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Monday, May 14, 2012

Lots of Spring Walks, Lots of Spring Sightings

Last week Wednesday I got to check on the owlets again with my friend Katie (check out her blog for some awesome owl pics!). It's amazing how much they grew in just one week!

We watched them from a distance for about 10 minutes, and the cutest moment was when this little guy stretched, looking more like a slinky toy than a baby owl:

On Friday, a walk at the Friday Harbor Labs turned up my first singing olive-sided flycatcher (174) and also a western tanager (175) and another barred owl. A non-avian highlight was this very cooperative butterfly:

On Saturday, we spent the afternoon at another friend's house. I enjoyed exploring around her yard, where in an hour I saw/heard about 20 bird species. Here's the view from her back porch:

One bird highlight were the pine siskins. They were loooovvvviiinng the thistle seed feeders:

But my favorite birds to watch were by far the two pairs of rufous hummingbirds, that showed no fear of me sitting right below the feeders. That allowed for some great photographic opportunities. Here's a male, just landing and holding onto the perch:

And here's a female hovering near the feeder, my favorite photo of the week:

While watching her feeders, I also saw my first black-headed grosbeak (176) of the year. We then went for a walk, and along her driveway was some striped coralroot (Corallorhiza striata), the first time I've seen this particular species of flowering plant that gets its nutrients not through photosynthesis but off fungi in the soil:

Nearby was the spotted coralroot (Corallorhiza maculata), the species I see more often:

On the walk, I heard several Wilson's warblers (177), as well as more olive-sided and Pacific-slope flycatchers, a mourning dove, and a band-tailed pigeon,  the latter two being more uncommon species here.

Sunday a hike near Roche Harbor gave me a chance to stop by the marina and see the purple martins (178) that are taking advantage of the nest boxes there. Finally, during a walk after work today, I heard my first Swainson's thrush (179) of the year. Meanwhile, Dave's been ticking away over in the UK, and despite my productive California trip in February sits only 7 species back in our year list competition!

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