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Friday, May 21, 2010

"Yard" Animals and Upcoming Adventures

Yesterday I was getting ready to walk to town and I got delayed by the mink hanging out on the shoreline just off our houseboat. While I have seen minks two or three times here over the years, we seem to have one living nearby as we have seen it often this spring. It was a reminder to me that I've wanted to do a post featuring some of the amazing wildlife I see right from our front deck. Below is a picture of the mink - the toes look a little strange because they are actually partially webbed. (By the way, my walk to town was further delayed when I stopped to listen to my first Swainson's thrush (162) of the season!)

The same rocks that provide a shoreline highway for the mink are often used by a fishing great blue heron. One day the heron found a different perch - the top of some dock pilings that someone somewhat comically (and totally ineffectually) tried to keep birds from hanging out on:

The shoreline rocks are also patrolled by an immature glaucous-winged gull that has learned to hunt crabs. Just a few months ago the parents were still regurgitating meals for this youngster on the docks, but now the adults are looking eagerly on hoping to steal some scraps from their offspring that has become quite the crab specialist:

I've also been pleased to see more river otters around this spring. They are often passing through and you've got to have the timing just right and the camera handy to grab a photo. Sometimes they're high-pitched kipping gives you a warning that they're on their way:

Finally, these last few days I've noticed that some baby dark-eyed juncos have fledged and are following their parents to our feeders. It's funny, because the little ones are feeding themselves but are also demanding that their parents still feed them as well. I love this shot which perfectly captures the silhouetted seed in the parent's beak being placed into the gaping mouth of the baby:

Also, starting tomorrow I will be taking a break from the regular routine as I will be heading north with my parents for an epic five week trip to Alaska. We will be driving up the Alaska Highway and traveling around many parts of southeast and south-central Alaska, as well as parts of British Columbia and the Yukon Territories. I hope you will enjoy following along on my adventures, as I will definitely be updating my blog about all the amazing things I'm sure I'll see!

This trip will certainly have a huge impact on my year bird list, which currently stands at 162. My original goal, which I planned on being easily attainable, was 175 species, and I plan on passing that number easily in the next couple of weeks. My loftier target was 200, so that is definitely the new goal at this point!


Vera said...

Cool photos, again!
Alaska here we come!

Lancashire and Lakeland Outback Adventure Wildlife Safaris said...

Maybe I will count my FL ticks if you're going that far Monika.
Have a great trip


Monika said...

I thought you might say that Dave! Would be totally fair!

Warren Baker said...

What great critters to have living on your dorstep Monika.

Have a good Alaska trip - i'm sure you will!

Heather said...

Have a safe and fun adventure up in Alaska! I will be watching with envy. ;)

Suzanne Stein said...

Hi Monika! You probably get hundreds of emails but I just wanted to thank you so much for our trip. My husband Mike (the big dyed black hair NY guy with the Seahawks sweatshirt on) just loved you and the Orcas. The trip totally blew my mind. Thank you so much for everything. Can't wait to come back next year! Rock on