Monday, April 25, 2022

White-crowned Sparrows galore!

There are times when you can still be astonished by birds - and today was one of those days.

 this is the time of year when you expect various types of sparrows to move through the area, but never have I seen White-crowned Sparrows in the numbers that have been here today!

everywhere you look there are White-crowned Sparrows.  At one point, our tray feeder had 14 of them in it at one time.

there have been a few Gold-crowned Sparrows in the mix as well.

Another surprise today was over along the river....

a Peregrine Falcon. 

So to bring us up to date since we are about to take off for a week or so....

Osprey are back and busy nest building....

American Goldfinch are back too, although not in great numbers yet.

Red-breasted Sapsuckers have been quite active too.

it seems that Northern Flicker have been more visible than usual too.  Of course our continuing, cooler than normal spring may be changing the behavior of some birds as they hole up waiting to move on.

What is also a little unusual is the water levels....they had started to come up a couple of weeks ago, but have since dropped back to their extremely low level

normally, by now, that path would be underwater!

Monday, April 18, 2022

Some nice days, some not so nice days

This is sure one strange spring!

 We've had some beautiful days (this was back on the 13th), but even the sunny days have been chilly.

there has been more shorebird activity than I recall in recent years.  Lot's of sightings of Greater Yellowlegs Sandpipers.....these on the 14th at the estuary.

here is a contrast....a yellowlegs and a Canada Goose.

Easter Sunday was a lovely day.....everything is greening up nicely

there have been lots of these little guys - Ruby Crowned Kinglets....

and Robins of course

and guess what.....another sandpiper down there.

here is a good close look at a Greater Yellowlegs Sandpiper in breeding colour.

Other days, like today...

aren't nearly so pleasant, although in reality, today was the first really wet day in a while.

we did find some Band tail Pigeons....

and a pair of Common Loon were fishing in the bay - this one in breeding colour....

and this one, not.

An Osprey was flying over the other day, but haven't seen it since.  Heard that a large flock of Ring bill Gulls were in the area yesterday as well, but I missed seeing them.  Did see a pair of Red breasted Sapsuckers yesterday, but couldn't get a picture and I've yet to see an American Goldfinch.  

Tuesday, April 12, 2022

Continuing cool

This unseasonably cool weather continues....but despite that, spring continues to progress...

 walking can be risky business as dark storm clouds move around, you never know if it is going to rain, hail or snow!

you can tell from this Dark-eyed junco's hairdo, that it is also very windy pretty much all the time.

even so the visitors you'd expect right now, are here, like the Yellow-rump Warblers....unfortunately this is the best photo I've managed so far.

lots of these little Ruby-crowned Kinglets as well...

 a couple of Townsend's Solitaire as well....again, unfortunately, not great photos.

Yesterday's walk....

there were a pair of Common Loon (only one in this photo) and a pair of Canada Geese....what this photo shows is just how big loon actually are!

there were also a pair of Greater Yellowlegs Sandpipers on the beach, which is slowly disappearing as water levels continue to rise, albeit very slowly.

and just to prove that yes, it really is spring....a Mourning Cloak Butterfly...

and if you needed proof of the important role the dandelions play in supplying food for the bees....this picture pretty much says it all.  Dandelion patches have been humming!  Speaking of 'humming', the lack of Rufous Hummingbirds is a little alarming.  Very few are being seen.

We are seeing Turkey Vultures....Osprey should be showing up soon.

this is the time of year when there are masses of Dark-eyed junco and occasionally you find one of these Leucistic or piebald ones.

For a number of reasons, we didn't even get for a walk today, but this was yesterday, probably one of the last walks along the beach.....once weather starts to warm, water levels will really start to rise.

Wednesday, April 6, 2022

Some exciting sightings

 Late yesterday the horrible weather finally subsided and we were able to get out for a walk....

and were thrilled to see, at the martin boxes, a small flock of Mountain Bluebirds!  This is the first time in several years that we've seen them here.  They used to be a common sight every spring as they migrated through to the interior.

here is a closer look at one of the males....

and a couple of females....

and the bluebirds weren't the only surprise....

there was a male Yellow-rumped Warbler....and even more surprising...

a Say's Phoebe.....this is only the 2nd or 3rd time I've seen one of these in this area....again, just migrating through to the interior.

lets have another look at the bluebirds....

today was a picture perfect postcard kind of day.....water levels are on the rise 

there continue to be quite a few Northern Flicker around, this one happens to be a mix of yellow shafted and red shafted as he has the red 'moustache' of the Red Shafted, but also showed a faint red V shape on the back of the head, which is one of the typical markings of the Yellow shafted.

and a familiar call alerted us to the first White-crowned Sparrow of the season.  They will be regulars now for the coming months.

Sunday, April 3, 2022

Rain, rain, go away!!!

 Getting very tired of this never ending rain!

we have been able to get out for a few walks when it has just been light rain (or hail)....this was yesterday over at Harrison Bay.

where there continued to be masses of robins....hard to spot them all on both sides of the dyke in this picture, but must have been a couple of hundred....

this Cooper's Hawk certainly had his eye on them, and when he flew it was incredible how many scattered from out of the trees

here is one of the many....

Despite the continuing wet and cold weather....

spring is progressing.....this Red-berried Elder had actual flowers out yesterday while many more are in bud 

and even the Black Twinberries are starting to bloom.

Here was an interesting find this morning.....

it's a crayfish.  We know there are Crayfish in the area but this one was laying on the path through the estuary, probably dropped there by something, possibly a did give an opportunity to get a photo.  It appeared to be barely alive, but we put it down in the water after the photo was taken, just in case it was going to make it.

Friday, April 1, 2022

April - already!

 Seems like we were just greeting March and here it is, April already!  It is funny, it seems like it has been such a cold wet spring so far, and I guess the wet part is definitely true, although we have had breaks in the wet stuff most days so you can get outside, but it has been so cold!  Yet when I compare with last year, it seems everything is about 2 weeks ahead of schedule.

everything is very green!  Canada Geese remain, although not in the numbers they were earlier.

lot's of robins...

every time the weather clears a bit, the swallows show up.  Mainly Tree Swallows, but I'm pretty sure there are some Violet Green in the mix.

a lot of Northern Flickers around right now, with lots of drumming happening.

Band Tail pigeons showed up over in the Kilby area, pretty much right on schedule as they usually show up when the Big Leaf Maple trees are in flower....

Yellow-rump Warblers usually are here by this time too, but so far haven't seen any.  Rufous Hummingbirds remain elusive.  There are a few around and the strange thing is that everyone I've seen or heard has been in bushy areas, no where near garden feeders.

Salmonberries are in full flower now - saw Anna's Hummingbirds feeding from them the other evening.

there is nest building going on too....this Black Capped Chickadee was busy working on excavating a nesting site the other day.

so what can we expect now it is April?  Well the other swallow varieties will show up and a lot of different Sparrows, like the White and Gold Crowned and a few others, just moving through.  Shorebirds should be moving through as well.  The native flowering trees like the Black Hawthorne and Pacific Crabapple are already showing buds, so it won't be long.  We had some Purple finch yesterday for the first time this year, Goldfinch should be showing up soon too....always an interesting time.