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Sunday, March 23, 2014

Weekend Birding

For the last few weeks its been nice and sunny during the work week and gray and drizzly on the weekends. It's been the source of much grumbling on the island, but of course it's not enough to keep me from getting out and doing some birding - not this time of year!

The first year bird I have to report I actually saw on the drive home for work - an American kestrel (144) along Beaverton Valley Road. I had also been out trying to find a rufous hummingbird that so many others had been reporting, without much luck. If you can't go to the birds, I thought, why not try to bring the birds to you? I don't know why I hadn't done it earlier, but I put up our hummingbird feeder at home. It took just three hours for a pair of rufous hummingbirds (145) to stake it out! This male spent the better part of the next three days chasing away all other male hummingbirds. He's either moved on or given up since then, but I've still been seeing females visiting regularly.


My friend Katie also reported that the barred owl nest near her house is occupied again this year, after it was empty last spring. I got to go take a quick peak, adding another year bird (146) in the process:

Peek-a-boo! See the owl?
I also went to Three Meadows Marsh where as hoped I found lots of swallows - both violet-green (147) and tree (148). There were a couple hundred of them! I was also surprised to already see the first wood ducks (149) had arrived.

I thought I might find more swallows at False Bay Creek, but I only saw one - about a half a mile away! The after work stop (in the sunshine, being a work day) wasn't fruitless for the year list, however, as I did see one Wilson's snipe (150). I also heard a Virginia rail. I realized most people who drive by on Bailer Hill Road probably have no idea that rails are lurking in the reeds just a few yards away! I like things like that.

Yesterday I spent the day on Whidbey Island, where I did a little birding in Langley. Here's the view from the Langley marina, with the Cascade Mountains in the background and a flock of sea ducks in the foreground:


When I realized about half the ducks were goldeneye (the other half were scoters), I was hopeful I might find a Barrow's goldeneye among them. I was surprised when I got the binoculars up that they were ALL Barrow's goldeneye (151)! I did find a few common goldeneye off on their own. Most of the scoters were surf scoters, but I found a pair of white-winged scoters in there, too.

Barrow's goldeneye

In addition to the ducks, I saw a great blue heron, a pair of kingfishers, and about ten double-crested cormorants. A few of the cormorants were drying their wings - which I had never gotten a nice photo of until now:


The next few weeks should be exciting - the spring migrants will continue to arrive, and we're all hopeful the orcas will start spending some time here, too!

1 comment:

Vera said...

Very cool about all of the new birds for your year list. I really like the cormorant photo!