Saturday, August 30, 2014

Getting back to normal

It is nice to have the estuary returning to it's normal state....

this was the scene this morning.  We've even had a little bit of rain, something that we haven't seen much of for the last couple of months!  There were a lot of Swallows flying around, most of them appear to be Barn Swallows.

you can just see one of those swallows behind this Great Blue Heron, one of two we saw this morning.  Could hear a Kingfisher as well.

the ducks are returning too.  Mainly Mallard but we've seen some American Wigeon as well.

over at the log bay there was a big mixed flock of....

Pine Siskin and American Goldfinch.

one thing I've noticed is the change in vegetation....I don't recall seeing as many of these Lesser Bladderwort flowers before.  There are a few of these sort of mucky areas right now, perfect habitat for Wilson's Snipe....still trying to catch one with the camera, we did spook one today.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Walk to the park

Today, for the first time since I guess about last April, we were able to walk across the grasslands to the park.

it is a little mucky still in some places but so nice to be able to access the area again!

here is the first bay....apparently a large log got washed into this area during high water...

and the log bay.  There wasn't a lot in the way of bird activity if you don't count the masses of swallows and possibly swifts that were flying around over head.

there had been a large flock of Bushtits just as we started the walk.

and there are a lot of Cedar Waxwing around right now enjoying the bounty of berries.

it might be almost the end of August but there are still a lot of very young baby birds of a number of species.  This one being a White-crowned Sparrow....still in the 'fledgling' and not yet to the 'juvenile' stage.

Yesterday on an evening walk I had seen a large variety of birds so headed out again this evening, of course no two days are ever the same....

tonight the only birds I saw were these....

young Mallard, obviously raised in the area where someone must have been feeding them because they were a little perturbed when I had nothing to offer.

there was also a Great Blue Heron perched a little ways out and a few gull flying around.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Evening Grosbeaks!

Awoke yesterday morning to a call I hadn't heard for almost 18 months - Evening Grosbeaks!  A small flock came to the feeder but then disappeared for the rest of the day so wasn't able to get a photo....but today they have come back several times....

Here is a male feeding a youngster....

here is the young one patiently waiting.  Actually it seems that it should be past the being fed stage.

There have actually been a lot of young birds around considering we are now well past the middle of August.  There has been another American Goldfinch family and today a very young Spotted Towhee....

perhaps the most interesting family is this, one of two fledgling White-crowned Sparrows....

who share a nest with a Brown-headed Cowbird (on left).  One of the parents feeds this cowbird baby while the other one feeds the two sparrow babies.

there are a few young Black-headed Grosbeak still around, the adults seem to have left already.  Saw some really young looking Purple Finch late this afternoon too.

Made it down to the water today, the first time since last Saturday's canoe trip that turned out to not be such a good idea for someone with back issues....

water levels seem to have leveled off, in fact I hear they actually went up a bit.  We haven't seen a drop of moisture here but there has been some heavy rain in the interior and I guess it was enough to influence the water levels for a bit.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Canoeing the Harrison

The Harrison River runs from Harrison Lake to Harrison Bay and ultimately the Fraser River.  

Yesterday morning we set out from the shore of Harrison Lake at 7:30 am.  The weather was calm but cloudy so unfortunately the scenery  wasn't as spectacular as it could have been.

the entrance to the river is just around that point.

Never having been down the river before, I was surprised by how wide it was.  Notice the burned trees on the left side hill - that is where there was a wild fire, started by fireworks, earlier this summer.  You can't see them in the photo but there are hydro transmission wires running right over head so no wonder the concern when the fire was burning.

there are some interesting rock formations along the route (also way more cabins and even elaborate homes than I ever would have expected!)

this Great Blue Heron was one of the few birds we saw.  In fact the lack of life was rather disturbing considering the Sockeye Salmon are supposed to be running.  We saw a couple of Osprey and a Bald Eagle, that was pretty much it.

off in the distance there is the start of what we hope will be the Wildlife Management area.

stopped at this point for a snack can see the river is still really wide.

There is a foot path up this very steep rock - not for me!  At this point you can turn and paddle up through the grasslands to Morris Lake....a side trip we didn't do.  I think this is also the northern boundary of the IBA.

Now the river changes dramatically and becomes very swift.  

To my mind this is the most scenic part of the trip but unfortunately the river is flowing so fast that taking pictures is virtually impossible.  

Took this looking back as we were leaving the rapids and headed across the estuary towards home.

What we didn't expect to see was this.  A shelter of some sort with some comfy chairs inside and attached to this shelter, extending out and right across to the structure that holds Hancock's cameras in season, were fishing nets.  The weird thing is that the water is very shallow here, in fact we ran aground a few times....there were nets all along the river but we've never seen them out here before, so not sure what that was all about.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Some yard birds

Would someone please turn off the heat!!!  Yesterday we spent the day in our shady yard, today it is even too hot for that.  It is inside with the air no photos today but here are some from yesterday....

The Chestnut-backed Chickadees are a constant in the yard all day.  

most of the youngsters are getting the hang of the peanut feeder but a couple of them still prefer mom or dad to feed them.

We could hear a fledgling of another sort....

and eventually this Dark-eyed Junco baby showed up with daddy.

here is another look at the little guy.

Lots of young Steller's Jay out there too.  Other species seen but whose portraits didn't turn out (patio is so shady it is hard to get photos) were:  House Finch, Purple Finch, Goldfinch, Pine Siskin, Spotted Towhee, Song Sparrow, White-crowned Sparrow, Eurasian Collared Dove and some Cedar Waxwing flying around the tree tops.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Turkey Vultures!

Well this morning we set off in the canoe in search of shorebirds....

it was breezier than we would have liked but beautiful non the less.  Here we are sitting right over the path that we'll be walking on by the end of the month if not before, the way the water levels are dropping!

we headed over towards the log jam between the Harrison River and the Chehalis and could see there was lots of activity going on.  It was also getting rougher...taking photos from a bouncing canoe does not lead to clear crisp photographs.

as we got closer we could see lots of Common Raven and.....

Turkey Vultures!  Lots of Turkey Vultures, counted at least 35 of them.  The Sockeye Salmon are running in the Harrison, hence the interest.

thanks to the bouncing canoe none of the really close up shots worked out but this is one of the better ones.

of course we'd set out to see shorebirds and there was definitely lots of 'shore' now but although we saw evidence by way of foot prints and beak probe marks, not a shorebird in sight.

a number of Red-wing Blackbirds though and also some swallows or maybe even swift of some sort, couldn't really ID any of them.  From this point we turned back to wander up the arm of the Chehalis...

quite a few Great Blue Heron, mainly young ones like this guy, were spread around the area.

a lot more ducks too, these were young Hooded Merganser....

up and around the corner were some Mallard....there were flocks of various ducks flying around as well, all very restless and spooky as they tend to be at this time of the year.

the only shorebirds we saw the entire trip were the Spotted Sandpiper that have spent the summer in the area.  It was very quiet for other bird life as well.  Cedar Waxwing were flying back and forth across the river but that was about it.  Perhaps it was the almost gale force conditions that were keeping the birds out of sight.

there were still lots of Canada Geese just about everywhere you looked, most were now finished their molt and able to take flight again.  It was at this stage that the camera went in it's bag and I had to pick up the paddle to help my husband as it took all our strength to fight the wind and make it across the bit of open water to home.  So still no shorebirds.....