Author Topic: Ground Observations - 2015 - 2016 Season, when Dad mourned Mom  (Read 122207 times)

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Offline winterwren

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Re: Ground Observations - 2015 - 2016 Season
« Reply #210 on: March 09, 2016, 08:12:01 PM »
From where I'm now standing, I've also been watching a female Harlequin, also calmly preening, while her mate floats nearby.

March 6, 2:15 pm







After a while her mate joins her and starts to preen also.
We can see the way his wing tucks behind his orange flank feathers, like in a pocket.  :eclove
2:16







And finally I can see around the corner: more Harlequins resting on the rocks with a few American Wigeons.
2:20


My time is up by then, so I tiptoe back. The merganser calmly gets off her rock and swims off, but at least I didn't make anyone fly in a panic. Success!

Offline winterwren

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Re: Ground Observations - 2015 - 2016 Season
« Reply #211 on: March 09, 2016, 08:28:06 PM »
Next stop was the Belcarra territory, which was as far as the turquoise colour went.
I quickly scouted the area and returned as soon as I had some free time, which was shortly before sunset.

The placid scene of the afternoon had changed: the breeze was up, the light was fading, and fish were boiling up to the surface every so often, drawing flocks of gulls.
I had camera problems for a bit and missed the best pictures as this happened right in front of me.
But I was able to catch the sea lions and gulls together. The sea lions sometimes cause the fish to rise to the surface, so the gulls follow them closely, hoping to catch a fish.
Even in the fading light we can see the water's strange colour.

March 6, 5:40 pm



The immature gull at the right has a fish!






Offline jeavverhey

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Re: Ground Observations - 2015 - 2016 Season
« Reply #212 on: March 10, 2016, 07:40:15 AM »
What a wonderful series of pictures Wren! You certainly make the most of your fantastic environment. Thank you for sharing it with us.  :ecsmile :eclove

Online auroradawn

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Re: Ground Observations - 2015 - 2016 Season
« Reply #213 on: March 10, 2016, 08:42:30 AM »
booni & wren, thank you both so much for all these wonderful pictures, videos & reports, I am so enjoying it all  :eclove

Offline winterwren

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Re: Ground Observations - 2015 - 2016 Season
« Reply #214 on: March 10, 2016, 09:24:57 PM »
March 7 was the second day we saw herring spawning on the island.
I was at work all morning, but we finished our chores as fast as we could, and in the early afternoon we took the work boat for a herring cruise!
The turquoise colour started at Shingle Spit and extended north around Collishaw Point and past Grassy Point.
Between Shingle Spit and Phipps Point, there was a band of colour off the shore, just like Booni and I saw at Tralee the day before. But I think it was fresher and still sat as clouds in the water.
The birds in the photo are 3 Mew Gulls and a Pelagic Cormorant. The shore, beyond a darker area that is clear water, is lined with gulls.
March 7, 1:12 pm


A few years ago, the owners of the boat worked with a Japanese crew that was filming the herring spawn. To get images of the fish, they anchored at the edge of the cloud of milt. Schools of herring dart in and out of the cloud. Any movement on the boat spooks the fish off.
We did that for a while, anchored in the shallows in the lovely sunshine and looked down into the water. I took a lot of photos but my lens was too far from the surface of the water and none of them came out clear. (Two years ago I took pictures from my kayak in much the same way, drifting over clear water near the edge of the milt cloud, and had more success. Click here to see the forum posting with those photos.)
The filming crew also had some success with leaving underwater cameras on anchors at the edge of the milt cloud, retrieving them later. Divers in the water usually scare the fish away.
All this, I learned in the following days, works only with the first spawn in a given area. When a second or third wave of fish come in to spawn, the surrounding water is already opaque from the diluted milt of the first wave, making the fish invisible.

Offline winterwren

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Re: Ground Observations - 2015 - 2016 Season
« Reply #215 on: March 10, 2016, 09:42:53 PM »
Then we crossed over to the Denman side of Lambert Channel, where all the fishing boats were.
There was a wider band of turquoise along the shore; fish had spawned there for three days running.

Looking north towards Comox, there were boats and gulls everywhere. Birds floated over the whole width of the channel.
March 7, 1:57 pm



This net full of fish is being lifted out of a herring skiff and into the hold of its mother ship.
There is roe oozing out of the fish at the bottom of the net.
1:59



Here's the gill net coming aboard one of the herring skiffs. Paddles shake the net to make the fish drop to the bottom of the skiff, but the crew also uses boat hooks to shake off the remaining fish.
Herring scales cling to every surface.




Offline winterwren

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Re: Ground Observations - 2015 - 2016 Season
« Reply #216 on: March 10, 2016, 09:49:06 PM »
A Thayer's Gull passes right by us, swallowing a herring on the fly!

March 7, 2:10:51







There's still just a tip of tail sticking out, just in time! Here comes the competition. Only one second has elapsed.
2:10:52


(Check out the crop...)

Offline Tigerlady105

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Re: Ground Observations - 2015 - 2016 Season
« Reply #217 on: March 10, 2016, 10:18:13 PM »
Great timing, wren!   :thumbup:
Commit random acts of kindness and senseless acts of beauty.

