We had an amazingly rainy day on Tuesday - not the kind of day that made one feel like venturing out. The only birds I saw that day were the ones that came to the feeder, or were they just getting out of the downpour? In any case, there were a lot of them, but only three species: house sparrows, chestnut-backed chickadees, and red-breasted nuthatches. Here's a nuthatch photo that demonstrates how dark and gray it was that day!
Yesterday the weather was much nicer and I went for a hike at the Friday Harbor Lab trails. As I pulled in there was a flock of about two dozen California quail around the lab buildings, the second large flock of quail I've seen this week. As soon as I got out of my car this hairy woodpecker (the first of three for the day) was nearby:
The first part of the trail was pretty active, with spotted towhees, American robins, more chickadees and nuthatches, a Bewick's wren, and a song sparrow. The most surprising sighting was a turkey vulture that flew in through the trees and and landed on a snag! I usually associate these birds with the open farmlands of the island where they are able to soar, so it was bizarre to see one in the woods. On the ground were lots of slugs and also this snake:
Once the trail delved deeper into the woods it got a lot quieter bird-wise with only another pair of hairy woodpeckers and a northern flicker spotted. Later in the day, though, we drove out to the westside of the island to see the sunset, and on the way out I saw a crow, a pair of cedar waxwings, and a Eurasian collared-dove all sitting on the same telephone wire!
Out in Haro Strait was an active bait ball. With the early evening lighting it was tough to make up all the species out there, but closer to shore was a group of glaucous-winged and Heermann's gulls settling down for the night. I also saw a single rhinoceros auklet and a trio of red-necked phalaropes. The day ended with 21 species sighted, but I've got an excursion planned for next week that will hopefully result in another species for the year list...