What a day to be a glider!

What have I been up to lately? Same old. Searching for biology jobs, writing resumes and cover letters, sending those out, looking at which DSLR suits me best, learning how to use a DSLR without even owning one, checking my e-mail inbox (every couple of hours or so) to see if any employer replied back (so far, nil), and reading "We Bought A Zoo". Overall, not how I imagine spending my post-graduation days, but I doubt I am the only Ecology graduate going through this process.

Anyways, feeling sorry for myself aside, I decided to take a walk to the dyke again because the snow is more or less disappeared from the sidewalks and roads, and the sky was surprisingly clear in the afternoon (totally opposite from what the forecast predicted, again). But I don't remember the forecast mentioning the strong winds that I experienced while walking along the waterfront.

Waves were crashing and the ocean was as close as ever.

The flag was a good indication of how strong the wind was. It never let down. The left photo was taken first, and the right photo was taken when heading home.

The strong wind quickly blew away all the clouds and resulted in a beautiful blue sky.

An interesting phenomenon I saw today was the humongous gathering of gulls at the mouth of the Fraser River. Even though it was extremely windy, these gulls zig-zagged towards the mouth. I think I saw at least hundred (if not thousands) of gulls gliding today. Amazing sight.

Also saw small groups of Snow Geese gathering on Sturgeon Bank. The melting snow must drove out some worms for these geese to feed on.

While walking along the dog path (i.e. the road less traveled), a Wilson's Snipe (Gallinago delicata) was frightened by me (which in turn startled me when it flew up and yelled). But this also revealed its position and I was able to get some close shots. It must think I could not find it again when it landed in a new spot. Well, I am smarter than I look. Ha.

Wilson's Snipe (Gallinago delicata)

Can you find the Wilson's Snipe?

As I continued with the dog path, I saw a small brown furry thing ahead. At first, I thought it was a dead rat. But then it was moving. Moving closer, I believe it is a Red-backed Vole (Clethrionomys spp.), but which species? Well, based on species distribution, it is most likely either a Southern Red-backed Vole or Townsend's Vole. But Southern Red-backed Vole isn't described to live in grassy areas. So, I am more sure that it is Townsend's Vole because it can be found in wet meadows and marshes. It was digging in the gravel for something. When it saw me looking at it, it froze for a second before continuing on with its digging. But when I got closer, it quickly hid underneath the concrete squares, enabling me to take a photo of whatever hole it was digging.


I saw this coot from a distance when it wandered off the pond and was pecking along the gravel road with its white tail feathers held strangely high. But as I walked closer, it quickly went back into the pond.

American Coot (Fulica americana)

American Coot (Fulica americana)


Beautiful day!

Look how metallic green the male Mallard's head is in direct sunlight!

Not just the gulls were gliding today. Even this adult Bald Eagle is doing it.

One thing I hate is dog owners who doesn't pick up their dog's doo and leave it in the snow which becomes more noticeable (and more disgusting) against the white background.

Anyways, I don't believe this scat belongs to a dog because it has feathers in it. It could be from one of the coyotes in the area.

Ice is still present in the ditch, which makes swimming (or walking, in the case of the heron) a bit of a problem. The Great Blue Heron was avoiding me and so it went across the ice. It almost slipped walking across it, which was kind of funny (but I felt bad at the same time). Same goes for the Green-winged Teals on the right.

One thing after the snow had melted away is leaving behind these strange marks on the grass. Is it formed by aliens? Perhaps, but a more likely answer is that it is used by animals (e.g. voles and mice) who traveled around underneath the snow pack during the snowfall, and leaving behind the well-traveled routes visible to naked eyes. It is a good indication of the presence of these animals. (Edit: These are called "subnivean" tunnels as later found by Huckleberry Days as well.)

In addition to these routes, when you follow them to an end, sometimes they lead to an entrance/exit. Looking closer, I saw more animal scats just outside this particular hole. Only after snowfall can you more easily observe these things. Another bonus of having snow.

Meanwhile, the wind was still strong and the gulls kept on coming and gliding.
I walked farther today than usual. Usually, I turned around at the bridge crossing the Rural Area. But since there was no snow on the ground and the weather was good, I kept on going.

Saw this heron standing on top of the hill. I was going to take a picture of it before it took off angrily. I certainly made many animals angry today.

The same hornet's nest as last month.


Always enjoy walking underneath these trees.


Heading back home, at the golf course, I saw this Bald Eagle carrying a stick to be put on this nest. Could this mean that it's a resident of this home?

Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus)

Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus)

After a while, this Bald Eagle flew up and hovered for a while before gliding off to the distance. Later on, I saw a juvenile Bald Eagle gliding by too.

Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus)

Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus)

The sun was setting.


The moon was rising.

Time for me to get going.

1 comment:

shan-lin said...

the mole trails are so cool! it's so neat to get little glimpse into animals lives, and possibly minds.

it's good you're keeping your interest up during unemployment. 2009 will be a good year for you, i know it!

all the best.

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