Friday, September 30, 2011

End of month wrap up

This has been a funny month…we just got started when the rains came and the water levels rose and that was that!

log bay on the 29th

Yesterday I walked over to the park…here is the very full log bay.  The only bird visible was one Herring Gull perched on a piling.  I did hear a Red-breasted Nuthatch and a couple of Towhee..and Canada Geese way off in the distance.

boat launch on 29th

I took this picture yesterday, at our boat launch….

on the 30th

and this one today…which does show that the water has dropped quit quickly so by tomorrow I should at least be able to see across the grasslands again…hopefully, soon some gravel bars will start to re-emerge.  I’ve been hearing Bald Eagles calling and the Chum Salmon should start arriving in the next few weeks, so hopefully things will get back to a seasonal norm..

There have been a number of large flocks of birds around, Finches of some sort, I think possibly Pine Sisken but they are keeping to the tree tops so difficult to say for sure…the flock is growing in size on a daily basis.  There are also a lot of American Robins, they are gorging themselves on various berries at the moment.  Have also heard a lot of Black Cap Chickadee’s and seen a number of Northern Flicker, including one of the Yellow – shafted …not sure if a pure Yellow-shaft or a hybrid.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011


The storms that brought all the wind and rain have passed, and we are now faced with the aftermath…

High Water

it is going to be sometime before we get back to any normal walks…because this is what we are now left with…water levels almost as high as a normal spring run off year.  Not only is the path now under water, even the path to get to the path is under water!  I guess, if we don’t get anymore rain, the levels will drop fairly quickly, but for now…there is a lot of water out there.  No more ‘grasslands’, no more ‘flats’…just water.  There were quite a few Canada Geese way over against the far shore and remember how I had been commenting on the numbers of Dragonflies on the grasslands – well now those Dragonflies are all concentrated where ever they can find a bit of grass and all seem to be procreating like crazy – the question is…where will they lay their eggs?

Monday, September 26, 2011

Rain, Rain, go away!!!

What a miserable couple of days!  Yesterday’s windstorm has left leaves and branches down all over…today the forecasted wind has failed to materialize, at least so far, but it sure is pouring!

Rising water

all that rain has caused the water levels to rise substantially…

wet path

the path is once more cut off by water…

no more flats

and all the gravel bars have pretty much disappeared…

American Coots

The only thing visible out there today was this flock of American Coots!

Another look at the Coots

here is another look, and I see there are some Mallards huddled up against the shore as well.  American Coots are often seen in the deeper waters of Harrison Bay.  It isn’t unknown for them to venture up into the estuary, but it usually only happens at times like this when water levels are higher than they would normally be. 

Friday, September 23, 2011

First day of Fall

Fall offically started at something like 2 am this morning…and I must say the day is just sort of ‘weird’…

First day of fall

there were lots of big dark clouds around when we went for our walk, but a strong, very warm wind made it kind of freaky….in fact waking up to 17 degree temperatures this time of year was freaky enough…having it reach 25 under mainly cloudy skies is just plain strange…

Ducks and geese

with the wind there was virtually no bird activity along the trail, a few Robins and 3 Towhee in various Red Osier Dogwood bushes, that was it….the Canada Geese, Mallard and American Wigeon were back out on the flats, which have diminished in size as water levels have crept back up…

Geese off the point

there were even some Geese in close to the log bay…but that was pretty much it.  I did spot 6 Turkey Vultures enjoying the wind up over the hillside to the west of the estuary and could hear a few Killdeer out on the flats, but couldn’t spot them anywhere.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Soggy day

Fall might not officially start until tomorrow, but it was sure giving it a trial run today!

Fall day

Quite the gloomy scene as compared to the last few days!!  I missed getting pictures of a male Northern Harrier that must have been perched on something in this area…I didn’t see it until it flew….was too busy searching the shoreline for shorebirds…of which there weren’t any.

rising water?

There had been so much rain in the last 12 hours or so that the water levels have actually come back up a bit.  It was very quiet out there, no geese in sight at all.

Eclispe Plumage Mallards

a few Mallards, including these ones, quite close to shore…two of them being males, still in their ‘eclipse’ plumage.

White Crowned Sparrow - Juvenile

No Pileated Woodpecker in any Red Osier Dogwoods today, but there were a number of these juvenile White Crowned Sparrows (adult white crowned sparrows have white and black stripes on the head – juveniles have rust coloured stripes).  Could also hear a number of American Robins and Cedar Waxwings.

I must say it is very strange, although very typical for the time of year, to not hear any Red-wing Blackbirds….if this year progresses as per normal…there should be a flock of males back with us when it gets closer to winter.  The only other item of note today was our spooking of a, I assume, Ruffed Grouse…not sure who was more surprised – me or the bird…only managed a glimpse of it but think it was a young one as it didn’t appear to be full sized yet.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Pileated Woodpecker

Seems there is a change coming in the weather but today’s walk was done under cloudy skies but with still pleasantly warm temperatures…


Started off with spotting a dozen or so Mallards quite close to shore…the males are just starting to get back into their colourful plumage…they were very flighty as ducks tend to be this time of year.  Could hear some American Wigeons out there somewhere too, along with lots more Mallards.

emerging gravel bars

Remembered binoculars today, so could make out 15 or so Bald Eagles way over by the Harrison River…a lot of gulls way that way as well – too far away for any ID.

