Author Topic: Nest #22 - Helliwell Park - 2014 - 2015 season  (Read 26460 times)

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Offline winterwren

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Re: Nest #22 - Helliwell Park - 2014 - 2015 season
« Reply #60 on: April 04, 2015, 05:08:06 PM »
More scoter madness...
Sheets of water rise as they dive for more food.
April 3, 4:32 pm



On the edge of the scoter flock and remaining relatively stationary is a smaller flock of Greater Scaups. At times they blend in with the scoters; but once in a while the scoter flock shifts away and most of the scaups remain as a group.
I've seen this on previous years also.




Eventually I was able to get a little closer to them.
4:45



4:47











Offline winterwren

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Re: Nest #22 - Helliwell Park - 2014 - 2015 season
« Reply #61 on: April 04, 2015, 05:13:33 PM »
A little video of the action...
April 3, 5:10 pm
<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H3LdzlhfXUQ" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H3LdzlhfXUQ</a>

Offline winterwren

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Re: Nest #22 - Helliwell Park - 2014 - 2015 season
« Reply #62 on: April 04, 2015, 10:22:21 PM »
Once in a while a section of the flock retreats all at the same time, making empty spaces between masses of ducks. I wasn't able to find out what spooked them. Earlier there was a Sea Lion nearby; I wonder if he approached them underwater?

April 3, 5 pm











After a few minutes, a small group starts diving and emerges closer to shore. The flock widens again.
5:03




Offline winterwren

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Re: Nest #22 - Helliwell Park - 2014 - 2015 season
« Reply #63 on: April 05, 2015, 09:23:06 PM »
April 3, continued...
A few Harlequins were fishing on the edge of the scoter flock but not mixing with them.
April 3, 5:14


One beautiful Mew Gull in flawless breeding plumage. Further back, a young Glaucous-winged Gull is grabbing a big chunk of seaweed.




Here are those Harlequins again, just minding their business, as if 10 000 birds hadn't just moved in.
One of the Harlequins is in transitional plumage, getting his adult-male colours.
Two adult Mew Gulls and a young one behind them. The large gulls all look like Glaucous-winged.
5:22




Offline winterwren

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Re: Nest #22 - Helliwell Park - 2014 - 2015 season
« Reply #64 on: April 05, 2015, 09:49:44 PM »
Other years, I saw lots of Long-tailed Ducks with the Scoters.
This time I only saw two (or maybe the same one twice, a male moulting out of his spring plumage).
Here he is in a little pile of birds: two Greater Scaups (female on the left, male on the right), a Surf Scoter, and a Glaucous-winged Gull.
April 3, 5:22


Today, though, I met a birder who had watched the same flock with a scope just before I arrived. He said that there were hundreds of Long-tailed Ducks at the far end of the flock.

A gull with a big chunk of seaweed.




There were also a few Bonaparte's Gulls on the edge of the flock... I caught two in this picture: the one with open wings, and another to the left of that one.
There are also two Black Scoters and a White-winged among the Surf Scoters and Scaups.




Offline Rajame

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Re: Nest #22 - Helliwell Park - 2014 - 2015 season
« Reply #65 on: April 05, 2015, 09:51:15 PM »
Brilliant series Wren! Thank you!
:hug
Your soul lights up the room as if the sun is beaming directly.

Offline MaggiesMom

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Re: Nest #22 - Helliwell Park - 2014 - 2015 season
« Reply #66 on: April 06, 2015, 05:51:07 AM »
these are wonderful Wren!  is the one with the blue bill the White-winged you mentioned?
"If you slow things down, you notice things you hadn't seen before." - Robert Wilson, director, author, videographer

Offline winterwren

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Re: Nest #22 - Helliwell Park - 2014 - 2015 season
« Reply #67 on: April 06, 2015, 01:26:54 PM »
The ones with the blue bill are Scaups (females brown with a white patch around the bill, males with dark head and lots of white on the body). They're mostly Greater Scaups but, as Nancy pointed out in a comment on flickr, there may be some Lesser Scaups in the lot also.

The White-winged Scoter males have a pink bill that looks very small and pointy because the feathering covers most of it. They have a prominent white comma below the eyes. In the third picture of the previous post, the White-winged is hiding behind the little Bonaparte's Gull with open wings. We just see his head behind that gull's head.

Offline winterwren

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Re: Nest #22 - Helliwell Park - 2014 - 2015 season
« Reply #68 on: April 06, 2015, 09:49:18 PM »
April 3, continued.
Suddenly, with no outside cue that I could perceive, the whole flock started taking off.

