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Author Topic: Hornby Ground Observations that Aren't Eagle Related... 2014-2015  (Read 35722 times)
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boonibarb
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« Post / Reply #135 on: July 14, 2015, 10:32:47 AM »

 
Sheesh, it took me almost 24 hours to upload this video, then YouTube spit me out because the video was too long!
i had to figure out how to verify my account, which took another day, but finally, here is the video i compiled of all the video snippets from this last day!
 
Rufous Hummingbird Nest - may 8 2015
 
<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=339rSkJvZ80" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=339rSkJvZ80</a>
 
link to my fotos page - 
 
https://www.flickr.com/photos/43214021@N08/
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wooohoooo!
boodle317
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« Post / Reply #136 on: July 14, 2015, 08:19:11 PM »

 heart that is so sweet when she comes to spend quiet time with them...almost like she knew it was the last day before they went out on their own
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winterwren
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« Post / Reply #137 on: July 31, 2015, 10:54:33 PM »

July 5 was the day the forest fire smoke was thickest over the island.
We had a weird orange sun all day.

I went paddling in the mysterious light to see what the sunset would be like.
I decided to go check what was going on at Norris Rocks.

The remote rocks looked eerie in the grey light.
Even from afar, we can see all the gulls on it.
There are very few gulls around the island at this time of year, except here...
July 5, 8:29 pm



There were some Mew Gulls on the outer rocks, but mostly this is Glaucous-winged Gull country right now.
They're sitting on nests!
8:35



Closer to land, the nests often include a lot of grass, but here they are great piles of seaweed, with some driftwood sticks and feathers mixed in.
Most of the nests are in the open but this gull has found a nice little cave.
















I counted a dozen obvious nests on the main islet. There were probably twice that, but from a decent distance, sitting in my kayak, I couldn't tell if the gulls sitting higher on the rocks were on nests or just resting.
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winterwren
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« Post / Reply #138 on: July 31, 2015, 11:15:32 PM »

As I paddled around the outer rocks, something kept catching my eyes among the resident seals.
I took it for a piece of flotsam at first, but it kept disappearing and surfacing in time with the seals.

Weird!
July 5, 8:45 pm



It's a seal with a transmitter!
There's a square thing with an antenna on his head, and another piece that at first looked like a tiny little scuba tank, attached to his back!




I did some digging, with Cali's help, after I got home.
A few seals with those 'beanies' and backpacks have been spotted in the area. There is a research program going on, based at Big Qualicum if I remember correctly.
The study aims to find out how many salmon the seals eat. All hatchery fish have a tag below their skin. The transmitter on the seal gets activated in the presence of such a tag, and it transmits data about the tag (including the kind of salmon, I believe),  along with the location and time. A lot of people like to blame the decline of the salmon on the resurgence of the seal and sea lion population; this study will supply some data where right now there is only blame and speculation.
The transmitters are glued to the seal's fur; I could see some woven material that reminded me of fire hose. At the seal's next moult his burden will fall off.
Meanwhile he doe seem to interact normally with the other seals.



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winterwren
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« Post / Reply #139 on: July 31, 2015, 11:20:54 PM »

As I head back, the sun emerges from the smoke.

July 5, 9 pm.










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winterwren
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« Post / Reply #140 on: July 31, 2015, 11:38:50 PM »

I've been hearing more cowbirds around my yard this year. I only spotted one juvenile last summer but now there are more of them.
I'm starting to learn what the baby cowbird's calls sound like. They sound like a whole nest of very hungry nestlings. I've become better at spotting them, and if I watch them long enough I can see the unwilling parent coming over to feed a fledgling much bigger than they are.
Here's a clear but incomplete view of one of the unwitting adoptive parents: a Warbling Vireo.
July 8, 5:28 pm



Here's the cowbird chick making a racket.








Here's the best view I could catch of a feeding. It's blurry but it confirms the identity of the foster parent.



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winterwren
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« Post / Reply #141 on: August 01, 2015, 10:14:07 AM »

Here's another visitor to my yard. The Orange-crowned Warblers make the rounds of my fruit trees from time to time but they're difficult to catch on the lens.
On a couple of occasions recently I got lucky.

