Friday, August 30, 2013

A visit to Vancouver Island and some more shots from Wilband Ponds Aug 17-30 2013

 A bit of a mismash for this blog.  We visited Vancouver Island for a few days but didn't get much birding in.  However a visit to Goldstream Park revealed  the most American Dippers I have seen anywhere in one spot.  (As many as 4 in one pool and 7 in total).  The Victoria waterfront got us the first Heermans Gulls we have seen in a while as well as a Mink using a drainage pipe for its' den.  Wilband Ponds (my local patch) seems to be getting better for birds since it was "improved" last year
A pair of Heermans Gulls.
This Mink was hesitant to venture out as a dog was terrorizng the wildlife on the Victoria waterfront

American Dipper 

Dipper looking for aquatic insects.

It found something.

I am guessing Caddis Fly larvae as it would shake it trying to remove the casing the Caddis Fly envelopes itself in. 
Back to Wilband where a family of Barn Swallows was using a bridge as a platform to stock up on bugs.

Using the young ones chest as a support.

Adult wondering where the bugs went.  I got a few pictures one evening and went back next morning.  They were still there but were gone that afternoon.
This Green Heron flew up in front of me, circled back and landed in a tree not far away.  Sometimes I can't figure these guys out.
When I walk around Wilband I will stay quiet and still for a few minutes when I am in a likely place to find birds or animals.  This gives the animals that I can't see, a chance to settle down and get back to doing things they were doing before I arrived. It paid off when I was on a bridge.  After about 5 minutes this American Bittern started moving right below and completely caught me off guard.
The long grass made it impossible to get a full body shot
It caught 2 fish while I watched and every time the action was hidden by the grass.
I love this pose.  It can look straight down without moving its' head.
After 45 minutes it strolled behind a clump of grass.  I waited 15 minutes for it to emerge. I then decided to check it out from another angle only to find it wasn't there.  I hadn't taken my eyes off that clump but somehow it managed to disappear.

This shot was taken the next day in the same spot.  It is a bit agitated and puffed out his neck feathers.  I wanted to circle around it to catch the rising sun light but as soon as I left the bridge and entered its' domain I could tell it wasn't comfortable.

Dian and I heading to the Oregon coast on Sept. 3 for a week and then up to Uclulet for a pelagic trip.  Hopefully the next blogs will detail our discoveries.  Stay in touch and thanks for looking.

End of this blog.
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Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Some Encounters From The Last Few Weeks July 26 -Aug.13 2013

Ring-billed Gull-Iona Jetty

Barn Swallow Wilband Ponds

Huge Black Bear amid the Swallows close to Cascade Falls Mission.  I wish I could have been a little closer.

Gray Catbird Grant Narrows

Gray Catbird Grant Narrows

Barn Swallows Wilband
Common Yellowthroat feeding Cowbird Grant Narrows.  Not a great picture but I think an interesting one.

Solitary Sandpiper Cheam

Dragonfly nymph Carcass.  It's called an exuviae (sometimes shortened to exuvia).  Thanks to Dick Cannings for that bit of info.


Male Belted Kingfisher-Wilband Ponds
One often sees an Eagle sitting upright in a tree or on a snag and I have enough pictures to prove it.  Because of that I almost passed by this one without stopping to capture it.

I am glad I decided to get a few pictures because it immediately started stretching and giving me some great poses.
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Thursday, August 8, 2013

The Birds of Wilband July 30 - Aug 8 2013

I have taken to hiking around Wilband detention ponds in the morning.  It beats the higher temperatures of midday.  Here are some of the birds I have seen in the last week.
It is always a thrill to see Canada Geese in flight-especially when they are heading straight toward you.

A Lesser Yellowlegs and Spotted Sandpiper were enjoying each others company and the flies.

Lesser Yellowlegs

A female Belted Kingfisher soared overhead bringing my quick draw techniques into play.

Common Yellowthroats are everywhere.  This is a female.

More Spotted Sandpipers?  No-Wilson's Phalaropes surprised me.

I have not seen Phalaropes at Wilband before.

Here we go again with the quick draw skills.  I imagine myself as an old west gunfighter with gun (camera) at the ready.  A subject such as this American Bittern only gives you a few seconds to get shots off.

Luckily the camera was in the right settings to capture these shots.

There is no time to adjust shutter speed etc.

One just has to be ready for these rare opportunities.

The morning sun adds to the brilliance of this Anna's Hummingbird.

Finally a Northern Rough-winged Swallow.  The Yellowthroat, Anna's and this bird were all taken while standing in the same spot.  
Someone mentioned they don't see many birds at Wilband.  If one moves slowly, peeks into habitat and stops and observes, one can always find something.

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