Friday, March 30, 2012

A bit of a break

The last couple of days haven’t been great, between battling a virus and steady rain all day yesterday we took advantage of a break between systems to get out for some fresh air…

the first bay

There wasn’t a duck, goose, heron or anything else in sight, anywhere near the water.  At the log bay their absence could be explained by a large black dog wandering loose all over the bay where the birds are usually located – but that didn’t explain the lack of them at this end.

Male Varied Thrush

The bush, on the other hand, at least away from the log bay, was very busy….saw a number of Varied Thrush – here a male

Female Varied Thrush

and here a female, and since we are getting to the time of year when one day we will realize they have quietly left – I thought I’d feature both of them.

Golden-crowned Kinglet

Gold Crowned Kinglets were busy, way down low…have yet to see a Ruby Crowned, which seems unusual…

Northern Flicker

there have been a number of Northern Flicker around lately, I’d actually taken this picture earlier in the day, this particular bird, which was a female, caught my eye as it appeared to have a black marking on the top of it’s head, unfortunately I couldn’t catch a picture of it – maybe it was just that the feathers were wet but it looked different than the norm.

from the viewing platform

took this view out from the viewing platform.  There were quite a few Tree Swallows flying around the pilings but not really settling anywhere.

Red-wing Blackbird

When I took this picture of a Red-wing Blackbird, I took it with the intention of explaining that the females had arrived back en masse the day before, but now I’ve down loaded it I see that this one isn’t a female but a young male – however I did look out at one point yesterday and saw 14 females in my feeder – so I know they are back.


Then just as we were heading for home this little flock of North Western Crows suddenly appeared.  Although crows are common enough at near by farms and are often seen in fall feeding on the salmon, they aren’t a bird we see every day at the estuary.

Chestnutbacked Chickadee

and one last one, was trying to get some pictures of the Chestnut-backed Chickadees in my yard.  That is as good as we got.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Before the rain

Got out for a walk today before the forecasted rain…

Before the rain

There just hasn’t been a lot to report the last couple of days.  Despite the heavy clouds there were about a dozen Tree Swallows flying around and I did have a Rufous Hummingbird at my feeder today for the first time this year so spring is progressing.  Quite a few Bushtits in the bushes today as well, as long with the usual Robins, Towhee and Red-wing Blackbirds, but nothing much in the way of ducks or Heron

and another

I’ll toss in another Douglas Squirrel picture as this little guy was posing on the wood pile when we returned from our walk yesterday.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Back to showers

After a few nice days of sunshine, reverting back to showers is a bit hard to take, even though they could be classified as ‘spring showers’.

back to showers

There wasn’t a lot of interest today…

Spotted Towhee

Trilling’ Spotted Towhees and saw a pair of Bushtits but it was showering heavily at the time so couldn’t get a picture of them.  Remember a pair nested in the park last year, perhaps the same pair has returned.

Female Red-wing Blackbird

a female Red-wing Blackbird was at the log bay today, joining the several males that were calling…

Fox Sparrow

There were Song Sparrows singing and also this Fox Sparrow – I don’t think I’ve ever heard a Fox Sparrow sing before – very pretty little song.

Swans headed north

as I was heading back – another flock of Trumpeter Swans were heading north.  Many of them will be at Marsh Lake near Whitehorse, Yukon by the 3rd week of April which is when they hold their Swan Festival.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Spectacular weekend

There is high cloud moving in now but we’ve had a spectacular weekend with sunshine and temperatures up into the mid teens – AND – the first Rufous Hummingbirds have shown up.  I haven’t seen one yet but a neighbour has had not one, but two, at his feeders.

Swallows on pilings - Heron at base

You can’t really see them in this view but there were quite a few Tree Swallows flying around the pilings today…there is also a heron if you look closely…

Tree Swallow

not a great shot – but ‘proof they were there’ here is one of the Tree Swallows

Great Blue Heron

and there is a closer look at the Great Blue Heron.  I know we’ve been featuring lots of heron pictures lately, but we’ll be getting to the time of year soon when we won’t see them very often, so like the eagles, you take the pictures while the bird is there.

Song Sparrow

a Song Sparrow was singing this morning…

Northern Pintails

and there were 5 of those Northern Pintail drakes (3 in picture) – I’ve never seen Pintails in this area in the spring before.

Pine Siskin in woodpile

the woodpile features a Pine Siskin today…

Douglas Squirrel

and a very co-operative Douglas Squirrel.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Beautiful day

Definitely the nicest day of the year so far!

Beautiful day

What a treat to get up to clear blue skies with just a few white puffy clouds off in the distance.

