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Author Topic: Olsen Farm Nest - 2013-2014 season  (Read 11180 times)
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winterwren
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« on: January 06, 2014, 07:02:12 PM »

This topic is for photos, stories, questions and discussions (and, why not, poetry, arguments, theatre, film, diatribes and inquests...) about the Olsen Farm nest.

Booni had this to say as she introduced last year's topic:



The Olsen Farm Nest is in a most magnificent location!
It is one of my favourite spots on the whole Island.
There is a huge grassy field with cattle, & lots of Garry Oaks.
Seals & Sea Lions & Orcas often are nearby, & it seems to be an area for good fishing.
To get to the Nest is a long hike along the shore, or the Nest can be seen from a boat on the water.
 
To read the observations from last season, 2012, click  here.

Click here to view the postings from the 2011 season.

Click here to see the postings of the 2010 season, with photos of the Nest at its former location.
 


We discovered this nest just 2 years ago. It is probable that there were offspring in it in 2011: someone fishing nearby heard screeps from that area. In each of the past 2 years, this nest produced 2 healthy eaglets.
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winterwren
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« Post / Reply #1 on: January 06, 2014, 07:24:24 PM »

On January 3 I went for a walk near Heron Rocks. I walked down a path that is near the boundary of the Heron Rocks territory and this territory. There are huge old firs at the top of the bank on the Olsen Farm side and I looked for the local eagles in them...

...But I found them both just a bit further down the beach, in the scraggly thin trees, instead.
January 3, 2:14



Here's the other one, with head feathers blowing in the breeze.
2:16



Before I could get closer, they both launched and circled slowly overhead, crossing each other's path at every turn like ballet dancers.
Here's one of them, with a clear enough wing print on one side for future identification maybe...
2:18



Here's his or her mate, and we see both wings, not super-clear but well enough for an ID.
2:19



Same eagle.



After this, they both looped their way inland, while I went toward Toby Islet to see what I could see...
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Cawatcher
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« Post / Reply #2 on: January 06, 2014, 07:51:57 PM »

 love Wonderful series wren! looked like a beautiful day
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winterwren
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« Post / Reply #3 on: April 15, 2014, 02:08:21 AM »

April 10.
The game right now is to take photos of the nests from as many angles as possible and look for a few white feathers, a staring eye between two branches, or any other sign that an eagle is sitting there.

The results here are inconclusive, but there sure are plenty of poopshots painting the branches. Also there is one eagle perched high up the slope, defending the territory.
April 10, 2:54 pm



More signs of occupancy on a huge branch far below the nest.
April 10, 2:58



Scrambling down the bank between the nest tree and the beach, I found these beautiful Fawn Lilies.
3:07






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winterwren
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« Post / Reply #4 on: April 15, 2014, 02:39:58 AM »

Strange, castle-like rock formation, topped with golden lichen, on the beach below the nest tree.

April 10, 3:20 pm


On a rock shelf below one of the perch trees, I find a little collection of leavings.

A feather pellet, weather-worn. Part of a bird bone at the back.
3:25



Two fish jaws and two fish vertebrae. The longest fish jaw, still holding two conical teeth, is about 6 cm long.
3:26



Two more pellets. The one on the left is mostly possum hair; the one on the right, about 4 cm across, seems newer and is a puzzle. It contains some feathers but mostly dried grasses, and smells like sweetgrass, which as far as I know does not grow here.
3:26


And finally a big, weather-worn feather pellet.

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winterwren
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« Post / Reply #5 on: April 15, 2014, 02:50:23 AM »

Under that same perch tree I find another unusual rock, with beautiful markings that remind me of an ancient script. This looks like fossils... But I know nothing about fossils. Can someone tell me more? I added my 58mm lens cap to indicate the scale.
April 10, 3:28 pm



After taking another twenty nest photos that revealed nothing, I climbed back up the bank. At the top I saw a large bird approaching...

 eek!



A raven! Carrying what looks like an egg, an unbroken egg... I sure hope it's a chicken's egg from the farm, and not an egg from the eagle's nest at Heron Rocks!
He headed on toward Downes Point, and the eagles didn't say anything.


