunkier’ sparrow with a plain brown back and dark ‘check marks’ on the breast – they tend to stick to the cover of places like blackberry thickets and when they scratch in the leaf litter, they move both feet together at the same time, sort of leaping forwards.


The above is from my files…



Tuesday, December 21, 2010

First Day of Winter

It’s official, it is now winter, but there was just nothing noteworthy to mark the occasion!

First day of Winter

It wasn’t snowing, or raining, or remarkably cold or mild…

Hoodies and Gadwall

pretty much the usual amount of ducks…in the above, Hooded Merganser and Gadwall

Wigeons & Gadwall

here American Wigeon….and of course there were Mallard

Varied Thrush

this Varied Thrush was the only thing moving in the bushes….

A few Eagles flew over and I could see them lined up along the shores of the Harrison River, but there were none on this side.  It appears the Chum Salmon run is over and with no food supply to lure them, the spectacle for this year, at least, is pretty much over.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Another native squirrel

Today was another of those days that started out nice and sunny in the morning…

Sunny morning

and was anything but when we went for our mid-day walk….


at least a hundred ducks in this area, mainly Mallard, but also some American Wigeon, Gadwall and Green Wing Teal.

looking south

some more Mallards over here and a few scattered Bald Eagles – that was about it…

snowing up the valley

on the way back you can see that it is snowing up the valley – still a bit of snow left from what rec’d Saturday evening…

What I thought I would concentrate on today is another of our native squirrels.  I’ve mentioned that the little Douglas Squirrel is our native squirrel in this area, and just recently we seem to have been invaded by the introduced species – the ‘Gray’ Squirrel (even though the ones hanging about here are black in colour)….but there is another native squirrel that up to a couple of years ago, I’d never seen….the reason being….they are nocturnal…that being the ‘Flying Squirrel’

another look

I took these pictures last night in my yard.  We have a tube feeder of black oil sunflower seeds which hangs just outside of our living room window…

and another

and that feeder is visited regularly by Flying Squirrels.  These little guys have become so tame that we can walk up to within a few feet of them and they just continue on with their meal….

one more

I hesitate to take too many pictures of them, because, of course I have to use a flash and I don’t want to cause damage to their eyes.  Flying squirrels don’t actually ‘fly’ – they glide, using the flag of skin that you can see extends from their front legs to their hind legs.  They are also extremely adept at hanging upside down on tree trunks as they always arrive, head first down the tree trunk.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Harrison Lake

Today, was a much nicer day, weather wise, so we decided to take a drive to Harrison Hot Springs…

Herons lined up in the sunshine

We had just crossed over the Harrison River bridge on highway 7, when we noticed a bunch of Great Blue Heron, all lined up like sentinels……

closer look at the Herons

here are a few of them…

Dec19slr 015

and here, a few more – there were 18 of them altogether…if you are terribly observant, you will notice this is the same location that I took the picture of the tree full of Bald Eagles, a few days ago….hardly any eagles around today….  You will also have noticed, if you follow the blog regularly, that it has been several weeks since I’ve mentioned Herons, that is because it has been several weeks since I’d seen any – obviously they aren’t too far away!

Dec19slr 017

and here is Harrison Lake….there was a bitter wind blowing down the lake..

 Harrison Lake

these cold ‘out flow’ winds go hand in hand with nice sunny days during the winter…

Dec19slr 021

Harrison Lake, is of course, the source for the Harrison River that flows south from the lake, then is joined by the Chehalis River where the estuary is formed, the river, as I noted in yesterday’s entry, flows along the east side of Harrison Bay, wraps around the east end of Harrison Knob and then joins the Fraser River.

The Lagoon

This photo shows the ‘lagoon’ which lies between the lake itself and the village of Harrison Hot Springs.  One of the reasons I had wanted to go to the lake was to see if I could spot the Snow Buntings that I had heard were hanging about… was too windy and cold to see any birds today, apart from some Canada Geese and ducks sheltering in on the lagoon.

Snow Bunting

This picture…from my files…is of a Snow Bunting that was here in the estuary area, 7 years ago….haven’t seen one since.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Harrison Bay

Today, with Christmas shopping done and no desire to go near any stores until the holidays are over….we thought we would do some local exploring…in order to give a wider perspective of the area the Chehalis Estuary is located in…

Harrison Bay

The weather, however, was not co-operative, never the less we decided to take the 5 minute drive over to Kilby.  This is Harrison Bay as seen from the beach adjacent to the Kilby campground – which is, by the way, open year round.

looking north west

The Harrison River runs along this shore line….

Swans against the far shore

When I zoomed in from the same spot, you can just make out some of the swans that were sheltering on the bay….there was quite an out flow wind coming down the river…

looking towards bridge

walking up the beach along side the river, the bridge, where Highway #7 crosses the river is just visible in the distance.

fish bones on beach

Heading back now, those are all ‘well picked over’ fish skeletons scattered on the beach.  This whole area, the bay and this section of the river, all form part of the I.B.A.

Scaups and Goldeneye

The species seen on the river and the bay vary quit significantly from those seen at the estuary.  Here we get more of the diving ducks – Scaups, Goldeneye (especially Common), Buffleheads, Mergansers and on occasion ducks we normally associate with salt water, like Scoters.  Today there were hundreds, if not thousands of ducks out on the choppy water – primarily Scaups

Dec18 017

back to the beach just below the campground….with a train going over the rail bridge that crosses the river at this spot – the hill behind is known as ‘Harrison Knob’ and has just, in the last couple of years, been given protected status by the provincial government as a wildlife management area – something the estuary itself needs desperately!


I’m throwing this terrible photo in, just so I can point out that Double Crested Cormorant are commonly found in winter, in Harrison Bay and on the river.

looking up the river

after leaving Kilby, we crossed over the bridge and stopped for this shot up the Harrison river,

looking at the beach

then continued on, turned around and took this, which is looking across the bay to the spot we had been at initially.Db.Crested 10

and I’ll throw this in, just because I mentioned Double Crested Cormorant and you certainly wouldn’t have been able to see what they looked like from today’s awful picture.  This picture was taken a year or two ago, on Sardis Pond in Chilliwack B.C.

Friday, December 17, 2010

An Eagle story in pictures…..

The day is a beautiful sunny day, as we go for our walk there isn’t much to be seen anywhere, but as we approach the ‘log bay’ at the park, I can hear there is a bit of a carry one…..

The log bay

there are a number of Bald Eagles right down in the bay…

Juvenile and Adult

a juvenile bird is busy eating a Salmon carcass……

Juvenile and adult

an an adult thinks it should be his….the juvenile chases the adult off

Juvenile eating salmon

and goes back to it’s lunch…


the adult is NOT amused!

Adult wants it

and decides enough is enough….

adult eating

Now the adult digs in…

What to do

the juvenile debates…

giving up?

wades into the water…


should I leave?

then again...maybe not

No – that was MY fish!

I want my fish

jockey’s into position….

it's mine!

Feathers fly….


and the juvenile settles back down with his lunch.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Sunny start to the day

Sunny morning

The day started out very promising with sunshine and clear skies…

pretty deserted

by walk time the skies had clouded over.  I’m not sure where all the eagles went, but it was very quiet out there today…just the occasional eagle flying over and one or two perched in area trees.  There was a mixed flock of Mallard and American Wigeon just off the point here and that was about it..

Steller's Jay

Other than this Steller’s Jay – not sure what he was looking for but he was very busy going through the moss on one of the big logs that form the ‘log bay’.   A Northern Flicker had flown up from the same area as we approached.