"When one tugs at a single thing in nature; he finds it attached to the rest of the world". ~John Muir

Offline Cawatcher

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Re: Ground Observations - 2015 - 2016 Season
« Reply #218 on: March 11, 2016, 09:28:55 AM »
 :heart booni wren fantastic series!! unbelievable captures thank you thank you for sharing

Offline winterwren

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Re: Ground Observations - 2015 - 2016 Season
« Reply #219 on: March 11, 2016, 07:08:50 PM »
We cruise southward again, following the coast of Denman Island. By Gravelly Bay and all the way to Eagle Rock, there is some fresh new spawn, the cloud of milt contrasting sharply with the surrounding water.

March 7, 2:36 pm



In the middle of the milt cloud, the water is so milky, you lose sight of anything below a few inches of depth.
This is a strand of Japanese Driftweed, introduced from Asia via ships' bilge water. I've been wondering about it for years, but lately I heard from various sources that it offers good shelter to sea life; during a presentation about the herring last Tuesday, we were told that "the herring like it". I'm not sure to what degree they choose the substrate where they deposit their eggs, but certainly a few days later I saw areas where the driftweed was just loaded with roe. I suppose the thin, branched structure gives a good support and the upright stems at high tide would allow plenty of water to circulate around the eggs and oxygenate them.




As we headed for home, I spotted an eagle fishing at the edge of the cloud of milt. I love how the turquoise colour reflects on the white feathers.




Offline boonibarb

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Re: Ground Observations - 2015 - 2016 Season
« Reply #220 on: March 11, 2016, 07:23:44 PM »
 
i ran into wren today & was telling her about two water Birds i saw down at Ford Cove.
One i remember being red & the other all white.
i don*t know my water Birds at all.
Look at the beautiful water colour.
It really was that beautiful.
i tried really hard to capture the real colour, everywhere i went.
These two were in the calm bay to the right of the walkway out to the docks.
 
march 8 2016  16:18 - Grebe
 

 


Here*s the one i thought was all white, not so all white at all.
 


They were both sweeties, but how sweet is this one?
 

 

 
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Offline winterwren

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Re: Ground Observations - 2015 - 2016 Season
« Reply #221 on: March 11, 2016, 07:51:01 PM »
OMG, Booni, that is a Pied-billed Grebe! They're so adorable and I have never seen one on Hornby; Ford Cove would be the most likely place; they like shallow, calm bays.

The one with the white breast and dark flanks and cap is a Horned Grebe, our most common grebe. They are just a little bit larger and a pair of them are regulars at Ford Cove.
They are worth watching closely these days: some of them are starting to show hints of the russet plumage they get in the spring. I'm also starting to see them gathering in flocks, which so far I have only seen at the times of spring and fall migrations.

Thanks for posting these, Booni!

Offline winterwren

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Re: Ground Observations - 2015 - 2016 Season
« Reply #222 on: March 11, 2016, 07:55:47 PM »
Back to March 7, since it is now too dark for me to run to Ford Cove and try to find that Pied-billed Grebe!
So on March 7, as soon as I got home from my boating adventure, I planned to get out again. The weather was beautiful and the forecast was bad, so I loaded my kayak on the truck and headed down to Grassy Point while I still could.

This was shortly after Booni saw the eagles fishing near Collishaw; she would have been there at the end of the flood tide. The tide was ebbing during my outing, starting to drop at 5 pm, which is about when I launched.
As soon as I left Grassy Point, I started seeing fish boiling up and throwing themselves at the shore just as we saw in Booni's first video, where the eagles are nabbing some of the fish.
The little boils last just a few seconds, so they're very hard to photograph. My first two photos show just the splashes and no fish, but I like the light! The action was right beside me.
March 7, 4:54







Ok, better luck here. Look closely; there are several bits of several fish visible in addition to the one jumping right out of the water. They rolled into the seaweed and back.
4:58







Offline Cawatcher

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Re: Ground Observations - 2015 - 2016 Season
« Reply #223 on: March 11, 2016, 08:16:19 PM »
 :eceek Wonderful wonderful You both true amazed with beautiful shots   :heart

Offline boonibarb

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Re: Ground Observations - 2015 - 2016 Season
« Reply #224 on: March 11, 2016, 08:22:06 PM »
 
Oh, wow, thank you wren!
Here, i thought it was the white one who was interesting!
Thanks for the i.d!

Now getting back to where i left off a few days ago...
Here is the Eagle with the holey beak again.
i didn*t see this when i was photographing, only later, when looking at the fotos on the computer.
 
march 7 2016 15:43 - Eagle near Collishaw Point
 


Here they all still are, waiting for dinner to jump into their laps.
The youngster far right has Herring scales stuck to their beak, making a white patch.
Beautiful water colour.
 


Crow asking Eagle, *You finished that YET?*
 


This is what Grassy Point looked like from where i was.
 


& here you can see that that hole straight through the nares is visible from the left side too!  :eceek
Something strange is going on there.
 

 
link to my fotos page -  
 
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