Saturday, November 29, 2014


What a crazy 'not yet winter'!  First the rain....

which, when it finally ended, has brought water levels up to spring flood levels!  Again, most of these photos have been taken by my husband.

here is another one....these were taken on November 28th....a day coincidentally when record high temperatures were being set all over the place.

I did get out for one walk once the rain stopped...

and managed this photo of a Bald Eagle perched in the top of one of the Cedar trees in our complex.

Now, skip forward 24 hours .....

back to the log bay...yes, that is ice...we now are setting low temperature records....

there are wicked outflow winds which is what is driving the spray that is coating everything and then freezing.  They say with the wind chill it is close to minus 20 and I must say that when I ventured out for a short walk, I've braved a lot of outflow winds here, but that was the coldest I've ever experienced.

No doubt, because of the bitter temperatures, our feeders have been very busy...

visitors included this male Purple Finch...first one I've seen for a while.

the Anna's Hummingbirds are lined up at the feeder.....

and a lot of birds, like this female Varied Thrush were taking advantage of the sunshine in a sheltered spot to thaw out and warm up a bit.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Never ending rain

Between this never ending rain and other obligations I haven't managed to get out for a walk yet this week, so these photos are courtesy of my husband, taken while walking our two dogs whenever the rain lets up enough to just be 'rain' and not torrents!

all this rain is, of course, bringing water levels back up but there is no shortage of...

Bald Eagles.....they are everywhere right now.  Crossing the highway 7 bridge over the Harrison River yesterday the trees on both sides of the river were full of eagles.

these ones were lined up along the park.  

also, hanging out at the park has been this Trumpeter Swan family, adults and 3 youngsters.

If weather forecasts are right, this heavy rain, dark and low cloud should move out on Friday so maybe I'll actually get out that day.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Eagles galore....

Once again I'm a day late.  Have no intention of venturing out there today in the pouring rain so will share photos from yesterday when there were eagles everywhere!

started out by spotting this group of four perched just behind one of the residences in our complex.

looked over and saw the 'eagle trees' by the park's viewing platform were well populated too.

passed by this Great Blue Heron and a couple of female Common Merganser.....

masses of ducks as well.  Have seen, besides the Common Merganser, Hooded Merganser, Mallard, Northern Pintail, American Wigeon and Bufflehead.

there were also a number of swans out there.  I'm not sure if they all were, but there were definitely at least a few Tundra Swan among them.

and of course there were more Bald Eagles at the log bay over seeing the whole place.

and yet more in the 'eagle trees' down off of the golf course.

here is a close up of one of the juvenile birds that are around.  

it was also very gratifying to see that the trees along the edge of the estuary directly behind our complex are reaching the age where eagles can make use of them too.  We counted over 50 of them in this area alone.

Now not an eagle but note worthy because they are a species we don't often see right in this area....

House Sparrow!  This is an introduced species that people love to hate.  They are usually associated with shopping mall parking lots and other man made areas so I'm not sure it is a good thing they have suddenly shown up here as we've always prided ourselves in being 'rural' and natural enough so as not to attract them.  Sadly that appears to no longer be the case.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

A day late

Didn't get down to the estuary at all today, but didn't get the report from yesterday's walk done last we are a day late.

lots of activity out there!  In fact an phenomenal number of ducks of pretty much every description including lots of Northern Pintail.  Here a Bald Eagle flew over part of a flock, the eagle has no interest in hunting ducks right now, but the ducks don't know that so they all take off momentarily before settling them again.

there is a sample of some more of those masses of ducks.  The activity wasn't just out on the water....

all along the trail there were little birds scratching and feeding....Song Sparrows like this guy, but also Spotted Towhee and Dark Eyed Junco.

Even spotted this Ruby-crowned Kinglet!  

and there were masses of Red-wing Blackbirds over at the log bay.

this Northern Harrier was also seen coursing over the grasslands.

and of course there were Bald Eagles over looking the whole area.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Now that is more like it!

We're back to normal here at the estuary.

The water is now back where it belongs.  Notice the ice.  That is where the water was yesterday morning!  Incredible how quickly it has receded.

and look out there - Bald Eagle galore!  Along with masses of gulls and ducks of every description.

and there are some more.

there was also a Great Blue Heron fishing at the edge of the grass.

and we'll toss in one more Bald Eagle.  There were quite a few perched in trees all along the shoreline.  Should also mention that there was a Northern Harrier out there coursing over the grassland, now that there are grasslands again.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Successful Eaglefestival

Well the main weekend of this years Fraser Valley Bald Eagle Festival is over and done with and if success is measured by the number of people attending, then this must have been the most successful yet....

at our site alone we had just under two thousand people over the two days.  

