Author Topic: Helliwell Nest - 2015-2016 Season  (Read 13916 times)

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Offline winterwren

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Helliwell Nest - 2015-2016 Season
« on: October 21, 2015, 11:26:59 AM »
This thread is about the eagle territory situated around the northeast end of Helliwell Park.
The pair of this territory occupied what is shown on the map as Nest 23, then moved to Nest 22.

Last year, both these nests were unoccupied, and we found the pair nesting just outside the park boundary, on private land, within view of the shore. The new nest produced one healthy eaglet, after three years without issue.

We keep thinking that there must be another territory at the western edge of the park, because we often see eagles perched there. Also there is often a pair perching on the navigational marker on Flora Islet. But so far we've only found one occupied nest.

To see the postings from last year, click here. That page also has a link to the previous year's posts.

This territory is rich and varied. The end of the park nearest the nest has a large intertidal zone, with several reefs and an islet. The opposite end rises to high cliffs with a large meadow on top. Pelagic Cormorants have their night roosts on the cliffs. Oystercatchers nest on the reefs. On land and at sea, this is one of the island's best areas to watch birds of all kinds.

Offline winterwren

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Re: Helliwell Nest - 2015-2016 Season
« Reply #1 on: October 21, 2015, 11:49:22 AM »
The eagles of this territory have been back for a while. My first observations were on October 4, when I heard one eagle trilling near the nest, then saw a pair of adults perched on the tower on Flora Islet. I had not visited the park for some weeks, so the arrivals may have been much earlier.

I returned on October 8, 10 and 11, intending on further educating myself on the meadow birds. Someone had pointed out some American Pipits on a previous outing; without the expert birders I was with, I would have missed them entirely. I was hoping to find them again. But of course it never turns out the way I think.

Here's a beautiful eagle I spotted on the 10th, with the sky still roiling from a retreating storm. There had been multiple trills in the nest area earlier, but I don't know if this is one of the nesting pair.
October 10, 5:12 pm



In the meadow, no American Pipits. I found four kinds of sparrow: Song, Chipping, Savannah and Golden-crowned.
Here's a Chipper...
October 8, 4:30 pm



A Savannah...
October 8, 5:29


And a Golden-crowned.
October 10, 3:40



Offline winterwren

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Re: Helliwell Nest - 2015-2016 Season
« Reply #2 on: October 21, 2015, 12:02:37 PM »
On the 11th, I met this bird on the path. He was bathing in a rain puddle and at first I thought it was a Fox Sparrow, a winter resident here and still missing to my sparrow collection from the meadow.

Turned out to be something else entirely: a Hermit Thrush.
Still wet from bathing...
October 11, 3:10 pm








Offline Faerie Gardener

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Re: Helliwell Nest - 2015-2016 Season
« Reply #3 on: October 21, 2015, 01:23:06 PM »
They are all very sweet, but that Hermit Thrush is really a cutie!
"In all things of Nature there is something of the Marvelous"  -Aristotle

"A garden is never as good as it will be next year" -Anon

Offline winterwren

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Re: Helliwell Nest - 2015-2016 Season
« Reply #4 on: October 21, 2015, 10:07:57 PM »
On one of my outings, I was coming out of the woods and into the big meadow of Helliwell Park when I spotted something looking like a falcon, coursing over the meadow!
Unfortunately my camera was still set to high ISO from taking photos in the forest, so the pictures are all washed out, but they are good enough for an identification: a Kestrel, the first I have ever seen.
October 11, 10:37 am








Offline winterwren

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Re: Helliwell Nest - 2015-2016 Season
« Reply #5 on: October 21, 2015, 10:16:47 PM »
I also saw some Crossbills on one of the days. I had never seen them so close. It was starting to get dark, and maybe they were winding down their incessant activity for the night.

This also means that the light was really marginal... But it's cool to at last get a good view of how that crazy bill works out. Most of them have the upper part of the bill cross to the left, lower to the right... But I did see one individual who had the reverse arrangement.

October 10, 5:50 pm











Offline winterwren

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Re: Helliwell Nest - 2015-2016 Season
« Reply #6 on: October 21, 2015, 10:30:50 PM »
Now here's my little, brief moment of fame...

While looking in vain for unusual birds (American Pipits) I found another unusual bird.

