Thursday, January 31, 2019

January wrap up

Last day of January already!  Where did the month go?

so here we were this morning at the estuary....high and dry pretty much sums it up.  Not an unusual situation for this time of the year but one of the reasons it has been pretty quiet around here.

not a great photo....but the one species we can count on seeing these days are the Anna's Hummingbirds.  This little male is always on guard in his particular corner.

After lunch ventured over to Harrison Bay.  Despite a few drops of rain as we arrived, it actually turned out to be a pretty nice walk and with virtually no one around for a change, the activity on and around the river was better than it has been for weeks.

but let's start off with this....Pussy Willows!  Didn't see them yesterday, but today, there they were.

the Pileated Woodpecker pair were there.  This is the female.  The male could be heard calling from a large poplar at the edge of the fields.  The Bald Eagle pair were also in that large poplar as was a Red-tail Hawk.  The tree this one is on, is the same one that has the eagle nest up top.

have been seeing quite a few Brown Creeper.  There is a pair hanging about the same area and also have seen them up our way, usually mixed in with Black Capped Chickadees and Gold crowned Kinglets.

Now speaking of Kinglets.....

for almost 2 weeks now we've been seeing Ruby-crowned Kinglets like this little guy.  When I report them to E Bird I get told it is early for them in this area - well yes, I know that, but here they are!

Canada Geese continue to be around in large numbers, probably 300 or more today...

and then there are the Trumpeter Swans....well over a hundred again today, many of them out on the river.

a big surprise was spotting this lump....

out on the log boom....

a River Otter!

just having a snooze!

A bit further along the river....

what is that perched on the cable down there?

a Belted Kingfisher - this one being a male as only the female wears the 'belt'.

So now we wait and see what February brings....sounds like we may actually get a touch of winter - that would be nice to slow things down a bit and get more seasonal.

Saturday, January 26, 2019

Heron's on the Harrison

There hasn't been much in the way of bird activity for the past week or so, just the regulars....

the fields over by Harrison Bay continue to play host to a whole bunch of Canada Geese and Trumpeter Swans.  No doubt there are some ducks in there too although they haven't been very visible.

Guesstimate today was about a 130 Swans and double that number of geese.

The interesting thing today though....

was a bunch of Great Blue Heron perched on this log boom in the river.  This photo only has 5 but there were a total of 9 although a couple were perched on nearby pilings rather than the logs.  We sometimes see herons grouped like this in some of the fields near puddles but this is the first time I recall seeing them on the logs.

Smaller birds have been in short supply....I'm sure they are there, just not showing themselves although today we did spot two....

Brown Creeper and there had been some Black-capped Chickadees in the same area.

Thursday, January 17, 2019

A bit of this and that

It is raining now, but we've had a few really nice days.  Of course in this area, when the weather turns nice in winter it usually means outflow winds coming down the Harrison River and that tends to keep birds hidden....

some that weren't effected by the weather were this growing flock of European Starlings over at Harrison Bay.  The whole time they were either on the ground feeding, or flying about or.....

perched, singing away.

Another species found in large numbers....

House Sparrows!  These were just a few of them.  I couldn't get to the other side without disturbing them.  These guys were in an area near bird feeders....seems this was where most of the song birds where hanging out....

like the Spotted  Towhee......

and Dark-eyed Junco.  There were also Song Sparrows, Steller's Jay, Doves, and even some Gold-crowned Sparrows.

The pair of Pileated Woodpecker were flying around but didn't stop for a picture.  Saw a Downy Woodpecker as well.

not a great photo but don't often see a male Common Goldeneye in close enough for a picture.  One of the very few waterfowl seen.

this fellow was also over at Harrison Bay.  A 'Gray Squirrel' this is the black variant.  Not a native species but I guess you would call them 'naturalized'.

up the other way there have been most of the usual species....including the Anna's Hummingbirds.  This guy was busy singing away this morning, even though it was pretty cool and gloomy out there!

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Beautiful couple of days

What a beautiful weekend!  We've walked to the park twice and also the dike twice.....the walks at Harrison Bay, while lovely, were really lacking in of the main reasons seemed to be duck hunters in the farm fields.  Obviously with permission, but when there are people shooting and dogs running around, no sane bird is going to stick around!

What was surprising (or maybe not considering this unseasonable weather).....

was seeing this Dandelion in flower - and after spotting this one, we noticed several more.  It isn't even the middle of January yet!!!

Also, probably thanks to more duck hunting, there has been virtually nothing on the water or out on the flats but the riparian habitat all along the trail at the park has been alive with little birds.  Unfortunately with the sun still low on the horizon, it is almost impossible to see and especially to photograph birds on the way over, so have to wait and hope they are still there on the way back.

This morning the activity at the log bay was amazing....

this Dark-eyed Junco was enjoying a bit of sun bathing.

there were several White-crowned Sparrows, along with the juncos and song sparrows.  In the tree's around the area there were numerous Steller's Jay, some European Starling, Purple Finch, and Northern Flicker.  A pair of Eurasian Collared Doves disappeared into a cedar tree....I'm wondering if possibly a nesting site as it is about time for those guys to be thinking about nesting again as they do it almost year round.