Here's a photo from July 10.
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winterwren
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« Post / Reply #142 on: August 04, 2015, 08:29:50 PM »

Another lucky day for seeing the Orange-crowned Warblers on July 19. This lovely one started out in one of my apple trees again.
July 19, 4:15 pm  



Then he moved on to my corn patch and started hunting for earwigs.
Thank you!








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winterwren
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« Post / Reply #143 on: August 04, 2015, 08:56:16 PM »

That same day I returned to Norris Rocks, hoping to find that seal with the transmitter again and get better photos.

The gulls' nests were mostly obliterated, meaning, I suppose, that the gull chicks had been born and were walking around.

I tried to find some babies but didn't see any. It may have been late enough that they were mostly sleeping under their moms' wings.

Or so I thought, until I had a good look at this photo.
Someone is standing almost invisibly behind the lower gull.
July 19, 8:19 pm



There are still a few nests with gulls incubating or brooding.
8:21



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winterwren
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« Post / Reply #144 on: August 04, 2015, 09:31:06 PM »

I didn't find the seal with the transmitter... Not so surprising.

This one came close for a visit, however.
July 19, 8:











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winterwren
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« Post / Reply #145 on: August 05, 2015, 07:55:54 PM »

It was the eagle sitting on the outer reef that caught my attention first.
As I approached he flew away with his meal. But among the Black Turnstones and early-returned Surfbirds to the right of him, something orange caught my eye.

Like a robin in the middle of the ocean.
It just didn't fit.
July 19, 8:28



As I drifted closer, the orange bird decided to have a nap.
The Black Turnstones were expected at this time of year. The Surfbirds, I had never seen so early, but I haven't been watching long enough to know the pattern.
Sure was cool to see them in breeding plumage.
8:30



The orange guy is the same size as the Surfbirds. Some colour phase I didn't know about? I knew I'd need a bird book for that one.




The Surfbirds are handsome too!



Finally the orange bird shows his bill! Not a Surfbird for sure!
This turns out to be a Red Knot, a rare visitor in this area.



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winterwren
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« Post / Reply #146 on: August 05, 2015, 08:40:07 PM »

A couple dozen oystercatchers lined the east shore of the main islet.
I caught a few in decent light.
July 19, 8:33 pm



And another quasi-invisible Glaucous-winged Gull chick appeared in this photo. He's got camo spots.
8:36 pm
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jeavverhey
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« Post / Reply #147 on: August 06, 2015, 06:46:03 AM »

Fantastic photos Wren nod - you certainly live in heaven. thumbup
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winterwren
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« Post / Reply #148 on: August 29, 2015, 01:11:33 PM »

Here's something a little different...
Hornby seen from a distance.

I'm on a work boat, headed northeast to Powell River. We are towing a salvaged boat, rescued from trouble, to where the owner can get it repaired.
So that's my own little island behind us.
August 16, 1:50 pm


Click on the picture to see the full size. The right-most point is Collishaw, in Nest 7 territory. I think the shiny little rectangle is one of the larger houses near Grassy Point, a metal roof catching the sun. The row of houses on the shore on the left edge of the picture would be along the area from Belcarra Nest to Whaling Station Bay.

In the background, on the left, Mount Arrowsmith, and the Beaufort Mountains on the right; both on Vancouver Island.
The lower land mass behind the towed boat, extending to the right edge of the picture, is part of Denman Island.

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winterwren
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« Post / Reply #149 on: August 29, 2015, 01:27:46 PM »

At the northwest tip of Texada Island, you always see a lot of birds. Something about the currents and the reefs must bring a lot of nutrients to the surface.

There are gulls as usual, but also hundreds of dark birds... Murres!
Here are just a few of them.
August 16, 3:30 pm



On the return trip, the birds are still in the same area and there's a feeding frenzy going on.
One of the gulls has a fish in its bill... It has a forked tail like a herring.




The gulls are too buoyant to dive, so they have to stay right on top of where the fish surface. It's a confusion of sharp bills and claws. The murres don't need to expose themselves to that danger: they are good divers, so they stay on the margins and swim down to get a fish when they want one.
On this day and later that week, when I saw murres feeding on herring off Grassy Point, they were flapping their wings like this a lot.
They don't do this very much in the winter or spring. Another person who watches birds on the water was noticing this also. Lots and lots of birds all flapping their wings. I wonder what it's about.




Common Murres are difficult to approach, so I was glad to get a good look at them.
This is an adult still in breeding plumage.



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