Sunday, March 31, 2013

Beautiful Easter Day

What a beautiful sunny warm day we've had for Easter 2013!  Just going to post a few miscellaneous photos that I took today....

We'll start with a gull.....this one was at the log bay this morning and I think this is a Herring Gull. Part of the confusion is the birds are changing from their winter, to their breeding plumage, as if gulls weren't confusing enough!  There were a lot of crows out there this morning too, but more up along the Chehalis River than out on the flats themselves.

This Mourning Cloak Butterfly was posing beautifully, so just had to take it's picture.

This Varied Thrush was also soaking up the I've mentioned before, these guys will quietly disappear over the next month.

and finally!  some Rufous Hummingbird pictures!  Not great ones but better than nothing.  This female was busy slurping up some breakfast....

and later in the afternoon, this male....of course the light was all wrong so his gorget shows black instead of brilliant red....

and then there are Purple Finch!  Lots of Purple Finch, I counted 18 of them in my yard at one point this afternoon.


not a great picture, it was getting darker and it was a long way off but there, almost in the middle of the picture, behind a bush, is a Coyote that was creating quite the ruckus out on the flats tonight.  Other's were answering him from way up on the hillside to the west of the estuary.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

An incredible Easter Weekend!

What an amazing stretch of weather we are having!  Talk about the month of March, it came in like a lion and it is leaving us like a lamb - a very warm lamb!

I'm going to start this post by talking about something I've been meaning to mention all week and that is the amount of butterflies I am seeing.  I don't ever recall seeing as many as I'm seeing right now and I do mean 'ever' at any time of the year!  I know there are at least 3 species around.  The Mourning Cloak like the guy above, but I've also seen Comma Satyr and Milbert's Tortoishell.  

and for sheer numbers you can't beat the Tree Swallows right now!  This evening when I went for a walk I gave up counting after 100.  I imagine there might have been other species and maybe even some swifts mixed in the swarms of them over the flats.

here were just a very few of them.

the last couple of mornings we've noticed something I don't ever recall seeing here before, there must be something hatching, not only in the shallow water but also out on the 'flats'

Not only have there been large numbers of Northwestern Crows feeding all over the flats....

there has been a flock of gulls that I am having trouble identifying.  They act sort of like Mew Gulls, but not quite, they seem to have a dark tip on the bill but they aren't ring-bills as they have pale pink legs rather than yellow.  At least one that I got a good look at had a light eye.  The black on the wing tips is quite extensive and smudgy looking.  They chatter the whole time, I am guessing California gulls but I really have no idea and if anyone can help I'd appreciate it!

getting back to the more familiar, Song Sparrows are in the mode where they are very visible as they stake out their territories....

but of course nobody stakes out territory quite like a male Red-wing Blackbird!  There is much flashing of red wing patches going on right now.

the females are here and busy checking out nesting sites, and speaking of females not only are the male Rufous hummingbirds here in abundance, but the females have arrived.

and I think I'll finish off with this evening view.  Happy Easter everyone!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Heading north....

Has planned for this posting to be done last night, but never quite made it so am doing it early this morning...

The day started out with a familiar sound over head....

Trumpeter Swans, heading north!  I stood and watched them with tears in my eyes.  I have no idea why I always get so emotional when I see them leaving.  Maybe it is because they always sound so excited or maybe it is the pagan in me celebrating the fact that despite mans worst efforts, nature continues on it's natural course.

so continuing along in that theme, the next item of the day was spotting the first White-crowned Sparrow of the season.  No doubt it's cousin's the Yellow-crowned and maybe even a White-throated, won't be far behind.

it was another beautiful day.  Mother nature seems to be trying to make amends for all that rain and gloom we endured earlier!

Although there were a number of birds around on our walk, not many were co-operative for decent pictures.  American Robin of course like to pose.

in fact I spent an enjoyable amount of time sitting taking photos of a pair of them working over the lawn beside my place.

I had actually been trying to get a picture of one of the Townsend's Chipmunks that are running around all over the place at the moment.  This species of chipmunk is only found on the west coast and tends to be a bit larger and darker in colour than it's interior counterparts.

Varied Thrush are still with us although they will quietly disappear over the next month as the snows melt and they head higher into the mountains or further north for the breeding season.

My evening walk resulted in the above photo of a Pacific Wren (formerly called 'winter wren').  this little guy was busy climbing over a wood pile looking for bugs.

I'd also noticed this Song Sparrow acting strangely like it was thinking of nesting under that clump of grass on top of a piling....surely not!

and speaking of Song Sparrows acting strangely, this one was determined to get to the suet today!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Two season firsts!

No pictures today, the mid-day walk was cut short and nothing much to talk about but took myself for an evening walk and I'm glad I did....first of all there were 50 to 60 Tree Swallows flying around over head, nice to see those sort of numbers!

