Welcome to the Island Rambles Blog

Hi my name is Nora and Welcome to my blog world. This is a nature and birding photo blog about Vancouver Island, B.C. Canada. I am trying to be a birder and I take photos of the birds and scenery I find. I hope you enjoy your time here and please come back again. PHOTOS WILL ENLARGE IF CLICKED. The photos are slide show enabled if you click on them. If you click on the top lighthouse photo it always takes you to the most recent summary list of my postings.

copyright

©all rights reserved on all images and text

Monday, June 25, 2012

Pileated Woodpecker Feeds Young


The title could be "X Marks the Spot".  We noticed this spot in the wood a while ago when we heard the Pileated Woodpecker making his nest here. The sound echoed through the forest telling us where the exact spot was.
(the letter today for ABC meme is X and I can not think of many X words.)

He pecked for days..but then on subsequent visits it was all quiet. So I thought they had abandoned this nest and gone to another one.   The holes they make when feeding on carpenter ants look very different, they are smaller square holes.  They also eat other insects, seeds and fruit.  Some will come for suet at the feeder if it is easily accessible for a large bird.  They have a very long sticky tongue and they are the largest woodpecker here now.  (Pictures will click larger.)


Male making the nest,, he has the red mustache, female has a black one.
The nest was up very high.  The entrance hole looked bigger than three and a half inches.  The book says the depth could be from 10 to 24 inches.  What a lot of work this guy did...he made a very deep nest hole.

It was all quiet because she was busy sitting on the nest and hatching a baby chick!!  And of course I did not have the camera with me when we went back and saw the baby sticking his head out and screaming
"Feed Me, Feed Me". So we had to return.  I got some shots of him
calling out and looking out of his little nest hole.

Then on our next time there with the camera this is what happened.  I said to my husband it would be nice if the parents would come in and feed this little fellow right now.  And right then and there the parents both flew in and the little woodpecker chick kept turning his head all around looking at them.

He finally stopped screeching and the mom (or dad) flew in beside him and started to shove food right down his throat moving her head so fast and furiously.
The other adult was on a branch above him.


We went back the next day and he had fledged.  I sometimes heard them calling farther back in the woods.  Sad to see him go so soon, I was hoping I would see more of him.  But he was really huge so I knew he was ready to go.  The Pileated Woodpeckers have a very large territory perhaps up to 200 acres so they move around a lot and you cannot find them in the exact same spot. But they do return to favorite trees so I hope we will see this family again and also see their youngsters.





The memes for this week are:  ABC Wednesday the letter "X". Thank you to these memes for allowing bloggers to share their story.  I may not remember to enter them all but I still list them as this is the quick way for me to do it.
Show off Your Shot
Our World Tuesday
Sweet Shot Tuesday
Tuesday Tweets
World Bird Wednesday
ABC Wednesday
Wordless Wednesday with Words
Nature Notes Wednesday
Outdoors Wednesday

edit note:  I sometimes have to republish after I see how many errors I made or links not working.  I list all the memes for the week now as I can only spend a short time on the computer as my eyes get tired. Such is life. To continue reading posts you must click older post below or see the index at the top or the side or pick a popular post or label from the sidebar.






Sunday, June 17, 2012

Black-necked Stilts New Pictures Victoria, B.C.


Something Wonderful!  A close encounter with a Black-necked Stilt!  A few days ago this week we went to see the Stilts at the local wetland field. They were very far off wading by their nest in the weeds and very wary of us, giving a warning call.    (not completely crazy yet the words for this week will start with "w" for ABC Wednesday.)

My husband decided to wander off and went to another area to walk.  I decided to quietly watch them out on the berm alone.  The water level was about the same as before so that was good for the nest. The weather was cold and windy and I decided to sit down where I was in some weeds and wait, with my camera and lens wedged where I could reach it as the weight is too heavy for my wrist.  (the "w" words are for a blogger game we play)
                       Distant shot to show how far out they are.
The Stilts were way too far away for my lens (100 to 400) so while I was trying to figure out the focus on the new Canon 7D, something wonderful happened when one of the Stilts flew in and sat beside me!  Quietly without the warning call.  She was too close for my focus!  It was the most amazing experience in the world for a birder. She sat beside me for a long time and she bowed down and crouched on the shore in front of me.  She wisely looked directly at me the whole time.   I had no idea what to do.  Finally I decided to grab the camera and fire off a few shots!!  She even remained and posed for these shots.

I will always wonder what she thought.  Did she like the black and white lens?  Did she like what I wore, my black and white wardrobe?    Was it just a whim to see me?  Why?   I don't know which one of the Stilts it was, male or female. The male has a greenish tinge and the female has a brownish tinge to the back and wings.  Perhaps she is greeting everyone this way now?  She is the local celebrity and star of the birding groups.  Has she learned that once the birder gets the shots, the birder runs home as fast as he can to see them.  I have decided that it was the female as she had the entire field to wade in but she wanted to see me and came directly for me to have a chat about those baby Stilts!

