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Author Topic: Hornby Ground Observations that Aren't Eagle Related... 2014-2015  (Read 33220 times)
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winterwren
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« on: November 02, 2014, 06:05:26 PM »

This is where you can read about the other fauna and the flora of Hornby Island. We have also posted some photos and stories under the topics of each nest, to provide a wider view of the ecosystem each of those nests is a part of.

Click here to see last year's postings.
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winterwren
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« Post / Reply #1 on: November 02, 2014, 06:24:04 PM »

Black Oystercatchers on Clamshell Beach, near Nest 20... What is surprising about this little flock is that they are all juveniles of this year. We can tell because their bill is dark at the tip.

Oystercatchers look too bulky to stand on one leg, but they do it all the time. Indeed, they seem to enjoy it so much that they'll hop around on one leg if disturbed, rather than untuck their foot from its warm resting place.
October 31, 12:05


Click to enlarge, and watch their antics...











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boonibarb
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« Post / Reply #2 on: November 14, 2014, 10:19:29 AM »

 
Back in september, MARS uploaded a video of a sweet Nestling Cedar Waxwing that they had in their care!
Click here to watch the video.
Now, that is a very distinct call, that i*m not sure i*ve ever noticed hearing on Hornby, but i*ve heard for years that we do get these exotic-looking Birds here.
i*ve never seen one, so it was a real thrill to see that sweetie at MARS.
Then not days later, i was out on my back deck, & i heard calls that sounded very much like that coming from the Alder Trees next to my garden!
i looked, but didn*t spot a Nest, but then this Bird darted out of the Trees & to the top of this perch & gave me time to set up my good camera even!
A Cedar Waxwing!
Everything about this Bird is lovely, but look at those gorgeous yellow tail tips!
 
september 11 2014 12:02 - Cedar Waxwing
 


Here they are scratching their head!
Look at the little toe with talon sticking up over their back.
Notice how the head feathers are standing up, & then watch the video of the Nestling again, & you will see them do the same thing!
 


Mid-scratch here.
 


Right foot has been doing the scratching, now it is settling in to grab the perch branch again.
Head feathers are still lifted.
 


Gorgeous tail tips lit nicely again here.
 

 
https://www.flickr.com/photos/43214021@N08/15764540966/
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wooohoooo!
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« Post / Reply #3 on: November 14, 2014, 03:27:48 PM »

such a lovely one - ty Booni!
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boonibarb
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« Post / Reply #4 on: November 14, 2014, 07:16:21 PM »

 
According to the range map at The Cornell Lab of Ornithology , they are here in the Summer to breed.
i thought this was interesting -
Quote
The name "waxwing" comes from the waxy red secretions found on the tips of the secondaries of some birds. The exact function of these tips is not known, but they may help attract mates.
Also this
Quote
The Cedar Waxwing is one of the few North American birds that specializes in eating fruit. It can survive on fruit alone for several months. Brown-headed Cowbirds that are raised in Cedar Waxwing nests typically don’t survive, in part because the cowbird chicks can’t develop on such a high-fruit diet.

Fluffed up in a shuggle here.
 
september 11 2014 12:03:18 - Cedar Waxwing
 


Looking towards the Nest.
 


Those red waxy wingtips are just visible here.
 


There she goes!
 


After this sighting, i kept hearing those Nestling calls in the Blackberry bushes, but i was never able to spot one again.

 
https://www.flickr.com/photos/43214021@N08/15789784712/in/photostream/
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winterwren
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« Post / Reply #5 on: November 16, 2014, 06:38:04 PM »

A lucky sighting on the water near Dunlop Point.
Long-tailed ducks spend the winter in this territory. They are shy and I've never had much chance approaching them... Except this day! They were closer to shore than usual, and kept on diving and eating while I struggled to keep my canoe from blowing out to sea on the breeze.
This one is the Mrs.
November 14, 1:07 pm 



And here's one of the gentlemen.
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OpieK
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« Post / Reply #6 on: November 17, 2014, 10:01:15 AM »

wow, I've never seen one of these before, ty Wren!
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winterwren
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« Post / Reply #7 on: December 14, 2014, 09:02:19 PM »

The annual Christmas Bird Count took place today on Hornby. I was lucky enough to have a day off, so I was assigned an area to check.

The organizers gave me the area from Shingle Spit to Ford Cove, along the Ford Cove trail. This area had never been surveyed in previous years, in part because it is difficult of access. At high tide you can't just walk along the beach, you have to climb up and down, to and from the trail. It was a fun adventure, and I found a surprising variety of birds, 36 species along the trail and beach.
We each count the birds in our yards also. Usually all the birds hide, but I had more luck this year and saw nine species!
Of course some of the species overlapped. But it all added up to 39 species in my day.

