Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Tundra Swan

The last day of the month and I’d been thinking good riddance to it…I don’t know if I can recall another month were so many people have had so many problems to deal with…and the birding was pretty dismal too…

Last day of January

so with those thoughts in mind, and another dull damp day…I wasn’t expecting anything too much to happen…

Something white out there

then I noticed, out there on the flats….something ‘white’…a Swan or a Goose???  for either to be out there all by it’s self would be odd…

Swan out there

yet there it was, a little white dot way off in the distance…  It wasn’t until I got home and downloaded the pictures and then zoomed way in that I found


it was a Tundra Swan.  If you click on this picture it will enlarge…so hopefully you will be able to see the yellow at the base of the bill where it meets the head…the head shape, too is rounder, than that of a Trumpeter…

Tundra Swan cropped

I’ve cropped this one even more…you can make out the yellow on this one.  I went back later with a more powerful camera, but couldn’t see the bird – perhaps because of an off leash dog in the area?!

January 31, 2012

The rest of the walk wasn’t as exciting although there were all kinds of little birds all along the route…

Female House Finch

House Finch (a female above), Juncos, Towhees, Song Sparrows, Black Cap Chickadees…and Red-wing Blackbirds calling…

Pair of Fox Sparrows

back at the viewing platform, that you can now get to – just – a pair of Fox Sparrows

Fox Sparrow

one being particularly co-operative for pictures…


and I’m going to throw this picture in because it was on the memory card – I took it a week or so ago in the snow….it is, of course a European Starling, one of those birds we love to hate…but when you get one alone, they are quite attractive birds…that being the quality that caused people to import them and introduce them to this continent in the first place.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Oh so quiet!

A much nicer day today,


Blue sky and some sunshine.  We made our way over to the park, a bit easier than it was a couple of days ago…

Drifted in trail

but still a challenge as the trail is still really drifted in….  It was so quiet though!!! 

Black-capped Chickadee

a little flock of Black-capped Chickadees near the log bay…

Busy Chickadee

very busy – but that was it.  Not one single Eagle, the only duck I saw was one lone Bufflehead over my way.  There was a Northern Harrier coursing over the grasslands way off….not even a gull…

Nothing out there

maybe it was the wind but that shouldn’t have stopped the ducks from being here.  Maybe they haven’t returned since the water was frozen…very strange.  I had to go into Mission this morning (35km west of here) and there was a very large flock of Swans in a cornfield right on the outskirts of the town, so that perhaps explained the lack of swans…but not everything else.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012


An interesting day.  The first time in a while that we’ve got up to temperatures on the plus side of zero! and, when I stepped out my door this morning, the first thing I heard was a Robin singing!  Robins are never very far from here in the winter, but they don’t usually start showing up until at least mid February….

disappearing snow

It had been raining so hard this morning that I bundled up in rain gear before heading out on our walk…

Buffleheads in boat launch

I was very happy to see a little flock of Bufflehead right in our boat launch area – in fact these were the only ducks anywhere….  Every winter since I’ve lived here there has been a flock of these little ducks spending the winter in this spot…it seems every year they are later showing up.  They used to arrive in Dec., then it was the beginning of January, and this year, it is almost the end of the month and they have finally showed up.  Not that there aren’t lots of them out on the Harrison River…

Eagles on post

over at the first bay, which was as far as we went because I just couldn’t face slipping and sliding my way over snow drifts today – there were quite a few Bald Eagles, in trees, out on the flats and riding the thermals…and also a pair on that piling…

Eagle pair

This has to be a breeding pair because such close proximity wouldn’t be tolerated other wise.

Blue sky

as we started back, blue sky was appearing…

Dark clouds

although there were still lots of dark clouds the other way, and now, an hour or so since I took the pictures, the ‘dark’ had won out over the ‘blue’ again.

Pine Sisken

there have been large numbers of Pine Sisken in the area the last few days…number well over a hundred I would think…

Pine Sisken

here is a more detailed picture of one….

Steller's Jay

also, since the sun popped out for a second at just the right moment…here is a Steller’s Jay regular’s in our area year round.

Monday, January 23, 2012

What a mess

The past week or so has been something else.  Today the temperature is sitting above freezing and we were only having some showers so I decided to venture out and see what things are like…wasn’t sure how far I’d get…

bare ground

approached the estuary and could see bare ground in places…slogged across the grasslands….

