Thursday, June 28, 2012

June 2012 summary….

I know there are still a couple of days to go until the end of the month, but I’m heading out, early tomorrow morning, for another short get-away -

June 28, 2012

water levels remain in ‘flood mode’ – they have dropped slightly from last weekends high, but when I was down here about noon today, it appeared that they were now starting to creep back up – as had been forecast.

Barn Swallow

Barn Swallows continued collecting mud – they’ve been making little excavations in the water logged lawns, beside the curbs…and they must be thrilled because with all the water around it, the birds have the gazebo all to themselves – they can build their mud nests in the rafters and hopefully get their families raised before the gazebo is once more high and dry and invaded by humans.

House Finch Family

noticed a lot of House Finch in a tree in one corner….Bullock’s Orioles, Cedar Waxwings and Black-headed Grosbeaks were much in evidence – if you could find a spot and sit I’m sure you’d see all kinds of interesting things.  Yesterday I could hear Spotted Sandpiper but couldn’t ‘spot’ them.

Boat launch

there is the boat launch….you have to start the launch from up the street!

American Robin

American Robin continue throughout the park – this one perched on a tree that came down during last Saturdays wind storm…

Black-cap Chickadee

at home in the yard, and every where else in the park, Chickadees continue to be seen in great numbers!  Here a young Black-cap but there are Chestnut-backed as well.  Young Junco, Steller’s Jay, White-crowned Sparrow, Towhee and Song Sparrow are showing up regularly.  Haven’t seen a Band-tail Pigeon for a few days now, so maybe, finally, they’ve all moved up into the mountains for the summer. American Goldfinch and Brown Headed Cowbirds continue, as are the Purple Finch.

Young Rufous

Lots of young Rufous Hummingbird throughout the area as well.  Haven’t noticed a male for a few days – this is typical, usually by the end of June they have departed having done their duty.  I’ve heard they usually move up into the alpine meadows and then slowly work their way back south – I have no idea if that is the case, but it sounds good.  Females normally raise 2 sets of young a season, the first set which are out and about now, are raised in nests quite low down, within a few feet of the ground, while the later batch is raised in tree tops to take advantage of cooling breezes (not that any of those have been needed so far this year).  Again, that is what I’ve heard, whether true or not I don’t know.

So we are off again for another circuit trip, pretty much to the same places we visited a month or so ago, and that trip is now on my birding by Shantz blog ( )  I expect that things won’t be all that different here when we get back, although probably the mosquitoes will have showed up by then.  We’ve been lucky!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Highest levels yet….

It has been a few days since I’ve posted anything….that is because we are dealing with all the complications the highest water levels we’ve seen since this area was developed – in fact, possibly the highest water levels in 40 years, can and are causing…..

June 24, 2012 - Tapadera

so I guess I will start with as close to the boat launch as we can now get – I understand that the marker post has now either floated away or at least the water levels are over the top of it….

Log Bay June 19, 2012

over at Eagle Point park….this is the situation as a couple of evenings ago -

water on the wrong side of the berm at Eagle Point

water is now on the wrong side of the berm…

Hope the bear can swim!

and any Bear in the area better really like water!!

Goin for the gold

we are not without birds though!  In fact the area is absolutely packed with birds….like this Cedar Waxwing

Baby Rufous Hummingbird

and this, one of many young Rufous Hummingbirds.  There is also a super abundance of not only young Black Capped Chickadees, but now Chestnut-backed as well.

The 'estuary?'

and this, I think, is one of the reasons for the concentration of birds.  Usually, in normal ‘high water’ years, there are still lots of areas of bush out there – there might be water all around the bushes, but there is still lots of bush out of the water creating nesting and feeding areas for birds – not this year, in fact I wonder how many nests have been lost to this high water.

Water level and Morris Valley road

this shows water levels in relation to the road, and this is one of the ‘better’ areas…

can't get much closer without being on it

another 3 inches and this corner will be getting wet – there was a Black Bear at this corner again today but vehicles scared it into the bushes before we could get a picture.

The campground

headed over to Harrison Bay at Kilby….this is the campground – closed of course!

Boat launch parking lot

and the boat launch parking lot….now if you go back a few posts you’ll see how this looked just a week ago – and that will show you how much the water has come up in just one week…and now they say the ‘peak’ is another week away!

the railway bridge

not a lot of room between the top of the water and the bottom of the railway bridge…

Spotted Sandpiper in flooded cornfield

there really shouldn’t be Spotted Sandpipers running around in the cornfields – but then there shouldn’t be all that water in the cornfield either!

Closer look

Do want to show these pretty wildflowers growing on the edge of the dike – they are Viper’s Bugloss…more often seen in the interior, in fact couldn’t find them in my ‘Coastal Wildflower book’ – had to go to the Southern Interior one…

The river, and the road

took a drive to see the Fraser River….the dike road has been gated off and no wonder when you see how close the river is to the road and how fast the river is flowing!

Waxwings by the river

there were lots of Cedar Waxwings here too – flying out and catching insects….on the subject of which, because temperatures have stayed cool we haven’t had much in the way of mosquitoes yet, but if the weather warms up, boy are we in for a bad year bug wise!  Which reminds me that I’m pretty sure I’ve heard some Common Nighthawks as couple of times – which would be a very good thing as we’ll need ever bug eating bird and bat we can find!

WaxWing behind grasses

really like this Waxwing picture, even though the bird is sort of hidden by the grass seed heads…

flooded cornfield

a quick drive into Agassiz and the area ‘outside’ the dike and that is a flooded cornfield…

The Harrison River from the bridge

back, with a stop at the east end of the Harrison River bridge – that is our Harrison river and that is our ‘estuary’ up there….

