Friday, April 29, 2011

Ruby Crowned Kinglet

Today was definitely a better day…

water definitely rising

although still lots of gray cloud around, at least it was interspersed with some patches of blue sky, with slightly warmer temperatures…what was obvious today was the fact the water levels are now definitely rising….

here too

this picture really demonstrates that as most of this area was high and dry just a couple of days ago. 

the log bay

definitely more water inside the log bay too…I had mentioned in previous posts that I wouldn’t be around to see how it all plays out – flood year or not – well all that has changed thanks to my husbands job…seems I’m going to be around until probably August so I will be able to continue documenting what ever is to come!

Ruby Crowned Kinglet

What was most notable today was this very co-operative Ruby Crowned Kinglet.  I’ve mentioned the numbers of them in the park right now….

showing the ruby crown

this picture shows the ‘ruby’ crown….

Ruby Crowned Kinglet

since it is so seldom that you can get this close a shot of one of these active little guys…

Ruby Crowned Kinglet

I’m posting them all.  If the dying camera I had with me had been as co-operative as the bird – there would have been even more pictures of it.

Also spotted today:  a Gold-crowned Sparrow and a Yellow Warbler.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Rain, Sleet, Snow, Hail….

With only 2 days left in the month of April I think we have experienced every single unpleasant form of weather there is in the past 24 hours!

Horrible day

heavy black clouds, snow way down the surrounding hills – again!! and a high temperature of 6 degrees

log bay in the rain

no wonder there was nothing in sight at the log bay except for a number of swallows that were busy dodging hailstones…it looks to me that the water has risen ever so slightly…

rising water?

the rise in water is more apparent from this shot taken from the viewing platform…there was a Common Yellowthroat singing away in that shrub on the right of the picture…

Red Wing with Nesting material

and the inclement weather wasn’t keeping this female Red Wing Blackbird from her nest building.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Grosbeak and Green Wing Teal

A fairly normal day today….


we’ve had some sunshine, some cloud and some showers..but it is a little warmer than it has been and as a result it is so nice to see the Dandelions lining the trail in full flower – finally!

Tree Swallows

The sunshine has also brought back the Tree Swallows…there must have been 30 or so of them busy checking out nesting boxes or just flying over head.  A group of them put the run on a little Sharp Shin Hawk that kept cruising over the area.

log bay

at the log bay…

Green Wing Teal

a flock of 16 or so Green Wing Teal…the first ducks I’ve seen for a while..

Brown Headed Cowbird

A couple of Brown Headed Cowbird here too, as well as an Evening Grosbeak that I could hear but couldn’t spot until it flew…when a bird is the same color as the newly leafed out poplar leaves it makes spotting them difficult!

Red-Wing Blackbird nest

There wasn’t much else to report…lots of bird song and twittering but with that hawk hanging about everyone was keeping to the vegetation…I did spot another nest, though, this one a Red Wing Blackbird nest…still under construction – it is in there just to the lower right of the middle.

female Flicker

A female Northern Flicker feeding in the grass…..that was about it.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Still no change…

After a few days break up in the Okanagan where it was sunny and warm enough to sit outside and enjoy it…

another gray day

we’re back to this…gray skies and showers…

Green path

it is greener I think, and the temperature is a few degrees higher than it was, but still not up to normal for this time of year.  Today’s walk didn’t offer much in the way of birds…the Ruby Crowned Kinglets remain abundant…

Red-wing Blackbird

Red-wing Blackbirds were quite active today…as were Rufous Hummingbirds, the males doing their display dives to impress the females…but what I really want to show today is the disparity in the water levels between this year and in the past…

log bay 2011

here is the log bay today….water levels incredibly low…

The log bay

here is the log bay on April 26, 2009…

waterlevel April 26, 2011

looking out across the flats from the trail today…

no more flats

from the same spot in 2009 (I wasn’t here for 2010)…

first bay

the bay by the viewing platform today…virtually no water in it at all…

The first bay

the same bay on April 26, 2009 – almost full to the brim!  It is going to be very interesting to see how it all plays out this year, although as I already mentioned I won’t be here to see it unless something happens really fast…4 weeks from today I should be meeting up with traveling companions at a provincial park north of Grande Prairie in Alberta! 

One last note on today…weeks ago I posted a picture of the Black Twin Berry shrubs in bud…

Black Twin Berry flower

I’ve been waiting and waiting for the buds to actually open…it has taken a while!  Each of these yellow tubular flowers will produce one black berry.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Pintails and Finches

Another dreary cold day….

another dreary day

as this picture taken from the viewing platform shows…more fresh snow all around, in fact it was snowing/sleeting down here earlier in the morning…

The only ducks seen today…

Pair of Pintails

was this pair of Northern Pintail…a species we don’t see all that often here at the estuary….

over at the log bay…

Male Goldfinch

there was quite a large, and very busy flock of American Goldfinch…here is one of the males – I’m starting to get the hang of what program to use on the new camera to at least get it to focus on the bird…

Female Goldfinch

and here is a female Goldfinch…neither picture quite as crisp and clear as I’d like, but we’re getting there!

Ruby Crowned Kinglet

Again, Ruby Crowned Kinglet were seen from one end of the walk to the other…and this picture is crisp and clean…showing the potential that this new camera has.

At about this point a Northern Harrier flew down low…spooking a Greater Yellowlegs.  I hadn’t been able to see any shorebirds, until this one flew up in alarm from an area not visible from the pathways ….

Heading back I noticed…

Male House Finch

a male House Finch….

Courting House Finch

which was soon joined by a female…this isn’t a ‘daddy’ bird feeding a baby bird…but a courting ritual where the male regurgitates and feeds the female….

