Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Last day of a long hot sunny month!

With the month of July setting records for the most hours of sunshine and the driest month ever (although we did get a little bit of rain here while Vancouver, where records are set, didn't) we figured we'd better take the canoe out again for possibly the last time....

there was quit a wind blowing out on the river so we elected to just paddle around in the bay area beside Morris Valley Road...those fence posts show that this area has history other than it's present state.  

There was a bit of cloud cover...and although it looks like there is a lot of water here, in fact it was only a few inches times we were more 'poling' than 'paddling'.

still a few Canada Geese sneaking about and spotted a Pied-bill Grebe but it ducked under the water before I could get a picture.  Four young Mallard and a young Spotted Sandpiper rounded out the marsh type birds....oh and one Great Blue Heron.

made our way up one of the little arms....

there was a lot of bird activity in all the bushes lining the water way but boy were they hard to find...even with binoculars that I actually remembered to take this time!  In this picture there are two young Common Yellow-throat...

the most co-operative bird out there was this young Song Sparrow!  There were a number of Red-wing Blackbirds and from the activity they were still feeding youngsters....perhaps a second hatch or maybe they lost the first batch due to high water.

Cedar Waxwing were the most prolific species out the today...well the second most anyway....

there was obviously a Marsh Wren nest in this location....sorry but this 'butt shot' is the only one I managed as they kept down in the grasses

Heading back we spotted...on that piling....

this pair of Bald Eagles....there was another pair perched on another log further out.

and as for the most prolific species....that would be American Goldfinch!  I don't know how many are in the area right now but the youngsters are out and they are everywhere!  There is one adult male an 3 fledgling in this picture and you can see how well they blend into the habitat!  or maybe one of those babies is something else...a common yellow-throat or even a yellow warbler - hard to say. If it wasn't for the fact that baby goldfinch are very vocal, you wouldn't know they were there!

So good bye July - let's see what August will bring us!  Hopefully some shorebirds.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Back on the water.....

With the continuing sunshine we decided to head back out on the water yesterday....

Just a picture perfect morning for a paddle!

Checked out the 'first bay' - now back to being a 'bay' and what was perched in the 'eagle tree' on the left but.....

a Bald Eagle!  Signs of  things to come!  Actually we saw a total of 5 eagles, during the trip - all adults.

as it was fairly calm and as water levels have dropped a lot, we decided to head further out, over towards the Harrison River...this gives a sense of just how shallow it is out there.

It has been a few years since we've been over here and were surprised to see the large log jam where a branch of the Harrison River cuts through here.  Notice that Geese have been enjoying the newly exposed gravel bars!

Looking back...the bridge across the Harrison River is way off there in the distance.  Bird wise there were some Red-wing Blackbirds, a pair of North Western Crows, a Great Blue Heron and we heard a Marsh Wren and a Robin.  We'd seen a couple of young Common Merganser en-route as well as an Osprey.

We've all heard the expression 'snake in the grass' while this is 'Great Blue Heron' in the grass!

and there are just a few of the Canada Geese that were out there, pretty much finished their molt now.

We were sort of headed up this branch of the Chehalis before we realized it, things look different as the water levels drop.  Wasn't nearly the activity up here that there had been before although all sorts of Swallows were flying about.

came across the pair of young Hooded Merganser again and didn't realize it until i downloaded the pictures that the one in the lead has something, I'm not sure what, in it's bill.

this time there were also some young Mallards in the same spot.  We had hoped to see some migrating shorebirds but perhaps it was a bit early although they should be showing up any time now.

I have to share some photos from the yard as well....

Black-capped Chickadees continue to over run the place, this one getting a drink from the little water feature.

The berries on the Honeysuckle vine continue to attract not only Cedar Waxwing - which pop in, grab a berry and fly off....

but the Townsend's Chipmunk are enjoying the feast as well!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

More babies showing up

Sunshine and blue skies continue - 26 in a row now apparently....

can't quite walk out to the flats yet, but they are getting closer.

Now it is time for Damsel Flies and Dragon Flies to show up....

Canada Geese are still hanging  about out there....

We've been hearing lots of....