I wandered down a steep path to an area of carved sandstone bluffs. I often paddle by there but hadn't hiked down for years. At the bottom of the path, a little wren came to greet me. I could tell this was a kind I had never seen before, and followed it for a while, taking what photos I could.
This little bird foraged between the boulders, but periodically perched on a prominent point and surveyed the area while bobbing legs up and down, doing push-ups if you will.

Unlike most wrens I've met, it was completely silent.

October 8, 4:57 pm



4:59



5:01


Very cute. I was pleased. A new wren!
My jaw dropped when I checked the bird book for an identification, though. This little guy is wayyy out of range. He's a Rock Wren; they live in southern interior British Columbia and further south, in rocky areas. Every 6 years or so, one or two drift over to Vancouver Island. There was one being reported in Victoria at the time. But this was the first ever recorded sighting on Hornby.
You just never know. Go look for something... Chances are you'll find something else.

Offline Faerie Gardener

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Re: Helliwell Nest - 2015-2016 Season
« Reply #7 on: October 22, 2015, 07:01:02 AM »
WOW!  Just WOW!  Thanks Wren, for the great pics of all three of these sightings!
"In all things of Nature there is something of the Marvelous"  -Aristotle

"A garden is never as good as it will be next year" -Anon

Offline Cawatcher

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Re: Helliwell Nest - 2015-2016 Season
« Reply #8 on: October 22, 2015, 07:11:15 AM »
We have many rock wrens here wren, I didnt realise they were so far north.. Our are quite vocal unless you are near them.. They blend so well with the rocks, most times you dont see unless they move, even if you hear their call. Great find  :thumbup:

Online boonibarb

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Re: Helliwell Nest - 2015-2016 Season
« Reply #9 on: November 01, 2015, 09:59:04 AM »
 
On our boat trip with Hornby Island Diving, which began here, our next destination was Flora Island, off Helliwell.
We were able to climb off the boat & walk around there for a bit.
What a lovely spot, & so cool to see Helliwell from there!
The closest point to Helliwell was covered with Seals.
People spotted a large group of Otters on the far side of the Island.
This one must have swam around & was near where the boat let us jump out.

october 24 2015 15:45 - River Otter





Just before they slipped into the water again.
i have never seen the front feet & toes & toenails like this before!





link to my fotos page - 
 
https://www.flickr.com/photos/43214021@N08/

 
wooohoooo!

Offline winterwren

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Re: Helliwell Nest - 2015-2016 Season
« Reply #10 on: November 07, 2015, 07:35:04 PM »
A few photos from an outing along the shore of Helliwell Park and around the islets, back on October 18.

We started this trip in the mist but it cleared out eventually.

There seems to always be at least one adult standing guard near the new nest.

The Dunlins have been few and far between. Maybe it's still early? Here is one of them, napping, almost invisible among the bigger Surfbirds; he's got one eye on me.
October 18, 11:28  



At the end of the furthest reef we drifted for a while. A seal took interest in our kayaks and kept swimming from one to the other, nudging our sterns. Here he is, checking out my friend's boat.
11:39







At one point I was drifting with my paddle resting across my lap and I felt a nudge: the seal had reached my paddle with a flipper and was using it to steady himself. Curious no doubt about this strange animal. Wish I had a photo of that!

Offline winterwren

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Re: Helliwell Nest - 2015-2016 Season
« Reply #11 on: November 07, 2015, 07:42:55 PM »
As often, there was an eagle perched on the long gravelly reef that is visible from the Hornby shore.

October 18, 12:20



We were doing pretty well that day with drifting right past critters without making them bolt.
This photo shows a few white neck feathers with delicate brown shafts. I had never seen this before.








Offline Cawatcher

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Re: Helliwell Nest - 2015-2016 Season
« Reply #12 on: November 07, 2015, 07:45:25 PM »
What a day!

Offline MaggiesMom

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Re: Helliwell Nest - 2015-2016 Season
« Reply #13 on: November 07, 2015, 07:51:33 PM »
has that napping dunlin turned his head all the way round so it is resting between his wings facing backwards?  what a great collection of photos, Wren!
"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: Helliwell Nest - 2015-2016 Season
« Reply #14 on: November 07, 2015, 08:39:42 PM »
Maggies, yes, that's a pretty standard napping posture for a shore bird. Some of the Surfbirds on that same picture are doing the same thing. It's quite remarkable when you have a big flock of Dunlins at rest, and they ALL have their head rotated 180 degrees and their bill tucked into their mantle feathers. And they're each standing on one foot. I'm sure your chiropractor would highly recommend it.