Wednesday, 30 November 2016

A Kestrel and an Owl

Today I have a bitter sweet tale for you. It is about a kestrel and an owl.

Both were injured (hit by cars) but were brought to O.W.L. (Orphaned Wildlife) Rehabilitation Society and were treated for their injuries and are now living at the rescue centre. Neither was a candidate for release, let me tell you about them.

From my camera:

 Who me? I'm an owl, but lets talk about the kestrel first.
The kestrel's wing was so badly damaged that it will never fly again and it has lost the sight in one eye.
Both birds were at the Wildlife Unlimited Store (Broadway) recently, giving the public a rare opportunity to see them up close. Both birds were with experience handlers and were relaxed and spent the time observing the observers.
A kestrel is a member of the falcon family. This is an American Kestrel.
I would estimate the bird to be 6 to 8 inches tall.
They are able to hover about 10 to 20 metres in the air, by facing into even a slight breeze, and then swoop down when prey is spotted.
They eat small mammals, lizards, and birds and large insects.

Below you can see the damaged wing and eye quite clearly.

"The slender American Kestrel is roughly the size and shape of a Mourning Dove, although it has a larger head; longer, narrow wings; and long, square-tipped tail. In flight, the wings are often bent and the wingtips swept back."

"American Kestrels are pale when seen from below and warm, rusty brown spotted with black above, with a black band near the tip of the tail. Males have slate-blue wings; females’ wings are reddish brown. Both sexes have pairs of black vertical slashes on the sides of their pale faces—sometimes called a “mustache” and a “sideburn.""

"American Kestrels usually snatch their victims from the ground, though some catch quarry on the wing. They are gracefully buoyant in flight, and are small enough to get tossed around in the wind. When perched, kestrels often pump their tails as if they are trying to balance."

"American Kestrels occupy habitats ranging from deserts and grasslands to alpine meadows. You’re most likely to see them perching on telephone wires along roadsides, in open country with short vegetation and few trees."


These birds feed the young raptors that are brought in to OWL so that they don't get habituated to humans.
Here is a video of the kestrel:
Now here is the owl, a Barred Owl:
"Barred Owls are large, stocky owls with rounded heads, no ear tufts, and medium length, rounded tails."

This one also had a badly broken wing.

"Barred Owls are mottled brown and white overall, with dark brown, almost black, eyes. The under parts are mostly marked with vertical brown bars on a white background, while the upper breast is crossed with horizontal brown bars. The wings and tail are barred brown and white."

"Barred Owls roost quietly in forest trees during the day, though they can occasionally be heard calling in daylight hours. At night they hunt small animals, especially rodents, and give an instantly recognizable “Who cooks for you?” call."

"Barred Owls live in large, mature forests made up of both deciduous trees and evergreens, often near water. They nest in tree cavities. In the Northwest, Barred Owls have moved into old-growth coniferous forest, where they compete with the threatened Spotted Owl."

I have seen them in the University Endowment Lands Forest and heard stories of them swooping down on unsuspecting runners and walkers. They may confuse ponytailed hair with squirrels tails or they may just be a bit territorial. I have seen notices posted warning people to watch out for swooping owls in the late summer and early fall.. 

Here is a video of the barred owl and its distinctive call (“Who cooks for you?”) :
I hope you have enjoyed getting a close up look at these beautiful birds.
That's all the pictures I have for today, here is some information about O.W.L., use the link to visit their website.

About O.W.L.

From the website:
"The O.W.L. Orphaned Wildlife Rehabilitation Society is a nonprofit organization whose staff and volunteers are dedicated to education through conservation and the rehabilitation and release of injured and orphaned birds of prey. O.W.L. became a Society in January 1985 (Registration No. S-19879). O.W.L. is licensed through Fish and Wildlife, now known as the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations.

O.W.L. is on call seven days a week, twenty-four hours a day. Public tours are available every Saturday and Sunday from September to June and daily in July and August between 10:00am and 3:00pm.

