Of course, the sun rises all year round, but this is one time of year when it coincides with my commute to work. I've got some different looks this year now that we've moved - here are some highlights from the last week, as I've had to stop several times to take some photos:
|Early morning at Reuben Tarte|
|Sunrise over Egg Lake October 11th|
|Sunrise over Egg Lake October 14th|
I also think of this time of year as mushroom season. This has been one of the driest Octobers on record (I am NOT complaining!), but I have still noticed them popping up all over the place. All along San Juan Drive there have been groups of shaggy manes:
I think I've pretty much exhausted my likely year bird possibilities for here on the island, but that of course doesn't mean I've stopped birding. I've been checking out Jackson Beach on a few lunch breaks and have seen a nice variety of gulls there, including my first-ever ring-billed gulls on San Juan Island. There have also been a quartet of killdeer hanging out on the spit, and the horned grebe numbers in the bay seem to increase with every visit.
|Great blue heron at Reuben Tarte|
One afternoon I went down to Cattle Point where an hour turned up 23 species, including some Pacific loons, a red-necked grebe, and lots of foraging surf scoters. The most interesting sighting wasn't avian, however, but was this stink bug (Family Pentatomidae) eating this banded woollybear (Pyrrhartica isabella):
I've seen several different varieties of stinkbug on the island, but never this one, which doesn't seem to have an exact match in my field guide. I didn't know until now that while some stinkbugs are plan eaters, other are predatory.
At home, after a month of zero activity, one brave nuthatch led the discovery of our feeders. We've seen a nice variety of species since then, including the occasional hairy woodpecker visiting our suet:
On the whale front, J-Pod made a brief visit into inland waters on the afternoon of the 16th, and I saw J2 Granny and L87 Onyx off Land Bank's Westside Preserve before they turned south and joined the rest of the pod further out in Haro Strait. While September was a bit more normal of a whale month, in October they have become scarce again. That's not too unusual for us on San Juan Island, but usually we'd expect at least J-Pod to start making trips into Puget Sound for the fall chum salmon runs. As has been the case most of the year, we're left wondering where they are and hoping that wherever it is, they're finding plenty to eat.