Journal 212 - June 9/07
It's not that I haven't been out with the camera at all because I have. The difference is that I haven't been actively or purposefully pursuing birding and photography. If I happened to be near a birding area, I would go through the motions. For the first couple of times I was actually relieved when I found nothing to photograph. When I accompanied my buddy, Joe, to show him where to find Black-headed Grosbeaks at Legacy Marsh and and the Bullock's Oriole at Buttertubs, I hardly clicked the shutter.
But time heals all, and I think I'm getting back in the swing. The first week of June was the time to look for Mrs. Common Merganser with her new brood of ducklings at the Englishman Estuary. The second week is the time for the Kaye Road Kestrals to fledge and the end of the month is my annual search for the 3-toed up Mt. Washington. There's 3 targets for the month. I wonder if the Lazuli Bunting is still in Victoria?
Ever since I got my big lens, I haven't been able to get close to the Olive-sided. The same was true today. Maybe next time. Two years ago I had no problems getting close. I wonder what's different now?
The Olive-sided was the only bird I was able to photograph today, but a giant moth was a fine consolation photo. Unfortunately, it didn't seem to be in very good condition. I found it lying on the road and could barely get it to stay upright. I'd appreciate it if anyone would like to email me with the identification of this species. ***Thanks to Dean Morewood (Ottawa) who has identified the moth as Hyalophora euryalus.
May 28 - Buttertubs and Legacy Marsh
June is maternity month for many birds. In my yard there are newly fledged Dark-eyed Juncos, American Robins, Red-breasted Nuthatches, Chestnut-backed Chickadees, Rufous Hummingbirds and probably a few other species I haven't seen yet. It was also maternity time at Buttertubs, and the first juvenile I spotted was a young Brewer's Blackbird.
Like the squeaky wheel getting the oil, the squeaking Brewer's got the lunch.
Black-headed Grosbeaks are always fun to see. A good place to look for these halloween-coloured critters is Legacy Marsh.
There seemed to be a few males around, but the females were scarce - maybe they were on the nests.
There seems to be a Bewick's Wren anywhere you go on the Island.
While many birds have already fledged, some, like the Warbling Vireo are just getting started.
June 1 - Kaye Road Spotties
It's been two years since I've visited the Spotted Sandpipers on Rascal Lane. I didn't find any youngsters, but I did find four adults.
As usual, if you see them foraging at the water's edge, just wait, and they'll often work their way right up to you.
Decoy, distress, or territorial? I'm not sure if the Spottie was sending me a message, but it was an interesting display.
Finally, a Willow Flycatcher. They've probably been here for awhile, but they've been avoiding me. It was good to hear the old familiar "fitz-bew" again.
June 4 - Hummer Time
The feeders have been dominated by juveniles for the past week. I've only seen two adult females lately.
I have a window of about 2 hours when the lighting is good on my feeders. It's a pleasant way to spend an afternoon waiting for the hummers with a glass of wine.
Green or gold? It's fascinating how the colours change depending on the angle of light.
I think it's really maternity time for the Black-throated Gray Warblers. They seem to be busy collecting meals for someone.
Three out of four years I've found the Common Merganser family in the first week of June at the Englishman estuary. If it weren't raining, the colours would have been better. I'll have to leave it up to your imagination how it would have looked.
I had the same rain and lighting problem at Deep Bay. This is the closest I've ever been to a Marbled Murrelet.>
June 7 - More Fun at the Feeders
I put out a niger seed feeder near my hummer feeders. It's now a popular hangout for Pine Siskins and a pair of American Goldfinch.
When all the ports in the feeder are occupied, the American Goldfinch waits its turn on a branch.
Mirror, mirror on the wall, Who's the prettiest of them all? The male American Goldfinch certainly gets a few votes.
The female is also quite cute.
June 8 - Kestrel Watching - Every year I try to monitor the Kaye Road Kestrel to catch it's fledglings. There's a window of two days before they disappear. I've seen them four years in a row, and I've been checking every second day since June 2.
I don't know how many times I've tried to photograph Fidel Kestrel, but it's been many, many, times. It was refreshing to get reasonably close to him on a tree and not on a hydro line. Of course, this isn't close enough, but it's by far my best so far.
I caught up with the Olive-sided again while I was looking for the Kestrel. It was cloudy, but at least it wasn't raining.
Close but no blue sky. The Olive-sided was right above me and the closest I've ever been. Looking up, there was no way to get a coloured background. "Three-beers" to you!
If you don't have a blue sky, try to get some trees in the background. I was happy when the Warbling Vireo stayed around while I jockeyed around forever to line up the camera with a single tree in the background. Despite the dull conditions, I'm quite happy with the result.
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