Author Topic: Shingle Spit Nest - 2013-2014 Season  (Read 58830 times)

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Offline boonibarb

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Shingle Spit Nest - 2013-2014 Season
« on: October 28, 2013, 09:00:33 AM »
 
This Nest territory is next to the ferry!
 
Click here to read the observations from Shingle Spit Nest territory in the 2012-2013 season, & to read a description of the area written by winterwren.
Plus, view her fantastic map of Hornby with all the Nests marked on it, & find where this Nest is located!
 
Click here to read the observations from Shingle Spit nest - 2011-2012 season

Click here to read the observations from Shingle Spit Nest - 2010-2011 season

Click here to read the observations from Shingle Spit Nest 2009-2010 Season

Click here to see wren*s beautiful map of the Eagle*s Nests of Hornby Island for the 2013 season.
You can find this Nest on that map.
wooohoooo!

Offline boonibarb

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Re: Shingle Spit Nest - 2013-2014 Season
« Reply #1 on: October 28, 2013, 09:21:23 AM »
 
It was a lovely sunny warm day, which was amazing, considering it was the Thanksgiving holiday weekend!
We went down to the ferry to look for water Birds.
There was a huge lineup of people for the ferry, people heading home after spending the weekend on Hornby, probably eating turkey!
We strolled out on the long dock at the pub there, & spotted this Loon!
i don*t think i*ve ever been this close to one before.
The water was calm, & you can see the rings of water around them.
wren is way better than i am at identifying water Birds.
Maybe she will comment on what Bird this is, & at what stage of plumage they are.
Me, i*m just learning, & there is a lot to learn.
 
october 14 2013 15:03 - male Common Loon (thanks wren!♥)
 


Look at the startling eye colour!



There is a bit of a green blush to the breast.


 
http://www.flickr.com/photos/43214021@N08/10538514906/in/photostream/#
wooohoooo!

Offline auroradawn

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Re: Shingle Spit Nest - 2013-2014 Season
« Reply #2 on: October 28, 2013, 09:29:30 AM »
How lovely booni!  I have never seen a loon close up, would love to one day.

Offline Cawatcher

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Re: Shingle Spit Nest - 2013-2014 Season
« Reply #3 on: October 28, 2013, 05:33:02 PM »
 :eceek nice!!

Offline winterwren

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Re: Shingle Spit Nest - 2013-2014 Season
« Reply #4 on: October 28, 2013, 09:31:27 PM »
Booni's photos are of an adult Common Loon, who is in transition between breeding plumage and winter plumage. The white collar with its elegant pinstriping, the black breast that shimmers green in good light, and the white spots on the back are part of the breeding plumage. The males and females look the same (males are supposed to be a bit bigger, but I can never tell). At this time of year you can sometimes find the beautiful spotted feathers that have moulted out.
I collected these feathers from the water near Cape Gurney a year ago.



This is what this bird will look like in winter plumage. From afar they look drab grey but up close they have a lovely colouring.
Helliwell Park, December 20 2011





Offline boonibarb

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Re: Shingle Spit Nest - 2013-2014 Season
« Reply #5 on: October 29, 2013, 09:11:47 AM »
 
Thank you wren! ♥
What about this Bird?
Did i i.d. them correctly?

 
wooohoooo!

Offline winterwren

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Re: Shingle Spit Nest - 2013-2014 Season
« Reply #6 on: October 29, 2013, 09:16:06 PM »
You sure did! Aren't they beautiful?

Offline Cawatcher

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Re: Shingle Spit Nest - 2013-2014 Season
« Reply #7 on: October 30, 2013, 07:51:31 AM »
 :heart Thank you booni and wren!! very interesting!

Offline boonibarb

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Re: Shingle Spit Nest - 2013-2014 Season
« Reply #8 on: October 30, 2013, 08:54:26 AM »

Yes wren!
i am really enjoying seeing the different shore Birds & trying to figure out who they are.
i spotted this Bird in the Periwinkle territory.
Perhaps they are a Greater Yellowlegs too?
This was my first sighting of one.
click here
wooohoooo!

Offline winterwren

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Re: Shingle Spit Nest - 2013-2014 Season
« Reply #9 on: October 30, 2013, 04:24:31 PM »
Yes, another Greater Yellowlegs indeed. That last one has more barring on his or her flanks, because it was May and at that time of year they are coming into their breeding plumage.

Offline winterwren

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Re: Shingle Spit Nest - 2013-2014 Season
« Reply #10 on: January 16, 2014, 02:28:03 AM »
I got a chance to peek at this territory last week, and both eagles are alive and well and attending the nest regularly.

I also have a story from across the water, on the Denman side of the channel.

