We've had an incredibly wet and windy start to 2016 here in the San Juan Islands, with storm after storm hitting us here on the coast. That's meant I've been compelled to take advantage of any break in the weather - whether that means a break in the wind or the rain. Today, it was still rainy, but at least the wind finally died down and I took the opportunity to get out on Serenity and check out the wildlife along the north end of San Juan Island.
In Mosquito Pass a couple dozen double-crested and pelagic cormorants were hanging out a dock:
On Spieden Island, many fallow deer and Mouflon sheep were out grazing, despite the rain.
|Two male fallow deer|
Many of the Mouflon sheep had lambs in tow. This one got a little confused and started following one of the fallow deer instead of its mother:
|Mouflon lamb follows fallow deer|
Over on Flattop Island, many harbor seals were hauled out, while a few harbor porpoise foraged offshore.
Off Green Point, we went in along the shoreline to look at some oystercatchers....
...and got surprised by a curious Steller sea lion!
A little ways further down the channel, some splashing caught my attention. It was another Steller sea lion consuming some prey. It looked to be a type of flatfish/bottom fish...it was orangeish in color, so maybe some type of sole? I'm not very good at fish identification.
|Steller sea lion gets ready to scarf down one of the last pieces of flesh from his meal, keeping it away from a mew gull|
While in the above photo the sea lion was able to keep his food away from the gulls, they did benefit from his catch. Here a mew gull fends off pursuit from a glaucous-winged gull after snatching a piece of the Steller's bounty:
Back in Mitchell Bay, we enjoyed looking at a lot of the birds taking refuge there, including a pair of western grebes.
That reminds me, I should update you all on my year list. There's been a single white-winged scoter (90) hanging out in Mitchell Bay for the last few weeks and that was number 90 on my year list. Another boat trip through Mosquito Pass on a breezy day in early March also turned up some long-tailed ducks (91), pigeon guillemots (92), and rhinoceros auklets (93). The same day, March 5th, I went down to American Camp and added western meadowlark (94) and sanderling (95) to the list. Finally, yesterday, while checking on my boat after the latest severe wind storm, I saw one of these western grebes (96) in the distance, and then heard a barred owl (97) on a hike at English Camp.
When will I reach 100 species for the year, and what will that species be? Between spring migration and some more travels coming up in the near future, I have no doubt the 100th species isn't far away!