Sandpiper Golf Course

golf anyone?  As mentioned before all the ‘song birds’ have been really concentrated – but where are the water birds?  Where are the ducks?  Where are the geese?  all that water and not a bird to be seen!  I guess we need to get out on the water but that won’t be happening for a while. There have been Osprey flying around and the occasional Turkey Vulture and we’ve heard a Common Loon….but

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

It’s summer!

It’s official, today is the first day of summer – and it even looked like it…

the marker post

down by the water – it continued to rise – the above photo taken around noon today – I’ve been hoping to get back down there but haven’t had a chance to.  At this point it is still has almost a foot to go to reach the highest level it has been – at least since this developments have been here.

House Finch male

Being a nice day but not too hot, I tried to spend as much of it outside as I could…. This House Finch was out there this morning, later the whole family showed up…

Fledgling White-crowned Sparrow

The fledgling White-crowned Sparrows were back….

one of the adults

mom, or is it dad, supervising.

Brown headed Cowbirds

there are still lots of Brown-headed Cowbirds around – these 2 being males…

Copy cats

the Black-cap Chickadee family were out there too….think these were both youngsters trying to figure out the peanut feeder…

Band-tail Pigeon

and we still have Band-tail Pigeons!  I guess they are going to stay with us for the summer – if they do, it will be interesting to see when some young ones show up….and speaking of young ones, in order to not make this an x-rated site I’m not going to post the pictures I have of Douglas Squirrels that I took today, lets just say I thought it a very strange time for them to be procreating….but after doing some on line searching I found that even though they normally breed in about February, in southern parts of their territory, they are known to have 2 litters a year….gestation is just under a month, so I guess we’ll have another batch of little squirrels running about in early September…  I also discovered that Douglas Squirrels are sometimes called ‘Pine’ squirrels or ‘Chickaree’ – had never heard that before!

Juvenile Rufous

back to today, I’ll end with a young Rufous Hummingbird – in fact it was a busy hummingbird day as besides this little guy there had been both male and females in the yard – another couple of weeks and the males will have deserted us – if all goes according to the norm…

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

It is getting interesting!

Water levels continue to creep up…

It is getting interesting!

there wasn’t a great increase over night, but I went back down to this spot about an hour and a half after this picture was taken, and the water had climbed up over the black mark on the post, that is visible in this picture.

Quite the mouthful

the Barn Swallows were taking full advantage of the supply of mud as they are in full nest building mode!

Barn Swallow

here is another one…

female Bullock's Oriole

Swallows weren’t the only birds enjoying the expanded ‘bird bath’ – this Bullock’s Oriole was one of several, there were also Cedar Waxwings and Robins…

White Crowned Sparrow fledgling

back at home, the first White-crowned Sparrow fledglings of the season showed up today…

Mommy or daddy

there is mom or dad, leading the youngsters over to my feeders…

Junco fledgling

lots of fledgling Dark Eyed Juncos around too – not sure where they are all coming from!

Female Rufous

caught this female Rufous Hummingbird at my neighbours roses.  There was a Swallowtail butterfly flitting around too but didn’t manage a picture.

Monday, June 18, 2012

We’ve got water now!!!

Boy do we have water! 

in or out of the storm sewer?

after a weekend of steady rain, especially on Saturday, water levels have jumped dramatically – that storm sewer grate is full to the brim so not sure if the water is coming up or going down it….actually, it is just staying stable

The marker post

the marker post is down there, levels are still about 18 inches short of the highest recorded – at least since this development has been here.

Kilby campground

yesterday we did a quick drive through the campground on Harrison Bay – some of the sites were ‘wet’ then and I expect more are today since the water came up a lot over night.

flooded parking lot

the parking lot for the boat launch on Harrison bay was too deep to drive through yesterday…it’ll be deeper today.

The trail

Ernie walked over to the park yesterday evening…I’ve never seen the water this high over there….virtually the entire path is under water…

all that is visible of the bench

and that is the bench at the log bay – only the very top of the back showing – that was last night – it will be completely under water today.  No bird pictures today….it has been too miserable to be outside taking them although we took a drive to Manning Park yesterday, where the weather wasn’t much better, those pictures will eventually get onto my other blog and I’ve been posting pictures of our last trip on it as well.

Friday, June 15, 2012

A day for babies…

What a treat to wake up to clear blue skies!!! of course they say today was it…back to rain tomorrow…so tried to enjoy it while I could!

a little bit higher

the water has crept up a bit more, maybe a couple of inches higher on the marker post…

Barn Swallow gathering nesting material

with the sunshine, Barn Swallows were back gathering nesting materials..


there was actually a lot of bird activity down there today….a number of Cedar Waxwings (this photo taken in dense shade so kind of washed out)

an Oriole up there

there is a Bullock’s Oriole behind all those leaves…also saw Yellow Warblers and a Yellow-rump Warbler before a loose dog showed up and that was that!  Dogs aren’t supposed to be off leash here, but….

Fledgling Black Capped Chickadee

around home another Black-capped Chickadee family showed up today…here is one of the fledglings…

Figuring out a feeder

this one was learning about bird feeders….

June 15 '12 032

later in the afternoon it was fledgling House Finch…..

White Crowned sparrow with nesting material

and proving that the nesting season is a long way from being over…this White-crowned Sparrow was busy collecting my dogs fur for nesting materials…the way she is shedding she could supply building materials for half the country!