I have been wanting to get up and try recording some of the dawn chorus, so I made an effort to get out of bed early this morning in order to go for a walk and do some recording. Despite a pre-5am rise time, it had been light for at least an hour already, so I cannot really claim to have caught the dawn singing. Part of the reason I wanted to do this is because I have read that some birds sing differently at dawn than any other time of the day. At this point, it seems like it might be easier to stay up until dawn instead of trying to get up before dawn.
Despite the post-dawn start, I did have a good time getting some recordings. It was not as quiet as I might have preferred, I heard heavy truck noise from the beginning, the traffic on Sawmill Creek is audible from much of the park, and of course the boat traffic through Crescent Bay can be fairly steady. Still, I think I was able to get recognizable recordings of Orange-crowned Warblers, Winter Wrens, Hermit Thrushes, Townsend’s Warblers, and maybe a few other birds.
In the larger part of the estuary grass flats, I saw deer tracks that looked recent.
Along the west side of the estuary area, I saw a mink running along the rocks. I was not in a position to follow it easily, however as I was on the other side of the river.
When I arrived at the south beach, I noticed two or more Semipalmated Plovers, two Spotted Sandpipers, a Least Sandpiper, and two Dunlin all feeding up in the seaweed at the high tide line. I sat and watched them for awhile before moving out to the shoreline where I observed Black Turnstones, two Ruddy Turnstones, at least one more Least Sandpiper, and a few Western Sandpipers.
After watching the shorebirds for awhile, I went back up to the southbeach logs and sat to record the Orange-crowned Warblers I was hearing. While I was sitting there I was also able to watch them. There were at least two birds, I never saw or heard more than that at the same time, and they spent a good deal of energy with one chasing the other about. I do not know if they alternated being the aggressor or not. They would make there trilling call as they perched and found things to eat between chases (I did see one find and eat an inch worm that it found on an alder). On a couple of occasions they flew quite near to me. One neat thing was being able to observe the orange crown patch that gives these birds their name (see photo above).
There were many Savannah Sparrows along the beach. They’ve been pretty abundant this year. I am uncertain whether this number of birds is typical.
I spotted a Northern Harrier flying along the shore after it caused the gulls to scatter.
I also was able to watch a Yellow Warbler finding food to eat in the alders.