Author Topic: Nest #22 - Helliwell Park - 2013-2014 season  (Read 22134 times)

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Offline winterwren

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Re: Nest #22 - Helliwell Park - 2013-2014 season
« Reply #15 on: April 15, 2014, 08:15:15 PM »
The Elephant Seal gives us an upside-down look.
(I think this is the only way he can look at us with both eyes when he's in the water.)

April 12, 4:27 pm







Then he sinks out of view...




We wait to see if he comes back up in the same spot - he sometimes does - but he seems to have moved on.

Offline winterwren

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Re: Nest #22 - Helliwell Park - 2013-2014 season
« Reply #16 on: April 15, 2014, 08:52:46 PM »
After that, my luck turned and I got some clearer eagle pictures. I had drifted quite close to the eagles by then, and they didn't seemed fazed at all.

April 12, 4:29 pm












Offline winterwren

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Re: Nest #22 - Helliwell Park - 2013-2014 season
« Reply #17 on: April 15, 2014, 09:04:33 PM »
Still on the gravel bar near Flora Islet...

April 12, 4:29 pm



Be still, my heart!  :heart



Offline winterwren

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Re: Nest #22 - Helliwell Park - 2013-2014 season
« Reply #18 on: April 15, 2014, 10:34:38 PM »
At the southern tip of the gravel bar was a whole collection of shore birds: Dunlins, Turnstones and Oystercatchers, plus some Harlequin ducks.

Here is one lone Dunlin in the middle of a flock of Black Turnstones. The Dunlin is moulting into summer plumage, with rusty-brown wing feathers decorated with black, and some strange black belly feathers that make the summer birds look as if they'd been dragged in tar.
April 12, 4:32



Different species side by side: Oystercatchers, who are among the largest shore birds; a Dunlin, who is among the smallest; and a few Harlequin Ducks to round out the picture.
4:36



Further along, a whole little flock of Dunlins, napping. Grey-brown feathers are their winter garb, rusty-and-black ones are their summer plumage.
4:37



Another gorgeous little Dunlin. I love their long, downcurved bill.





Offline Cawatcher

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Re: Nest #22 - Helliwell Park - 2013-2014 season
« Reply #19 on: April 16, 2014, 07:17:23 AM »
 :heart  :eceek What a super series winterrwren! Thank you!

Offline Donnae

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Re: Nest #22 - Helliwell Park - 2013-2014 season
« Reply #20 on: April 16, 2014, 08:57:02 AM »
Wonderful photos Wren.... love the upside down look of the elephant seal!!!

Offline winterwren

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Re: Nest #22 - Helliwell Park - 2013-2014 season
« Reply #21 on: April 16, 2014, 07:56:56 PM »
Thanks Cali and Donna!

Here are more photos of those beautiful Dunlins I saw on the big gravel bar...

April 12, 4:37 pm







Offline winterwren

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Re: Nest #22 - Helliwell Park - 2013-2014 season
« Reply #22 on: April 16, 2014, 08:10:34 PM »
So, after this we headed over to Flora Islet, and pulled up our boats at the far corner of the only beach, well away from the Elephant Seal's favourite haul-out spot. You never know, he might decide to come in on the high tide.

There were already some wildflowers in bloom: Mimulus, Sea Blush, the first Shootingstars, and these beautiful little ones, which are called Small-flowered Blue-eyed Marys (Collinsia parviflora).
The rocks have a lichen garden of their own...
April 12, 4:48



There were several eagles on the islet, resting or flying around. As usual, the navigational marker was occupied.
A 4-year-old, with eyes almost bluish, as Booni once pointed out.
4:50







This fellow buzzed right over us!
4:55



Offline boonibarb

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Re: Nest #22 - Helliwell Park - 2013-2014 season
« Reply #23 on: April 16, 2014, 08:38:58 PM »

In the last foto, that juvenile still has tassels on the secondary wing feathers!  :heart
wooohoooo!

Offline winterwren

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Re: Nest #22 - Helliwell Park - 2013-2014 season
« Reply #24 on: April 16, 2014, 10:09:28 PM »
Good eye, Booni, thank you!
First time I see some after a first winter... I've often wondered how long they persist.

Offline linused

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Re: Nest #22 - Helliwell Park - 2013-2014 season
« Reply #25 on: April 16, 2014, 10:52:06 PM »
wonderful photos

Offline OpieK

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Re: Nest #22 - Helliwell Park - 2013-2014 season
« Reply #26 on: April 16, 2014, 11:22:00 PM »
spectacular Wren - thank you for sharing with us!

Offline winterwren

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Re: Nest #22 - Helliwell Park - 2013-2014 season
« Reply #27 on: April 16, 2014, 11:24:44 PM »
As we explored the far side of little Flora Islet, we heard loud voices from the direction of the beach, and, our attitude influenced by finding garbage in several spots in this precious place, we felt distrustful of the human race at that point and decided we'd better check on our boats.
As it turned out, the noisy people were across the water on Hornby; but we got to the west side of Flora just in time to see the Elephant Seal, coming to the surface to breathe!
April 12, 4:58



He blows bubbles out of his magnificent nose, takes another breath and disappears.




Down the bank I spy a House Finch on a huge piece of driftwood...
4:59



Down the bank I also spy...



... The Elephant Seal coming to shore on the high tide.


Did I mention that we parked way at the end of this beach - we all do, we always do when he's around - just to be sure to stay out of his way?

Offline winterwren

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Re: Nest #22 - Helliwell Park - 2013-2014 season
« Reply #28 on: April 16, 2014, 11:49:33 PM »
"Houston, we have a problem..."

April 12, 5:04 pm



The elephant seal has hauled out right next to my boat's stern. Stretched out, he is about two feet shorter than my boat, which is 16 feet long. He is also twice as wide and weighs well over a tonne.

He has a little nap, then hauls up even closer.
Then settles in for another nap.
5:05



Then up he moves... A few feet at a time, with little naps in between.
The other kayak isn't very far away either. But there's no way I'm going for mine while he's within touching distance. Which, judging from past history, could be until the next tide.
5:06



Up he hauls a wee bit more...
Then closes his eyes.
5:07



He sighs, spays some gravel on himself as a blanket, and settles down. Meanwhile we're holding our breaths in wonder, and at the same time just about killing ourselves laughing. My kayaking companion just may have to paddle back solo and borrow an extra boat. "Sorry, Wren's kayak has eloped with an elephant seal".


Offline winterwren

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Re: Nest #22 - Helliwell Park - 2013-2014 season
« Reply #29 on: April 17, 2014, 01:01:10 AM »
The Elephant Seal slowly hauls his way up alongside my boat, taking little snoozes every few feet. I regret not taking a picture of him stretched full out against my boat - at one point there was a little thump when he touched it - but at that time the more interesting pictures seemed to be while he moved. You never know...

Doesn't he have beautiful eyebrows?
April 12, 5:07 pm



Finally he moves past, over a little rise and into a wide hollow in the sand at the top of the beach, affording us a nice view of his lovely lobed tail.
5:11


He turned into the hollow at the top of the beach...
5:12



Turned to his side, sighed, scratched his amazing nose...
5:13



And - yes - yawned...



And settled in for some serious sleep. We let him have some peace, moving away to finish our interrupted tour of the islet.