Forster’s Tern


A scan of topics treated here reveals an interest in the overlooked ordinary.

Today’s posting about Forster’s Tern does not fit this pattern. Not only is this bird found at only one location around Kootenay Lake, but it is the only place in British Columbia where the bird is known to breed. Not surprisingly, it is red listed, meaning, in danger of extirpation.

Terns are somewhat like gulls, but are more slender, have longer bills, and narrower wings. They also have forked tails, but perhaps a more important distinction is their hunting style. Like an osprey, but unlike a gull, they plunge dive into the water to capture a fish — albeit a somewhat smaller fish than those favoured by an osprey. 

A Forster’s Tern was hunting over the wetlands south of the Main Lake.

Not every dive into the water resulted in a catch. Here the tern lifts off without a fish.

However, after another plunge into the water, it flew off with a meal.

My favourite view shows it rising from the water with its wings and tail spread.

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Turkey display


If one believes the promotional art for harvest festivals, wild turkeys display in the fall. The timing is off by about a half year. Now is when toms display; this is the breeding season.

The distinctively spread tail feathers of the Wild Turkey signalled a good reason to pause and watch.

This turkey then obligingly turned sideways. Its head and neck is coloured brilliantly with red, blue and white. The colour can change with the turkey’s mood, with a solid white head and neck representing the most excited state. This bird seems part way there.

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Antler buds


A male moose in a marsh has started this year’s antlers.

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Swimming chicks


This is the season to watch chicks. Some remain in nests, but many waterfowl are already swimming.

Often the first chicks to be seen on the Lake are those of our local avis non grata, the Canada Goose. It gains this epithet by its proclivity to defecate on our lawns and fields. Balanced against this is the fact that these are the only chicks in this posting where both the male and female attend to them. This is a family bird, despite its other undesirable behaviour. 

One of the most common birds on the Lake is the Mallard. I wish her luck with her new family.

This Common Merganser female is certainly the epitome of fecundity.

This is a Hooded Merganser female. She has her own small brood.

Finally, a (Common?) Goldeneye female and her brood.

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Supplying chick food


Sigh…. This is my first posting in nearly a week. My blog was hacked by sleaze merchants, and for an hour was promoting junk pharmaceuticals before I took everything offline. It required a professional to muck out the barn.

It is a full time job to raise chicks. Robins are constantly out foraging for food to take back to the nest: worms, insects, sometimes both.

A male robin scoured a lawn and captured a Large Yellow Underwing Moth (Noctua pronuba).

It then spotted a worm and tried repeatedly before it succeeded in picking both up at once to carry back to its chicks. The nest was not far away, so why didn’t it just make two trips? It probably feared that the other robins on the lawn would grab the worm while it was away.

Not everything is saved for the chicks. It’s nice to snack while working.

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Sandpiper piping


Two Spotted Sandpipers were foraging along a beach. I watched them in the hope that one might do something interesting. Other years, I had seen one catch a bug, two mate, and chicks wander by (too early for that). However, these two kept their heads down as they scoured the shoreline — until, one reared up and let forth with an impressive call. Who knows what that was all about, but I hadn’t seen (or heard) this behaviour previously.

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Kaslo covered bridge


The Kaslo covered bridge is officially known as the Kaslo Trailblazers Bridge for it is the Trailblazers Society that built it in 2008 as part of the Kaslo River trail system. It is 34 metres long and it sits 15 metres above the Kaslo River. I find it a tremendously inviting subject for full-sphere panoramas. This is a Hammer mapping of the view from the centre of the bridge.

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Bear encounters


A couple of nights ago around midnight, I was awoken by a rather large Black Bear. I climbed out of bed to discover its nose less than a metre from me. Fortunately, we were separated by a windowed door.

This bear was not that bear. I saw this equally massive fellow yesterday afternoon many kilometres away. Yet, the experience was similar — a remarkably close encounter with a Black Bear during which each stared into the other’s eyes. We pondered the world of the other, then drifted apart with neither having any real comprehension.

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Marmot pups


The pups of the Yellow-bellied Marmot are said to emerge from their natal dens in late June or early July. However, ours have been out and about for the better part of a week. Their antics are fun to watch.

Another oddity is that pups are said to nurse in the den, but switch to foraging on their own when they are out of the den. Again, it seems that these marmot pups have not read the manual. This is the first time I have seen this.

Pups often meet during their foraging. When they do, they greet each other.

Then, sometimes the pups will frolic.

However, the standard greeting seemed to be a nose rub. Each was probably sniffing so as to identify the other.

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Breakfast bugs


Birds meet the dawn hungry. Here are two that chose bugs for breakfast. The birds, I know; the bugs, I do not.

Song Sparrow.


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