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.

End of this blog.  Scroll down for previous blog.


  1. I didn't see you on the boat Len glad you were there and saw many great birds in the storm and rain love the fulmar, albatross and bear shots.

    1. Thanks Mellie. I pretty much stayed in one spot.

  2. Hello fellow West Coast blogger. Found you thru the Yahoo group. You have a lovely blog and beautiful photos of the birds. Off now to take a peek at some more of your posts. :D

  3. Don't blame you with the wind and rain if we moved we might have blown overboard hahah I am very impressed with the quality of your photos I was too scared to bring my camera out in these conditions I did take one of an albatross though. The Skua and Buller's were impossible to photograph and storm petrel but was very nice having the pink footed shearwaters and fulmar and albatrosses and cassin's so close to us almost the whole trip. Thanks again for helping me to relive these memories. Where was the bear taken? its stunning amazing how hardy animals are even with a club foot.

  4. The bear was at the Uclulet fish hatchery. We saw 4 in an hour.

  5. Congrats we had one bear right in town by the hotel a gorgeous spot even in the rain.