At first it looked like one of those partial retreats that made deep bays in the mass of birds every so often...
April 3, 5:31



But this time they're really going.
They start off in waves, in quite an orderly way, a few hundred at a time. The air fills with the whistling sound of their wings.
5:33



5:37



It took over 5 minutes for all the waves and waves of birds to move offshore, where they rested for 10 minutes or so before starting to make their way back in again.
Interstingly, most of the Scaups stayed behind. They are in the foreground in this picture. I wasn't able to get them all in the frame, but that's the majority of them. Gives you an idea of the numbers.
5:38



Offline winterwren

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Re: Nest #22 - Helliwell Park - 2014 - 2015 season
« Reply #69 on: April 06, 2015, 09:54:43 PM »
Here's a video I took in the middle of the exodus...
April 3, 5:35 pm
<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gVHqHul25k4" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gVHqHul25k4</a>

Offline winterwren

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Re: Nest #22 - Helliwell Park - 2014 - 2015 season
« Reply #70 on: April 06, 2015, 10:06:46 PM »
Since you asked, Idahowa...

First wildflowers in Helliwell Park (I'll go to Flora soon!)
(I've yet to identify these.)

April 3, 5:39 pm







...And an eagle flying by, to end the day. (No eagles trying to prey on all those birds, by the way.)
5:49



Offline winterwren

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Re: Nest #22 - Helliwell Park - 2014 - 2015 season
« Reply #71 on: April 23, 2015, 12:51:06 AM »
On April 7 I went for a walk on the Helliwell Park bluffs at dusk.
I could see a great number of birds flying in circles just below the edge of the cliff. In the near-dark it was impossible to tell how big they were, but my impression was that they were pigeon-sized. That impression was compounded by the cooing sounds those birds made. Not a sound I had ever heard, though my friends, who live nearby and walk around the park at all hours, had seen and heard this before, in the spring. I couldn't make any sense of what I was seeing or hearing, so the next day I returned an hour earlier, with cameras and binoculars.
When I arrived, there were about 400 Pelagic Cormorants floating together about half a mile away. Were they my mystery birds then? They certainly had not sounded like cormorants.

But indeed they were.
The show started around 8 pm. The cormorants started flying toward shore, first in small groups, then in increasing numbers. They skimmed the water as they approached.
April 8, 7:53 pm



More and more flew in.
8:07



They started swirling around near the cliffs, not yet landing.
(Unfortunately, my camera, trying to focus in the very low light, makes annoying clicking sounds through all the videos.)
8:16
<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iaPAowoJEFQ" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iaPAowoJEFQ</a>

Offline winterwren

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Re: Nest #22 - Helliwell Park - 2014 - 2015 season
« Reply #72 on: April 23, 2015, 01:04:28 AM »
More Pelagic Cormorants are arriving and now they are landing on the cliffs, clinging to tiny rocks sticking out on the near-vertical surface.
But once in a while they all take off, fly around, and then come back.

More of this is happening right below my feet. There are hundreds of birds.
April 8, 8:18 pm. Getting darker and darker.



In this second video we can hear them a bit, around the clicks of the camera. They make a mix of short barking calls and those cooing sounds I had heard the night before.
8:22
<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7cXH8-BtVFw" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7cXH8-BtVFw</a>

They kept taking off as you see them at the end of this video every couple of minutes. Too bad the recording didn't catch the rush of wings, it sounded beautiful.

This continued until dark. As time passed there were less of the little high barks and more cooing. This last video is intended mostly as a sound clip. Turn the sound up and forgive the clicks of the camera. It really did not like filming in the dark.
At 22 seconds into the video we also hear the call of a Long-tailed Duck way out at sea. Their call carries a long way.
8:36
<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JeRJwEx4xEw" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JeRJwEx4xEw</a>


Offline amazedbyeagles

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Re: Nest #22 - Helliwell Park - 2014 - 2015 season
« Reply #73 on: April 23, 2015, 08:28:35 AM »
Thank You, Wren! ♥  Such a lovely peek into a world we so seldom see!  Thank you!  :eclove

Offline jeavverhey

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Re: Nest #22 - Helliwell Park - 2014 - 2015 season
« Reply #74 on: April 23, 2015, 10:09:16 AM »
It was  amazing to hear their sounds Wren - maybe one day you will figure out what those calls mean.  Meanwhile your camera clicking reminded me of  the old reel films they used to show when I went to school -  film breaks and makes that flapping/clattering sound.  Brought a smile at the memory.  :ecsmile