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boodle317
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« Post / Reply #6 on: April 15, 2014, 04:28:28 AM »

oh gosh wren!  i hope that was a chicken egg too!!!   eek!
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NancyM
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« Post / Reply #7 on: April 15, 2014, 01:14:14 PM »

fascinating pictures, wren!  I also hope that is a chicken egg that the raven stole.
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gmadeb3
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« Post / Reply #8 on: April 15, 2014, 02:38:38 PM »

How cool to see those rocks, I can't wait to take a walk there.  You need eyes to the sky and and the ground when you are out walking.  Wonderful photos  heart  Thanks bigger grin
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« Post / Reply #9 on: April 15, 2014, 03:10:06 PM »

Wonderful photos wrennie, and so much information along with them,  love your photos!  Much Thanks
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Cawatcher
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« Post / Reply #10 on: April 15, 2014, 03:46:02 PM »

thank you Wren! love the treasures of the pellets
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winterwren
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« Post / Reply #11 on: July 06, 2014, 08:53:57 PM »

On June 24 I visited this territory to find out if there were any eaglets on the nest.

On the beach, all the way from Heron Rocks to the nest at the far end of Olsen Farm, there were families of newly-fledged Killdeers. At least that's what I figured they were, groups of 4 or 5 birds, with some of them very defensive and some of them less shy than was good for them, and all of them calling out to each other right around me... Deafening.

If there were any screeping eaglets in the area, I stood no chance at all of hearing them.

June 24, 3:54



More mesmerizing blues and greens. A wide rock shelf holds some water from high tide, and some freshwater seeps supplement that, keeping the area flooded all day and feeding that bright green, mossy seaweed.
3:55



Another Killdeer, among the honeycomb rocks.
Their Latin name is Charadrius vociferus. They weren't kidding. I need earplugs.
3:56



After a few tries, I catch one of them in flight. Looking at me over his or her shoulder.
4 pm


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winterwren
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« Post / Reply #12 on: July 06, 2014, 09:05:22 PM »

June 24, continued.

I finally arrive at the nest. There is nobody to be seen, and no sound save for the fading Killdeers in the distance.
June 24, 4:06 pm


If you click on the picture, you can see some 'white paint' on some of the nest branches, on the green boughs in the lower middle of the picture, and on the support branches on the left. It sure looks like this nest was active at some point, but right now it all looks quiet.

The clouds are moving in, making for a brooding view back toward Heron Rocks. We can see Chrome Island with its lighthouse in the distance.
4:07



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winterwren
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« Post / Reply #13 on: July 06, 2014, 09:22:48 PM »

While I wait for big birds to make their presence known, I watch the little birds.
There is a brood of Chickadee fledglings begging for food, wings half open.
And also this little one.

I'm pretty sure by now that this Mystery Bird is a Yellow-rumped Warbler fledgling.
June 24, 4:16 pm



Mystery Bird #2 I'm not quite sure about yet, but with help from chatters I'm inclined to think it could be a Red-winged Blackbird's fledgling. Certainly I could hear some of the adults nearby.

(Edited later: Nope, probably a Song Sparrow fledgling. There is one picture on the Cornell site that is a very good match. This little one has his crest raised but otherwise looks very similar.)
This one looks like he's just out of bed.
4:17



Cropped view of previous photo.



Same bird, preening. Nice long tail.


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winterwren
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« Post / Reply #14 on: July 06, 2014, 10:07:03 PM »

I climb to the top of the bank for a closer view of the nest.
Again, a few poopshots of indeterminate vintage, but no other sign of eaglets.
This looks like another empty nest this year.
June 24, 4:34 pm



On the return trip, the Killdeers were vociferous again.
I couldn't resist this one, mimicking death throes to draw my attention away from his or her brood.
4:52



Very convincing, feathers in disarray, wings inverted, rocking spasmodically from side to side... Until he or she glances at me to gauge the effect.












...And then miraculously back to life and health, with just one mantle feather out of place.
This was the longest display of this kind that I had ever witnessed, about 40 seconds.



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