Pileated Woodpecker

The surprise of the day, was finding a Pileated Woodpecker

Pileated eating Red Osier Dogwood berries?

and what was really surprising was where I first spotted him, and where he later flew back too – he appears to be eating the berries on a Red Osier Dogwood!!  I’m going to try and find out if this is something that they normally do.

Bugs on Pacific Water Parsley

Back over in the grasslands, wanted to show how important Pacific Water Parsley is to a variety of bugs…I don’t know what these bugs are but they are definitely attracted to these flowers…


It is so nice to have the Great Blue Heron back as daily residents….this was one of 3 or 4 out there today.

and the Dragonfly for today…

Sept. 21'11 001

is a ‘Darner’….whether it is a Canadian Darner or some other variety I am not sure…I’m using a book by Robert Cannings entitled ‘Introducing the Dragonflies of British Columbia and the Yukon’ for these identifications but haven’t got down to studying the minute details needed to differentiate the various species yet.  All I know is that the ‘Darners’ are the ‘big guys’ out there…

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Peaceful day and ‘chat’ about Chickadees….

Another beautiful sunny, late summer day…today’s walk was nice and peaceful for the most part…

Peaceful at the log bay

all was calm over at the log bay…a Song Sparrow darted across the path and spotted a White-crown Sparrow and this…

Spotted Towhee

Spotted Towhee in one of the Red-Osier Dogwood bushes…from the bedraggled appearance I’d guess this is a young one changing into it’s adult plumage.

Geese on the flats

Still lot’s of Canada Geese, out on the flats, but today, even they were calm and quiet.  Lots of ducks too, spotted a few Killdeer and one Great Blue Heron as well.

Also along the trail a half dozen or so American Robins and heard Black Cap Chickadees and a couple of Red-breasted Nuthatch.  Wanted to mention something about Chickadees….since arriving home I’ve had quite a few Black Cap’s at my feeders, heard quite a few along the trail and have even heard a few Chestnut-backed, which, if you follow this blog, you’ll know have been a bit scarce over the past couple of years.   One of the places we camped at while away was the Territorial Campground on Teslin Lake where there is also a bird banding station.  August 18th we were chatting with those doing the banding and they remarked that they were getting far more Black Cap Chickadees than normal…

Canon part 1 212

Two Black Cap Chickadees and a Flycatcher caught in a mist net at the banding station – don’t worry – the birds aren’t hurt in any way.  If anyone wants to check out the reports on this banding station they can go to:   ~ it will be interesting to see if the observation of ‘more Black Capped Chickadee’s than normal’ holds true in our neck of the woods as well.

Lastly…as promised….Dragonflies….the red one in yesterday’s entry was a Western Meadowhawk…today…

Eight Spot Skimmer - male

we have one of my favorite Dragonflies…an Eight Spot Skimmer…and since you can learn something new everyday…when I went to double check the name of this guy, I found that, with it’s light coloured body, it is a male…a female has a dark coloured body.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Back….and setting the scene….

We’re back….not really ‘with it’ yet, but back….we got for a walk today, just to set the scene on what is happening here on the estuary,  I do think I may have to change the timing of our walks to try and avoid human activity…but that will probably lessen when the weather gets more inclement.

First Bay Sept. 19, 11

as you can see the water levels have dropped since we were last here and we can now  do our usual walk, although a bit of ‘bush whacking’ is involved…  This, the first bay by the viewing platform…still full of water but not to any great depth..

The log bay

same at the log bay…it is now a ‘bay’ again….

looking south

and looking south east towards the Harrison River where there are Salmon running, so that is where most of the activity is centered right now.

Geese, Gulls, Ducks and maybe shorebirds

the gravel bars are starting to emerge and today they were covered in Canada Geese, along with ducks…Mallards, but I imagine some others as well, and a few gulls ~ part of not being ‘with it’ is completely forgetting about taking binoculars!  I did make out a few Killdeer and I’m sure there are probably some other shorebirds out there.

Pacific Water Parsley in foreground

The Pacific Water Parsley is blooming in profusion on the grassy areas.  There was a Great Blue Heron out there, a Belted Kingfisher was busy ‘fishing’ and a couple of little sparrows, I think Savannah’s flew up out of the grass..


Dragonflies abounded….this was just one of the types…I’ll try to concentrate on them a bit more in coming weeks because they are easiest to see right now.  All the vegetation along the trails is so ‘lush’ that seeing birds in there is an impossibility.  I have heard all the usual you would expect, Song Sparrow, Towhee, Chickadee etc.  so all seems normal for this time of the year.