Monday, May 30, 2011

High Water

This morning there has been a lot of helicopter activity in the area…I’m wondering if the authorities are finally waking up to what we who live here have been seeing….that water levels are getting pretty high!

May 29, 2011

Yesterday we drove along Morris Valley Road to get some updated pictures of the estuary…

Morris Valley Road

that is Morris Valley Road running along the left hand side…

No more grass

no grass or bushes showing now like there were 2 weeks ago when we photographed this area..

Naturetrust lands

and here is the area by the Naturetrust lands…all that brown scum is full of the most disgusting assortment of garbage…

Railway bridge

We next headed over to Kilby to take a look at Harrison Bay…the railway bridge is in the background…and the water is creeping onto the parking lot at the boat launch…

almost on the campground road

this is taken from the turnaround in the campground….obviously it will be under water in a day or so..

No more beach

No beach….this was taken from one of the highest level campsites.

back at the boat launch

back over my way…here is the boat launch this morning…up a bit more, just over the 2 foot line on the marker…

and over here

and has crept through the bush and is now coming onto the parking lot.

trail to viewing platform

over at the park….it continues to creep up…you can see the flooded trail to where the viewing platform is located and notice the little puddle starting to the right of the trail…at this rate the whole area will be wet very soon!

As for birds…well the Spotted Sandpiper was there in the bushes at the edge of the water, there were several Robins running around with mouthfuls of worms…obviously the first batch of babies are hatched…

Bushtit with bugs

both Bushtit parents were busy…

the other one

here is the other one ~ and at this point my camera batteries died and I realized I had cleverly forgotten to put my spare ones in my pocket…so we headed for home.

I will mention though that last week while the Rose-breasted Grosbeak was visiting my place (hasn’t been seen since Friday)..

bunting 019

an resident in the housing development adjacent to the park had not one, but two Lazuli Bunting at her feeder.  She kindly sent me this picture and I’m sure won’t mind me sharing.

Lazuli Bunting, which nest in hot dry areas of the interior) have been seen in the area before, but not for perhaps 10 or 12 years.  However, over the last couple of years there does appear to be a small population developing in Island 22 Regional Park in Chilliwack, which, as a bird flies, isn’t all that far away so perhaps they are a species we can look forward to seeing more of in the future.

It really helps to have more keen birders in the neighborhood – who knows what will be seen in the future!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Watery Park

Today we decided to wander over to the park to see where the water was at…but before we did that, checked down at our boat launch..

Pavement and boat launch

as a new marker…note the edge of the pavement…the white marker post is barely visible in the upper middle of the picture and the water level is now over the 1 foot mark on that post.

Robin and Barn Swallow

American Robins and Barn Swallows were busy at the edge of the water..

Barn Swallows

the Barn Swallows are busy collecting mud and grass for nesting materials..

path to viewing platform

now over to the park, after walking past numerous White Crowned Sparrows, American Gold Finch, Junco and even a Chipping Sparrow, all busy feeding on the dandelion seeds….we got to the park itself.  The viewing platform is somewhere past this point…if you look very carefully…

Spotted Sandpiper

there is a Spotted Sandpiper at the edge of the water – one of many I could hear….the park is now Sandpiper territory.  In fact on our return trip, not only was there a sandpiper here but also an American Dipper!


I missed a picture of today’s bird but this file photo was taken in the area a year or so ago…I have never seen a dipper here this time of the year…have always considered them to be winter visitors…maybe they still think it is winter!

Bushtit with bugs

The Bushtit parents were busy…too bad this picture isn’t in focus as it would have been a great one…note the mouthful of bugs…obviously they have mouths to feed!


The path to the log bay is now completely under water, so up and around the private streets…

rising water

to reach this area that can no longer be called a ‘bay’…

log bay

In fact, with water now on both sides of the path…I think today’s visit will be our last for sometime as the entire path from the, hopefully well anchored bench, to the access gate will probably be under water by next week.

One last note…the Rose breasted Grosbeak continues at my feeders today, have spent many frustrating minutes trying to get better pictures of it…it isn’t always here, it usually does show up about the same time the rain starts…the feeder it prefers is usually either occupied by a Douglas Squirrel or overrun with Brown Headed Cowbirds…but we shall persevere!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Rose breasted Grosbeak

Despite the fact it seems more like February than the end of March…seems you can always find something to report…. and today is certainly no exception.. as I looked out my window today to spot a male ….

Rose-breasted Grosbeak

Rose-breasted Grosbeak! Rose-breasted Grosbeaks aren’t supposed to be here.  They are summertime visitors any where east of the rockies..

Black-headed in foreground, Rose-breasted behind

they are close relatives of the Black-headed Grosbeaks that we have in abundance – if you look closely at this picture, there is a male Black-headed in front, with the Rose-breasted behind.  It was showering at the time which is the reason for them being fluffed up.

Male Rose-breasted Grosbeak

Last August I had a male Rose-breasted Grosbeak here at my feeders for almost a week, this could well be the same one on his way back. That was, I think, only the 2nd time this species had been seen in the upper Fraser Valley – now it has been seen again.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Robin’s nest

Kind of a gray day again, so we just wandered around in our home park

rising water

water continues to creep up at the boat launch…

Yellow Warbler

The willows lining the boat launch were alive with warblers…didn’t have binoculars but I can see now I have downloaded it, that this is a Yellow Warbler – you can just make out the red streaks on the breast…

Orange Crowned

this one is an Orange Crowned…and who knows what other types were in there.  Saw a pair of Bullock’s Orioles as well, and the usual swallows.

