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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

No whales, but lots of birds!

For a while it seemed like I was seeing whales every day, which was pretty unusual for this time of year. I haven't seen any whales for a week or so now, but the birds have (almost) made up for it.

Yesterday on my walk home from work I saw a large flock of pine siskins (149). Today while out on the water, the bird-watching was fantastic. Down near Salmon Bank there were flocks of brant, red-necked grebes, rhinoceros auklets, glaucous-winged gulls, pelagic cormorants, some white-winged scoters, and....wait for it....Pacific loons (150)!! Finally, after spending three weeks looking for them, they seemed to be everywhere.

Later in the trip in Mosquito Pass were some surf scoters and eight long-tailed ducks, the most I've ever seen in one spot. A little further along in Spieden Channel were a couple hundred Bonaparte's gulls, feeding in the same area as ten Steller sea lions and several dozen harbor porpoise. It gave me an opportunity to get my first-ever photos of Bonaparte's gulls in summer plumage with their black hood:

Later, while at home, I had to put down the phone to quick run outside and snap a photo of this belted kingfisher. A pair of them hang out in our marina, but often just fly through or have their regular perches a little farther away. This one stayed put in the wind just long enough for me to take two pictures, then moved on its way:

The birds have also started coming back to the bird feeders on the deck in greater numbers. The house sparrows found the tray feeder right away, but it took a little longer for the dark-eyed juncos, song sparrows, and chestnut-backed chickadees to find their way back. I'm still waiting for the return of the red-breasted nuthatches to the suet feeder. Three rufous hummingbirds have also been enjoying their feeder, and the other day I got some nice photos of them that I'll feature in an upcoming post.

A group of Washington ornithologists recently reported some amazing bird finds right here on San Juan Island, so I'll have to study up on my bird calls and head out with a renewed vigor to see if I can't find some of the amazing species they reported here just a few days ago!

1 comment:

Warren Baker said...

well done on the 150 Monika!

In answer to your question about the green on the Tawny owl - well it's just leaves in the foreground :-)