Thursday, 24 February 2011

Nanaimo River Estuary Owls

By the time I finished work at 5pm, the sky was still clear-ish and I headed to the Namaino River estuary with a good hour of daylight left. The place looked incredible; covered in snow and lit by the last rays of the dropping sun.
The first bird I saw was a female northern harrier sat up on a log on the marsh. I had a short wander around but realized quickly that was little hanging around the crab apples or hawthorns.
From the viewing platform I could see good numbers of American wigeon, plus a few gadwall and a family party of trumpeter swans on the river.
Checking the marsh on the other side I picked up the male harrier hunting low, and soon came across a short-eared owl perched up on a stranded large piece of driftwood in the distance (pictured).

Scanning around I noticed a second short-eared owl out over the main marsh. Eventually the two came together and engaged in a fascinating 'mock' fight, briefly being joined by the male harrier.
A few eagles were cruising around but little else other than the odd heron and Canada geese. 
I checked diligently through the golden-crowned sparrow flock only to find the usual song sparrows, towhees, juncos and single fox sparrow.

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