Author Topic: Nest #22 - Helliwell Park - 2014 - 2015 season  (Read 30646 times)

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Offline boonibarb

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Re: Nest #22 - Helliwell Park - 2014 - 2015 season
« Reply #45 on: March 28, 2015, 09:30:51 PM »

Linused, i see the lovely neighbourhood Raven pair & hear them a lot!
They hang out in the Tree across the road from me.
i post about them in the Nest #9 West Carmichael topic when i catch fotos & videos of them.
wooohoooo!

Offline winterwren

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Re: Nest #22 - Helliwell Park - 2014 - 2015 season
« Reply #46 on: March 28, 2015, 11:10:00 PM »
Wren, I wonder if this is how young eagles learn to break off sticks and carry them. I never
thought about them needing to learn the mechanics of talons, balance, lift, vision, etc. etc.!
Do you think this was a male? Do females bring in many sticks when building nests and courting,
or is that mainly the male's job?
Thank you,
Flood


Flood, I'm thinking that this is indeed a part of Nest Building 101. I know very little about this process. My only data points are my two photo ops of youngsters with sticks, the cam views of eaglets showing interest in moving sticks in the nest, and a story from NIWRA, the other rehab on Vancouver Island, that showed fledglings in their care being given green branches to play with. (This was posted in this forum a few years ago.)
Is this a male or a female? I do not know. Sometimes I get a sense of the gender but this eagle was too far away. I tend to default to 'he' because it is grammatically traditional, and simple, to do so.
We've seen both Mom and Dad Hornby bring in nesting material. My impression has been that Dad brings in the bulk of it, but I'm far from certain that this is accurate. Perhaps one of the wonderful people who keeps stats on nest visits could help us here?


Linus, yes, that tree looks like it's been pruned a lot, but I believe this is the work of the wind and salt spray. This is a very exposed location on top of the first bluffs past St. John's Point. The trees on the edge of the meadows are all twisted and dwarfed. You can see a lot of dead twigs on the left side, which is the side the storm winds and salt spray come from.


Offline winterwren

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Re: Nest #22 - Helliwell Park - 2014 - 2015 season
« Reply #47 on: April 01, 2015, 12:18:14 AM »
I enjoyed that walk on the shores of Helliwell Park so much that I returned the next day.

I took a few more inconclusive photos of the nest. Still can't see if there is anyone in there. The nest itself is difficult to spot.

There were two eagles flying near the nest but I'm pretty sure one of them was an immature. Indeed later on I saw several pursuits, including another one of a youngster by an adult; part of the chase happened below the canopy of the trees. It's always an amazing thing to witness, these huge birds slaloming at high speed between the branches.

On the shore, gulls still fed on the precious little area of herring spawn.
There were two young eagles and some ravens by the seal carcass but they did not let me approach this time. A few more eages rested on perches nearby.
Coming around a tiny headland to the next bay, I came nose to beak with this amazing young eagle. Seemed really big... A female then? Just finishing her first year as we'll soon confirm.

This is an uncropped shot. For the next ones I had to collapse my zoom lens a bit to get all of her inside the frame. This is how close we were.
You can see the thread-like tassels on the ends of her secondaries. Only the first set of secondaries have those. The next set are rounder at the tip. Usually, by the end of the first year the tips of the juvenal feathers are all tattered and worn.

March 26, 2:35 pm



She's just starting to have some pale tips on her head feathers.




There was a person with a dog coming on the trail behind me, so I knew we wouldn't have long before she got spooked off. She's just caught sight of them now.
2:36



Offline winterwren

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Re: Nest #22 - Helliwell Park - 2014 - 2015 season
« Reply #48 on: April 01, 2015, 12:30:08 AM »
Off she goes.
March 26, 2:36 pm



This next one is a bit dark but all the tassels from her secondaries are catching the light! She still has the full set of juvenal secondaries. Also we can see the white tips of her tail feathers. Those too are usually worn off by the end of the first year.





Offline winterwren

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Re: Nest #22 - Helliwell Park - 2014 - 2015 season
« Reply #49 on: April 01, 2015, 04:34:32 AM »
I walked over to St John's Point on the shore, then returned on the path.
In the same area... Low on a branch... At a point where the path turned and dropped sharply... I again came nose to beak with an eagle!

Could it be the same one? Now that I can compare the photos, I do think so. Same long fluffy flank feathers, intact tassels on the secondaries, pale tips on the tail feathers.

Again I froze, then started tiptoeing around to try to find an angle where the branches weren't so much in the way. The canopy of the tree made it really too dark for photos.