Cedar Waxwings lately, but they've been sticking to the tree least one of those above is a baby...  I've also had baby Black-headed Grosbeaks but very elusive when ever I try to sneak out with a camera!

Yesterday there were a number of baby Barn Swallows lined up on the snow guard of this metal roof.  I hope they didn't have to stay there for long as it was HOT!

Black-capped Chickadee families have been almost constant in the yard....

and I just wanted to point out this adult White-crowned Sparrow that I think is one of the parents of the youngsters from a couple of weeks ago...this bird has a deformed beak....the lower mandible is longer than the upper, but besides that, it can't actually close it's 'mouth' - never the less it obviously manages as it has grown to adult hood and even raised a family.  Probably a case where having access to bird feeders has benefited as it might not have been so lucky 'out in the wild'.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Draining away.....

Another week of nothing but sunshine and the temporary 'lake' continues to drain away.

Just a few inches of water left on the lower part of the path ....

We didn't take the canoe out today as the wind continues to whip up, but we did drive alongside the estuary which is now converting back to 'estuary' from 'lake'

in fact the northwest end is now completely back to estuary status...hard to believe this was all water just a couple of weeks ago.

Just a few of the Canada Geese that were visible out there today...all being very quiet as they get through the molt, and therefore unable to take flight stage.

Back at the yard had another family of Black-capped Chickadees this morning, with youngsters still being fed by mom and dad - perhaps they are a second hatch.

Quit a few very scruffy looking Steller's Jay youngsters hanging about too.  Not sure where the adults are, perhaps taking a vacation after family rearing duties.

and speaking of 'scruffy'

I only see one at a time but there are motley looking Red-breasted Nuthatch showing up in the yard and the interesting thing is they are already in the 'storing for winter' mode.

look closely and you can see the sunflower seeds that he/she was hammering into the crack in the bark.  

Noticed these Red-Osier Dogwood berries today....I've mentioned many time what an important role this native shrub plays....birds love these berries.

Monday, July 15, 2013

On the water a week later

With water levels dropping dramatically we decided to take out the canoe again yesterday morning, exactly one week from our first trip....

Started out by taking a quick trip down along the foreshore of Eagle Point Park - which I am told is now water free so you can walk the entire trail.

the 'first bay' is almost a bay again and was full of leaping Cut-throat trout

The viewing platform is just visible in there somewhere (if I've picked the right picture!), most notable were the number of swallows, mainly Tree Swallows, as it seemed at least half of  the nesting boxes on the pilings were still occupied.

Swinging about we were heading to the far shore when we spotted a pair of Bald Eagles...this guy swooped down and grabbed a trout and then took it to this log to eat it.  It is too bad they were such a distance from us but neat to see.

we are now having to travel through fields of green as just how much the water dropped in one week will be apparent shortly...the grass starts growing while still submerged.  

There were a couple of dozen Canada geese out there, in that molting stage where they can't really take off and fly yet.

all of a sudden we saw a large shorebird fly and land on this log.  A Greater Yellow-legs Sandpiper!  Still in mainly breeding colour.  Shorebird migration (southward) does get underway this month but it did seem that this was maybe a couple of weeks early.  Too bad the photo isn't clearer but it was getting rough out there and a bouncing canoe is difficult to take photos from.

Further on, a female Common Merganser with two quite large youngsters....we are used to seeing large rafts of young merganser out there but in two trips these are the only ones we seen.

A young Great Blue Heron, one of several....they are all very skittish at this stage.....

The area that had been so active with Swallows a week ago was still active but with some different birds this week, like this female Black-headed Grosbeak...

and, believe it or not, Brewer's Blackbirds!  In all the years we've canoed out there I have never seen Brewer's Blackbirds.....although a pair have nested in Eagle Point Park the last few years so maybe they are expanding their territory.

now here is a demonstration of how much the water level dropped in 7 days.  ALL that dry shore was under water the previous Sunday.  A good 3 to 4 feet or if you prefer, at least a meter!

the only other bird picture I have is of a Spotted Sandpiper, again not very clear.  By now the wind had really come up so even this sheltered area wasn't 'sheltered'.  The camera had to get put away and it took some really serious paddling to get back home....