Thursday, February 28, 2019

Snow goes February

I'm really not sure where this month of February (the coldest ever in this area, at least since they started keeping records) disappeared to, but it ended much like it has been, with yet another snowfall....

fortunately, this was just a dusting, enough to make everything look pretty.

at least the wind had died today and there were actually a lot of birds, House Finch, Purple Finch, Red-wing Blackbirds, Song Sparrows  etc. etc.  None of them cooperating for photos!

In early afternoon....

we drove over to Harrison Bay.  A flock of about 50 Trumpeter Swans in the field, notice the young ones (on right) are now 'patchy' as they are molting out of their gray plumage to their adult white.

I'm really not sure how many Canada Geese were in the area, between those in the fields...

in flight....

and out on the water.

Not a lot of small birds around.....but it was a beautiful day for a walk....

a flock of American Wigeon flew over and landed on the river, and notice the 3 Double crested Cormorant on the pilings in the background.

this Northern Pintail drake was all by itself on our side of the river, there were more on the other side.

a few Common Merganser, this female posed on a log.

this is one of 2 Great Blue Heron....

and lets end February, the way we ended January, with Pussy Willows.  Let's hope these ones really are a sign of spring.  

Oh and one more thing....

had this visitor at the feeder.  A female Evening Grosbeak.  First one I've seen in probably 8 or 9 months.  Lets hope birds are on the move, after all on the last day of February other years we've seen things like the first Yellow-rump Warbler and even the first Tree Swallow of the season.  Think it will be a while before we can expect to see any of those species yet this year.

Sunday, February 24, 2019

A bit of hummingbird chatter.....

Want to share a bit about a proposed hummingbird study....but first....

it is still winter around here....but if you look really, really, close, there are pussy willows starting on those bushes!

a pleasant surprise this afternoon was this pair of Trumpeter Swans down at the estuary.  Haven'd seen any up this way, at least close up for sometime.

this rather wind blown Bald Eagle was down there too.

and one more before we get the the hummingbirds....

I'm not sure what this is.  There were a small flock of them yesterday but couldn't get a good look as they were always overhead.  Definitely a member of the finch family.  Not a Purple Finch, or a House Finch, possibly a Red Poll but doesn't look quite right.  I'm stumped.

Now, to hummingbirds.  Specifically Rufous Hummingbirds which should be arriving back in about 3 weeks.  For several years now people have been asking where they are as numbers have noticeably decreased.  Now there is going to be a study by the Ministry of the Environment and Bird Studies Canada.  They are looking for sites in the eastern Fraser Valley, I actually contacted them but our location won't work for them.  What they need are isolated areas where there is just one or two feeders away from any others.  In our area there are feeders everywhere and as birds are suspicious of the mist nets that have to be erected to capture them, if there are other feeders around, they will just move to them.  Hopefully, because I have expressed interest, I will at least be able to find out any results from their studies and if I do, will pass the on.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Snow days

The last day of the bird count was a bit of a wipe out due to other factors....then yesterday we had this....

snow....this was in the morning before it really got underway.

there were a couple of Bald Eagles in one of the 'eagle tree's' and may have been more birds but the fresh snow was causing too much in the way of 'snow balls' on my little dogs legs, so we had to head home.

Today......what a difference!

again, we didn't get to the park but we did get over to Harrison Bay in the afternoon...

lots of geese, swans and ducks in the field....

The Canada Geese show up, but Swans are harder to see in the snow....only one Trumpeter in this photo.

and a very few of the Mallards....

spectacular day.....although not much in the way of birds visible...

this one Bald Eagle, a few Chickadees and about half a dozen Song Sparrows....that was it.

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Third day of the Backyard Bird Count

Oh my goodness, this late winter has really thrown a wrench in the birding activities!  Hadn't realized I was that far behind.