Goose pair

Bird wise it wasn’t much different from the day before, just the one pair of Canada Geese

Spotted Towhee

Spotted Towhee ‘trilling’….a few Red-wing Blackbirds calling, some Black Capped Chickadees poking about down in the shrubs, Robins about…

Heron in pond way over

The young heron was over in that little pond today.  There were a couple of Tree Swallows flying around but still not settling enough for a picture…also some Purple Finch singing their lovely song, but too high up to get a picture.

Heron and female Mallard

a mature Great Blue Heron just off the first bay (you can tell by the fringe of feathers on the breast), along with some Mallard – a female  in this picture….

Song Sparrow

captured a Song Sparrow at the wood pile this morning, but we are still waiting for that first hummingbird – or anything else exciting like a Yellow-rump Warbler or Ruby Crowned Kinglet or, or, or!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Just a nice day

Today was just a really nice day.  A treat to get up to sunshine and it didn’t take long to hear a Tree Swallow chattering over head.  As we headed out for our walk there was a lot of territorial drumming going on.  Some people can tell what species of woodpecker it is just by the drumming pattern – I’m not one of those people.  All I know is it was very rapid fire.

Red-wing Blackbird

Some of the Red-wing Blackbirds were doing their territorial staking out too – managed to get this guy with his red patches flashing….

Heron down there on the flats

spotted the young Great Blue Heron down there ….

Picking up a tiny tidbit

I’m not sure just what he is finding in this area – something very tiny here…

Something else

and a bit bigger here – obviously there is a good supply of what ever it is because he has been feeding in this spot quite often lately.


American Robins have now become permanent fixtures….I was hoping that the Tree Swallows that were flying around would start fixating on the nesting boxes so I could get a picture of them, but they aren’t quite ready to do that yet.

Pair of geese

back at the other end there was one pair of Canada Geese and…

Canada Geese and Pintail

I noticed 4 ducks that were behaving a little differently from the normal suspects – and sure enough – there were 4 Northern Pintail drakes…one of them in the top of this picture – notice too that one of the geese appears to have some white at the base of the bill – I’m going to have to watch for that – it will make it easier to keep track of which pair is which.

Dark-eyed Junco

numbers of Dark-eyed Junco are really increasing…I got this picture this afternoon.  We unfortunately had to cut down a very large broad leaf maple tree and the wood is piled up waiting to be moved – the birds are loving the wood pile and it is making for great photo ops!

Purple Finch on Feeder

lastly…also taken at home….the numbers of Purple Finch have really increased with the sunny weather….here 3 males are at the feeder.  I forgot to mention yesterday that I had seen a Chipmunk….maybe it will find the wood pile and I’ll be able to get pictures of him one day.  Still waiting for a hummingbird!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Finch day

Due to morning medical appointments I didn’t get on my usual walk until a couple of hours later than normal.

log bay

I don’t know if was because of that, or the fact it was a fairly nice day and there had probably been more ‘walkers’ than normal, but there was not one duck, goose or heron to be found.

House Finches in the blackberries

House Finch were the most notable as there were quite a few sunning themselves in the blackberry bushes.  (5 in this picture)

House Finch pair

here is a closer look at a male, with a female sort of hidden behind the branches..

House Finch

and a female out in the open…

Pine Sisken

surprisingly, there was a Pine Siskin as well.  As I’ve mentioned quite a few times this winter, there are a lot of Pine Siskin this year.  I’ve heard that these are ‘Yukon’ birds.  Siskin are very prolific producers but apparently the northern population this past summer was phenomenal and that is what has caused such a influx of Siskin into southern climes – it would also explain the presence of Redpolls with them.

Varied Thrush

there were a few Varied Thrush around but none co-operating for pictures.  Black-capped Chickadee were busy as well as Robins, Steller’s Jay and some Red-wing Blackbirds.  Had hoped to hear/see a swallow but was out of luck, perhaps they’ve heard about the predicted snow flurries for tomorrow morning.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Dismal first day of spring

So, this is the first full day of spring according to the calendar.Dismal first day of spring

You could have fooled me!  We woke up to a skiff of snow, and had to break out the gloves and hat to get for our walk.  There was nothing over at the log bay…

Few seconds of sunshine

heading back the sun broke through the clouds for all of 60 seconds.  This whole area was alive with Black-cap Chickadees, Golden Crowned Kinglets and Song Sparrows…none co-operative for a picture.

Vocal Blackbird

just off from the viewing platform there was a male Red-wing Blackbird calling.  The big flock that has been wintering with us seems to have broken up.  The females should be arriving back any day now so the males are busy staking out territories.

Heron and geese

over at my end there were actually 2 pair of Canada Geese, 1 pair above although one managed to duck just as I took the picture, and also this Great Blue Heron….

Goose pair

here is a better picture of the goose pair – they were grazing on the fresh grass shoots…

Great Blue Heron

and the Heron….not sure what he was doing….huddled up against the next wave of hail that moved through I guess…can’t count how many times the ground has turned white with hail so far today….but sun is in the forecast – or so they say!