Birds at Christmastime in Kitimat

Robin Rowland 

Great blue heron near Kitimat River

A Great Blue Heron perches on a tree overlooking the Kitimat River during the Christmas Bird Count, December 15, 2012.
The bird count photo op wasn’t as good this year as it was last year. It was just as overcast with low late December light, but this time it was high tide with wind gusts making for chop on the ocean, estuary and river and that meant not as many birds in view.

A merlin devours its prey
A merlin, a falcon, devours its prey on a tree branch overlooking the Kitimat River. (Robin Rowland)

As we were starting out, we spotted a merlin, a falcon, (marco columbarius) on a bare branch overlooking the Kitimat River, devouring prey, a smaller bird.

 

Kitimat River estuary
The Kitimat River estuary on Dec. 15, 2012 (Robin Rowland)

There wasn’t a bird to be seen at the Kitimat River estuary.

bald eagle
A bald eagle perches on a telephone pole near the Kitimat River estuary, Dec. 15, 2012 (Robin Rowland)

Although we could see a bald eagle on a telephone pole far off at the other end of the estuary.

As we were finishing the tour of the estuary, we spotted an American dipper grabbing a salmon egg out a rocky creek. The American dipper (cinclus americanus) has a special ecological niche, a fast moving stream. (The American dipper was also known as the “Water Ouzel”).

American dipper
An American dipper picks a salmon egg out of a fast, rocky stream near the Kitimat River estuary. (Robin Rowland)
A gull hovers over the Kitimat harbour, Dec. 15, 2012 (Robin Rowland)
A gull hovers over the Kitimat harbour, Dec. 15, 2012 (Robin Rowland)

Although the estuary bird count wasn’t that successful, I did get some interesting visitors to my feeder.

varied thrush
A varied thrush visits my deck, Dec, 12, 2012 (Robin Rowland)
Fox sparrow
A fox sparrow on my snow covered deck, Dec. 12, 2012 (Robin Rowland)

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