Robin on nest

Spotted an American Robin on a nest…. and finally was sitting chatting with a neighbour when I realized the hummingbird at her feeder was a male Anna’s…she actually has a pair of them, she is pretty sure the female is nesting in her hedge.  My mission now is to get a picture of this guy who has apparently been a regular at her place, all day, every day since the last few snowfalls!  When I get a picture, you will be the first to know!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011


After a few days away, wandered down to the boat launch this morning to see where the water levels were…

Loons off the boat launch

and was surprised to spot a pair of…

Pair of Loons

Common Loon!  Finding a Loon on our ‘lake’ isn’t completely out of the question, we do sometimes experience the thrill of hearing their call out there during high water…

Pair of Loons

but I don’t recall ever seeing a pair of them before.

Past the marker

as for water levels…well they continue to creep up…about as high now as the ‘high water’ mark for last year…

No more viewing platform

mid-day we went for our walk to the park…the viewing platform is around the corner out there somewhere…going to be quite some time before there is any ‘viewing’ done from it again…it was very busy in these bushes, saw both the Bushtits and the Black Cap Chickadee busy going in the direction of their nests….lots of Warblers…could make out a couple of Wilson’s Warblers, also Orange Crowned…Orioles calling from the trees…

waterlogged trail

the way to the log bay is now blocked by water so had to go up and through the housing development…something I don’t like to do, and won’t do very often, due to the ‘Private Property – No Entry’ signs on the gates.  Doesn’t matter how many people tell me to ignore them…it is ingrained in me to obey signs..

log bay

nevertheless for the sake of this blog…I disobeyed  (feeling very guilty the whole time) and reached the log bay…water is getting close to the bench now.  There were birds everywhere, 4 types of Swallows (Tree, Barn, Northern Rough Wing, and Violet Green), saw a pair of Spotted Sandpipers…a female Rufous Hummingbird was gathering fluff from spent pussy willows and taking it up into one of the large Poplar’s…everything in nature has a purpose…pussy willow fluff makes great nesting material for tiny little birds.


The return trail…blocked at this end as well..

Female Purple Finch

there was a great deal of bird activity…but not a lot you could actually see – did manage to capture this female Purple Finch

Towhee eating dandelion seeds

and this Spotted Towhee eating the dandelion seeds – saw a lot of Towhee today after their being rather scarce for the last while, so I suspect that this years batch of youngsters have now hatched and parents are busy food gathering…

Thimbleberry flower

also of note today, the native Thimbleberry shrubs are in flower.  I love the flowers of this shrub, they are so big and showy!  I also spotted the first Wild Rose flowers today but they were in an awkward spot so thought I’d leave them for now.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Yellow-headed Blackbird

OK, I hadn’t actually planned to post anything today.  I had hoped we’d already be on the road…but, as so often happens, when you least expect it…something exciting shows up..

Yellow Headed Blackbird

and that was the case this morning when I looked out my window and saw a Yellow-headed Blackbird in the feeder, along with the Brown Headed Cowbirds.  I only just managed this one quick shot before it flew off and I haven’t seen it since.  I’m not sure if it is one of last years young, just getting it’s breeding color, or a female with a bit more yellow on it than is usual.


Yellow-headed Blackbirds are one of my favorite birds…this is what the male typically looks like – this file photo taken just outside of Cranbrook, B.C. a few years ago.  It seems each spring one or two are seen in the area as they migrate through to the interior lakes where they nest.

Tunkwa May 2009 117

This file photo was taken at Tunkwa Lake, in May of 2009 and shows a female.  I’m leaning towards today’s bird being a female, partly because I haven’t heard any calls…if a male was around, I’m sure we’d be hearing about it…they have one of the most unmusical calls in the avian world!

May 20, 2011

So since I’m doing a posting, I might as well report on the water level at our boat launch…this picture taken this morning while it was calm…there is quite the breeze blowing out there now…

past the base of the post

the water has now crept up past the base of the marker post…

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Sunny day #3

Our 3rd sunny day in a row!  Such a treat!  Didn’t make it as far as the log bay today…there was an ‘off leash’ dog there.

Creeping water

did notice that the water was creeping through this low spot…there will be water on the trail within the next day or so…today was quite likely our last chance to walk over there as we’ll be away for a few days now.

View from the viewing platform

back to the viewing platform…

Beaver Splash

this out of focus ‘splash’ let me know one of the Beaver were about – and not happy about us being there…

Beaver Swimming

there he is…swimming …I expect by the time the long weekend is over the viewing platform will be completely surrounded by water so the Beavers will have the place to themselves, completely undisturbed.

Orange Crowned Warbler

with a fairly brisk breeze blowing, there wasn’t quite the bird activity…did spot this Orange Crowned Warbler

Black Cap Chickadee

and one of the nesting Black Cap Chickadees

Creeping Blackberry

noticed today that the Creeping Blackberries were coming into flower…these ‘showy’ flowers are on a male plant….the female flowers are not quite as large…and of course only the female flowers turn into delicious little blackberries.

Wild Strawberries

another, sunnier, drier spot had these Wild Strawberries…also coming into flower.

Male Evening Grosbeak

Two things I have to share…I mentioned yesterday hearing the Evening Grosbeaks….well my yard has been inundated with them…here we have a male…

female Evening Grosbeak


and here a female at the little water feature we have added to our shady yard this year.

The Grosbeaks definitely approve!







stick or??

Now, lastly, I’ve mentioned my aversion to snakes….I knew that my dog didn’t like snakes…but this, today, was almost embarrassing!  I had spotted a suspicious object on the path, but quickly realized it was just a stick…she spotted it too…and there was no way she was going to walk by it…she attempted one side, then the other side…she poked a foot in the general direction…when it didn’t move she tried the other foot…then very cautiously inched forward and eventually checked it out.  Only when she was 100% positive it wasn’t alive, would she walk past it.  She is worse than me!