Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Spectacular end to the month!

Hard to believe it is the last day of November already!  And what a day it is!!

Beautiful morning

It was so nice that instead of heading directly to my volunteer office job…I grabbed a camera and went for a walk…

Eagles in the morning sunshine

Water levels have held pretty steady over night and the flats were alive with Bald Eagles and gulls….


one just can’t get enough of looking at the spectacle..

Morning scene


This was the breath taking view from the area of the log bay…all the surrounding mountains rec’d a fresh coating of snow last night, which just added to the picture!







Morning sunshine

looking south into the morning sunshine…

Morning sunlight

Morning sunshine high lights the head of this fellow perched in one of the ‘eagle trees’ by the viewing platform.  Unfortunately at the same time that I and another photographer were photographing this and other birds…a helicopter came flying very low over the estuary, turned and then headed back to whence it came….probably 1/3 of the birds that had been down on the flats took off in every direction.  There appeared to be no rhyme nor reason for the flight, except to startle the birds.


This young bird stayed put during the commotion resulting from the helicopter flight…

Eagle with snowy backdrop

as did this one…which created a rather spectacular shot with the backdrop of snow.

All of the photos to this point were taken with my Canon Powershot point and shoot camera from on the trail – I mention this because…..





This was the scene during my afternoon walk.  This is called being ‘off trail’ and unfortunately photographers are the worst offenders, and the more camera power they have, the worse they are at just having to get a little bit closer – getting ‘closer’ just means the birds move further away! but it seems if you have a camera capable of taking a nice group shot from the trail, you just have to try for an individual bird to fill the entire screen and if you have that, then you want a shot of just the eye…and so it goes and it is the birds that suffer from the disturbance….and that is my preaching for the day!

Off trail

Wigeon feeding

On the way back got a few pictures of these American Wigeon that were feeding along the shoreline…interesting that the males aren’t yet completely in their really colourful plumage.

Bald Eagle

and I’ll finish with one more Eagle shot…again taken from the trail…this time with my DSLR….the bird was unfortunately sitting in the shade.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Great Horned Owl!

Kind of a cool, dark, showery day…but a good day for birds just the same.

receding water

the water levels had receded enough for us to do our usual walk

Just as many birds

just as many birds out there on the flats, but now they had room to spread out a bit more.

Busy Eagle trees

‘eagle trees’ at the viewing platform were well populated again..

Heron & Hoodie

a heron (Great Blue Heron) and a ‘Hoodie’ (Hooded Merganser) were two of the species right in close…

A few of the eagles

Here is just one small section of one of the ‘eagle’ trees…

log bay

got to the log bay for a different perspective..


water has dropped just enough to be offering good views of the Bald Eagles from that location.

Ducks and swans

also lots of ducks, here a mixture of Mallard and American Wigeon, and there were a total of 16 Swans and from the calls I know there were Tundra Swans out there as well as Trumpeter.

Gull with hooked bill

These two gull were in close…I’m wondering about the ID of them, especially the closer one.  Notice the long hook on the top mandible of the bill – also the bird looks like it might have been in an oil spill…


back along the trail at least one of those American Robins is still around.  There were also 2 Fox Sparrows in this same area.

Belted Kingfisher

Spotted a Belted Kingfisher out on one of the pilings…

What is that!

and then, what the heck is that?

Great Horned Owl

a Great Horned Owl!  You don’t often see them out in the day light.  I guess it was such a dark day he didn’t really notice this difference!

Monday, November 28, 2011


It’s been many years since I’ve seen such a concentration of bird life as there was out there today

Eagles and Gulls on the flats

I walked down mid-morning, the water levels had come up a bit since yesterday and the amount of Bald Eagles and Gulls out there was truly amazing.

The eagle trees

Due to water over the path I couldn’t walk very far…so this is a distant shot of the eagles in the two ‘eagle’ trees by the viewing platform..

Eagles in the grass

any semi dry area sported numerous eagles and I wouldn’t be surprised if there were something like ten thousand gulls out there…astonishing!


it wasn’t just birds…there are still lots of live Salmon, in fact there were Salmon constantly jumping right out of the water…

Sisken in cedar tree

in the park itself this one particular Cedar Tree was literally dripping with Pine Sisken…had to be at least a hundred…difficult to photograph but this gives you an idea…I scanned the flock to see if I could spot any Redpolls amongst them, but didn’t see any.  So far the Siskens are sticking to the natural food supply although one did come to my sunflower seed feeder this afternoon.

in for a landing

mid-day I ventured down again…more Bald Eagles…this one just coming in for a landing…

Swans out there too

Just as many Bald Eagles out there, the bigger white lumps are Swans, presumably Trumpeters but even with the binoculars I couldn’t say for sure…

Mergansers and Goldeneyes too

In the area between where I was and the first bay, there were at least 18 Common Merganser and then just a little bit out from them a flock of about 40 Common Goldeneye…I wish I could have gotten a bit closer for a better picture but the water on the path was just a bit too deep.  By tomorrow, if it stays cool and dry, it should be passable again – but will the birds still be there!


