Journal 258 - Olive-sided Flycatcher, Barred Owl, Caspian Terns, Gray Jays, ...
Jul. 1/08 - Kaye Road Regulars
It was early evening, and I was hoping to find some Black swifts or Common Nighthawks, but there was nary a bird in the sky. After twenty minutes of navel gazing, I decided that it might be more interesting checking the bushes.
The Olive-sided Flycatcher is a regular every year at Sleepy Hollow. It hangs out in a wooded area away from the road. I'm pretty sure there is a nest around but I've never bothered looking for it.
It didn't take long to find the Olive-sided as it was in its usual spot.
The MacGillivray's was also in its usual spot by a hedgerow of willows and other small trees.
It was easy to find as it was singing the real MacGillivray's song.
While I was photographing the MacGillivray's, a Common Yellowthroat popped out to see what was going on.
There are Warbling Vireos all around the drainage ponds. I think there's one in every willow tree.
There were also several pairs of Spotted Sandpipers at the drainage ponds. The juvenile was already too fast for a close-up. I was lucky to even get a photo of half a bird.
There was a whole flock of Cedar Waxwings hawking insects beside the pond.
Jul. 4/08 - Violet-green Scene
I've had Violet-green Swallows nesting in my carport for over twenty years. At first they nested in the tar paper under the shakes and between the strapping. I was always amazed that they could utilize such a skinny space as it was only 1.625 inches in height, but they never complained. However, in due time I finally installed a barge board which covered up the nest entrance. To make sure the swallows would have a home, I built and installed a pair of nest boxes which the swallows readily accepted .
Like a good landlord, I've never really paid much attention to them as long as they paid the rent on time. But with the sky-rocketing fuel prices, I have been trying to stay home more often, and that gave me the idea to work on some swallow pictures.
One of the obstacles that had always deterred me in the past was the poor lighting. Being under the roof overhang, it was always in the shade. The first five photos were taken with the existing light in the shade. With an ISO of 640 and aperture of 6.3, I was able to shoot at about 1/100th of a second which was adequate when the birds were still. Many of the shots were blurred as the action was very quick when the adults arrived with the food. I was happy to get some record shots, but I wanted the crispness and detail you get with good lighting.
I reflected on the situation for awhile, and suddenly the light went on. The next morning I took out a chair and the mirror from the bathroom. With the mirror sitting at the right angle, the nest box was in full sun! The last six pictures were taken in the reflected sun. What a difference!
Meet Violet, the baby Violet Green Swallow.
Here's Daddy Violet-green with a snack for Violet.
Mmmmmmm! That was delicious.
Here's Mom. She's having a good chat with Violet.
Guess who gets stuck with all the dirty work? Yes, it's Mom.
Unfledging? Both of Violet's brothers fledged on Thursday morning, but one of them decided that life was easier in the nest. Remember the song, "The Cat came Back"? The funny thing was that Violet was tired of being pushed around by her brothers. She held her ground and kept her spot at the entrance of the nest. That meant she was getting most of the food. Finally, her brother couldn't stand it and moved over to the adjacent nest box that was vacant. Now they both had ringside seats.
I think Violet's parents knew that her brother was supposed to be out of the nest so Violet continued to get most of the snacks. She got 3 snacks for every one her brother got.
Some of the snacks didn't look very good but they tasted fine.
You would think a dragonfly was too large but Violet had a large mouth and a large appetite.
The Last Meal - This was it. Violet's last meal. Immediately after, she left the nest.
Jul. /16 - Hummer Update - For the past five days the feeder consumption has declined to one cup per day. Hummer activity has diminished considerably. It won't be long before the last few hummers depart. From a peak of adults at 8 cups per day to a peak of juveniles at 5 cups, it has been an excellent Rufous season.
Jul. 7/05 - Mt. Washington Dip - It has become an annual tradition seek and fail to find the American 3-Toed Woodpecker on Mt. Washington, but five dips in a row is enough. That means I'm no longer pursuing the bird, and it can officially be removed from my "nemesis" list. That's right. As I always say, "If at first you don't succeed, move on to the next challenge." I should have listened to my own advice 4 years ago. However, one shouldn't dismiss the other benefits of the exercise. There's always the Gray Jays. They are always fun to feed and photograph. There also a number of alpine flowers. I don't know their names, but I have posted them for your enjoyment.
Endangered Species - As the sourge of gray squirrels continues up the Island, red squirrels are deing displaced. I've seen the grays in Chemainus, and I've heard they are in Nanaimo. Are there any efforts to stop the gray squirrels? While I'm at it, what about the eastern cottontail and bullfrog? When are the effects of these alien species on our environment? A simple solution might be to simply place a bounty on invasive species.
July 7 - Successful Parenting - Mrs. Common Merganser has been doing an excellent job protecting her family. She still has 14 ducklings in tow.
July 8 - Congratulations King! - I saw four Belted Kingfishers at French Creek. At least two were juveniles.
July 12 - Finally a Yellow Swallowtail. All of my swallowtails up to now have been of the pale variety.
July 12 - Thanks to brian and Rosie for showing me around the Beaver Lodge Trails. The trails were excellent and the tall trees provided excellent shade from the sun. The barred Owl was one of the many birds we sighted.
July 12 - Caspian Invasion - On my way south from Campbell River, I noticed a gull roost off Ken Ford Park. I suspected there would be a few Caspian Terns in the mix, but I was wrong. There wasn't a few - there were many! I counted at least 19. That was good news for photography. When the terns are on their own, they are pretty wary. When they are in a large group of gulls, they feel more secure. I was able to approach quite closely and was rewarded with a few decent photos. The sun was perfect for catching the reflection of light on the eyes.
July 12 - While I was in the area, I decided to check for shorebirds at Oyster Bay. There were about 30 - mostly Westerns and Least. There was one Semipalmated. The sun didn't want to reflect off the eyes here. The first photo is the Sempalmated.
SIDNEY - VICTORIAN BIRD HOUSE, TANNER'S BOOKSTORE COMOX - BLUE HERON BOOKS BOWSER - LIGHTHOUSE GIFTS DEEP BAY - SHIP & SHORE VICTORIA - BOLEN BOOKS, MUNRO'S, Crown Publications, Ivy's Comments, questions, or book orders? email email@example.com
SAANICH - WILD BIRDS UNLIMITED
CAMPBELL RIVER - SAVE-ON FOODS, COHO BOOKS, CAMPBELL RIVER MUSEUM
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
Quadra Island - EXPLORE & BOOK BONANZA
SIDNEY - VICTORIAN BIRD HOUSE, TANNER'S BOOKSTORE
COMOX - BLUE HERON BOOKS
BOWSER - LIGHTHOUSE GIFTS
DEEP BAY - SHIP & SHORE
VICTORIA - BOLEN BOOKS, MUNRO'S, Crown Publications, Ivy's
Comments, questions, or book orders? email firstname.lastname@example.org