Friday, November 13, 2009


It is feeling a lot like snow today, the feeders have been very busy today with the cool weather, 1c with wind chill making it feel like -5c. I spend some time today filling all the seed and Suet feeders because of the increased use. This year we have about 50 Evening Grosbeaks which is exciting as I was just reading an article stating that the Evening Grosbeak population has declined 78% in the last 40 years.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Short-eared Owl

I spotted this little beauty just off our property while driving to town. He was good enough to stay in place until I got my camera. After taking some pictures i turned around and spotted another, sitting on the power line behind me. I suspect it was a family group and this was a youngster and the other an adult.
We generally get them showing up in October and November on the way south, and again in the spring after the snow goes. One year I did discover one here in the middle of summer so I suspect that they could nest around here.
It is looking a lot like winter will soon be here, we have had a few days of snow and I think it will soon be staying.
The seed and suet feeders are all full and I am in a search for a supply of pork fat to nail to the trees as the birds seem to like that the most. Sunflower seeds are getting very expensive, I bought a 18kg bag for $17.99 last week and this week in the same store the same bag was $29.95. We have started to put out the shelled seeds which are costly also but there is much less waste.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Drove to Dawson Creek yesterday to spend the weekend with family. Today we moved some logs from a neighbours to the home place to be cut up for firewood. It took 3 trips with the trailer to move the logs home and most of the day was used up by the time we had finished.
As we were so busy i hasd no time to do any birding but managed a few new year birds anyway.
Eastern Phoebe
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
Chipping Sparrow
Western Tanager
White-throated Sparrow
Pectoral Sandpiper
Spotted Sandpiper
Tomorrow I will try and go to McQueens Slough and Jackbird refuge and see what is there, the forecast is not very good for the day with a late snowstorm for tonight and tomorrow possibly mixed with rain. Sometime at this time of the year that is good for seeing migrants as they are forced down by the bad weather, I hope this is the case as otherwise it is going to be an ugly day.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Stupid mistake

This morning I was down at the Lake and saw a beautiful Red-throated Loon swimming and diving in an open lead in the ice near the community jetty. I rushed out shooting pictures every time the bird surfaced, getting some great shots. As it was a very bright day I was unable to get very good looks at the pics due to the bright sun and my tinted glasses. Very proud of my self I drove home and downloaded to the computer only to find that they were Black&white due to the fact that I had been shooting in Monochrome last night and had forgotten to change the settings. So much for my fantastic shots of a beautiful Red-throated Loon. It is a boring shot of a Grey-Throated Loon :). I now have decided that I should do my Black&white pics in Photoshop.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Ruffed Grouse

The Ruffed Grouse Male picks a special perch for the spring season. He will stay on this perch for hours drumming his wings rapidly sounding like an old engine trying to start. .they will stay on this perch day after day trying to attract a willing female.
This Grouse has been using this same log for at least 5 years. I check on him every year to see if he has survived another winter. In past years I was unable to walk my dogs on the road up to our neighbours because my Boomer knew where this guy was and would rush after him as soon as we were near his drumming log and chase him away.
My Pal Boomer Died last year which has been sad for me and I really miss him, but is good for the poor grouse, they can drum in peace.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Stuart Lake ice

It is May 3 and Stuart Lake is still covered in ice. I scanned the open area at the mouth of the river for birds yesterday. There is an amazing amount of birds in the open water.500+ Western Grebes, 100+ Red-necked Grebe, 25 Common Loon, several hundred Northern Pintails and many others that were lost in the crowd.
The area around home has White-crown Sparrows everywhere, several hundred in the area. They will be around for a couple of weeks then leave for the northern nesting areas. The spring birds are slowly arriving, we had our first and so far only Rufous Hummingbird arrive on Thursday. I hope it is a good year for them, we have had up to 250 coming to our feeders in past years.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

It is definitely looking like spring. The snow melt runoff has hit our road. We came home to a flock of Mallards swimming in the water on our road The above picture was taken through the windshield of our car, that is my only explanation for the bad picture, sorry. The water was at least a foot deep on Saturday and many many Mallards, American Wigeon, Northern Pintail and Green-winged Teal around.
We should have Wilson's Snipe and Killdeer back by now but haven't seen or heard any yet. There is a flock of Horned Lark flying around the fields on thier way farther north, our Common Redpoll, and Pine Grosbeaks are long gone now and the first of the 100s of White-crowned Sparrows are here, along with the first Savana Sparrows.
The snow is slowly melting off our fields, the last 2 days of rain have helps a lot with that. It has resulted in some big meltwater ponds in the area filled with ducks and geese.
Around the first of May we should be expecting the first Rufous Hummingbirds but the way it looks right now I can't see that happening, but the weather is supposed to improve by the weekend so I can only hope. I will fill the hummingbird feeders before we leave for Terrace on the weekend just in case.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

New yard Bird

While driving to town to bring Katrina some dinner at work last evening I spotted this bird sitting on our fence. Had to go back and get the scope and camera to get a few photos and look at it though the scope. Managed to get a few bad pictures but it is enought to see that it is a beautiful adult Peregrine Falcon of the of the Tundrius sub species. This is property bird # 136 in the almost 20 years we have lived here.
Needless to say Kats dinner was a little cold when i got it to her.
Today i heard a Greater Yellowlegs flying over the house and managed to get a look at it before it moved on . There is some open water in the field across the road with lots of Mallards and American Wigeon, and yesterday there were 6 Cackling Geese which I could see from our driveway so I guess I can claim as another new property bird. Also on the field were 2 Trumpeter Swans and many many Mountain Bluebirds.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Rough-legged Hawks

Drove to Vanderhoof to retrieve Sharon's purse,after She discovered it missing and we tracked it down to where we had stopped for lunch on a shopping trip the day before.
I managed to get in a little birding on the way and saw at least 20 Rough-legged Hawks, which i think is the most I have every seen in 1 day. There were also very many Mountain Bluebirds and hundreds of Dark-eyed Juncos. I also spotted a lone pair of Long-billed Curlews looking very out of place in a snow covered field. I think they are going to be hungry before the snow melts on those fields.
Had a Ruby-crowned Kinglet hit a window and managed to retrieve it before one of our cats got it. I put it in a paper bag for a couple of hours to let it get its senses back and released it just before dark and it looked flew away, i hope it makes it.