Great Blue Heron as well, saw a total of 4 of them…

Geese in flight

and, for the first time in a while..Canada Geese…I just caught them in flight (those little dots), they had been on the water but before I could get a picture someone decided to go for a walk ‘off trail’ and they all took off.

Eagles in a tree

There were lots of Bald Eagles in close as well, in fact I can’t ever remember so many eagles staying in all the trees at the edge of the estuary.  These ones were in a Poplar tree right beside the parking lot at our boat launch, and stayed there despite numerous people and dogs walking by them.





Young ones

This pair of young ones were particularly co-operative for pictures..

a young one




Here is one of them on his own…I’d have to look up in my book to be sure, but I think this would be a 4 year old as it seems to be getting it’s white head and tail.




Eagles and a lone duck

and I’ll end with one more look at some of the eagles and a female Mallard swimming past.

I will mention, for those interested in such things and that, like me, don’t own a bunch of expensive camera equipment…I used 3 different cameras today… My Canon Powershot with 20 x optical zoom, a Nikon with 36 x optical zoom, and my Pentax SLR with a 300 mm lens…..the one that took the best pictures – the Canon Powershot.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Oh my goodness!

This is what a ‘Pineapple Express’ can do!

rising water

all that warm wind and rain over the last 18 hours or so, is bringing down the snow that has accumulated over the last couple of weeks and the water levels have risen rapidly and no doubt will continue to do so for a bit!

wet, wet, wet

this was almost bone dry day before yesterday..

First Bay

here is the ‘first’ bay and look, there is just the tiniest little bit of gravel bar showing…everything from here down is under water…

Concentrated Eagles

the birds are all concentrated in the small bit of semi dry land that is left..

Concentrated birds

here’s a cropped section just to show the concentration of birds out there..the good news is there were Swans out there as well.  Nearby Harrison Bay, where the water has risen incredibly high…was covered in Swans this morning but it was so dark and wet out it was impossible to get a picture.

Common Redpoll

now the other ‘oh my goodness’ news was that as I was heading down my street to look at the water…there were 3 Common Redpolls feeding on the ground! Common Redpolls are a little finch, just a tiny bit bigger than a Pine Sisken, in fact they are often mixed in flocks of Pine Sisken, their usual home is the far north but every so often then venture this far south.  They are best identified by the red cap on the top of the head. I’d been hearing reports of sightings in the valley for the past week or so and I’d hoped that some might venture our way…

Common Redpoll

turns out they have!  This is only the 2nd time in the what will be the 15th winter we’ve been here that I have seen Common Redpolls.  It makes one wonder that if they and the Snowy Owls that are back at Boundary Bay for the first time in a number of years, are an indication of a severe winter to come, as some believe, could we also see Mountain Chickadee and Cassin’s Finch this winter…both have been seen here before, the same year that the Redpolls were…

Friday, November 25, 2011

Where the heck are all the birds?

One of the things I find end lastly fascinating is how the estuary can be so different from one day to the next…

Where are the birds?

the last couple of days there have been eagles everywhere you looked, and today, you really had to look to see even a handful of them.  No Heron’s today, only a couple of pairs of Mallards…

Female Shovelers

these two female Northern Shoveler’s were the only other ducks visible

Mew Gull

Still some gulls around, like this Mew Gull changing into adult plumage

Glaucous-wing Gull

and this Glaucous-wing Gull, at the same stage of changing into adult plumage, but after the hundreds, if not thousands that have been seen recently…even gulls were scarce.

The trail

What was seen coming straight down this path at about waist height, was a Ruffed Grouse (not in the picture) that veered off into the bush when it finally realized we were there…Pentex 088

I’ve tossed in this file photo of a Ruffed Grouse…I took this near the Teslin Lake Bird Banding Station, on Teslin Lake,Yukon, this past August.  The Ruffed grouse is easily identified as they are the only grouse with a sort of crest…the top of their head is ‘ruffed’ rather than ‘smooth.’  I think this was probably a young one…ours tend to be a darker brown in colour.

Bald Eagle

I will throw in this Bald Eagle picture…there were some around, including about 6 of them in the ‘eagle’ trees by the viewing platform..

First bay

haven’t shown a view of the first bay for a while…any rise in water levels brought on by the rain were short lived and never really effected this area at all.  There are still live fish spawning in here..

New sign

and lastly, just wanted to show that the first of our official IBA signs is now up….