The Stilts are white below and have black wings and backs.  The tail is white with grey bands.  They have a white spot above the eye which distinguishes it from the Black-winged.  They usually winter in the salt ponds in Southern California as well as South eastern Oregon.  One would not expect to see them here even in this time of year.  We have not had Stilts here for 25 years and never had them nest here.

This is where she sits down with me for a visit and a little chat.

These long legs take time to tuck under.

The Stilts incubate the eggs for one month and protect the chicks until they are 27 to 31 days old and able to fly.  The nests are usually situated within 7 feet of each other and nests are rarely found alone.  The young can swim within 2 hours of hatching but depend on parents for a few more weeks.  There is another nest out there also with chicks.

She decides to rest a while with me.

She is completely comfortable now and alertly checking me out. I was not in a blind or covered over in any way and just a few feet from her. She is totally silent and does not make any aggressive, territorial or protective calls.

Populations of Stilts have declined due to humans use of their habitat as well as lack of food stocks.  They are all welcome here.  I am in love with Stilts now!  I just hope that part of the wetland area can remain untouched.  The incredible farmer who owns the land has been so kind to not disturb the Stilts and none of this would have been possible if he had planted.

She decided that it was time to check on the little ones and calmly leaves me as gently as she came into my world.  It is always wonderful to experience an intimate connection with something unknown and wild.  Perhaps our silence together is a form of communication we just don't remember.
After a while, my husband returned to pick me up and was excited as he found a snipe but I had the pictures to prove my birding story. 




Some blurry shots of the Black-necked Stilts chicks far away over by the nest area.


The memes for this week are:  ABC Wednesday the letter "w". Thank you to these memes for allowing bloggers to share their story.  I may not remember to enter them all but I still list them as this is the quick way for me to do it as I have trouble with my eyes, can't spend as much time on the computer now.
Show off Your Shot
Our World Tuesday
Sweet Shot Tuesday
Tuesday Tweets
World Bird Wednesday
ABC Wednesday
Wordless Wednesday with Words
Nature Notes Wednesday
Outdoors Wednesday

edit note:  I sometimes have to republish after I see how many errors I made or links not working.  I list all the memes for the week now as I can only spend a short time on the computer as my eyes get tired. Such is life. To continue reading posts you must click older post below or see the index at the top or the side or pick a popular post or label from the sidebar.





Monday, June 11, 2012

Varied Thrush


Today we will do the Varied Thrush with very little text.  And we will work on our "v" words for ABC Wednesday. These are not recent pictures as they were taken in winter snow in the vicinity of my yard.  My neighbour had left the apples on his tree so I stood in cold vigil to try to view the Varied Thrush as they came to vandalize the apples.

The Varied Thrush is a bit of a vagrant vagabond and you will hear his voice from up high on a tree or in deep cover, rarely visible.  It has the most beautiful and variable song, a series of two or three vague trills of different pitches.  On this day they were not vocal at all and they were as silent as the snow that was falling on me.

They will eat a variety of things, including various berries and insects, snails, worms and also raisins, suet and fruits. They did attack the apples quite vigorously.  This thrush has such a lovely vivid vermilion vest.

This text is full of "V" words as it is a game bloggers play when we run out of ideas to blog about and are having a word void or writers block. I have a list of wonderful memes at the end that inspire me and keep me going.

These birds seem to vary in color value, the darker richer colors are the males I suppose.

They soon vanished into the deep, dark forest as quietly as they came and they flew with great velocity.

I hope you enjoyed this vignette of thrushes and will visit my blog again.  My vision is not that great but that is one of the vicissitudes of life. I have recently traded in one of my very favorite lenses and now have the Canon 7D with Video!! I hope my pictures will improve and you will enjoy the videos.

Thank you so much for your comments..it is taking me a bit longer to get to each of your sites.
The memes for this week are:  ABC Wednesday the letter "v". Thank you to these memes for allowing bloggers to share their story.  I may not remember to enter them all but I still list them as this is the quick way for me to do it. 
Show off Your Shot
Our World Tuesday
Sweet Shot Tuesday
Tuesday Tweets
World Bird Wednesday
ABC Wednesday
Wordless Wednesday with Words
Nature Notes Wednesday
Outdoors Wednesday

edit note:  I sometimes have to republish after I see how many errors I made or links not working.  I list all the memes for the week now as I can only spend a short time on the computer as my eyes get tired. Such is life. To continue reading posts you must click older post below or see the index at the top or the side or pick a popular post or label from the sidebar.






