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Author Topic: Heron Rocks Nest - 2014-2015 season  (Read 12290 times)
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winterwren
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« on: December 23, 2014, 09:25:33 PM »

This nest has had a checkered history. Let's see if I can piece it together without mistakes...
When Booni and I first became aware of it, the nest was situated behind the cook-house on the Heron Rocks campsite. That summer, in 2010, one eaglet, still small, was found dead below the nest, and one survived.
In 2011 that nest had no offspring.
In 2012 the eagles relocated, still on the campsite but further east, within view of the Friendship Centre. But that new nest saw no offspring for two years.
Last summer, 2014, the eagles moved again, a little further east, over the fence line onto Olsen Farm. So there are now two nests on the farm; I'm going to keep calling this one the Heron Rocks Nest and hope nobody gets too confused.
This new nest broke the string of fallow years. There were two lovely eaglets last summer.

Click here to see the postings from last year and to find links to previous seasons.

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winterwren
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« Post / Reply #1 on: December 23, 2014, 09:43:15 PM »

On November 15 I paddled from Sandpiper Beach, through the territories of the Winters' eagles and the Olsen Farm eagles, and then into this territory!

I keep wanting to prove to myself that the Olsen Farm pair is different from this pair.
I was able to do that on that day. There were two eagles perched near the Olsen Farm nest, and as I paddled further west a third eagle flew in and landed on one of the scraggly perches of the new Heron Rocks nest!
November 15, 3:42 pm



Just below that eagle I found a surprise guest!
Just as the shore of the island is partitioned into eagle territories, it is also carved into Kingfisher territories. So we see those little kings a lot but they are difficult to approach. I sure wish I could find a nest! This is His Majesty. His consort has a russet band below the blue one.
3:43



Blink!


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Cawatcher
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« Post / Reply #2 on: December 23, 2014, 09:48:56 PM »

 eek! Super!
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winterwren
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« Post / Reply #3 on: December 23, 2014, 09:55:53 PM »

Just a little further down the shore was another eagle!
So both of the Heron Rocks pair are accounted for, distinct from the Olsen Farm pair.
November 15, 3:47



Something unusual went on here: I've seen eagles mobbed by crows so many times... But this time Dad Heron Rocks (i think that's who this is) was sitting peacefully, surrounded by crows, everyone quietly resting in the sun.
3:48


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OpieK
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« Post / Reply #4 on: December 24, 2014, 06:05:48 PM »

beautiful photos, Wren, thank you!
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winterwren
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« Post / Reply #5 on: December 26, 2014, 09:52:26 AM »

December 25.

On my way down to Heron Rocks I can see both eagles perched in the skinny trees near the new nest.

And yet as I approach the old nest site, here are TWO eagles perched nice and snug on one of the perch trees!

One of them flies off right away.

December 25, 10:21


How many territories do we have here, anyway???

Here's the eagle who flew away. Are these sub-adult markings on the head? I wish I'd taken more pictures of this one.
10:22


Now that I look at the full size I see some dark markings on the tail too. So a sub-adult, who vanished from the area a few minutes later. Click on the picture to see the details.


Meanwhile across the bay there is still a pair by the new nest, currently giving what-for to a youngster who had perched nearby (but not chasing him off). Defending their territory for sure.
10:23


There are also 3 more eagles visible on Toby Islet, and 3 or 4 more riding the thermals above the bay. Lots of visitors. So this is not necessarily a nesting pair I saw near the old nest.

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winterwren
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« Post / Reply #6 on: December 26, 2014, 09:57:58 AM »

Here's the eagle who remained on the perch near the old nest.

December 25, 10:28










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winterwren
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« Post / Reply #7 on: December 26, 2014, 05:53:36 PM »

Here is the view toward Toby Islet. You can see 3 eagles sitting on an outcropping and some sea lions to their left. There are really a lot of seabirds on the water beyond. There's got to be something good to eat around there.

Heron Rocks, December 25, 11:03


Click on this picture and you can even get an idea of those eagles' ages.



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winterwren
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« Post / Reply #8 on: December 26, 2014, 06:11:37 PM »

There are also hundreds of gulls in the foreground of the landscape picture in the previous post.

Here are some of them, looking so handsome in the rare sunshine. Looks like they are all Thayer's Gulls, our most abundant gull in the winter. They have pink feet, their primaries show rather large white dots, and the primaries stick out two or three dots past the tail. They're smaller than the Glaucous-winged, our main year-round resident. The Thayer's Gulls all disappear in the spring to go nesting in the Arctic.
Their eye colour is highly variable so sometimes people mistake the ones with pale eyes for Herring Gulls, which are really not very common here in the Straits.
December 25, 11:20










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winterwren
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« Post / Reply #9 on: December 26, 2014, 06:39:18 PM »

Further up on shore... A Spotted Towhee eating a berry in an outlandish setting: a pale-green poplar trunk surrounded with red briars.
December 25, 11:12

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Cawatcher
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« Post / Reply #10 on: December 27, 2014, 07:29:33 AM »

What a wonderful way to spend Christmas Winterwren!! thank you for sharing with us  love
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OpieK
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« Post / Reply #11 on: December 27, 2014, 07:27:03 PM »

lovely colors, Wren!
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winterwren
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« Post / Reply #12 on: December 27, 2014, 08:09:56 PM »

Thank you all! It felt so good to see some sun.

I moseyed along the shore and as usual all the wigeons took off while I was still a long long ways away but this pair was hiding in a little bight and we surprised each other.
December 25, 11:28



I had actually come with the goal of challenging myself to find and photograph the passerines, but I didn't see very many of them. One oddity, though: an American Robin with partial albinism. Years ago there was a whole family of them near Phipps Point but I had rarely seen any since.
11:38



I was actually stalking a couple of Varied Thrushes when I accidentally got a photo of the robin. I finally got a partial view of one of the thrushes, feasting on arbutus berries.
11:40



Meanwhile that same eagle is still perched on that same tree. Hi!
11:34


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winterwren
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« Post / Reply #13 on: December 31, 2014, 11:25:19 PM »

Two Black Oystercatchers are engaged in a strange dance.
They bow to each other repeatedly, pace theatrically in tandem, fly around side by side, then land and start all over again.

Heron Rocks, December 25, 11:55



A third oystercatcher lands near the first two, and this prompts another enthusiastic round of bowing, saluting and parading.
The other bird watches from behind a rock and we can just see a little bit of him or her in this picture.
11:56



Then off they fly again, almost close enough to touch.





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winterwren
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« Post / Reply #14 on: December 31, 2014, 11:34:47 PM »

O happy day! In the middle of the oystercatchers' courting dance, a Greater Yellowlegs lands nearby.

Heron Rocks, December 25, 12:00



12:01



12:03






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