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Saturday, July 26, 2008

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Sky Watch - Osprey Update

About a month ago I posted some pictures of an Osprey nest for Sky Watch Friday. The Osprey's head peeking over the edge was the only indication that there was an actual bird in the nest. Last Sunday we drove by again, and I'm happy and excited to announce that the Ospreys have become devoted parents to, not one, but two chicks (we saw only two). I wanted very much to share this special event with all of you, and I hope you will enjoy the photos of this amazing raptor.

The Osprey is found worldwide, on every continent except Antarctica.
(please click on pictures for better viewing)
Adult bird and one chick
This photo shows another little head
(The structure on which the nest is built
is an unfinished hay barn.)

"One touch of nature makes the whole world kin"
~William Shakespeare



Sky Watch Friday. Please follow the link to join in the fun or view some fabulous pictures of the sky.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Pelicans

(please click on pictures for better viewing)
American White Pelican
Pelecanus erythrorhynchos

on a submerged log


This is the large white bird we saw on Sunday. It was such a nice surprise, so unexpected, to come upon these wonderful, sedate birds on a calm interior lake - no one else around, just us and the birds. Well, the black flies were here also, but they couldn't spoil the moment.

Unlike the Brown Pelican, which dives for fish, the White Pelican scoops up the fish from a shallow part of the lake. Their breeding territories range from central to western North America.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Bald Eagle

I think this week my posts are going to be mainly about birds. Yesterday, we were very fortunate to observe some large raptors, as well as the Ospreys and also what I'm referring to now as "the surprise bird", just because my husband and I were astounded at finding such an unlikely bird here. But, the first sighting was the Bald Eagle.

This Bald Eagle was looking a bit bedraggled perched in his usual high spot that overlooks the lake. The only explanation I can think of is that he had grazed the water with his wings when he was fishing and got a little too wet. And here he sat drying off.


Apparently, if an eagle has gotten hold of a larger fish and won't let go, he can be pulled down into the water. Although the eagle will use his large wings to swim should he get into trouble, he could easily drown if he can't get back to land quickly. In cold waters, he would soon perish from hypothermia. Source: American Bald Eagle Information


He must have been all right because when we returned this way, he was gone.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Bird of Prey

(please click on the photos to enlarge)
Merlin Falco columbarius, Adult
Size: 24 - 30 cm (9 - 12 in.)
Notice the blue-gray beak with yellow
toward the head

This may be one of the Merlin fledglings, but I'm not positive.
You can just make out a bit of the white band on
the bird's tail.

We have a Merlin Falcon pair nesting in the nearby woods this year. A few evenings ago I happened to be outside when they were flying about and making quite a ruckus. We hear them most often in the morning and evening, and we have had to get used to their shrill vocalizations. We certainly know when they are around. On this particular evening they perched several times in the high branches of a tree, and I managed to get these photos.

I didn't know anything about these small falcons before their arrival this spring and had to do some research on them.

Some interesting facts:

  • also known as a Pigeon Hawk
  • migratory, wintering in more temperate climates
  • Merlin Falcons are very swift and agile in the air, catching their prey in flight
  • Adults are preyed upon by larger raptors (Goshawks, for instance)
  • They are very territorial, aggressively attacking eagles if need be
  • 80% of their diet consists of small birds up to the size of a Rock Dove (Pigeon)
  • They do not build their own nests but will use abandoned nests of crows, jays, magpies
  • used in falconry all the way back to medieval times
The Merlin Falcon Foundation has some excellent examples of their various calls that will give you an idea of what we are hearing. It's no wonder that the chickadees, sparrows, robins and other birds are very shy at the present time, remaining well hidden in the trees.



Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Yellow Water Lilies

At the bridge
The Yellow Water Lilies are beautiful right now.
The lily pads, before they unfold, have been described
as resembling "arrowheads".
Not all of the lily "cups" have opened yet.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Squirrel's Harvest

I think she's gone inside. I'll make a dash for it now!
This strawberry isn't entirely ripe, but it still tastes delicious!
Do I look guilty?


I hope you enjoyed seeing my little friend and will visit other wonderful participants by clicking on the badge below.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Strawberry Mystery


I didn't put this strawberry here, but I'm pretty sure I know "who done it". More will be revealed tomorrow on my Camera Critter post.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Sky Watch

This was the way the sky looked at nine this morning when I was outside sitting on the steps.


Swirling clouds urged on by the wind,
disperse and spread out across the sky.




Rain Drops Keep Falling

The underside of a Cottonwood Leaf
and a collection of rain drops


Perhaps we are going to have one of those wet summers after all. Already people are asking, "How did you like our three days of summer?" A rainy June, now a rainy July (so far).

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

A Moody Day


This was the kind of day it was yesterday in the central interior of British Columbia - cool, mostly overcast, with barely any sunshine and a smidgen of rain. I spent much of it weeding, trimming around the edges where garden area meets forest, tidying up the hops plants (ornamental, not beer) and picking the first strawberries before Squirrel beats me to them. My sad strawberry patch really needs some extra work, but we're still getting a fair crop. I've had the plants for several years now, and I think I'll have to put in new ones next spring.

This is looking southwest

and north.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Mule Deer

I saw this lone Mule Deer in a field recently. I was so happy to get a picture or two of the doe contentedly grazing before I was detected. And happier still when this beautiful creature went back to dining on that lush grass after looking in my direction. I really wasn't that close (had to use the zoom on the camera), and she didn't seem particularly bothered by my presence. I guess she chalked me up as being just a silly curious onlooker - harmless.



At Home

For two days now we've had some late afternoon thunderstorm activity, together with wind and lots of rain. It doesn't last long, but it means having to shut down my computer for a bit.


The other night the thunder claps were right overhead which made me jump out of my skin more than once. Our poor, frightened dog kept very close to us the whole time.

Yesterday we checked on things outside -

  • rain gauge read 12mm (about 1/2in.)
  • garden looking a little soggy and flattened but all right
  • puddles here and there
These are some pictures I took when I went for a walk down the road -

At the first corner I heard the Pileated Woodpecker
hammering away on this power pole. I haven't
seen him for awhile.
There are lots of wildflowers in bloom,
spots of colour everywhere I look.
My little companion among the daisies.