Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Shrike’ing Halloween!

OK, I’m really taking some liberties here!  For one thing all of the pictures in today’s entry were actually taken yesterday….but I couldn’t resist!

First Winter Northern Shrike

because this little guy was over by the log bay yesterday – it is, of course, a Northern Shrike…the mottling of the feathers indicate it is a ‘1st winter’ bird.

So now we’ll get back to the serious business…..

high water

Rain! We’ve had a lot of it recently and that means that the water levels are on the rise again…in fact today they had risen even more so that I wasn’t able to get over to the park.

Eagle carpet

If you click on the above picture to enlarge it, you might just be able to make out the astounding number of Bald Eagles that were concentrated out there…..

and another

this ‘zoomed in’ picture will give you an indication of just how many

at least 98

I counted at least 98 in this picture alone….

Eagle Tree

and they weren’t just out there on the flats….this is the ‘eagle’ tree by the viewing platform.

Closer look at 4 eagles

while these were just a few of the ones in the other ‘eagle tree’

Young one drying out

this young one was perched in the very tippy top of this little fir tree…

Adult drying out

an adult a few branches below…

Down there too

The trees down by the golf course, in fact from the calls, trees all over the golf course were equally loaded with eagles.

Today, with the even higher water it wasn’t as easy to see them as they must all be crowded together in areas hidden by grasses and shrubs..

Couple of Swans with the eagles

One final look – there are a couple of Swans in this picture as well as the eagles, whether Tundra or Trumpeter, at this distance, I couldn’t say.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Wicked weather

An absolutely miserable wet day today…

wet day

we did venture out, but we didn’t go far….

Eagles in the eagle tree

could see the ‘eagle trees’ were well populated – at least 13 Bald Eagles in this tree alone….

Furthur down the way

and could see more sheltering further along the trail….didn’t venture close as didn’t want to take the chance of disturbing them on a day like today!

Miserable as it was here, it is nothing compared to what is being experienced and is still expected on the east coast.  It has been interesting today as I’ve been on two Face book groups – one being Canadian only and is the Project Feeder Watch group (P.F.W. by the way, starts on November 10th) and the other group is the Backyard Bird count one and is all of North America and soon to be global.  The over whelming theme today has been the numbers of birds at feeders prior to the storm hitting.  Those that have been through these storms before are recommending to just keep putting the food out there and to leave the feeders out as the birds are really stocking up before they have to ride out the storm.  There is also a feeling of anticipation as storms like this can cause birds to be blown way off course and out of their normal range, so when it is all over, who will show up where! 

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Playing catch up….

For a number of reasons I’ve had trouble getting time for the computer recently, so I have several days to catch up on….

Flying Squirrel

I’ll start by going back to several nights ago when there were 3 of these Flying Squirrels in my yard at the feeders, now I know why I go through almost as much bird seed at night as I do during the day!  By the way, the only light used here was our motion sensor light and the infrared feature on my camera – no flash.

Heron, Mallard, Wigeon, Teal and Yellowlegs

the next day this picture pretty much sums up the activity around the estuary right now….a Great Blue Heron, a Mallard, an American Wigeon, a much smaller Green Wing Teal and a Greater Yellowlegs Sandpiper…all in one camera shot.

Greater Yellowlegs

that particular day there were a lot of Greater Yellowlegs…and they’ve been seen sporadically since…

Tundra Swan close up

also that day there were 5 swans out there and at least one of them was a Tundra Swan….look closely where the bill meets the head to see the yellow there…

Varied Thrush

still a lot of Varied Thrush and Robins eating those choke cherry fruits…

Juvenile from below

The next day there was very little of note except for this juvenile Bald Eagle….a kayaker right in close to the shore was no doubt the reason for nothing else being seen…

Eagles along the river

today there was a lot of Bald Eagle activity out along the river…

eagle disturbance

at least until 4 kayakers showed up….

Disturbed Eagles

there go the eagles!

Three Mew and a ???

Mew Gulls were very active today….I’m not sure what the larger gull in the background is….the one young Mew on the right has a little fish hanging out of it’s mouth.

Heron on a post

a couple of pilings were occupied….this one had a heron on it…


and this one a male Belted Kingfisher.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The Swans are back!!!

A very interesting day!  Last night my when my husband got home from work he said that he had seen the first swans of the season on Harrison Bay….so I was really hoping to see some here today…

Salmon here, Swans out there

and sure enough, if you look way out there off the end of that emerging gravel bar (notice all the spawning salmon close to shore)…

Swans are back!

there they are, the first two Trumpeter Swans for this winter. Of course that is a Mallard in their midst!

