Spring hasn't just been a time for whales, it's been a time for birds, as well! I've neglected to post updates here, but I've still been diligently tracking my year list. When I last left off, we had just come home from Southern California where my last year bird of the trip was a wandering tattler in La Jolla Cove, year bird #138 (listed on the blog as 137, off by one because I realized I had missed counting the purple finch way back in February!)
It took only a day after getting home to add some of our local spring migrants to the list, the orange-crowned warbler (139) and rufous hummingbird (140). Some wildlife viewing trips out on the boat also turned up a small flock of Bonaparte's gulls (141) in Spieden Channel, where the eagle viewing has been great too.
|An adult bald eagle changes an immature away from its territory on Spieden Island|
And I can never pass up the opportunity to get multiple species in one photo:
|Black oystercatcher and Canada goose at Spieden Island|
This is about the birdiest time of year, because while spring migrants like tree (142), violet-green (143), and northern rough-winged (144) swallows are arriving, some of the winter residents, like these long-tailed ducks in Mosquito Pass, are still here as well:
Three Meadows Marsh is where I saw all the swallows, and it's also where I added the Hutton's vireo (145), sora (146), and wood duck (147). My dad was up for a quick visit and hadn't seen a California quail yet either, so I thought we'd try looking for one at American Camp - and it worked! 148. As we were driving around the island that day I also added brown-headed cowbird (149).
One morning before work I heard my first black-throated gray warbler of the season (150). Later the same day I also saw my first barn swallow (151) of the year. Next, an unexpected and quick trip across the country to Washington, DC - more about that in my next blog post - led to me adding common grackle (152) to my list, but that would be the only bird back east as I didn't get a chance to leave the city.
Back home, birding in my yard has turned up my next five year birds: American goldfinch (153), Pacific-slope flycatcher (154), Townsend's warbler (155), chipping sparrow (156), and Wilson's warbler (157). But it hasn't just been the year birds in the spotlight on the home front, as a couple of times we've had up close and personal visits from our local barred owls:
|A new visitor to our bird feeders on April 12|
|An even closer barred owl encounter happened this afternoon, May 8th!|
The weather has been so fantastic, that one afternoon when the lighting was right I spent some time just sitting by the bird feeders until all the regulars felt comfortable enough to return. Here are some of my resulting pictures:
Finally, yesterday at work I heard my first olive-sided flycatcher (158), so that's where the year list tally sits at the moment. In my friendly year list challenges, that puts me a few species ahead of Dave in England who has 153 and well behind my dad who on a trip to Florida and the Bahamas jetted up to 194. On the more local front, I've got 112 species in San Juan County compared to my friend and fellow birder Phil who's at 97.