Monday, January 31, 2011


The last day of January 2011 and the month is finishing as it began…


with sunshine!  Actually I’m cheating a bit – the above picture was taken yesterday when we had clear blue skies all day…

last day of the month

Today there is a covering of high, thin cloud…so not as brilliant in the sunshine department.  As is expected with clear weather this time of the year, there is a cool out flow wind blowing so temperatures haven’t risen above freezing all day..

Sheltering ducks

partly because of the wind, there were lots of ducks sheltering over on this side as it is more protected than the open river area.


at least a couple of hundred Mallard, almost half of which were in the area of the log bay…

Jan31'11 010

A surprising number of Gadwall as well, and some Green Wing Teal (the tiny little guys), most of the teal were at the log bay…we didn’t go too close as they tend to be flighty birds and didn’t want to disturb them.

With the wind, there wasn’t as much activity in the bushes although the flock of Red-wing Blackbirds were spread out along the whole route and it was a

Spotted Towhee

definite Spotted Towhee day….the above, one of 3 I saw by the log bay…

another Towhee

and this, one of 5 seen at my end of the path.  Other items of note for today was the spotting of a single male Evening Grosbeak….Grosbeaks were with us all fall and then disappeared…since they travel in flocks, I suspect this guy was scouting the area and we can probably expect more of them in the days to come if the weather continues nice like it is supposed to.  Also saw a Chipmunk today for the first time since the fall….so we now have Douglas Squirrel, Black (Gray) Squirrels, and Chipmunks running around.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Back to wet….

Well today we are back to rain, pouring rain….back to donning wet weather gear before we head out…

Back to rain

and that, in a way is a good thing because it meant that the ducks were back…

Ducks in the rain

undisturbed by humans getting a little adventurous with their walking.

Red-Wings in the trees

over at the log bay….there were easily a hundred Red-wing Blackbirds.  Saw a few Varied Thrush along the trail and have noticed an increase in the number of Dark eyed Juncos today…especially around feeders – the ground at my place is literally ‘hopping’ at times!  A few Bald Eagles (two perched in this tree with the blackbirds) and a Northern Flicker and that was pretty much it.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Sunshine – almost…..

We actually had sunshine today…at least for a little while this morning…almost…

almost sunny

of course by the time we got for our walk, high cloud had moved in but there was still this dull yellow glow in the sky….

Steller's Jay

Steller’s Jay were being very vocal all over the area – yes, I took this picture before the walk…but only an hour or so before,  it was taken today…in the sunshine.

Spotted Towhee

along the trail saw this Spotted Towhee….

Golden Crown Kinglet

and there was a large flock of these Golden Crowned Kinglets and another of Black Cap Chickadees.  The above picture will also serve to start another theme – the move towards spring – note the Alder Catkins.

walking along the shore

There were no ducks at all either at the log bay or at the other end, and the reason is in the middle of the picture – common sense should tell people to stay up on the trails and not walk along the edge of the shore – since common sense seems to be lacking…some signage is obviously needed!

Shantz - 4 years old today

Lastly, I’d like to say Happy Birthday to my walking companion, Shantz, who turns 4 years old today.  May we go for many more walks together.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Not even a picture

I guess today is about the closest we’ve had to a ‘nice’ day since the beginning of the month.  I should have gone out for a walk in the morning while it was trying hard to be sunny, because by the time I did go out…it was just dull and gray again and there was nothing around worth taking a picture of.

I should mention that I actually saw an American Robin this morning – when I didn’t have had my camera with me.

There was a scattering of Bald Eagles, not nearly as many as yesterday, a few Mallards and I could hear Red–wing Blackbirds and Steller’s Jay off in the distance but nothing at all in any of the vegetation along the trail.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Drip drying eagles

The theme for today was drying out…

First bay

it may have still been cloudy and gray, but at least the rain had stopped and everywhere you looked there were Bald Eagles ….

Eagle tree

perched with their wings spread out in an attempt to finally get dry!


This was the ‘eagle tree’ down off of the golf course.







This adult by the log bay…

Drip drying eagles

these youngsters over the viewing platform

at the top of a cedar tree

this one in the top of a cedar tree….

another drip dryer

another youngster by the first bay…..they were everywhere..

out on the flats

you could see there were lots of eagles out across the flats as well.

Steller’s Jay were the other bird of note today, there seemed to be almost as many of them as there were eagles – well not quite and they are not nearly as co-operative for picture taking!  That large flock of mixed Golden crowned Kinglet and Chestnut-backed Chickadee moved quickly through the tree tops and Towhee and Song Sparrow were calling from all directions.

Out on the water, there wasn’t as much activity.  No ducks at all at the log bay, only Mallard and these

3 Common Merganser

female Common Merganser up at the other end.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Pouring rain….

Here we are, the last full week of January and like most of the month it is wet, wet, wet…

another wet day

a few ducks around – Mallard here at the log bay and some Common Merganser and 2 Bufflehead along with more Mallard back over towards the boat launch…a scattering of dripping wet Bald Eagles and that was pretty much it…

So thought it would be a good time to mention Owls. Being nocturnal, Owls aren’t a bird species you often actually get to see but are around nonetheless…back in 2007 I came across a Great Horned Owl that must have been roosting in some trees that were cleared to allow for house building, so the poor bird was somewhat dazed and disoriented and therefore visible in the middle of the day.  Northern Pygmy Owls are usually spotted a few times each winter as they hang out near bird feeders hoping to nab an unsuspecting little bird.  Once,  a number of years ago a Snowy Owl was seen flying in the area and Screech Owls have been heard off and on over the years.   ‘Sound’ is the way most owls are found and identified and for last two evenings we have been hearing a Barred Owl….