Monday, June 04, 2012

Rare Stilts Victoria Birds


This week we have been having some unusual birds visit us.  At first we just had the Stilts out on a flooded farmer's field.  Four of them flew unexpectedly in upon the marsh. They are supposed to be much farther south I think.  I am unfamiliar with them. They are Black-necked Stilts.  (I am doing a few "u" words for ABC Wednesday.)  (Non-Bloggers: The unacceptable text I am doing is for a game we bloggers play called a meme.)

I am not really a good birder, I usually take a few bad bird photos and I study the birders.  My husband is the unequivocal birder.  The Stilts did not go unnoticed for long. At first the field was empty, just the little Stilts uninterrupted in their quest for food and lodging.  They are rare birds for our area.  (my pictures are really terrible this week but I went out and got great pictures after I had already done the draft of this blog, too late to get them in now...grrrrrr.)

After a few days, the word went out and the little Stilts became the hot birding twitch of the week.  When we last arrived to see them, a birding lady, binoculars in hand, marches up to us and asks if we have seen them. The berm is lined with long dark scopes and men peering unerringly through them as if they are the swat team ready to take down a unruly criminal.

As we leave a bus drives in and out jumps another group of excited birders.   "Have you seen them"  they ask.   We kindly showed them where the birds are.  I would rather they were left undisturbed to build their nest and raise baby Stilts.  But you can't undo a birder's desire to get a lifer.  It is as if his life depends upon it.  Birders are coming from all over the island and from the mainland to see them.

That reminds me of the story of the rare Snowy Egret that has come to see us also this week.  He has arrived at a local mudflat.  We happened to arrive there at the same time.  He would hide in the undergrowth sometime but soon he was uncovered and the tilly hats, long scopes and even longer camera lenses appeared.   I took one picture of a birder sitting on the berm looking quite bemused as the Egret flew directly over his hat, almost landing on it.  Occasionally a car would drive in, a birder would jump out quickly take his snap or plop up his scope for a minute, put a mark in his book.  Then run back to his car and be off upon another lifer search.  I am unable to understand birding!  I spend hours just looking for a bird and then I like to spend hours studying it!

So in here today I have put in a few poor pictures of these birds at the mud flats but as I said before I am not a good birder and now I have probably insulted any birder friends and readers I had or ever hope to have!  Hope they can take the joke. This is just for fun. I love to watch the birders while my husband goes for his birding walk. And the birds are all fine and seem to be unscathed and unaffected by all the interest in them.

Another exciting picture from Muzza below, he found the Cinnamon Teals.
So picture credit for this one to lucky Muzza, brother-in-law.
Here below are some more pictures I took of some birds I happened to get.
Sandhill Cranes
Yellowthroat
Blue-winged Teal
Last week my husband wandered back after his birding walk and smugly says to me, oh I saw the Yellow-headed Backbird and the Yellowthroats, the Sandhill Cranes and even a Snipe.  All I have seen is other birders!
But I do secretly want to be one of them, I bought a tilly hat and binoculars and hope I can try to fit in somewhat with them all.  Wish me luck with that if they read this!


Forgot to mention that we also had around 200 shorebirds arrive here on a mudflat....so if I get time I will put in some pics of them. Some were rare but they were shy and have left the area now as it is getting dry...here are some shots I got. The birders told me one was a Pectoral Sandpiper and  I think the other one is perhaps a  Long-billed Dowicher...I don't know? Any birders out there?  Pics click larger to look and see who they are.


  

Update on the Stilts:  the farmer who owns the field is consulting with a hydrologist as he needs to drain the field and plant but the Stilts need six weeks with water around to nest.  The farmer has been kindly allowing many birders to walk his berm is search of the Stilts.  Hopefully we will get to see baby Stilts!!

The Stilts are nesting for the first time on Vancouver Island.  There have not been Stilts here for 25 years.  Also some Sora Rails and Spotted Sandpipers have been seen in the area.

The memes for this week are:  ABC Wednesday the letter "u". Thank you to these memes for allowing bloggers to share their story.  I may not remember to enter them all but I still list them as this is the quick way for me to do it.

Show off Your Shot
Our World Tuesday
Sweet Shot Tuesday
Tuesday Tweets
World Bird Wednesday
ABC Wednesday
Wordless Wednesday with Words
Nature Notes Wednesday
Outdoors Wednesday

edit note:  I sometimes have to republish after I see how many errors made or links not working.  I list all the memes for the week now
as I can only spend a short time on the computer or my eyes get tired. Such is life.
To continue reading posts you must click older post below or see the index at the top or the side or pick a popular post or label from the sidebar.



LinkWithin

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

CONTINUE READING PREVIOUS POSTS

CONTINUE READING PREVIOUS POSTS