Scout Island Walk

We stopped in Williams Lake on our way home from Redmond. Walked around Scout Island, checking out all the trails that we walked when Brandi wasa little girl. Saw many early returning birds, mostly water birds. Many American Coots, along with Gadwall, Mallard, Ring-necked Ducks and the first Common Loon on the lake. Most of the lake is still frozen and is still a week or 2 from opening up.
On the way home we spotted 6 Sandhill Cranes south of Quesnel and I attempted to get a picture but only got a couple of bad flight pics after they flushed when I go out of the car.
Many Red-tailed and Rough-legged Hawks on the way home and saw several Bald Eagles sitting on nests along the way.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Spring Break

I have been away in Redmond Washington for the last while enjoying some real spring weather. In the land of Microsoft it is very hard to find free wireless internet and the ones i found were not very good.
Spent a lot of time walking and birding in the area, with one trip to Nisqually Wildlife refuge, we had a 5 1/2 mile walk around the dike . Birding was spotty but it was a nice walk.
Found 2 Great-horned owl youngsters but they were too far away for a photograph. Got great looks at an American bittern from about 5 meters after it was startled by a Mink passing by.
My Bro-inlaw Reg did very well on our walk dispite having 3 back operations over the last year and having to walk with a cane.

Sunday, March 22, 2009


It was a nice day today so thought I would go do some work in the garden,,, But I couldn't find my snowshoes.
-12c this morning, but the Red-winged Blackbirds are calling, the Pine Grosbeaks are singing, a Piliated Woodpecker was calling and a pair of Blackbilled Magpies are busy building a nest near our garden spot. Our feeders are very busy with Common Redpolls and Pine Grosbeaks, and a few Evening Grosbeaks along with the Black-capped Chickadees and Downy and Hairy Woodpeckers.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Spring, Yeah right

Woke up this morning to 15cm/5inches of new snow and got to plow snow all morning. As i was just finished I heard the call of a Red-winged Blackbird, my first of the year. There were 2 high in a spruce tree near our house. This is just about 1 week later than the average time for returning here.
We added up all the snowfalls i have recorded this year and it totals 190cm which is very close to 6 feet of snow. I missed recording many snowfalls due to being out of town or just plain forgetting. so I am sure we are over 2 meters of snow this year.
On a trip to Prince George today we saw many Bald Eagles Ravens and Crows on the move but we are at least a couple of weeks from seeing any other spring birds

Friday, March 20, 2009

Odd Pine Grosbeak

took some picture of an odd looking Pine Grosbeak that has been coming to the feeders. It is covered with white splotches. There is also one that is very pale with a white patch on the throat.
We had a Black-capped Chickadee with a white tail a couple of years ago so there seems to be a trend here.
The weather has turned a lot milder in the last week with +9 on Wednesday and +7 on Thursday, much nicer than the sub -30 of the first 2 weeks of the month. I have read that this has been good for the Mountain pine Beetle problem with a 90 to 95% mortality rate in Alberta.
Too late for B.C. where 85% of the pine trees are dead, good for the woodpeckers but not so good for the local economy.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

-36.8 celcius

We woke up to -36.8 temp this morning, is this March or January. Due to the cold temp my feeders have been very busy. Common Repolds, Blackcapped Chickadees, Evening Grosbeaks, Pine Grosbeaks BlackbilledMagpies and Downie and Hairy Woodpeckers.
There is supposed to be a break in the weather later in the week, with a little rain and snow but much milder temps. I can't wait for our upcoming trip to Vancouver and Seattle to get a little taste of spring and some birding with Bro-inlaw Reg in the good birding areas around Seattle and Redmond Washington.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Common Redpolls

Last winter we didn't have any redpolls at our feeders and very few were found around the area. This trend continued for most of this winter until the second week in January when we had a single one show up. This expanded to 8 after a week and when we returned from Kelowna there were about 20.
The photo is of a Northern Pygmy-owl that flew into our window and I found it on the ground stunned. I put into our spruce tree and after about 1/2 hour it flew away

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Scout Island Nature Center

Stopped in Williams Lake on our way home from Kelowna. Our motel overlooked Scout Island, a place of many fond memories. From the time my Daughter Brandi started walking until she started school we spent our mornings walking around "Scoot Island" as she called it. We would look at the birds, we would walk the trails and she would collect small rocks and interesting sticks which we would have to bring home. She would always look for her favorite bird, the Purple Finch but if she couldn't see one that was ok because she could look in the field guide and find it long before she could read.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Maude Roxby

Walked around maude Roxby Bird Sanctuary in Kelowna today. Nothing spectacular but did see a few firsts for the year. There were a couple of Northern Flickers, some American Robins, Ring-billed Gulls, Mew Gulls and a lone Mourning Dove. It was a cold snowy morning and it was not hard to convince myself that it was too miserable to spend time birding.