Pretty Typical

out on the flats it was pretty much business as normal….maybe not quite as many eagles as normal…

Eagle on a piling

This 4 year old Bald Eagle was acting very strangely on the top of this piling….he obviously had something, although there is nothing visible in this first picture except some ‘fluff’ on the piling behind the bird….

Eagle on a piling

now he is showing some interest in that pile of ‘fluff’…

Not sure what he had

then every once and a while he would fly up like this and then land again on the piling….bits of ‘stuff’ would fly off (all those dark specks) and you can see he now has the ‘fluff’ in a talon.  If it was nesting season then a nest would be the logical answer as to what it was.  When I zoom in, it doesn’t look like fur or feathers…I’m just hoping that he hasn’t somehow got caught up in some tangled fishing line.  I can’t see that – but then fishing line is pretty near invisible.

Pair of Wigeons

after puzzling over the Bald Eagle for a while, I headed towards home.  There were a lot of ducks out there today.  Obviously there hadn’t been much activity to disturb them today – which is a good thing!  There were a lot of American Wigeon like these guys – male on right and female on left…

Female Common Merganser

Female Common Merganser again – love that hair do!

American Wigeon

and more American Wigeon….and then I thought I caught sight of an…

Eurasian Wigeon with American Wigeon

Eurasian Wigeon!  So I just started panning the scene snapping pictures and when I got home and down loaded them…sure enough…there he is!  Only got half of him and it is a poor picture, but he was there.  Hopefully he’ll hang around and I’ll manage a better picture.  This isn’t the first time this Asian version of the species has shown up here at the estuary, but such occurrences don’t happen all that often.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Fairly typical day

A fairly typical fall day today.  I actually got for a couple of walks with the weather improving as the day wore on…

Eagles on the flats

on the first walk I noticed quite a few Bald Eagles on the flats, but even as I watched, large numbers were flying in my direction – that usually means a disturbance of some kind and sure enough, a little while later a fisherman appeared walking across the flats.


not an eagle in sight after he passed.

In the Eagle Tree

a number of those eagles landed in the ‘eagle tree’…here is one…

Spot the eagle

with four in this picture, all well camouflaged with the foliage that is hanging on.  There were a lot of small birds through out the park path today, Junco’s, Towhee and Song Sparrow.  Robin’s, a lot of Varied Thrush (I guess the snow in the mountains has sent them down to our level), Steller’s Jay and Northern Flicker were all busy in various berry bushes.  In another spot it was a large mixed flock of Bushtits, Ruby-crowned Kinglets, Black-capped chickadees and even Red-breasted Nuthatch – unfortunately none co-operated for any decent pictures!

Common Mergansers

large numbers of Common Merganser have been around the last few days, joining the Mallard and American Wigeon.

Snow on Woodside

snow again on Mt. Woodside, as well as the other local hills..

Rainbow, ducks and eagle

a lingering shower created a rainbow…

another look

while a ‘kettle’ of eagles formed overhead.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Lots of activity

It has been an interesting weekend…

A view of the estuary

yesterday, took this shot of the estuary, mainly to show the snow line on those distance mountains – the first snow of the season…

Snow on local mountains

little did I know that this morning I’d be taking pictures of the first snow of the season on the lower, local mountains!

Snow on Mt. Woodside!

it was even almost half way down Mt. Woodside!  Seems early for that!

Eagles on the close flats

water levels have dropped a bit from their high level on Friday….so lots of bird activity…Bald Eagles above with lots of gulls in the background…

Heron, EAgles, Mallards, Gulls

this picture sort of sums it up, Mallards, Great Blue Heron and gulls and eagles…there was even a Northern Harrier being chased by a Raven (not in the picture)

Eagles in the Eagle Tree

an assortment of eagles in the ‘eagle’ trees too – still so many leaves on the trees that they are hard to see…

Heron and Mallard

another heron and some more mallards, there were also American Wigeon and quite a few Common Merganser out there today..

Canada Geese

some Canada Geese decided to fly past as well.

Spawning creek

in the afternoon we drove down to one of the fish hatcheries…

Spawning Salmon

lots of Salmon – my husband informs me most of these are Chinook..

In the rapids

spotted an American Dipper

First year Glaucous Wing Gull

a few gull around, including this which I think is a first winter Glaucous-wing Gull.  It was sticking close to an adult so I suspect the adult was one of it’s parents.

October 21, 2012

later in the afternoon we took another walk at the estuary…most of the eagles had left the flats and were riding the thermals over head.

Song Sparrow

seemed to be a lot of activity in the bushes….including Song Sparrow

Towhee with a Choke Cherry

and the Pacific Choke Cherry fruit continues to attract…here a Spotted Towhee, but there were also lots of Robins and Varied Thrush enjoying the fruit.