Anna's Hummingbirds are another species that nest almost year round.  They have been highly visible lately.  This one in an area with lots of Gold-crowned KInglets and Black-capped Chickadees.

With the nice weather set to continue, maybe our next walk over at the bay will be a little more productive.

Friday, January 11, 2019

A walk over at the bay

Have had a hard time finding the time to get out for a decent walk the last few days....and seems that when we do get out, there isn't much to see, but we did manage a walk at the dike yesterday....

was a beautiful day....

and look at this....catkins already!

Not a lot of birds around though....

although all the fields are still soggy and full of waterfowl, including Trumpeter Swans, Mallards, Northern Pintail and American Wigeon ducks.  Also lots of Canada Geese - must have been 300 or more as they were in large groups in several different spots.

there was one Bald Eagle up by the nest, and a couple more around.

What was a surprise....

was a Fox Sparrow - actually there were two of them.  Winter is the time we expect to see these guys, but these were the first I'd seen this 'non winter'.  Couldn't get a picture but there was also a Ruby Crowned Kinglet.  Not sure if it has arrived back extra early or just never left.

a Song Sparrow was there as well.  What is the difference?  Well Fox Sparrows are 'chunky' and have inverted check marks on their breast and a bicoloured bill, while Song Sparrows are streaky all over the place with an all dark bill.  There are other differences as well, but those are the main ones.

Have been noticing that the crows are pairing up already and there was a small flock of starlings around as well.  Back here at the estuary, the Purple Finch are hanging about, still feeding on the Pacific Crabapples, there has been a flock of Pine Siskin seen occasionally, but sticking to the tree tops....and the Robins are still here.  Just can't get used to hearing Robins in the middle of winter!

Friday, January 4, 2019

After the rain

After 24 hours of torrential rain it was nice to get out for a dry walk!  Still kind of dark out there and the water levels have certainly come up again so we didn't attempt a walk to the park, but did get over to Harrison Bay....

there was quite the wind blowing down the river, so not a lot around, but the Bald Eagle pair were busy working on their nest.

it is looking much sturdier now than it did after that last wind storm.

this one isn't part of the pair.  I recall last year we thought that another pair were going to nest in the area and maybe they did, but if so we haven't been able to spot the nest, although they do seem to hang about in the same spot, up closer to the bridge.

the farm fields are pretty soggy after all the rain.  This one had a bunch of Canada Geese in it.  A few Mallard were scattered around and another field had about a dozen swans in it while another had a large flock of gulls.

A couple of Song Sparrow (above) and a female Downy Woodpecker and that was about it, oh and a fairly large flock of European Starling in the tree tops.

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Busy 2nd day of the year

A dull dreary day but at least it was dry and the the park was really active with birds when we headed out for our after lunch walk.

the area by the viewing platform was particularly busy with a flock of 12 or so Purple Finch feeding on the pacific crab apples.  Never easy to get photos of these active birds and when it is dark even harder, but did get this female enjoying a meal.  Amazed at how long the fruit has lasted considering how many birds have been eating it.

Further along,

there were American Robins....keep saying unusual to have so many robins here this time of the year.  There were also a number of Northern Flicker....again, so unusual for so many to be here this time of the year and even more amazing, this morning one was drumming on a roof!  That is an activity you don't expect to witness until some time in March!  A male Hairy Woodpecker was busy here too but none of the photos I tried managed to focus on him as he was pretty deep in a cluster of stems.

over at the log bay there was a lot of vocalization....a couple of juvenile Bald Eagles....

as well as an adult.

this juvenile flew down and hauled this salmon remnant out of the water just below us....

then flew up to enjoy what was there to enjoy.  There were Mallard and Green-wing Teal ducks scattered in the very shallow water off of the bay..

in the bushes a small flock of House lone Dark eyed Junco in this picture but there were actually lots of them throughout the area, also a few Spotted Towhee.  Interestingly enough, didn't see or hear a Song Sparrow today.

on the way back, a few Varied Thrush....think they were mixed in with the robins.  Normally Varied Thrush are one of our more common birds in the winter, but this year they have been scarce.

also a mixed flock of European Starling and male Red-wing Blackbirds, these were just a few of them.

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

It is a New Year!

Guess it was kind of fitting that the very first bird we saw this morning was a Bald Eagle!  Not that it was where we could get a photo.

not the brightest start to the year, but at least it was dry and also very quiet as I guess most of the humans were still sleeping off the night before.

this Great Blue Heron was fishing in the first bay....

accompanied by Mallard and some Gadwall - top 3....hadn't seen too many of them yet this year.  There were also some Common Merganser and one Hoodie.  Lots of Green Wing Teal too.

The bushes around the viewing platform were very busy....

Dark-eyed Junco, but also some Chickadee, Purple Finch and Robins.

a few Steller's Jay too.

After lunch, it was over to Harrison Bay where we were rather shocked by the packed parking lot, turns out there was going to be a Polar Bear Swim.....fortunately everyone stayed near the beach so we had a nice peaceful walk along the dike.

Not much around though....

some Black Capped Chickadees and that was about it for the little guys.  Heard a Downy Woodpecker but couldn't spot him today.

only a few Bald Eagle today.  On Christmas Eve the pair had been working on their nest, but not near it today.

so here we go, the start of another year....what will it bring?