Thursday, April 25, 2013

Red-breasted Sapsucker

Finally a day when we were able to get down to the water!

The water levels have pretty much been at this point for a couple of weeks now.  That should change soon, once temperatures warm up all over the province and snow melt starts to feed the Harrison and Fraser River watersheds.

This adult Bald Eagle was perched out on one of the submerged logs.  He was pretty much the only bird in sight out there.  No ducks or geese to be seen.  I had heard rumors of a large 'white bird' out there, but couldn't see anything.  A few male Red-wing Blackbirds were flying about and I could hear a Black-capped Chickadee calling.  Could also hear two......

Red-breasted Sapsucker's calling and finally spotted this one high up in one of the poplar trees.

here is a slightly better shot of one of these pretty birds - this was taken at Miracle Beach on Vancouver Island during our recent trip there.

Here is another shot of the estuary, looking towards Morris Valley Road....I'm putting it in now as it sounds like I may be off for another week or so, this will give us a basis to compare water levels when I get back.

A number of Tree Swallow were flying about over head, caught sight of this pair perched on a street light.  They are busy searching for nesting sites so if you haven't put up a bird house yet, now is the time!  Haven't seen a Barn Swallow yet but expect they will be showing up soon.

and finally thought I'd put in this picture of a Mountain Bluebird as I guess I missed them when they passed through the estuary, assuming they did like they do normally.  This was taken last week above Vaseux Lake in the Okanagan.  

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Sharp-shin Hawk

So moments after posting the last entry I walked outside to see little birds taking off in all directions as Sharp-shin Hawk swooped through the yard! This event is also allowing me to test the App I just downloaded to my phone. Now if I could figure out how you access the photos in your computer from your phone, I'd have it made.

For the faithful

I thought it was about time I posted something for the faithful few who keep checking this blog every day.  After spending 10 days on Vancouver Island and another 4 up in the Okanagan I haven't had much chance to see anything exciting around here.  The few times I have got down to the water there have been off leash dogs playing, so even if I didn't have a dog with me that disapproves of this as much as I do, there wouldn't be any birds hanging around with all the activity on the tiny little dry spot left.

Water levels are on the rise, although very slowly, thanks to the unseasonable cool weather we've had, but enough that walking to the park is now impossible.

I have noticed that we still have Pine Siskin and that the American Goldfinch are back, along with the Brown-headed Cowbirds and everything is very green and pretty.

To whet the appetite I will post a few of the hundreds of pictures I took on the last trips and that I am slowly working through and will eventually get posted on my 'Birding by Shantz' blog, but considering it sounds like we may be off again next week - that might take a while.

Should also mention to loyal followers to Google 'RV West on line magazine' as am a featured guest as of this morning.

So we were recently at Miracle Beach just outside of Campbell River on Vancouver Island where we had wonderful weather and the campground was accessible for a sensible 'off season' rate - something that ALL provincial park campgrounds should be!

Was surprised to see Townsend's Solitaire there.  Never associated them with beaches before but we saw them every where we stopped.  We should be seeing some of them here as well.  Last year they hung out over at the field for our sewage treatment plant for about a week before moving north.  These robin sized birds eat bugs so not lured to feeders.

Quite a few Black-bellied Plover there as well, some, like the male above, more into breeding plumage than others.  I haven't quite figured out what the smaller shorebirds were yet.

One of the most exciting things was spotting this Marten!  I had been wandering in the campground and was taking photos of a White-crowned Sparrow on one side of the road when I heard some 'scrabbling' sounds behind me.  Looked around and spotted this guy.  The first one I'd ever seen.  We should have these guys around here too.

and one last photo on this brief entry - there were Pink Fawn Lilies growing all along the path beside Black Creek which forms one of the parks boundaries.  I'll have more and better photos on the other blog - eventually!

Friday, April 5, 2013

Abrupt change in the weather

We've had an abrupt change in the weather!  All that sunshine has given way to rain and lots of it and with the warmer temperatures that of course means that the water levels are starting to creep up, not a lot yet but enough to be noticeable.

I'm going to be taking a couple of weeks break as we head out with the camper for a change of scenery.  It isn't an ideal time to be going as we are in the migration and transition stage but go we are, so there won't be any postings now until the week of the 22nd.

Keep watching....Ernie reported a Spotted Sandpiper last night and if there are going to be any shorebirds stopping by this will be the time.  Although I haven't seen any yet I hear that the American Goldfinch have been back for a week or so and the entire Fraser Valley area is inundated with Pine Siskin as they migrate north, to the point that some people are removing their feeders to keep the hoards at bay!  And lastly I don't know how many of you are aware of the Hancock Foundations nest cam on the Bald Eagle nest at Sandpiper Golf Course but I hear there is now an egg in it.  

Keep on birding......see you in a couple of weeks.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

What is with all these gulls this year?

Another beautiful day!  

this was the view from the 'viewing platform' today.  Notice how green everything has gotten all of a sudden!

so we will start off with the head topic.  I don't ever remember so many gulls being seen here at this time of the year before and it seems everyday it is something different.  The one there today I can positively identify, it is a Ring-bill Gull - yellow legs, light eye and a distinct black ring near but not right at the tip of the bill.

while we are at the water's edge, finally managed to get a picture of one of the Killdeer we've been hearing - you can see why they are so hard to spot!

and let's toss in this picture of a Great Blue Heron that I took yesterday evening over at the log bay.

I mentioned them yesterday, but today there were some of these Pine Siskin over at the log bay, not to mention at my feeders.

and here is one of those Band-tail Pigeons that I also mentioned yesterday as having just arrived.

I've also been mentioning the unusual numbers of Northwestern Crows that are around this spring, and today was no exception.  Perhaps we'll end up with a crow nest somewhere in the park.

and we'll end with one of these furry little creatures that are abundant but seldom seen unless you are in our yard in the evening!  It is, of course a Flying Squirrel.  BTW the photo was taken without a flash so as not to damage his (my husband calls him 'Rocky') sensitive eyes.  We have had as many as 4 of these guys in the yard at the same time but this one is very tame compared to the others.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Amazing numbers!

No pictures again but just had to mention a few things.  The first being the amazing numbers of swallows and swifts we are seeing in the evening.  There are hundreds of them.  Tonight was like walking through a snow storm but instead of flakes, they were all birds.  I haven't seen numbers like this since we first moved here.

Earlier today during a quick dog walk I spotted an American Kestrel   We do see Kestrel's here at the estuary occasionally but they are by no means 'common'.

Lastly, the Band-tail Pigeons are back.  I thought they were early but on checking back, they are right on time.  Oh, one more thing, a small flock of Pine Siskin showed up at the feeders briefly this afternoon....first of those we've seen for a while.