The very first bird I heard this morning as I got out the door was a Pacific Wren, formerly known as the Winter Wren... My totem bird.  smile I knew it was going to be a good day.

I started walking the trail from the Ford Cove end, right out with most of a royal flush of woodpeckers: a Red-breasted Sapsucker, a Hairy Woodpecker (heard only), a Downy (confirmed by a blurry photo) and two Pileateds. Later on I saw a Northern Flicker and thus completed the list of the local woodpecker species.

The seabirds were mostly too far out for good pictures but I found this Double-crested Cormorant on a piling, looking as if he was wearing a woolly hood. Click on the picture to see it better.
December 14, 10:04




Two more cormorants on a mooring buoy, one of each (Double-crested and Pelagic; I didn't see any Brandt's today). And, on the navigational marker, an eagle that I hadn't noticed at the time! One more for the list, making two for that area. (Plus one at home: Mom or Dad flew over my yard just as I was leaving this morning.)




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winterwren
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« Post / Reply #8 on: December 14, 2014, 09:15:44 PM »

A little further along, I came nose to beak with this Great Blue Heron who was perched on a tree. The slope put him right at trail level. It must have been an unusual encounter for him too because he didn't spook away. He just stayed there, his long bill resting incongruously on a fold of his neck.

Ford Cove trail, December 14, 10:19






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NancyM
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« Post / Reply #9 on: December 14, 2014, 09:22:46 PM »

Wren, sounds like an interesting counting day for you.
How many bird species are recorded from Hornby Island?

ETA:  oops, just found where you answered my question about the CBC - I will count the list!

ETA 2:  I counted 68 species on that list  (not counting the unidentified categories) - but clearly that does not include passerines, et, so my question still stands.  I wonder what eBird says ...

ETA3:  eBird has a count of 136 species for Helliwewll Park, but that is based on only 62 lists submitted.
http://ebird.org/ebird/hotspot/L338646?yr=all&m=&rank=mrec

and they have 36 species for Mount Geoffrey, based on 8 checklists
http://ebird.org/ebird/hotspot/L562226?yr=all&m=&rank=mrec
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winterwren
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« Post / Reply #10 on: December 14, 2014, 09:34:25 PM »

A flock of Pine Siskins takes off after rattling around the trees for a while. I was happy to see them because I had not seen any at all last winter. There were about 60 in this flock.

I like how they sometimes fold their wings in flight. It makes them look like fish.

Ford Cove trail, December 14, 10:24



The most amazing to me was the number of Varied Thrushes. I'm used to see them solo or in pairs in the woods; it's taken a bit of practice to learn to spot them in the winter when they rarely make their 'telephone bird' calls. But today I was seeing them in groups of four! Family groupings?
They weren't letting me take their picture, however. Here's the best one I got. They were in the arbutuses, eating berries as usual, but also on three occasions in some fir trees, rattling around the dry maple leaves that had been blown there by the storms.
10:46



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winterwren
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« Post / Reply #11 on: December 14, 2014, 09:38:21 PM »

Nancy, there are 92 species on the local list for the Christmas bird count.
The link that I posted on the Eagle Rivers thread is for the monthly seabird survey. The list for the Christmas count is much larger: it includes the passerines. That Christmas list is homemade and follows the species that the group has identified so far.
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winterwren
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« Post / Reply #12 on: December 14, 2014, 09:42:26 PM »

Thanks Nancy, I just saw the e-bird lists you posted links to.

These lists were compiled earlier in the year; looks like late summer for the Mount Geoffrey list, and at the peak of migrations for Helliwell. Lots more species then!
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winterwren
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« Post / Reply #13 on: December 14, 2014, 09:54:58 PM »

So, today was a Varied Thrush day, but it was also a day of wrens.

At each end of the trail, there is a stretch where the Pacific Wren territories follow each other every hundred feet or so. At each one, a little bird scolded at me. Their chip-chip calls is the sound that welcomes me home in the woods.

Toward the end of my walk, the light got a little better and I was able to get a few photos of two of them.

Ford Cove trail, December 14, 12:07










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winterwren
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« Post / Reply #14 on: December 14, 2014, 10:10:56 PM »

Back at the beginning of the trail...

As is often the case, that little Red-breasted Sapsucker is still on the same tree, drinking from the wells he drilled in the morning. In the slightly brighter light he allows me a few pictures too!
Ford Cove trail, 1:17 pm







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