Meanwhile she has started preening, so she's not too freaked out.
This photo I managed after a few minutes.
March 26, 2:50



The path passed directly below that eagle. The woods were full of fallen branches that would have made a racket if I tried to pass through. So I decided to see if I could walk through on the path without making her fly away.
It took me ten minutes to travel fifty feet. It was well worth it.
2:54



I've made it to the other side! She's still preening. But from here there is more light and we can see her beautiful tassels and pale tail tips.
2:59




Offline jeavverhey

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Re: Nest #22 - Helliwell Park - 2014 - 2015 season
« Reply #50 on: April 01, 2015, 06:26:24 AM »
Unbelievable detail and patience Wren!  :nod2 Thank you so much. :thumbup:

Offline Faerie Gardener

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Re: Nest #22 - Helliwell Park - 2014 - 2015 season
« Reply #51 on: April 01, 2015, 07:04:16 AM »
That is a wonderful set of Photos, Wren, and I just love the commentary. I found that I was holding my breath, tiptoeing slowly along with you!
"In all things of Nature there is something of the Marvelous"  -Aristotle

"A garden is never as good as it will be next year" -Anon

Offline amazedbyeagles

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Re: Nest #22 - Helliwell Park - 2014 - 2015 season
« Reply #52 on: April 01, 2015, 08:27:03 AM »
Wonderful, Wren!  Love the detail and your commentary really brings the photos to life!  Thank You! :eclove

Offline Stokes

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Re: Nest #22 - Helliwell Park - 2014 - 2015 season
« Reply #53 on: April 02, 2015, 10:47:07 AM »
Gorgeous young eagle! What a gift.

Flood

Offline winterwren

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Re: Nest #22 - Helliwell Park - 2014 - 2015 season
« Reply #54 on: April 03, 2015, 10:00:57 PM »
Eventually she turned her head and peeked at me!
March 26, 3 pm



Blink!
















Offline winterwren

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Re: Nest #22 - Helliwell Park - 2014 - 2015 season
« Reply #55 on: April 03, 2015, 10:06:50 PM »
She's gotten relaxed enough to start preening again, so I back away very slowly and leave her in peace... After getting a picture with most of her in the frame.
We're just missing her tail tips.

We can see those beautiful tassels on her secondaries again.
March 26, 3:02 pm





Offline winterwren

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Re: Nest #22 - Helliwell Park - 2014 - 2015 season
« Reply #56 on: April 03, 2015, 10:36:05 PM »
Special bonus for Idahowa and Mr. Idahoho...

Ravens at Helliwell Park.
March 25, 3:03 pm



March 6, 3:05 pm








Offline winterwren

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Re: Nest #22 - Helliwell Park - 2014 - 2015 season
« Reply #57 on: April 04, 2015, 02:09:12 PM »
I had been aware of the Scoter gathering because I heard them in the distance one morning near Nest #4. Later that day they were seen from the cam (Tuesday March 31, I think).  The next day, April 1st, Booni found them near the Belcarra nest and posted a wonderful video here.

Yesterday noon I was visiting at Whaling Station Bay. Around 1 pm we started seeing many small flocks of Scoters flying past the mouth of the bay. So on my way out I went to check the beach access just past Cape Gurney. Sure enough the flock was assembling, near the boundary of Helliwell Park.

So as soon as my work was done I headed to Helliwell. I was able to get on the same small headland where I had first encountered the one-year-old eagle last week. I was just ahead of the birds. I stayed there for a long time and got some photos and videos.

This is when we arrived, as we walked past the flock. We see part of the main body of it on the right.
The flock then thins out, seeming to follow a current or a line where food is abundant.

The birds don't stay in one area, it seems. They dive and reappear further down the line. (I found that out by trying to keep track of odd birds like the few Black Scoters in the flock). Further out there is a wide area where the birds are further apart, possibly resting. If you click on the photo you can see the scattered birds, the whole width of the photo, in the distance.
The area is rich in small mussels, which are a scoter's favourite food.

The island in the background is Texada.

April 3, 4:13 pm 



There were waves of birds flying back to the main flock.




Offline winterwren

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Re: Nest #22 - Helliwell Park - 2014 - 2015 season
« Reply #58 on: April 04, 2015, 03:37:01 PM »
April 3, 4:19 pm
There is a lot going on here!
The new thing for me is to see some gulls fishing along with the scoters. Gulls are very buoyant and cannot dive down far. I was wondering if they were after the scoters' prey, but there doesn't seem to be any altercations going on.

Most of the gulls in this picture are young ones, with the notable exception of the California Gull on the lower right (it has a bill with a dark spot and a red spot). The smaller gulls are Mew Gulls; the larger ones with the primaries the same tone as the body are Glaucous-winged; the ones with the primaries a little darker and with a pale line on the edge are Thayer's Gulls.

There is one White-winged Scoter on the lower edge of the picture, in the middle. He has a white patch on his wing.
There are also two Surf Scoters emerging so fast from the water that they are wearing a helmet of water, one on lower left and one on lower right, behind the California Gull.






I watched the gulls to see what they were after here.
The answer: seaweed! The seaweed would have detached from the bottom and would be rising to the top as a result of the scoter's foraging.
That's what they all seem to come away with.
Not any old seaweed, probably: there was a small herring spawn in this area, and on the next photo the airborne gull is carrying a string of Japanese Driftweed with what looks like a little herring roe clinging to it.
This also explains why the gulls were only in one small area.
That White-winged Scoter is still there in the foreground.




Offline winterwren

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Re: Nest #22 - Helliwell Park - 2014 - 2015 season
« Reply #59 on: April 04, 2015, 03:56:10 PM »
Here's the best shot I got of one of the White-winged Scoters. He sure looks strange. The white 'eyebrow' is actually below the eye.
One of the Scaups is on the upper right. I'm pretty sure they were Greater Scaups.
April 3, 4:18 pm



And this is as close as i got to a Black Scoter. He's the one with the bright-yellow bill.
There is a female or immature white-winged scoter behind him. (All-black head with a pointier bill, and white wing patch.)