Bird Observations

Singing Song Sparrow
Singing Song Sparrow (Melospiza melodia)

Before I even got out of bed this morning, I heard a Northern Flicker calling. I first heard it in the distance, but it seemed to be moving gradually closer. I was flying from one tree to the next, stopping to make its “kwikwikwikwi” call for a few seconds before moving on. I imagine it was proclaiming the boundaries of its territory. Before long it sounded like it was in a tree right outside my window. I listened to it and thought about getting up to go outside and see if I could see it. I few moments later I did get out of bed to look out the window when I heard the rapid drumming that sounded like it was actually being done on the house. Unfortunately, I was not able to see the bird and the drumming did not last for long. Soon I heard the calls coming from trees on the other side of the house from the direction it came.

When I started out on my walk this morning, I could hear at least a couple of different juncos making their trilling call. I was unable to locate them, as I could not quite place where the sounds were coming from.

I did not see the heron that has been hanging out near the flume nor any dippers when I walked by the falls.

When I got down to Sage beach, I saw a good gathering of male and female Buffleheads (Bucephala albeola) as well as a male and two female Barrow’s Goldeneyes (B. islandica). As I approached the beach, the Buffleheads flew off and the Goldeneyes swam a little further out. I decided to sit and wait to see if the Goldeneyes would come in closer so I could get some pictures. While I was waiting, I observed a starling sitting under a small spruce tree. I do not know what it is was doing there, but it eventually flew over to a small patch of trees further down the beach. There were also at least two song sparrows that seemed to be engaged. They did not appear to be fighting, but I am not sure what they were doing.

Barrow's Goldeneye Before too long the Goldeneyes had come closer to shore and the Buffleheads had flown back in. I watched them for a while, gradually moving closer to the water and letting them adjust to my presence. I took some pictures, but none of them ended up being noteworthy as the lighting was not optimal and I was not able to get close enough for a full frame shot. I have noticed that ducks in general seem to be fairly reluctant to have me approach them, but male Buffleheads seem to be even more skittish than the females or many other duck species.

After the Buffleheads and Goldeneyes had flown or swam away and I had flushed a few Mallards as I made my way down the beach (I am not so good at noticing those birds when I am not expecting them), I cut up to Lincoln Street to make better time getting to the Park. Along the way, I stopped to watch a Song Sparrow sing. It was singing on a perch that I seem to recall having seen a Song Sparrow on previously. Perhaps it is the same bird.

Green-winged Teal I had a time limit and I did not expect to see any shorebirds, so I went quickly to the Indian River Estuary. Along the way I heard what I think was a Downy or Hairy Woodpecker. There were also a fair number of Golden-crowned Kinglets that I could hear, though I did not take the time to find them visually. I flushed a Great Blue Heron that had been standing at the river’s edge not too far from the trail. When I reached the mouth of Indian River, I scanned for anything interesting. I saw the usual assortment of Mallards and some female Common Mergansers (but no males). After noticing last week that Green-winged Teals are noticably smaller than Mallards, I looked for small ducks. Before long, I spotted a strangely small female duck waddling acros a gravel bar. A moment later I noticed the male Green-winged Teal already in the water. I approached the river’s edge (they were on the opposite bank) slowly, hoping to get a decent photo. I made it all the way to the edge with the only sign of discomfort with my approach being a few of the closer Mallards swimming off. However, as soon as I sat down, all but a couple of Mergansers and a single Mallard took flight. Perhaps I need to take a little more time sitting down. The teals flew upstream and I walked up but was only able to get a shot of the male at a pretty good distance away.

On my way home, I noticed a small flock of Juncos feeding in the salmonberry thicket near the large spruce tree.

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