After recent photos of the Great Gray and the King Eider, there is a realistic possibility that the rest of the year might be anti-climatic. The thought did enter my mind as I gazed longingly over Buttertubs Marsh on Tue. morning trying to conjure up a Sora, Virginia Rail, American Bittern, or green Heron. But, no such luck. Undaunted, I carried on knowing Buttertubs always offers some photo opportunities, and I did come away with a couple of little things that might even interest you - a hi-tech, engineered bird's nest vs one of traditional, old-world craftsmanship. I'll elaborate in the photo section. First, our theme: "Drink up and be merry!". Let's focus on the bright side and enjoy life. I'll let my three guest philosophers spread the message in the first 3 photos.
PROFESSOR COMMON GOLDENEYE FROM BUTTERTUB'S UNIVERSITY
"Today is the first day of the rest of my life and I am going to make the most of it. Where's the girls?"("By the way, what's that crap on my back?").
DOCTOR COMMON MERGANSER OF DEPARTURE BAY COLLEGE
"Always think of the cup as half full, not half empty and don't cry over spilled beer!"
CHANCELLOR BARROW'S GOLDENEYE OF THE PACIFIC BIOLOGICAL UNIVERSITY
"I like to look at the sunny side of things - be positive. Life is to live, not regret!"
Photo left - The elaborate moss-woven Bushtit nest is a classic example of old-world manual craftsmanship. It is a traditional art that is handed down from generation to generation. Unfortunately, while aesthetically pleasing, the pendant design and natural materials lack the durability of synthetics. 3 out of the 4 nests from last season did not survive the winter. This one did but just barely.
Photo right - It's tough to stop progress. I once saw a crow's nest lined with R-20 fiberglass pink insulation. The Bullock's Oriole has embraced the new technology and integrated the latest spherical design principles and materials to build a nest that has been impervious to the most rigorous forces of nature. They are wind-proof, rain-proof, earthquake-proof, R-20 rated for warmth, and come with a 5-year home warranty.
BUTTERTUB'S BULLRUSH BUDDIES - the Marsh Wren and the Great Blue Heron
SIGNS OF SPRING - Snowdrops at the Millstone River and dandelions at Departure Bay
CLOSING CEREMONY - Professor Western Gull of Western U. thanks all of you for being such an attentive and respectful audience and closes with the message, "Don't worry, be happy!"
Mar. 4, 2004
Yesterday I spotted a hawk beside the 3rd Fairway at Fairwinds golf course, but to get the picture, I had to intrude in a homeowner's yard. Fortunately, the homeowner was a very obliging birder and even assisted me in determining that it was probably an immature Cooper's Hawk. As a return favor, I offered to take him birding and maybe find the King Eider which would be a "lifer" for him. We started off at Rathtrevor with about 500 Brant, a large flock of Dunlin, and many gulls. Admiral Tryon's was dissappointing as the tide was on the way out. Deep Bay had it's usual Long-tailed Ducks, Red-necked Grebes, and cormorants. Fanny Bay had the KING EIDER! (mission accomplished!) and the most memorable part of the rest of the trip were the Trumpeters at Courtenay and lunch at the Blackfin Pub. So it was a pretty good day.
THE FAIRWINDS COOPER has adopted the 3rd fairway as his territory. I wonder if it has anything to do with the high number of backyard bird-feeders in the area?
RATHTREVOR BRANT - An advance party of about 500 Brant have now taken over Rathtrevor Beach. I wonder if the new parking and user fees will deter the Brant from the Parksville area?
FLIGHT PRACTICE - The trumpeters in Courtenay have been increasing their flying hours in preparation for their migration north.
SIGN OF SPRING - Wild crocus in bloom on the banks of the Trent River.
FEATHERED FRIENDS - The Dunlin seem right at home flying and feeding among the Brant at Rathtrevor. I wonder if they migrate north together?