The more exciting finds though were first hearing the first hummingbird of the season, at least the first for me, several of my friends and neighbours have had them at their feeders as has my daughter on Vancouver Island...and  the other sighting was the first Yellow-rump Warbler of the season, a male.  

Monday, March 25, 2013

Beautiful Day!

What a beautiful day!  We almost reached the teens, temperature wise....definitely the warmest day so far.

So we'll start out with a view of clear blue skies and gradually greening grasses.

You'll really have to peer at this picture to spot the bird, but it was one of those little Bushtits.  there were a few around, perhaps checking out nesting sites, remember a pair built a nest quite close to the trail a couple of years ago.

Speaking of nesting sites, there were I don't know how many Tree Swallows flying around the pilings today, and this European Starling standing guard over this particular one.  Starlings are cavity nester's just like swallows, Chickadees, Woodpeckers etc.

Now for a bird you can actually see.....a Song Sparrow of course, they'll be nesting soon if they aren't already.  They nest on the ground at the bases of shrubs so keep yourself, your kids and your dogs on the trails!

This pair of Spotted Towhee will be nesting soon too and they also build their nests on the ground.

another not great photo but taken because it is rather unusual to have a Northwestern Crow perched in a tree but that is where this guy was.  I imagine checking out possible nesting sites.

another unusual sight at the log bay today, at least at this time of the year, a Mew Gull.  I think this is a second year bird.

managed to catch this pair of Canada Geese in flight....

quite a few Mallards around (by the way, pictures aren't as cropped as they used to be as I'm having to do these blog entries right from the blogger site and I don't seem to still have the cropping option.

the Bufflehead  are still here too, you can almost see the purple sheen on the males head in this photo.

Purple Finch numbers are increasing now with the more seasonal weather....and lastly

Mourning Cloak Butterflies were out, this one soaking up the sun on a landscape tie.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Goose pair

No pictures today, just didn't get anything worth posting but did want to mention that I had been thinking we should be seeing pairs of Canada Geese showing up in quiet areas, looking for nesting sites and sure enough, today I saw the first pair.

A lot more ducks around today, perhaps because they were sheltering from the wind that continues to blow.  There were Mallard, Bufflehead, Green-wing Teal and a pair of Hooded Merganser.

Weather wise it has been an interesting day, we've had sunshine, but we've also had precipitation and when it comes down it is in the form of snow pellets.  At least it isn't rain!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013


Wanted to do a posting today in honor of it being the first official day of spring but oh my!  The weather has been horrendous.  My daughter on the island tells me it is sunny over there and I see now that the wind is picking up and the rain has stopped so I guess better weather is on it's way.

We did do a very quick walk just to the boat launch and wouldn't you know it, birds we don't normally see lately were there.....the little Bufflehead crew had increased to 7 but there were also 4 female Common Merganser, a Great Blue Heron was flying around squawking, a Belted Kingfisher was 'rattling' and a Red-tail Hawk was circling over pictures of course!

The pictures I will post (again unedited and taken through the window) are this female Red-shafted Northern Flicker....

and a back view of this male hybrid....

in this view of the male you can see he has quite 'golden' coloration...

there is that 'eye-browed' Steller's Jay again....

I'm still waiting for my first Hummingbird.  Two neighbours now have reported they've had hummers at their feeders, one for sure was an Anna's, not sure about the other one.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Flickers right on schedule

First I'm going to apologize for the quality of the pictures in this post.  I am still having problems finding a photo editing program that works or at least that this computer these pictures are as they came from the camera and since they were taken through double pane glass they are't great....

but I wanted to show that the migration of Northern Flickers is right on schedule.  This is the time of year when we are most likely to see hybrids like this fellow that was at the suet yesterday.  He has the red mustache of the red shafted and the red 'v' on the nape of the neck that the yellow shafted has, also his under wing colour was a sort of orange, a cross between 'red' and 'yellow'

This is a closer look at him as he checked out the Black oil sunflower seeds before moving to the suet.  Today I've seen a normal (for us) red shafted female but I've put another suet feeder out in a more obvious location in hopes of attracting a pure yellow-shafted as well.

The suet has certainly attracted just about everyone else.  This Dark-eyed Junco was determined to get at the suet.  It took a number of tries before he ended up flying on top of the cage.  Junco's are another species now migrating through, they are everywhere!  Will be on the look out for any of the 'piebalds'.

The numbers of Red-wing Blackbirds are decreasing but there are still lots around and they enjoyed the suet as well.

Even the Spotted Towhee were trying to get in on the act.  I never actually saw one make it to the cage but they picked up any crumbs below.

of course you can't keep Steller's Jay away from suet.  Look carefully at this guy which is one of our normal pacific coast Steller's jay.....

and then look at this one.  See the white 'eye brow?' that is a marking seen on the jays that are normally further north and over to the east by the Rocky Mountains.

With spring just 2 days away (believe it or not based on the weather which has become rather cool and unsettled) one has to keep one's eyes open as you just never know what you will see!