Friday, November 25, 2016

November 2016, American Bittern, Barred Owl, Gray Flycatcher, Bushtit, Downy Woodpecker, Yellow-crowned Night Heron

This month the Bittern returned to its fishing spot at Willband and a Grey Flycatcher turned up in Glen Valley.  There were very few days where it never rained and as a result, photographic opportunities were not ideal.  Here is some of what I did manage to capture.
The Bittern at Willband ponds sensed my presence and went into its hiding pose.
It walked along the shoreline and I followed on the trail.  It turned toward me and gave me a territorial warning.   
With its feathers still a bit ruffled, it continued its  shoreline stalk.
A Downy Woodpecker at Willband.
It preened while the rare sun warmed it up.
Last month I had a Barred Owl at the Great Blue Heron Reserve.  This month one appeared at Mill Lake.

This was my favourite shot.  I think the best pictures include some of the environment.
Sumas prairie always produces Red-tailed Hawks but not many pose long enough for a picture.
While in Houston last spring we killed some time at a local reserve (Sheldon Lake State Park).  Yellow-crowned Night Herons were plentiful there.  I forgot to include this with the blog at that time so I thought I would include it here.
The Whiterock pier had a lot of activity in November.  Bonaparte Gulls were feasting on a huge school of tiny fish.
Surf Scoters were also at the pier.
A Gray Flycatcher was found in Glen Valley this month.  Many birders got an opportunity to view this rare (for this area) bird.
 A farmer was dumping manure in a field and it attracted insects which, in turn, attracted the Flycatcher which attracted me.
This Bushtit was just a little too far away for a great picture but the opportunity was there.
A Golden Eagle was on a sandbar at Nicomen Slough.  It was eating a salmon while a young Bald Eagle became impatient.
The annoying youngster was chased off.
It wasn't long before the juvenile returned and was joined by an adult Bald Eagle.  They waited for a share, not daring to upset the Golden.
Back off Baldy!!
I warned you.
Finally the Golden was satiated and walked off.  This was an invitation to the waiting throng to move in.  The squabbling began.
The Golden seemed indifferent to the spectacle the Bald Eagles created as they fought over the scraps.  He watched for about 5 minutes.  Notice the full crop on the Golden. 
Thinking it was being attacked from above, a Bald Eagle flipped over to repel an attack.
It finally had enough of the scene and flew into the trees.
Bald Eagle. The salmon are spawning this time of the year and they always attract a convocation (I looked it up) of eagles.
Here is a shot of Mount Baker from Mill Lake on one of the few sunny days in November.

End of this blog.  Scroll down for previous blog.

Monday, October 31, 2016

October 2016, American Bittern, Green Heron, Barred Owl, Heerman's Gull, Wilband Ponds Abbotsford

We didn't find many different species to photograph this month but some of what we did find presented some exceptional opportunities.  
Harrison Hotsprings lagoon had a pair of Pectoral Sandpipers at the beginning of the month.  The front one is brighter and slightly smaller than the other.  This indicates it is a bird hatched this year.  The adult is paler.

On Oct. 12 Dian and I discovered an American Bittern at Wilband Ponds here in Abbotsford.
Usually secretive, this bird was very obliging as we observed it fishing while we stood on a bridge.
In over 20 years of birding we have never had an opportunity like this.
A mink made a sudden appearance which prompted a defensive pose.  Unfortunately I couldn't get both in the shot.
The Bittern was reluctant to leave because the fishing was very productive.
Heerman's Gulls are not common here.  There were a few at Point Roberts.
Heerman's breed in the Gulf Of California and a few make their way up the west coast.
An American Dipper provided some entertainment at Harrison Lake.
The Dipper moults its feathers all at once, like a duck.  This makes it flightless for a short period.
Green Herons are commonly seen at Wilband.  They can apparently swim quite well due to a partially webbed pair of toes.  
Here is a close-up of a Green Heron's toes showing the little bit of webbing.  Makes one wonder if the toes were completely webbed at some time during their evolution.
Pied-billed Grebes are common at Wilband.  Grebes eat large quantities of their own feathers.  This acts as a sieve to prevent potentially damaging prey parts from entering the intestines and damaging them.  The resulting pellet is then regurgitated.
We know Owls are seen regularly at the Great Blue Heron Reserve in Chilliwack, but this is the first time we have seen one there.
This is a Barred Owl.
Barred owls are not a favourite of birders as they are believed to be responsible for the decline of other Owl species.
The Barred Owl is originally a bird of the east but during the 20th century, has spread into the west. 

This a picture taken from the bridge where I photographed the Bittern at Wilband.

End of this blog.  Scroll down for previous blog.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

September Pictures 2016 Pika, Sooty Grouse, Gray Jay, Manning Park, Lark Sparrow

Although we travelled to the Kootenays and Lilloett we didn't get many pictures of wildlife this month.  An overnight trip to Manning Park at the end of the month garnered a few shots of the local fauna.  I went alone as Dian didn't want to camp overnight in the cold weather and it was cold.  I registered 2 degrees celsius in the trailer in the morning.  I was sleeping with a comforter and down sleeping bag over that.  I was quite comfortable as long as I didn't stick my head out to far.  If it would have been any colder I am sure I would have froze some water lines. The daytime temperatures were in the mid teens and the sun felt warm.  It was a beautiful time to be up there.  I did see 1 bear and 2 deer which didn't present favourable photo opportunities.

Glen Valley, close to Fort Langley, had a Lark Sparrow for a few days at the beginning of the month.  This is a rare bird for this area but common on its regular patch.
Sometimes on migration one finds birds out of their regular habitat.  Such was the case with this female Brewers Blackbird up on the Manning Park Lookout.

 Canada Jay, Whiskey Jack, and Camp Robber are names associated with the Gray Jay.  Fossils of this bird have been found that have dated back over 18,000 years.

A Cascade Golden-manteled Ground Squirrel looks like a large chipmunk.  This rodent is found only in the Pacific Northwest and will be hibernating soon.    The chubby cheeks indicates it has had a successful forage on a rock scree in Manning Park.

Manning is a great place to find cute Pikas.  They are lagomorphs-the same family as rabbits.  They don't hibernate but spend the winters under meters of snow.   

This Pika is busy adding to its "haystack" deep within the talus slopes. This will nourish it through the winter.  If it runs out of food it will eat its own, and others, feces 

There are 2 species of Pika in North America and 29 species world wide.  This one (scratching its ear) is the American Pika.  We have also seen the other species (Collared Pika) high on Surfbird Mountain, just south of the Arctic Circle.

Manning Park is believed to be an overlapping range with the Sooty Grouse and Dusky Grouse.  It is not easy to distinguish between the 2 species but most likely this is a Sooty.
I drove up to the lookout at Manning at dusk to see the sunset.  The golden leaves of this tree were blurred by a sudden breeze as I focused.

One last sunset shot.
And now for something completely different.   With the visit of the Royal Family here, I was looking at Prince George and had that nagging feeling he reminded me of someone.

And then I was watching the emmies and Louis Anderson solved my problem.  It's probably just me.

End of this blog.  Scroll down for previous blog.