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Monday, May 16, 2011

More Great Bird Sightings on San Juan

I had the chance to visit with a fellow bird watcher and see her beautiful garden earlier this week. As we sat and chatted, we saw and heard no fewer than 20 species at her feeders and in her yard. It was so impressive I had to come back with my camera! 

One of the first species I saw was a flock of pine siskins (year bird 176):


I was thrilled when a single red crossbill (177) came down to join the group, too! There were also golden-crowned and white-crowned sparrows, a pair of California quail, and lots of American goldfinches. Their bright yellow sure stands out when they're at the feeders, but they camouflage in with the lilac bush:


We also heard a singing black-headed grosbeak (178) and several yellow warblers (179). Four year birds just in her yard - not bad! There are lots of neat aspects of living on a houseboat, but one thing that would be very cool about having a yard is being able to attract more bird species than the three or four regular that will venture down to the marina. One day....

The violet-green swallows were busy at the nesting box. This is the second time this month where I was able to distinctly see both the violet and the green (the other being at Ridgefield NWR on May 1):


She also had both rufous and Anna's hummingbirds coming to her feeders. This was by far the best chance I've ever had to photograph a male Anna's:


Then when he turned the right way, look at that gorget light up!


Then yesterday a friend of mine sent me a photograph of a bird she didn't recognize, and it was a fork-tailed storm-petrel! She had seen it on Friday right in Cattle Pass. Then another friend said she saw several on Saturday a bit further offshore. That's a very rare species to be seen in the county, so I went down there today to look for one. Not unexpectedly, I didn't have any luck finding it, although there was a very large bait ball several miles offshore, and if I was a storm-petrel, that's where I would have been. The trip was still well worth it, however. Right when I walked up a bald eagle flew by with something clutched in its talons, and it was being tailed by FIVE other bald eagles! It's always a cool experience when you get to be at eye level with an eagle:


Their antics in flight were amazing to watch:


I saw the expected surf scoters, harlequin ducks, and black oystercatchers. I also saw about four Eurasian collared-doves, which are now to be expected at Cattle Point, but I was thrilled to also find a pair of mourning doves, a less common species for the island. Then, as I was walking through the prairie, something "different" caught my eye. It turned out to be a western kingbird (180) - a very rare species for the county!!

It's been an exciting spring here on the island, with rare species cropping up all over the place. That's sure enough incentive to get out there as much as possible, because you never know what you're going to find, now more than ever!

1 comment:

eileeninmd said...

Sounds like a great birding day and a great visit with yoru friend, Monika. I enjoyed all the birds and the photos. You got some cool eagle shots.