My birdfeeders are a fantastic investment (I have 7 feeders spread out in the front and rear gardens…).
Since September, a pileated woodpecker has become a regular visitor and is particularly fond of the suet and mixed nuts feeders.
And I spend a lot of time in the garden on dry days (and those are getting rare), expanding the flower beds, moving manure and mulch into position, planting bulbs, moving plants. Tired, but a good kind of tired!
And on some days, I am rewarded by many colourful birds at the feeders. This Pileated guy was not very worried, and let me get surprisingly close.
A special moment…
Nature reveals itself in patterns, when you live on the windy West Coast… Since late December, I have noticed the return of the big birds. They are busy doing aerial acrobatics, there is a lot of high-pitched peeping (like Mike Tyson, eagles are big and mean-looking, but their “voice” is a high-pitched bell-like sound…). I presume these sounds and aerial displays are discussions over territory. There are quite a few bald eagles around Saturna.
Some birds – like the ravens – never leave the island, but bald eagles (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) head for the salmon rivers of BC in the fall. During that season, those rivers are true all-you-can-eat buffets for eagles and other wildlife. For pictures of that, see my November post about Goldstream, near Victoria.
This set of pictures was taken from my deck, yesterday. First, an adult perched on that tree for almost 30 minutes in the early afternoon. Surveying the neighbourhood, trying to decide if anything edible might be around. Love those piercing yellow eyes, don’t you?
Then, four hours later, while fixing dinner, I spotted the next visitor to the same tree. An immature bald eagle. According to the bird books in my collection, immature eagles only acquire the full white feathers on the head and tail by their fifth year, less frequently when they are four years old… So Junior, below, was probably following mommy around.
I left my cooking to get my camera, and get some pictures of Junior too. It was getting dark, so they are a bit grainy.
I regularly go to Vancouver Island for provisions, and on some of those day trips, I set a little time aside for aimless wandering. Camera in hand, usually. Here is a mini-report, in pictures, of one of those winter days, around Victoria, BC.
Last November, I went to see the salmon run in Goldstream Provincial Park, a few minutes outside Victoria. This is one of the locations – really close to the city – where you can watch salmon answer the call of nature. On the day of my visit, last November, the fish were there in large numbers, like an unending line up, going upstream. Waiting for them, lots of gulls, herons, and a bear – if you believe the sign posted at the gate…
I have been cooped up for long hours, working on the computer, and I needed to get some fresh air…
Here is one of my favourite escapes: a walk to the top of Mount Warburton Pike, on Saturna. It leads to superb view points of ocean and islands. Sometimes, a few flying superstars show up, and do aerial ballets, to the delight of those of us who make it up there.
On the day I took this picture, a pair of eagles was busy doing their thing. There were several more soaring in the thermals that rise in front of the bluffs.
There are also squadrons of crows and, later this summer, teams of turkey vultures. It’s an exhilarating show.
The islands in view are in the US: Orcas islands. Behind them, the straight of Juan de Fuca, and the mountains in the background are part of the Olympic Peninsula, in Washington state. One of these days, I’ll go on a road trip and check it out.
In the meantime, I wander my island and enjoy the great outdoors.