Window Shots - From mid to late afternoon, the sun shine is at my back as I look out the windows at my feeders. It's the perfect time to sit and wait to see what birds drop in for a visit. Last year I peeked out just as the local Sharp-shinned landed on my feeder pole 20 feet from me. It didn't stay more than two seconds when it saw me. This year the Band-tailed Pigeons like to land there before they descend to the feeders. They won't land if they see me, but today I was about 20 feet away from the window with my camera directed at my hummingbirds through another open window. I could see a Band-tailed Pigeon landing on the pole in perfect sunlight. I turned the camera and took a few shots through the double-pane glass window. I expected some extraneous reflections would distort the picture, but there weren't any. I was quite happy with the results.
June 26 - Cheerio, Vireo - After striking out on the Red-eyed Vireo in Cowichan yesterday and having no luck around Parksville, Nanaimo, Victoria, and Courtenay in recent trips, I was determined to go to Port Alberni. Shelley Penner had posted a message and photo four days earlier of the Red-eyed at Katsusksis Dyke. Two years ago she showed me the Green Heron in the same location. She is good karma for birds. Fortuitously, I had some books to deliver to the Clock Tower Gallery, and the forecast was for sunny weather. All the planets were lining up. After a leisurely drive I arrived at Katsusksis around 9:00 AM. Immediately, I heard Cassin's Vireos, but as I proceeded north on the trail, all was still. I continued slowly up the trail and eventually heard A Warbling Vireo. I love its song but that wasn't my target. After a half hour I back-tracked. Near the last tree of the deciduous forest a gang of crows was cawing up a storm, but in the background, I could hear a vireo. It was a couple of Red-eyeds. The crows didn't seem to like my presence and after complaining for about 10 minutes, they left. Now I could hear the vireos clearly in a small alder beside the field. I camped under a nearby cherry tree and waited. Eventually, one of the vireos worked its way around to my side of the tree. It was a beautiful sight, and it did have red eyes. Thanks again, Shelley. Have you seen any Ruffed grouse lately? (If I get 50 more new birds I'll have to consider doing another book! Chances of winning the lottery are better.)
The hummingbird shower I improvised was popular with all the birds. Everyone but the hummingbirds were using it. Even the Pine Siskin came for a drink and a sprinkle.
June 25 - Wire-tap - As much as I dislike birds-on-a-wire photos, there's not much choice at the fence around the Nanaimo Airport. I have conceded to the fact that most of the pictures would be on the wire. My goal was to find a Vesper Sparrow without legbands - either an unbanded adult or fresh juvenile.
I was in luck. The first Vesper I saw was a juvenile that wasn't banded. Of course, it was on the barbed wire.
It flew down and chased a grasshopper. I tried for a picture through the pasture wire fence, but I had trouble focussing. Before I knew it, it was back on the fence with its catch.
It sat on the fence for the longest time as if to show off its prize.
No to be outdone, the White-crowned showed off its own catch.
I think the Violet-green Swallow had a few mosquitoes to show but swallowed them.
June 27 - Eagle Visit - During my morning round of golf at Fairwinds, the parent Bald-headed Eagles at the 13th green eagle tree were sitting shoulder to shoulder on a branch just above the nest and a rather large nestling eagle. It had the elements of a good picture so I returned two hours later with my camera. Of course, the scene had changed. There was only one adult, the sun was too high, and the nestling was in a shadow. Since I was there, I decided to check the pond even though there was nothing earlier. As I walked by the tall grass, I thought I saw two birds on the end of a floating log. When I got past the tall grass, there were two Hooded Merganser ducklings on the log. They saw me too and quickly slid off the log while I rushed to set up my camera. By the time I was ready, three ducklings and one Momma were paddling away. It was a great consolation photo instead of the eagle picture I had envisaged. (I sat at Rascal Pond for a total of nine hours in the past two weeks hoping for a similar shot. I got this one in less than a minute.)
Apparently, the Red-eyed Vireo is in the Guiness Book of Records for the most songs sung in a day - over 22,000. I don't know who did the counting, but it must have been an exciting day.
The Red-eyed Vireos aren't reported very often on the Island, but mid and south Vancouver Island are supposed to be part of their breeding range. The most consistent reports come from the Duncan end of the Cowichan River.
Momma Merganser gave the order to stay close as they paddled away.
The ducklings lined up nicely for the family photo.
a) June 24 - My Violet-green Swallows fledged and fled. The parents came back a few days later, perhaps, to discuss the possibility of another family.
b) June 26 - Most of my Rufous Hummingbirds disappeared. I suspect they're on their way south. I only saw one on the 27th and 28th, but on the 29th there were four. I was feeding 2 cups a day ...
c) June 29 - Shorebird check - 2 Lesser Yellowlegs and 6 peeps at Admiral's Lagoon. About 30 peeps at San Malo. 3 Least Sandpipers and one Greater Yellowleg at Kaye Road. Conditions are perfect on Kaye Road for a Solitary Sandpiper. I haven't seen one for 3 years. I'm overdue.
VOLUME II BOOKS AVAILABLE AT PARKSVILLE & QUALICUM - MULBERRYBUSH BOOKSTORES NANAIMO - BACKYARD WILDBIRD & NATURE STORE, SAVE-ON FOODS (WOODGROVE), SAVE-ON FOODS (COUNTRY CLUB), CHAPTERS, FALCONER BOOKS PORT ALBERNI - CLOCKTOWER GALLERY COURTENAY - GRAHAM'S JEWELLERS
SIDNEY - VICTORIAN BIRD HOUSE, TANNER'S BOOKSTORE
COMOX - BLUE HERON BOOKS
BOWSER - LIGHTHOUSE GIFTS
DEEP BAY - SHIP & SHORE
SAANICH - WILD BIRDS UNLIMITED
VICTORIA - BOLEN BOOKS, MUNRO'S, Crown Publications, Ivy's
CAMPBELL RIVER - SAVE-ON FOODS
DUNCAN - VOLUME 1 BOOKSTORE
CHEMAINUS - Willow's Wild Bird Store
LADYSMITH - SALAMANDER BOOKS
NANOOSE - SCHOONER COVE MARINA
LAKE COWICHAN - GALLOPING MOON GALLERY
TOFINO - BOTANICAL GARDENS
UCLUELET - WORDS END BOOKSELLERS
Quadra Island - EXPLORE & BOOK BONANZA
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