The other day I was writing when out of the corner of my eye I spotted a bird that looked "different". It turned out to be one of two osprey (150) that were soaring between here and Brown Island. Cool! Since then I stopped by British Camp where, while I didn't see the osprey, I saw that they are indeed working to rebuild their nest that blew down during one of our wind storms last winter.
We've finally had some gorgeous sunny spring weather and I took advantage of it the other afternoon to go up to Mt. Young and look for birds and wildflowers. It was my first outing focusing on taking flower photos with the macro lens I got for my birthday last fall. Most of the flowers are a bit late this year, but a few species are staring to peak, like these shooting stars that were everywhere:
|Shooting star, Dodecatheon spp.|
Fawn lilies are usually one of our earliest bloomers, but they're just starting to open up over the last week with many still in bud. They are also called Easter lilies, so I guess that's appropriate because we have a relatively late Easter this year, too.
|Fawn lily, Erythronium spp.|
I also found some of this plant, which confuses me every season. It's not self-heal, but purple dead nettle - a non-native:
|Purple dead nettle, Lamium purpureum|
On a rocky outcropping near the summit, I found a dense patch of these yellow monkey-flowers:
|Monkey-flower, Mimulus spp.|
Then, right towards the end of my hike, I found a few Calypso orchids (also known as fairyslippers) in the sunshine:
|Calypso orchid, Calypso bulbosa|
Even though my eyes were focused on the ground and I was, at times, literally crawling through the grass on my hands and knees, I still kept my ears tuned in for birds. There were lots of singing orange-crowned warblers and purple finches, and a few Townsend's warblers. One bird caught my eye and I was surprised to see it was a hermit thrush (151), a species I thought might have left for the summer already. There was another song I heard repeatedly among the treetops and I had to come home and confirm it, but as I had hoped it was the chorus of the black-throated gray warbler (152).
Next up, more wildflowers - but I'll go ahead and mention that I saw my first pair of brown-headed cowbirds (153) for the season while out looking at flowers. That keeps me dead even with Dave, who got his 153rd year bird on Wednesday. Is anyone else as amazed as we are that after four months of birding on different continents are year lists are keeping pace with each other almost tick for tick?