Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Last day of 2014

The last day of 2014 and it was another nice one....

getting to be a bit more ice out there!

It was kind of interesting today, got photo's of a couple of birds that aren't usually quite so cooperative...

the first was this European Starling....had obviously just had a bath and was sitting preening in the sunshine.

The starling wasn't the only one who had been bathing....Red-wing Blackbirds were also scattered about.

with this almost adult Bald Eagle supervising the bathing site.

then over at the log bay a Common Raven.  We see and hear raven on almost a daily basis but not usually this close.  The attractant obviously was the remnants of somebodies duck meal - I mentioned yesterday how the eagles are in hunting mode now the salmon supply is depleted.

there is no shortage of ducks out a bunch of Mallard with one female Gadwall leading the way.

some female Common Merganser and a male Northern Pintail in the back....

a bunch of Green-wing Teal in the background....and somehow I managed to miss American Wigeon.

so ends a rather strange year here at the estuary.....wonder how 2015 will work out?

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Cool clear end to the year...

With just one day left in 2014, we are ending with another stretch of sunny cold weather.

This morning the out flow winds we had all night died off so it was very pleasant to go for a walk.

This Great Blue Heron was back lite by the sunshine.

ducks, ducks and more ducks warming up in the morning sunshine.

a scattering of swans and Canada Geese were out there too.  Later in the day a very large flock of geese were in one of the farm fields on the south east side of the estuary.

This young Bald Eagle was one of a few over looking the scene.  It is obvious that the salmon are gone now as the eagles are getting serious about hunting, a scattering of feathers in one spot was evidence that a gull had been somebodies meal.  

There weren't too many small birds evident and the reason why came flying straight down the trail towards us, not sure if it was a Sharp-shin or a Coopers Hawk.

Later in the day we had to run into Agassiz.  Seeing swans in the farm fields in Agassiz is not unusual but seeing as many as were there today is.

we estimated that there were between four and five hundred swans there.  

the majority were Trumpeter Swans, but there were a few Tundra as well as the bird on the right shows.  

and just because it is still such a novelty...

here is another of those Anna's Hummingbirds, still happily out there in minus temperatures.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Christmas and Boxing Day

We got out for a walk on both Christmas Day and Boxing day...

with Christmas being the nicer day, at least in the weather department.  There was even a little bit of sunshine!  Of course that also meant there were more people out walking, so less in the way of birds although this Great Blue Heron didn't seem the least bit perturbed by people walking by.

both the bird and the sunshine cooperated to provide one of the better heron photos I've taken!  There were quite a few swans out there, again sounding suspiciously like Tundra's but too far away to tell for sure.  Not a lot of eagles, probably due to all the activity.  There was a large flock of Golden-crowned Kinglets in one spot but that was about it.

as we headed home, spotted the pair of Eurasian Doves on our roof.  There just seems to be the one pair around this winter although there are a bunch not that far away over in Kilby.

and even though this isn't a great photo, I do have to post it because having Anna's Hummingbirds around at Christmas is still a novelty.  This is one of last years young, there is a female coming to our feeder as well as a couple of young.  Haven't seen the male for a little while now but I'm sure he is around somewhere.

Today, Boxing Day, hasn't been quite so nice weather wise, although still dry....

hard to see but there is snow on the tops of all the surrounding mountains making it look a bit more like one expects it to look in winter.

these are just some of the Mallard ducks that were in the log bay as we approached.  There were also a couple of female Hooded Merganser with them, but missed getting a picture.  Lot's of ducks of all sorts out there, also swans, counted over 30 of them scattered about out on the water and confirmed....

that they are indeed Tundra Swans.

This shot shows quite clearly the yellow on the bill up close by the eye.

Probably, because the weather was so dull and cold we had the park to ourselves today and were the birds reveling in that!  I don't think I have ever seen as many Song Sparrows, Fox Sparrows and Spotted Towhee at one time as I did today.  They were everywhere!

at one spot there is a small Pacific Choke Cherry tree that still had a little bit of fruit on it and there was a steady stream of birds coming and picking what was left.  Here a Spotted Towhee....

here, although it is hard to see, a Song Sparrow had a mouthful....all proof of the importance of leaving our native trees and shrubs to grow and flourish....something I've stressed over and over!

Of course I'd better end off with a

Bald Eagle....this one a juvenile....we seem to be getting into the time of year when you see more young ones than adults although there are still quite a few of both still around.

