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Sunday, June 4, 2017

Signs of Spring Everywhere

Earlier in the week, J-Pod departed the inland waters of the Salish Sea again, but not before making one more pass by Lime Kiln Point State Park. Many of them were way too far offshore to ID or even see, but a few of them, like J17 Princess Angeline with her youngest J53 Kiki, were fairly close to shore:

It absolutely doesn't feel right for the residents to still be scarce as June arrives, but there's nothing we can do about it but hope they're finding enough to eat wherever they are spending their time. In the meantime, there are plenty of other amazing natural sights to enjoy on San Juan Island, including just in our yard, where the birding has been quite amazing! This week one species after another has started to show up with their first brood of chicks, and none of have been more amusing that the trio of fledgling red-breasted nuthatches. When they first arrived in our yard, they could only perch on top of things, but as the days have progressed they've learned to perch upside down and sideways like their parents, and have apparently enjoyed doing so even when there's no food to be had as a result!

They look so much like their parents, but their colors are just a little fainter and something about them still gives them that baby cuteness:

The nuthatches were the first to arrive, but there have been others, some of which have taken a moment to identify like this fledgling spotted towhee!

There's also been one or a couple of young dark-eyed juncos:

And as of this morning, the first fledgling chestnut-backed chickadees have arrived, although it took a lot of patience to get a shot of one!

No house wrens yet, although it the pair is still active around the nest box after having gone into stealth mode, likely for the egg laying an incubation period. I think maybe their nestlings have hatched at this point as the trips have become more frequent, perhaps to feed the babies. I hope we get to spot the fledglings some point soon!

We also have a pair of both hairy and downy woodpeckers that visit every day, and while we don't know for sure, I hope that they too are nesting nearby and will bring their chicks to visit!

Down at American Camp yesterday, we paused to watch all the fox activity in the rabbit field. There are several dens of foxes down there and the kits, who have gotten pretty big, all seemed to be active. They were keeping a wide berth from the bald eagle that had landed in the prairie, however, but when one of the parents returned, it bolted and then jumped at the eagle to chase it off! Only a sequence of photos really captures what happened; after the eagle flew off, the kits came in to feed on a kill the eagle had been on. I wonder if the foxes stole the eagle's kill, or if the eagle was trying to mooch off the foxes? Something tells me it was the latter.

While the major bloom of spring wildflowers like camas and lily have passed, there are still other flowers and interesting plants to see on the prairie, like this chocolate lily seed pod:

There are several small species of lupine in bloom; I think this one is two-colored lupine:

Lupinus bicolor

And also both yellow and purple salsify:

Tragopogon porrifolius
Then today, a walk on Mitchell Hill turned up my first deer fawn of the season:

And also a close-up photo op of this blue-eyed darner:

Aeshna multicolor
The weather has been just perfect - the only thing missing is more whales!

1 comment:

Vera said...

OMG your photos are stunning as usual! You certainly do live in a paradise and I am so happy for you. We have also had A LOT of bird activity, including babies, in our yard. They are all so entertaining!