The O.W.L. facility specializes in raptors (i.e. eagles, falcons, hawks and owls). Bird of prey patients at O.W.L. now number over six hundred, and are sent mainly from areas in British Columbia, as well as other provinces and the US. Primary and rehabilitative care for injured and orphaned birds is administered by staff. Surgeries are contributed by local clinics such as Huff Animal Hospital, Tsawwassen Animal Hospital, Richmond Animal Hospital and Dewdney Animal Hospital while other veterinary practices in the Lower Mainland aid in specialized procedures."


 I have two shows on now:
The Great Stuff show and sale at the Ferry Building and a Christmas Art show at Image West:
That is all I have for you this week.
Thanks for dropping by,
happy Wednesday, with whimsy,

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

A few more birds...

The late afternoon sun breaks through the clouds and illuminates the harbour and Stanley Park.
A good time for a walk.
Through my camera lens:

A pair of loons fish:

A small flock of Mergansers are fishing too:

I enjoyed their antics.

Love the tufty "hairdo".

Then a dog chases them out of camera range.

White birds in the distance, maybe Snow Geese.

Another view from Spanish Banks across to the West End. 

And lastly a few American Widgeons

I have two shows on now:
The Great Stuff show and sale at the Ferry Building and a Christmas Art show at Image West:
I have started a few art projects this week but finished nothing.
That is all I have for you this week.
Thanks for dropping by,
happy Wednesday, with whimsy,

Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Birds near Spanish Creek - part 1

Went for a walk along Spanish Banks last week mainly to check on Spanish Creek; I was looking to see if I could spot the Chum Salmon returning to Spanish Creek. It is only at high tide that returning fish have a chance of even getting into Spanish Creek. There have been some very high, or king tides, lately so I have been watching for fish returning to spawn.

I didn't spot any fish but did see quite a lot of birds, and took enough pictures to show you this week and next week too!

Fresh from the camera:

A Glaucous-winged gull at the mouth of Spanish Creek:

Here is Bad Company music video "Seagull":




Seagull, you fly across the horizon
Into the misty morning sun
Nobody asked you where you are going
Nobody knows where you're from
Here is a man asking the question
Is this really the end of the world
Seagull you must have known for a long time
The shape of things to come
Now you fly through the sky
Never asking why, and you fly
All around till somebody shoots you down
Da-da-da-down, mmm, mmm
Now you seagull you fly, seagull you fly away
And you'll fly away today
And you'll fly away tomorrow
And you'll fly away, leave me to my sorrow

This group of gulls was standing near the waters edge watching me. They are called Mew Gulls, and yes they make mewing sounds.
Mew Gulls are smaller than the other gulls that I encountered on my walk. I didn't know what they were called before this but they were making mewing noises. They stood and watched me for a long time before they took off.

A few of them were yawning, I didn't realize that I had caught a yawn until I downloaded my pictures.

Clearly I bored him!

I set off down the beach and almost stepped on these little birds:

They are so well camouflaged, I only noticed the movement. They are a type of Sandpiper called a Dunlin. They have a long slightly curved beak and they are much more colourful in mating season.

This trio allowed me to stay quite close, they are only about 8 or 9 inched tall.

Of course I had to take some pictures of shells too,

This pink shell was tiny probably only about a centimeter across and sitting next to a very small mussel shell.

Looking west from Spanish Creek in the late afternoon:

More birds next week.


New from my studio:
The latest in my Seashore Stills series is called "What!":

Another varnished watercolour.
Exhibit and Sale:
Reminder that the "Great Stuff" opening reception is this Friday (Nov 18) from 4 - 8pm at the Ferry Building in West Vancouver.
The show is on from November 19 until Dec 18 (Tuesday to Sunday 10am until 6 pm).
 I will be at the gallery on Thursday Nov 24 (4 pm - 6 pm) and Thursday Dec 15 (4 pm-6 pm).

 That's all for this week, thanks for dropping by, I thrive on your feedback,

happy Wednesday, with whimsy,