Sunday, September 27, 2015

September 2015 pelagic trip, Long-billed Syndrome, Sooty and Dusky grouse. Bear and falls

An eclectic collection this month.  The highlight being a pelagic trip out of Uclulet on the west coast of Vancouver Island where the rain was pounding, the wind was raging and I was up-chucking a meager breakfast overboard in hopes of attracting some rarities.
I sent this picture to Falcon Research in Washington.  Bud Anderson there said it was probably the worst case of Long-billed Syndrome he had seen in a Red-tailed Hawk.  The yellow eye indicates juvenile and it is amazing how the beak has deformed in such a short time.  He said they still do not know what causes this.
It caught a vole but had a difficult time dissecting it.
I captured these grouse in Manning Park.  One is a Sooty and the one in foreground may be a Dusky.  Notice the terminal band in the tail.  It may be that upper tail coverts are covering the tail feathers but I can't tell.  The ranges overlap here.
I always have a hard time with Flycatchers but I think Willow Flycatcher is a safe bet here.  Taken Sept 15 at Harrison Hot Springs.
Sooty Grouse at Manning Park displaying separation between primary and secondary feathers.
Finally got a picture of a Ruffed Grouse in the Harrison Mills area.
September 20 (my birthday) was the day we sailed from Uclulet on a pelagic trip.  I believe it was about 40 miles offshore(see the dot on the map)  and as stated earlier, the weather was not nice.  We had about 95 birders on board and many contributed to the chumming by regurgitating over the sides of the boat.  
One of the highlights of a pelagic trip are the Albatrosses.  Here a Black-footed chases a Northern Fulmar.
A Black-footed Albatross soars by.
Northern Fulmars were plentiful.  Here is a dark phase.
A Northern Fulmar light phase.  I believe I personally chummed this one in with a little rolled oats and orange juice.
This Fulmar was developing some new propulsion features.
Pink-footed Shearwaters were plentiful but not so Sooty Shearwaters.  We saw a few Sootys at the beginning but not many later on in the trip.
A Pomarine Jaeger does a fly-by while my camera was set at 100mm instead of 600.
Another record shot.  This time a Sabines Gull.
How many birds can you identify?
Fulmar Frenzy
Here is my personal list of birds seen.  There were more birds recorded but not seen by me on the trip.

Greater White-fronted Goose  X
Cackling Goose  X
Surf Scoter  6
loon sp.  1
Black-footed Albatross  4-5
Northern Fulmar  X     both dark and light phase.  100's
Pink-footed Shearwater  X     over 100
Buller's Shearwater  1
Sooty Shearwater  X
Brandt's Cormorant  X
Double-crested Cormorant  X
Pelagic Cormorant  X
Bald Eagle  2
Pomarine Jaeger  3
Parasitic Jaeger  1
Pigeon Guillemot  6
Rhino Auklet  4
Sabine's Gull  4
California Gull  X
Herring Gull  X
Glaucous-winged Gull  X
Northwestern Crow  X
Common Raven  X

This old, scraggy Black Bear looks like it has a deformed rear foot.   Perhaps the result of a battle or infection.
Here is a wide shot of the bear.  The sun was shining and the wind was nonexistent the day after the pelagic trip.

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Tuesday, September 1, 2015

August 2015

August was a month for young birds learning to survive on their own.  I have included a few common birds this month mainly because I didn't find anything out of the ordinary.
I found 4 or 5 young parasitic Brown-headed Cowbirds congregating together around the Harrison lagoon Aug. 5.  They were socializing with their own species, realizing their adoptive parents were no longer necessary.  It will look like the adult Cowbird below next year, if it survives.

The distinctive barring on the back indicates this is a juvenile Spotted Sandpiper.  An adult in non-breeding plumage would have a plain back.
This is an adult Spotted Sandpiper in breeding plumage.  Spotted Sandpipers practice polyandry like Phalaropes.  The female lays the eggs and the male incubates them and raises the young.
The Mew Gull is common along the Pacific Coast of North America but rare on the East Coast.  It is called the Common Gull in Europe.  This one was photographed at Iona Island.
A Solitary Sandpiper on the left, keeps company with a Spotted Sandpiper at Iona.  While most shorebirds lay their eggs on the ground, the Solitary lays its eggs in other birds nests in trees.

This picture of a Solitary Sandpiper was taken at Liard Hotsprings a few years ago.  It shows its affinity for trees while in the breeding mode.
Juvenile Spotted Towhee Cheam Wetlands.  Next year he will  look like the adult below.

Sanderlings Point Roberts-they are one of the most widespread shorebirds in the world.
This is a Sanderling in breeding plumage.  It was taken in Saskatchewan, May 2006.  I have never seen a Sanderling in this plumage in British Columbia.
The Black Turnstone is on a list of birds most likely to become extinct without significant conservation action.
The Turnstones bill is ideally shaped to turn over stones.
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