Monday, December 22, 2014

First full day of winter

Today being the first full day of winter, thought we'd get out and see what was around.

did a quick run up along the can see that water levels are still higher than they should be, but are going down.  There wasn't much in the way of birds along here, could see Swans way out and there were a few Hooded Merganser and that was about it.

drove over to Kilby and Harrison Bay and were thrilled to have the place completely to ourselves.  That doesn't happen very often.  The campground is open all winter and we've noticed a lot of people come out for a picnic, having a campfire and just enjoying the day.

This Bald Eagle was perched right over head when we parked the car, and was still there when we left.

There were a lot of Scaup ducks out on the water, whether Lesser or Greater I really don't know.  A trio of Double-crested Cormorant flew by but didn't manage a photo.

here we are looking up the Harrison River....a lot more water and a lot less beach than there was this time last year!

Went up on the dike ....

and were thrilled to see that the gate that is usually locked across it was wide open, so we were able to walk further than we ever have before.

saw a number of Song Sparrows.....

quite a few eagles perched in trees all along the edge of the river, including this juvenile...

this Loon, I think a Common but am wondering about that now I look at it....was on the river at the point we turned around.

in another spot there were this group of Mallards, swimming in formation.  

When we got back to the parking area it was one of those times when there were so many birds of so many types it was impossible to take them all in....

this Black-cap Chickadee was the only one I barely managed to capture....other species seen were Junco, Steller's Jay, Varied Thrush, Red-wing Blackbirds, Starling, a Hairy Woodpecker, a couple of Northern Flicker and who knows what else!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Unusual season continues

The unusual season continues....

the water levels are slowly dropping but still up over the grasslands so no walking over to the park.  Monday was the day the Christmas Bird Count was done in our area, haven't seen any reports on what were found but did talk to the counters when let them into our complex and they hadn't seen anything too exciting or unusual at that point, which is pretty much the way it has been.  

Lot's of Bald Eagles perched in trees, mainly because there isn't any where else for them to be.  No flats to loaf on this year!  

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Just a lot of water

Haven't been posting much because there just hasn't been a lot of change.  This is the most unusual season we've had since I started doing this.  Every time the water starts to drop down and things seem to be getting back to normal, something happens that is anything but normal.  Last posts we had ice all over, then we got warm rain, it melted all the snow that had been in the hills and consequently we were back to high water.  Now it is on the way down again, but still high.

Headed over to Kilby today....

sunny but chilly and very, very quiet bird wise.  

the cornfield beside the dike had a bunch of Killdeer in it, almost impossible to see until they moved - there are at least 4 in this picture.

The Red-wing Blackbird flock was there as well...

this one has a corn kernel in it's bill.  It is kind of amazing that they are still finding corn in the few stalks left around the perimeter of the field, considering the numbers of birds feeding on them.

This 4 year old Bald Eagle was perched right beside the road as we headed back our way.

We then drove up Morris Valley Road where large numbers of ducks and swans were sheltering.  Earlier the sun had been shining on this area and the swans (mainly Tundra) were in close but all parking areas were taken up with 'photographers', so wasn't able to get any photos.

Tomorrow is the Christmas Bird Count in this area, hopefully all these waterfowl will still be here to be counted.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

5 days later....

How things change in just a few days!  Such a strange 'not yet even winter'!

this was the scene on the 3rd of the month...water levels dropped way down but sheets of ice remained all over the grasslands.

and of course there were Bald Eagles feasting on the salmon that were showing up as the water disappeared.

Fast forward to today....

no more ice and the water back where it should be this time of the year.  There were a lot of Common Merganser, Bufflehead and Mallard in the water in this area, although a bunch flew as duck hunters were also out there today.

on the way down to the foreshore I managed some photos of this male Anna's Hummingbird.  Of course the only one I got showing the beautiful magenta colour of the head wasn't in focus - but this is one of the best photos I have of these guys yet.

After lunch we decided to take a drive over to we drove I spotted this....

Northern Pygmy Owl, perched on a branch, right over the road!  Wondered how many people drove right underneath it without even noticing.  

not a lot of activity out on Harrison Bay today...possibly due to a couple of boats that kept running up and down...

Noticed a couple of Bald Eagles....this guy had been busy preening...

and there were probably several hundred Red-wing Blackbirds along the edge of the cornfield adjacent to the dyke...

and at the other end there were these Eurasian Collared Doves perched on the railway bridge.