It was Thursday morning, January 9th. There is an eagle pair that perches just north-west of Gravelly Bay; I don't know where their nest is. That morning suddenly the bay was full of noise. There were three adult eagles circling around, and two were making the high squeeing war-cry that Dad Hornby uses when he's in full pursuit of an intruder. There were also two gulls circling among the three eagles. A lot of commotion.

At some point, the third eagle vanished and the high calls stopped. I did not catch that third eagle's exit. The two gulls and two eagles still circled around and around, and it was hard to tell who was after whom.


Then they gradually moved south over the channel and the pattern clarified: the eagles are after one gull, though it's unclear whether this is preying or kleptoparasitism (eagles sometimes steal other birds' preys, and gulls do that too). It doesn't really look like any of the birds are carrying anything, but I'm watching all this without binoculars. Anyway, it seems the eagles are after one gull, and the other gull is after the eagles, presumably protecting his or her mate.

After a few more minutes, one of the eagles gives up the chase. Then suddenly it happens: the remaining eagle snatches the gull, not from the water after forcing a landing as I'd expected, but right out of thin air! The grab is less than perfect: the eagle has the gull dangling by one wing.

Then the gull shakes loose, and the eagle gives just one more attempt and gives up the chase.

About then, one gull returns to a usual perch in the bay. A minute later, another gull comes from the direction of the drama and perches on the dock, right on top of a wire designed to exclude gulls...  :ecrolleyes  Distraught, perhaps? and then soon moves to a steadier perch.

Was that the same gull? Were those gulls the local pair that nests on the dock? And if they were the local eagles and the local gulls - then why this attempt at turning one of them into lunch today? Why now? And why not snatch a napping gull off the dock an hour later? 

It's all a mystery.

Offline boodle317

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Re: Shingle Spit Nest - 2013-2014 Season
« Reply #11 on: January 16, 2014, 06:03:50 AM »
wow..what a show!  taking one out of midair!  (Secretly glad little gull made escape, I would prefer the eagle snatch the gulls fish)  LOL.

Offline winterwren

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Re: Shingle Spit Nest - 2013-2014 Season
« Reply #12 on: February 09, 2014, 12:02:14 PM »
On February 2, I watched another bird hunt by the same pair.
This was just after sunset; the water was lilac-coloured and everything was in silhouettes.

I saw the eagles diving in turn for something in the water, grabbing for something with their talons. Through the binoculars I could see a small seabird, maybe a pigeon guillemot or a small duck with an erect neck. One of the eagles landed right in the water and I thought that was the end of that little bird... But no, he resurfaced a few feet behind the eagle!

It was tough to watch. I wished for the eagles's survival, of course, but I identified with the little prey bird too. (Funny how we don't have such big issues when the prey is a fish, or a rat, or a slug...)

The dive bombing continued for several minutes, but the little seabird seemed to have ample time to surface and catch a breath between attacks. Once more one of the eagles landed in the water, grabbing deep down, but again the little bird surfaced behind.

I had to attend to my work tasks, but someone kept watch for me and told me that the eagles gave up eventually. So that little bird proved himself strong enough to survive. Had he had any injuries or weaknesses, he would have become an eagle's supper.

So I'm thinking that maybe that's what it is like between the local gulls and the eagles too: once in a while the eagles, hungry, give them a try, and either the prey birds prove themselves too tough to bother with and win peace for another season, or else they become eagle food. This is what predators are supposed to do, in a healthy ecosystem. They strengthen the population of the prey species by eliminating the weakest individuals.

Offline Cawatcher

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Re: Shingle Spit Nest - 2013-2014 Season
« Reply #13 on: February 09, 2014, 12:20:15 PM »
excellant analogy wren, funny how we hummans pck  champions ...

Offline winterwren

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Re: Shingle Spit Nest - 2013-2014 Season
« Reply #14 on: February 09, 2014, 08:56:03 PM »
Friday January 31.
Just as the sun is rising, we spot orcas right in the bay by Shingle Spit!

In this picture we see how far in the bay they were. The Shingle Spit nest tree is just off the frame to the right. A herd of sea lions is just off the frame to the left, all crowded near the beach and spyhopping way up to watch the whales, but not hauling out to land. The red buoy is a mooring for boats.
January 31, 7:56 am



One of the females is diving. The whales stayed on the same spot for a couple of minutes before moving on. We could see at least four females, two babies, and one male. I usually underestimate pod sizes. It's hard to count because they rarely all surface at the same time.




I include this blurry one because we can see the head of one of the babies.
Still 7:56



The orcas start to head out toward the Spit. Strangely, the sea lions follow, moving as a group toward the end of the Spit. There's a rumour that the orcas caught and ate a sea lion, but I do not think that is true. I witnessed that once, and the orcas circled one precise spot and stayed in one place for much longer. I don't even know if this pod are residents, i.e. fish eaters, or the transients who eat sea mammals.
7:57



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