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Saturday, June 24, 2017

Spring Changes to Summer

In mid-June we got two brief visits from L-Pod, but they weren't too accommodating for shore-based viewing. The L12s made one trip up as far as Lime Kiln, first spending some time resting off of Land Bank:

The L12s in resting formation
The second visit, from a larger group of L-Pod whales, offered only the most distant of looks over their two-day stay, before they headed back out to the open ocean.

A distant look at L91 Muncher from San Juan Island
Amazingly, but perhaps not surprisingly given the salmon numbers, the days continue to slip off the calendar and as we edge towards July J-Pod still has not visited us since the first of the month. They have been spotted a couple times - once in the Strait of Juan de Fuca and twice off of Tofino, and luckily off Tofino reports were they were finding a lot to eat. But the times have surely changed, and meanwhile we are left hoping that as the summer progesses, sightings of the Southern Residents in inland waters will increase as the summer goes on as happened later in the year of 2013 when sightings were also at record lows.

Meanwhile, there continue to be some transients around, though fewer than a few weeks ago. We did manage to have one nice shore-based encounter with the T36As and T65Bs where they spent more than half an hour "milling and killing" off of 4th of July Beach.

Other than that, sightings have been pretty slim, and we've taken some of our extra spare time to hand-tame some of the wild birds at our feeders. So far we've gotten red-breasted nuthatches, chestnut-backed chickadees, and even a downy woodpecker to eat from our hands!

Red-breasted nuthatch fledgling on my hand

Other than that, I've been left to enjoy and photograph all the other abundant wildlife (and wildflowers!) that lives in this special place I get to call home. I'll let the variety of the photos speak for themselves!

Curious raccoon
Female rufous hummingbird on nest
Deer fawn
Another deer fawn - this one in our yard!
Red fox in the rain
Lily pads at Three Meadows marsh
Oceanspray in bloom
A bizarre visitor to the intertidal zone - a turkey vulture
A female purple martin
On my last excursion, we headed down to Cattle Point, hoping for a first of the year Heermann's gull. They've been seen in Puget Sound, but not up here yet, though that should change any day. We didn't find out, but it's impossible not to take a photo of the eagles that regularly perch on the Cattle Point Lighthouse:

While looking up at this one, I happened to turn around just in time to see it's (presumed) mate fly by below the cliff behind us with a large fish in its talons:

Sure enough, the lighthouse eagle wasn't far behind, as it soon took flight after it's mate and/or dinner:

It's clear that there will be no shortage of things for me to photograph and report about on my blog, but I strongly hope that my next installment includes at least one visit from our Southern Resident Killer Whales!

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