This will be my last posting for a few days.  We are off in the morning to take advantage of a long weekend in order to make sure everything in the RV is in working order before we head off for our big trip in a months time…Happy Easter to everybody, maybe the Easter Bunny will bring some seasonal temperatures…we don’t seem to be getting them any other way.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Test the new camera day….

Not a bad day today…there has been a high overcast creating a sort of dilute sunshine…so figured it was now or never to give the new camera a test…

April 20, 2011

Started off with this shot taken at the same general location of the picture I threw in at the end of yesterdays posting…the one showing where water levels probably should be by this time of the year…and this one showing where they are this year…

log bay

All was quiet over at the log bay…no shorebirds, no ducks, lot’s of Tree Swallows…in fact it was pretty quiet throughout the park…the birds were there, they were just sticking to the underbrush…

didn't work

Finally spotted a robin with a mouthful of nesting material…but couldn’t get the camera to focus on it..the background is nice and clear!  All of these cameras are slightly different as far as finding the trick to focusing through vegetation…


had better luck with this American Robin on the ground!

Spotted a few Ruby Crowned Kinglets, and a male Rufous Hummingbird, heard a Common Yellow Throat….but the only picture we managed was…

Chickadee excavating

of one of those industrious Black Capped Chickadees – still busy excavating that nesting site.

All of these pictures, by the way, are exactly as they came from the camera no cropping at all like I usually do – in fact I usually have cropped the pictures twice before I post them.  This camera is a Nikon Coolpix P500 with 12.1 megapixels and 36 x optical zoom.  It also takes HD video…something I’ve never attempted but guess I will have to try.

When I got home I thought I’d try out the ‘macro’ ….


not bad at all!  I guess it’ll do ~ at least as soon as I figure out how to make it focus on the bird and not the branch!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Never ending winter….

It actually snowed here again this morning…well ‘sleeted’ at least…Mt. Woodside was very white when the clouds cleared…then it actually got quite nice and sunny although very cool…it was during that ‘sunny’ phase we set out for our walk…what I hadn’t taken into account was the ‘wall of black’ coming around the hillside to the west…

Black clouds

at this spot it was so darn cold and windy I felt sure we were going to get soaked any minute…

weather up the valley

but instead it skirted the estuary and headed up the valley…

Bushtit at nest

The weather didn’t deter the birds as there was lots of activity…the Bushtits were back at their nest….there were Ruby Crowned Kinglets from one end of the park to the other…


some American Goldfinch at the viewing platform – there had been House Finch over at the log bay and I’ve seen Purple Finch today too.  The Black Cap Chickadees were at their nesting site as well…unfortunately my Canon Power shot Camera, that I love, is in the process of dying and today, 4 times out of 5, just would not ‘zoom’…so very little in the way of bird pictures…maddening especially since there were a lot of Hummingbirds down there today too.  An Osprey was flying around, a pair of Canada Geese flew past (first I’ve seen for a bit), a Great Blue Heron flew over…..

Definitely getting green

I did want to throw this in, just so you can see how ‘green’ everything is becoming…

Robins on the lawn

yesterday I mentioned the robins on the lawn that is being worked on…this is just a very small sample…150 have been counted at one point…

Bandtail Pigeon

This Band-Tail Pigeon was seen this morning, actually there were two…while the sky was blue and the camera deemed to co-operate by working.

and now, for fun, I’m going to toss this picture in…

April evening

This picture was taken on April 19th, 2007 – note the water level…this would be considered more ‘normal’ for this time of the year….  With this continuing cold weather, snow levels haven’t even begun to melt…they just keep getting deeper!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Sandpipers and Sapsuckers….

The unseasonably cool weather continues…

Weird weather continues

we are making some progress as we are getting sunny periods between the rain/sleet/hail showers….

Red Breasted Sapsucker

Despite it all spring continues to make progress…just after catching a brief glimpse of that Common Yellowthroat, and then watching a male Rufous Hummingbird chase a Ruby Crowned Kinglet, spotted this bit of red…one of a pair of Red-breasted Sapsuckers that have been seen pretty much daily…

log bay

over at the log bay I had been just about to take a picture of two Greater Yellowlegs Sandpipers that were right in close to shore…when a dog, one of 3 loose ones came splashing across the water…so of course the Sandpipers took off…crying their alarm cry.  This is a protected area – the park is clearly marked ‘Dogs on leash at all times’ so why do people insist on disobeying!


Once the dogs and their owner moved on the Greater Yellowlegs reappeared, although not venturing in as close as they had been…today there were 3 of them.

Back of Goldfinch

a few American Goldfinch showed up as well…managed a picture of the back of one of them…notice the progression of the ‘leafing out’ as well.

Red breasted Sapsucker

as we were heading back…one of the Red-breasted Sapsuckers flew into the cedar grove…  I think this is the pair that nested up in some old Alders last year.  This year that nesting site has been expropriated by a pair of European Starlings…so the Sapsuckers are checking all of the cedar groves for a suitable site.


Robins, of course, continue to be much in evidence…there were quite a few Varied Thrush about today too.  I’m not sure how many Robins are in the general vicinity, but some in depth work is being done on a section of lawn at the complex I live in, and over 100 robins were enjoying that!

Goldfinch on Hardhack

We spent some time at the viewing platform, just watching…the Black Capped Chickadee were going back and forth to the nest site, there were lots of Ruby Crowned Kinglets around….this American Goldfinch was enjoying some Hardhack seeds.  I’ve mentioned before how important the seeds of this native shrub are to the birds.