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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

February San Juan Visit

The temperatures had dropped considerably, but yesterday still dawned bright and clear, which made nice weather for driving north to San Juan Island. While I’ve never seriously done it before, I’ve often pondered keeping a bird list of birds identified while driving 50+ mph, because it’s pretty amazing how many birds you can see out of the corner of your eye and identify while on the freeway. Most remarkable yesterday was four raptor species seen from I5: the always abundant red-tailed hawks as well as a bald eagle, northern harrier, and rough-legged hawk.

We got to the ferry landing early enough to enjoy the splendid view of Mt. Baker (above) while eating lunch in the car, and then I took a quick walk over to the wetlands near the bay to check out the bird life. I noted thirteen species, including three gulls. Most plentiful were the 100+ mew gulls, but there were also a few glaucous-winged gulls and at least one ring-billed gull.

The weather report is for cloudier skies and likely some rain for the rest of the week, so after unpacking the car I wanted to head over to the westside of the island to take in what ma be the only visible sunset during the time I’m here. It was chilly, but calm and peaceful, and I walked along the shoreline enjoying the end of the day with a bald eagle, a single harbor seal, and a couple of tourists.

As promised, today I woke up to gray skies, but no rain as of yet. I think there could be as many as five year birds to easily add here if I can make a birding trip or two around the island in my couple of days here. After taking care of some errands I’m going to see what birds are hanging out on the island this February!

UPDATE: Two successes so far - northern shrike (102) and harlequin duck (103)!


Julie said...

ah.... lucky! i've been longing for a visit up there myself, rain or shine, particularly after getting pics and posts from jim maya! hope you get some whales too!

Warren Baker said...

Have you set a target score for you year list Monika ?

I hope you dont use Bins whilst bird spotting, driving at 50mph!

Monika said...

Julie - No whales for me yet this year, but I'll be back up in early April so hopefully Js at least will come in for a while!

Warren - I'll blog about my targets in my next post. And no, no binos at 50 mph!