That high water that we still had as late as Friday, suddenly dropped like someone had pulled the plug in a bathtub.....

Not sure how well the habitat held up under the onslaught of people.  Fortunately temperatures remained cool so hopefully the ground was frozen enough to have not turned into a quagmire.

Haven't heard the official count for today but yesterday's was 493 Bald Eagles and 43  Swans....far less than normal but numbers of both seem to be climbing daily...

they just look like fly specks in this picture but there was a kettle of at least 50 Bald Eagles way up high around noon today....

and Trumpeter Swans continued to arrive.  The next few weeks should be interesting around here!

Friday, November 14, 2014

Ready for Eagle Festival

Well we're ready for Eagle Festival.....

if you are coming out, dress warmly....yes that is ice there on the water.  As I mentioned last post, the viewing tent that is normally down here won't be here this year due to the continuing high water, which is going down finally, but not enough for this weekend.

These Mallards were swimming in the tent site today....

while this male Common Merganser swam by.  There were quite a few eagles riding the thermals today, there just aren't many places for them to perch down low yet, but at least they are around.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

No viewing tent

It's official - for the first time in the history of the Bald Eagle Festival there will be no viewing tent at Tapadera Estates. 

and this, of course is why.  Don't know how but water levels were even higher today then they were yesterday.  The spotting scopes etc. that have always been at Tapadera will now be at Sandpiper Golf course.  Everything else will continue as normal at Tapadera, the talks will still there, there will be food and a fire to warm up at and  of course Sonsie the Bald Eagle from O.W.L. will be there as well.  

Anyone planning on coming out this weekend, dress accordingly!  It is frigid out here.  That was the water out on the estuary today - looks more like an ocean!

The conditions out there in the open is why there is all sorts of waterfowl sheltering in this bay, including a number of....

Swans....I couldn't tell what type as they were all sleeping although the youngsters look really dark so I'm thinking they might be Tundra rather than Trumpeter, there were more swans way over, barely visible.

lots of Canada Geese and assorted ducks out there too....

including these Mallards which were right in our boat launch.

Today was the first count day for the new season of Project Feeder Watch....

and I was thrilled that the first species I noticed this morning were these Eurasian Collared Doves....the first year we've had them after 17 years of counting.  Other species seen today were Steller's Jay, Spotted Towhee, Song Sparrow, Anna's Hummingbird, Red-wing Blackbirds, and Dark Eyed Junco.  Of course the Chickadee's and Flicker that were here yesterday didn't put in an appearance today, but maybe they will tomorrow as you count for two days each week.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Here comes winter....

So my last post I pointed out how warm it was.  Now it seems we are having a one eighty reversal and winter is blowing in....and I do mean 'blowing'!

here is the boat launch this'll note that the water level is still high.  Site of the viewing tent is out by that little island of grass in the middle of the wet path.  Even if the water does drop it is going to be a mucky mess out there.

drove up past the estuary - there had to be a hundred or so Canada Geese and numerous ducks sheltering in among the grass's along here but no where to pull over for a photo.  About 20 eagles were seen riding the thermals over the hillside around noon, no where near the 50 or 60 you'd expect this time of the year, but more than we've seen.  This weather should help send some south although the bulk of the population are probably in Alaska and this winter blast is supposed to avoid that area.

The weather has encouraged a few swans to show up though.  This morning they were just off of our boat launch but flew before I could get a sight line.  We found them later....

just off of the far point in about the only sheltered area on Harrison Bay....

there appeared to be about twenty of them all together.  I think they were all Trumpeter swans but really too far off to get a good look.  More should be showing up soon I would think as they are about two weeks later than normal. 

We went for a walk along the dyke at Kilby.....had forgotten it was a holiday and the place was packed - quite a few people camping too.  

these pictures just don't show how rough the water is out there or how hard the wind is blowing, and this, apparently, is only the beginning.  In conditions like this you simply can't expect to see much in the way of birds.

one of the resident Bald Eagles was over working on the nest - typical of this time of the year.

the other one was sitting way out in the middle of this very green farm field.