The above picture is from my files and is of a non-releasable Barred Owl.  The call of the Barred Owl is a quite distinctive and is loosely translated to “who who, who cooks for you?”

Friday, January 21, 2011

Yellow-rump Warbler….

Another horrible, wet, gray day.  A Northern Harrier flew past just as we started our walk (no picture)…

Selection of eagles

noticed the ‘eagle’ tree by the viewing platform was quite well populated…spent some futile time trying to get pictures of Golden Crowned Kinglets that were feeding down in the blackberry thicket…and noticed a Fox Sparrow as well…

Kingfisher in the rain

could hear Belted Kingfisher’s and caught sight of this male, way off…and was turning to head towards home when, like before, I caught sight of a small bird flying down into the log bay…

The best one

so, not having taken binoculars due to the wet weather, like before, I aimed my camera in the general direction. From the actions and the call it was making I was pretty sure it was a Yellow-rump Warbler…and I’ve just spent a while going cross eyed peering at down loaded pictures…(it is in the above picture, but even I can’t find it right now…will have to click on to enlarge)

extreme crop

and can confirm with this extremely cropped down picture – that it is indeed a Yellow-rump Warbler….

another rainy day

while I was taking these pictures, it flew up into the bushes at the end of the log bay….

Yellow Rump Warbler

by the time I got back to that side, it had flown down onto the rocks again - (it is in the middle at the bottom)…..I am pretty sure it is the same bird I saw the beginning of the month because I had suspected at the time that the bird was perhaps a ‘Myrtle’ rather than an ‘Audubon’ because it seems to have more white under the ‘chin’.  If it stays around long enough to get it’s breeding colours, hopefully I’ll be able to confirm that.

Eagle at first bay

Heading back through the gloom noticed in this bay, not an out of season warbler…but a Bald Eagle


He seemed to have found enough salmon remnants to make a meal…not sure how nutritious since there is nothing but skin and bones left!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Another gray wet day…

Another gray, wet, and with the temperature only a couple of degrees above freezing…not very warm!  I had actually thought I wouldn’t even bother taking any pictures today, because really, how many dark gloomy pictures do you need?  But, it is a rare day when there isn’t something of interest…and so it was today.

line up of eagles

I had been hearing a lot ‘eagle’ vocalization and as I reached the log bay, I noticed a number of them out, off of the point…

Eagles and a gull in the gloom

there were, in fact, quite a few Bald Eagles  (they aren’t all at the city dump! – which if you watched the news on Global TV last night, you will understand – quite an amazing spectacle!)


The young one on the stump has something…it is hard to see just what, but I think it is a fish…


There isn’t a lot of food around right now, so everyone wants a share…

eagle dispute

The original youngster gets chased off…by another young one.

Don't even think about it

and dares it to try to come back!  Not that there appears to be much left to eat.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Sounds like spring!

Despite the fact that our weather is back to what would be considered normal temperatures for mid January…

Frosty morning

with frost in the morning and fresh snow at least half way down all the surrounding mountains…

remains of swan

and mist or fog in the morning – note that all that remains of that dead swan are a few scattered feathers….

First bay

today was note worthy for the incredible amount of birds and bird activity all along the trail…

Red Wing Blackbird

Red-wing Blackbirds were everywhere, calling out the whole time…and were joined by a number of Starlings…that actually have some very interesting and musical calls…

Varied Thrush

there were a number of Varied Thrush in the area by the viewing stand.  The alder trees all along the trail were full of Chestnut backed Chickadees, while Golden Crowned Kinglets filled the evergreens neither of which held still long enough for a decent picture!  Towhee, Song Sparrow, both Downy and Hairy Woodpeckers as well as a couple of Northern Flicker and Steller’s Jay rounded out the species.


There was a good number of Bald Eagles, probably 70 or so, scattered about…over half of them juveniles like this guy – look closely at his talons…he had no doubt been feeding off of that swan, along with every other scavenger in the area, including the Raven.  Nothing goes to waste in the natural world!

On the water, there had actually been 5 Bufflehead in the morning, but none during our mid-day walk.  There was a big raft of Mallard, a pair of Gadwall, a few Green Wing Teal and only 2 Swans…one of which flew over our heads as we were walking back towards home.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Dead Swan

Not everything you see in a natural area is ‘nice’…

Dead Swan

Such was the case this morning when the first thing that caught my eye was this dead swan…not only was it unusual to see a dead one, but it was in an area, where to date this winter, I haven’t seen any swans…which means it must have been dragged to this point…


To counter balance the ‘bad’ – there were also these two little Bufflehead ducks ~ I have mentioned before that we have always had a little flock of Buffleheads wintering in the area by the boat launch – that is up until this year – this is only the second time I’ve seen Buffleheads in this spot this winter and the first time it was only 1, this time 2, maybe the flock will arrive yet!

Dead Swan

Come mid-day the dead swan is still there – the light wasn’t any better and it was raining (what else?!) so I didn’t take binoculars but with this cropped picture you can see some feathers on the ground so something must have been feeding on it – my guess would be some of the many coyotes in the area.


Getting back to the live birds…this Great Blue Heron was posing nicely..

Log bay

Over at the log bay you can see the water levels are dropping…that bottom log is out of water where yesterday it was completely submerged..and the flock of Red-wing Blackbirds were there…

Hairy Woodpecker

There was also a pair (male and female) Hairy Woodpecker…this is the female and the male was at the top of the same piling….

A few Bald Eagles around – most of them juveniles which is about right for this time of the year as the adults are already thinking about nesting.  Also saw the pair of Raven.  There appeared to be some Mallards way out and could also hear Swans out there in the gloom, and on my way back home, 5 Common Merganser had joined the 2 little Bufflehead.