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Saturday, October 11, 2008

Saturday Bird List

A male harlequin duck in his beautiful painted plummage, a photo I took by
"digi-scoping", or using a digital camera through a telescope.

My dad surprised me by flying up from Portland to see my talk last night, so we got a chance today to go out in the chilly, but beautiful, fall weather and spend 5 hours bird-watching around the island. We went to Jackson Beach, Fourth of July Beach, Cattle Point, South Beach, American Camp, False Bay, and the docks in Friday Harbor. Altogether we saw 50 species, but the highlights were: a single long-tailed duck, which was a new life bird for both of us; a merlin, a small falcon I don't see very often, perched near Cattle Point (you can see him perched in a tree in the photo below); and a small flock of 8 western bluebirds. The western bluebirds are in the process of being reintroduced to the island, a project that started two years ago. I've never seen any of the birds until today - a surprise, since I figured they'd probably be migrating south by now.

The long-tailed duck, formerly known as an oldsquaw, is the only sea duck with a white head. The individual we saw was a male in winter plummage. It was too far away to get a photo, but my mom, who has recently gotten into sketching, drew this picture to show you what the bird we saw looked like.

Here is a complete bird list for the day:

Greater White-fronted Goose 45
Canada Goose 50
American Wigeon 15
Mallard 5
Greater Scaup 4

Harlequin Duck 14
Surf Scoter 80
White-winged Scoter 20
Long-tailed Duck 1

Bufflehead 1
Hooded Merganser 5

Red-breasted Merganser 10

California Quail 1
Pacific Loon 4

Common Loon 3
Horned Grebe 40

Red-necked Grebe 20

Double-crested Cormorant 30
Pelagic Cormorant 12
Great Blue Heron 2
Bald Eagle 5

Northern Harrier 3
Red-tailed Hawk 3

Merlin 1
Greater Yellowlegs 6

Mew Gull 15
Glaucous-winged Gull 75
Pigeon Guillemot 10

Rock Dove 1

Belted Kingfisher 4
Northern Flicker 4
American Crow 10

Common Raven 5
Chestnut-backed Chickadee 15

-breasted Nuthatch 5
Brown Creeper 1
Winter Wren 1
Golden-crowned Kinglet 8
Ruby-crowned Kinglet 4
Western Bluebird 8
American Robin 6
European Starling 1

Spotted Towhee 8

Savannah Sparrow 3

Song Sparrow 8
White-crowned Sparrow 1

Golden-crowned Sparrow 2
Dark-eyed Junco 15
Red-winged Blackbird 1
House Sparrow 3

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