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Saturday, April 24, 2010

A 36 Species Day

Yesterday I spent some time driving around the island checking out some of my favorite beaches, bays, and lakes looking for any new spring migrants that might be out and about despite the clouds and chilly weather that have dominated lately. The shorebirds have been surprisingly sparse so far - for one reason or another many of them pass over the San Juan Islands, but I would have still expected to see some sandpipers by now.

Even without any peeps or plovers, there were some good birds to be found. A flock of a dozen or so red-breasted mergansers was hanging out at Jackson's Beach. There were several northern rough-winged swallows flitting over the lagoon at Fourth of July Beach, and they were using the nearby driftwood as perches:

Across the way at South Beach I didn't think there would be much out there when I first drove up, or at least I didn't think I would be able to see it with all the chop out there. A scan with binoculars, however, turned up surf scoters, horned grebes, harlequin ducks, a pair of long-tailed ducks (now in breeding plumage - the first time I've seen them decked out that way!), common loons, pelagic cormorants, and surf scoters. I still haven't been able to find any Pacific loons to add to the year list, though....I've got just a few more weeks to look for them before they've headed north for the summer.

False Bay was pretty empty except for some northern pintail and mew gulls. Over at the marshes were some stunning hooded mergansers, as well as some lesser scaup. The wetland areas also turned up my only year bird of the day - some singing common yellowthroat (148), along with the loons one of my main target species for the day.

I was back out on the water today (still no Pacific loons!), and it was cold. I keep telling people I think we've had all four seasons just in the month of April. Hopefully the sunshine returns with a little more force soon!

1 comment:

Warren Baker said...

keep at it Monika, more migrants will arrive over the next few days :-)