Tag Archives: birding

Signs of Spring

The signs of spring are everywhere!

My neighbor calls these flowers a honeysuckle.  I finally saw these for sale at the local market!  They are Azaleas.  They smell so pretty!

Honesuckle-flowers

The Common Mergansers are starting their courting.  The female mergansers seem the most aggressive.  Females chase off other females when they get too close to the man she likes.  The guys don’t seem to care who is close.  Sometimes the males just swim away from all the drama but sometimes they like to watch the girl-fight.

CommonMerganserCouple
For Pete’s sake Mabel, fix your hair!

I’ve seen several male mallards but no females yet.

mallard-male-2

Here’s a lone Hooded Merganser female.  It seems like the hoodies courtship season comes a little later.

hooded-merganser-female

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Doin’ the Hokey Pokey on the Alsea River

I love to watch the winter ducks on the Alsea River.

Female Common Merganser
Female Common Merganser
Male Common Merganser
Male Common Merganser
Male Common Merganser
Put your right foot in – put your right foot out
Male Common Merganser
Put your left foot in – put your left foot out
Male Common Merganser
and turn yourself about
Goldeneye
Female Barrow’s Goldeneye

Goldeneye

What if the Hokey Pokey IS what it’s all about?

Great Blue Heron Meal Rescued

I was wandering around the Alsea River at low tide today; just exploring and being fascinated by how time can shape a rock.

rock erosion
Small rock over time makes hole bigger

rock-holes-3 rock-holes-4

A Great Blue Heron flew in and landed upstream looking for lunch.

great blue heron
Great Blue Heron

Then I stumbled onto a land-locked lamprey eel.  Hhhmmm…must be what he’s looking for?

lamprey eel
Lamprey Eel

Upon Don’s suggestion, I tossed him over to another pool so he could escape into the river.

[youtube https://youtu.be/QKyu6I5z4do]

Sorry, Mr Heron, but I don’t mind if you eat this little guy:

garter snake
Garter Snake

Wildlife Photography

I’ve never taken a class.  I use auto-focus more than any other setting.  I use a Canon SX40 HS with a 35x optical zoom.  I’m not here to teach you anything about photography.

Hummingbird fishing lure?
Hummingbird fishing lure?

I just enjoy wildlife so I want to preserve the moment.  And I love the attention to detail that God has in His creations!

Female or youth Rufous Hummingbird
Female or youth Rufous Hummingbird

I have to admit, though, some kinds of wildlife almost seem like more work than they are worth.  I like to catch the unique markings so I can make a good identification.  But hummingbirds don’t usually sit still for very long.

Rufous in flight
Rufous in flight

If I have enough light and patience, and if luck is on my side, I might capture the little hummer in flight AND in focus!  They are SO fast!  There were 4 of them fighting over the feeders and flowers this evening.

Action shots are my favorites
Action shots are my favorites

These are the treasure shots though.  The captures I never expect.  I’d been intentionally trying to catch the hummer with his tail spread but he just wasn’t cooperating.  The spread tail is a threatening or warning position so they are ready to chase when it’s spread.  I focused on him as he was sitting on the flower and decided to snap at the next movement I saw.  After I took it I thought I’d missed him completely.  I love finding these treasures on my laptop after I download photos from my camera.

Happy snapping!  🙂

Merganser Chicks Ride on Mom’s Back

What an awesome day on the Alsea River!

tidewater alsea river
Head of tidewater on the Alsea River

There were osprey, kingfishers, mallards and common and hooded mergansers.  All the ducks had chicks.

mallard hen and chicks
Mallard hen with chicks

The mallard hen had 8 or 9 chicks with her.  It’s hard to count those little bobbing heads while trying to keep up with mom in the rapids.  Watch the video of the mallard chicks following mama across the river.  They look like they are connected by elastic.

[youtube https://youtu.be/dKQULrAl_gM]

Click on YouTube (bottom right) for a larger video.

A Common Merganser hen had 11 chicks with her today.  She was VERY protective.  She defended them from another female merganser who came too close.

merganser mom defends chicks
Common Merganser mom protects chicks from other merganser

A Hooded Merganser had 3 chicks with her today but I didn’t get a photo.  One of her chicks got mixed in with the Common Merganser’s chicks.  The Common Merganser Mom attacked the Hoodie chick, throwing it across the water several times.  it was a violent attack on such a harmless little baby.  I wondered if she killed the chick but later saw the family intact.  I don’t understand what the threat was.

merganser chicks resting
Common Merganser Mom resting with chicks

Then I finally saw the merganser chicks riding on their mom’s back!  The only way she can get some peace is to dive.  🙂  Watch the video of the Common Merganser mom and chicks:

[youtube https://youtu.be/0HXZEN58tIU]

Click on YouTube (bottom right) for a larger video.

Hooded Merganser Mom with 5 Chicks

Aren’t these little Hooded Merganser chicks the cutest!

merganser chicks following mom
Stick with mom!

The chicks seem to panic a little until mom resurfaces.

chicks panic when mom merganser dives
Where’d she go?!

She’s fishing for 6 now so the Hoody mom makes her dive count.  She comes up with a crawdad!

merganser mom eating crawdad with 5 chicks trailing
Mom’s got a crawdad for dinner!

Watch the video of the Hooded Merganser mom with her 5 chicks in tidewater of the Alsea River:

[youtube https://youtu.be/KzxBJXfQcLg]

Mergansers Chasing Smolt in the Alsea River

This Great Blue Heron is fishing for smolts but he is not nearly as successful as the mergansers.

Heron-1

Usually the mergansers just dive to get crawdads or mudcats off the bottom of the river.  But smolt were released upriver this month.  Steelhead smolt must be fast because the chase is on!  Check out this video.

[youtube https://youtu.be/Wa4rGNtvfwA]

According to ODFW 20,000 stock and 80,000 wild stock Winter Steelhead, size 6 fish/pound, have been or will be released into the Alsea River this month.  40,000 stock Winter Steelhead are also to be released into Five Rivers.

Read more about the Alsea River Hatchery.