So this is the 3rd day of the Great Backyard Bird Count - the world wide bird count.  I guess the best way to do this is just to start posting some pictures and work backwards.....

this was today (February 17th) at Harrison Bay.  A gorgeous day, chilly when the wind blew but almost warm where there was no wind....and look at how low the water is.  Not sure if we've ever seen it quite this low before.  There were a few Canada Geese down at the edge of the water, many more in fields....easily 200 to 300 of them pretty much every day in the general area.

This was an interesting combination on the shore today.  A male Northern Pintail - there are sometimes large numbers of these guys around - and a female Green Wing Teal.  Strange she was there all by herself!

We ventured a bit further afield today, this is the slough at Deroche so no longer in our IBA but normally a real hot bed of bird activity.  Unfortunately this year is is mainly frozen solid!  There were these 5 Great blue heron .....

Where water was open there was so much activity it was hard to see it all, especially from an idling truck on a very narrow road with no shoulders...but you can see in the foreground, a Bald Eagle with a kill and a couple of Northwestern Crows wanting to share, lots of Canada Geese in behind, a few Trumpeter Swans, quite a few Bufflehead ducks and who knows what else!

this was a bit of a surprise!  A Killdeer right at the side of the road.  I guess the sun had thawed the soil enough that it could find some little bugs or worms.

now speaking of Bald Eagles and kills....this was at Harrison Bay yesterday.  This Bald Eagle flew down into a field where a couple of crows had been, grabbed what appears to be a female Bufflehead duck and flew up into the trees.  The duck must have been dropped by somebody because you would never find a Bufflehead in the fields....of course the eagles are in hunting mode now as there are no fish left....the other day one was witnessed grabbing a rat!

the fields have been full of activity....this was yesterday, a Tundra Swan on the far left, lots of Trumpeter Swans, ducks include American Wigeon, Mallard and Northern Pintail.

a bunch of Wigeon here with one lone Mallard...

let's not forget the little birds....some days like today with the wind there were none, other days there are quite a few....Song Sparrows like this guy one of the easiest to spot as they are really in singing mode right now - hoping for spring to return I think!

finally, yesterday morning, I managed to get a decent photo of a Gold-crowned Kinglet!  This was over at the park.  These guys have been around a lot the last few weeks, in fact we saw some over at Harrison Bay today, but they are so active that getting a picture is usually and exercise in futility.  

The snow also brought lots of Varied Thrush.....they had been almost totally absent this winter but now they are everywhere.  Now speaking of Thrush....yesterday I looked out and there was a bird I didn't recognize on a bush in my yard.  It was one of those 'what on earth?!' moments - went to grab my camera and before I could get a picture, it flew.  It was definitely a 'Thrush' but what kind?  The only kind that should be here right now are the Varied....the best I could guess was a Swainson's Thrush but it seemed too small for one of them and besides it is a couple of months early to see them.  For all I know it could have been some real rarity....but haven't seen it since.

Keep hoping that the weather is going to go back to seasonal soon, but doesn't look like it.  Normally I'd be saying that we should be expecting the return of the Robins, except they've been here all along, and that Mountain Bluebirds and Tree Swallows could be expected in the next couple of weeks - but this year - who knows!

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Winter found us

Well it took a while, but winter has found us!  

it started with just a little touch of snow as temperatures dropped steadily throughout the day.

by yesterday, the sun came out but the cold out flow winds made it pretty unpleasant down here by the water.

today the wind had lessened somewhat so it was quite bearable over at Harrison Bay....and I guess all we needed was winter because the amount of waterfowl of all sorts out there was phenomenal.

there is a tiny sample....Trumpeter Swans, Mallard, America Wigeon, just to mention a few.

You can tell how windy it has been by how high the water has splashed up and frozen on anything and everything.

more ice....

not a great picture, but saw Double Crested Cormorant here for the first time this winter.

Tundra Swans here as well as the Trumpeters.  This Tundra family was in close to shore but in an open area where the wind was making it a little cold to stand around and take photos.

First Ring-necked Ducks of the season seen today too, along with more Tundra Swans and some of the hundreds of Canada Geese.

View from the highway.  With similar weather in the forecast for at least the next week, should be lots more icy photo opportunities.