Drifted in viewing platform

and slipped and slid our way into and up and over drifts…but they were nothing like what there is in Eagle Point Park…the viewing platform is completely drifted in..or at least access to it..

from the trail

all of the riparian habitat is completely flattened.  At this spot you normally cannot see over the bushes that are 7 or 8 feet high…now they are flat on the ground…


the ‘path’ was nothing but big drifts…sometimes thigh deep…my dog thought battling our way over them was wonderful!  I didn’t share her sentiments…

my goodness

here is another point in the so called trail where the brush is completely flat, allowing you to see the log bay well before you approach it.  There were probably close to 20 Bald Eagles perched in various places…

the log bay

finally made it to the log bay….then had to turn around and make our way back – quite the work out!

nothing but drifts

that is the trail.  Bird wise there wasn’t much.  A very few ducks – just Mallards, a few Gulls, some Kinglets, Red-wing Blackbirds and a pair of Flickers.

It will be interesting to see how long it takes for all the vegetation to bounce back…..

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Still in winter’s grip

We have had a bit of a reprieve from the snow today, but not the cold…

January 19, 2012 

There is just no way we could get any further than here…

another look

there is no open water so there isn’t going to be anything in the way of birds anyway…


pointed the camera in the direction of where we normally walk…and that was that!  So thought I’d put in a few pictures of some of the birds frequenting my feeders right now.  I actually took these a few days ago before it got quite as cold as it is now…

Dark-eyed Junco

Dark-eyed Junco – have seen a slate variety as well

Varied Thrush

Fluffed up Varied Thrush – this one a female – probably have at least a dozen…

Spotted Towhee

Spotted Towhee – this one a male

Female Spotted Towhee

here a female…must be a dozen or so of them as well…

Song Sparrow

Song Sparrow in about the same numbers.  Have also had at least 3 Fox Sparrow, including one that was very ‘reddish’ rather than our dark ‘Sooty’ variety.  They are spooky though and I haven’t managed a picture.

Pine Sisken

Pine Sisken.   Also have, Purple Finch (6 or 8), Starlings, Red-wing Blackbirds, a Northern Flicker and, of course, Steller’s Jay

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Deep Freeze

White out

This is going to be a very short report.  This is as close as we could make it to the estuary today.  The temperature is minus 10 centigrade with a wind chill basically doubling that.  The plus two feet of snow we have rec’d in the last few days is blowing into drifts everywhere.  It is just plain nasty out there!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Oh my goodness!

I guess this falls into the category of ‘be careful what you wish for!’


It started snowing around 6 this morning and it hasn’t stopped…I think we’ve rec’d about 6 more inches since I took these pictures..

more snow

someone had ‘broke trail’ so I ventured through it over to the park..

First bay

this is the first bay – I could hear Killdeer but didn’t see anything..

Snow man

at the log bay, someone had build a snow man…Shantz had to check that out!

log bay

a lot of ducks in the bay…

Eagles in the trees

a few eagles perched in the trees…and that was about it.  The snow had actually slowed while we were on our walk…but that didn’t last for long.  I checked Environment Canada and now they say it is going to continue until noon tomorrow!  Hopefully they are as wrong about that as they were about the ‘flurries’ that were forecast for today!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Winter wonderland

It was such a beautiful day today….sunshine and snow flurries…that we went for a bit of a drive around the local area…

Snowy morning

but not before a walk…

Dark-eyed Junco in the snow

got this picture of a Dark-eyed Junco in the snow, before turning back as a hoard of kids and loose dogs (in a ‘dogs on leash at all time area’)…meant that the chance of seeing any birds would be non-existent)

Canada Geese and Mallards at Kilby

headed over to Kilby where there were lots of Canada Geese and Mallards in this corn field…

Pair of Bald Eagles at nest

It may only be mid-January, but this pair of Bald Eagles were busy working on their nest.

Canada Goose and Snow Goose

and then I spotted a Snow Goose!  This area is still part of the I.B.A. so this makes species 177 for the I.B.A. 

Snow Goose

worth another look!

Swans on the Frozen Fraser River

then it was off towards Agassiz and down along the Fraser River, this arm of which is frozen over (didn’t think it had been that cold yet!).  Those are Trumpeter Swans out on the ice.

In for a landing

while we watched another couple came in for a landing…but this was nothing compared to…

Can you say Swan?

this corn field in Agassiz.  This was maybe a quarter of the number of Trumpeter Swans that were there…

lots of Swans

here are some more pictures of them…

Swans galore

it was quite the sight to see!

Heron in the ditch

a bit further along and the sun was high lighting this Great Blue Heron

Head on shot

kind of an interesting shot as he looked right at us.

Harrison Hot Springs

a quick run into Harrison Hot Springs where there was nothing exciting but the scenery…and back home again.