This morning I took Connor and Rowan to school and stopped by Swan Lake. I also spent some time outside the house, went on a walk around Totem Park, and made a quick stop to look around Swan Lake when I picked up Rowan from her nana’s this evening.
Weather: The rain has not been continuous, but it’s been pretty wet today with frequent showers, including some with very heavy rain. The sun did break out for a little bit this afternoon (which is what inspired me to walk down to the park). It’s been a little windy when the rain showers moved through, but not too strong where I was.
Birds: At Swan Lake this morning I saw three birds that I originally thought might be Ring-necked Ducks. I did not get great looks, but I did take some far off photos and was able to tell that two of them were scaups, and probably Greater Scaups. I still think the third was probably a Ring-necked Duck, but I did not get a photo of it.
I saw three American Wigeons flying with many mallards that were flushed when a Bald Eagle flew over the lake and landed in a tree along the opposite shore. A few minutes later, it flew down to the edge of the lake, presumably to drink and/or take a bath.
Someone commented to me yesterday that the eagles seem to have gone away. It does seem like there are not so many of them around currently. Presumably they are either on salmon streams, or they have already started making their way up to Haines.
I saw heard then saw a Northern Flicker on Etolin Street on my way back home this morning. When I stopped to look, I also noticed a flock of 100+ geese flying over.
When I sat outside for a little bit at home, I saw what I think was a Merlin fly over. I only really saw its shape, as it was quite dark against the sky. I heard a flicker around the neighborhood. I also heard a Steller’s Jay over by the Stratton Library. (I had heard a jay at the house when I first got up, so I put some peanuts outside. They jay had flown off by the time I got them out there, and they were not eaten this morning. I forgot to check this afternoon.) I was interested to see a Hermit Thrush in the lawn across the street. It had pretty dark streaks, so I think it was probably a first year bird.
At the park I saw a Hermit Thrush and Winter Wren that seemed inclined to keep me company as I walked along part of the beach. The tide was up, so there was not much room between the water and the forest. The Hermit Thrush showed up at the first opening the trail passes by (coming from the Visitor’s Center). It seemed fairly calm about my presence, but then disappeared behind the logs as I walked along. I did not expect to see it again, but soon it flew up and perched on the end of a log fairly close to me. As I continued slowly down the beach it stayed either just in front of me or along side. It never got super close to me, but did stay closer than I would normally expect. The Winter Wren joined along the way, though it mostly stayed concealed in the bushes and grass at the edge of the trees. Both of the birds left me near the next opening.
I saw several flights of what I am pretty sure were Black Turnstones fly over toward town, but I did not actually see any on the beach. I did see a Spotted Sandpiper, a couple of American Pipits, several Savannah Sparrows, several Song Sparrows, and a Ruddy Turnstone. (It’s now been about two weeks since I first saw the Ruddy Turnstone this fall.)
While at the park I saw another flock of 100+ geese flying south.
There appeared to be at least 10 Surf Scoters well off the beach between the Battlesite and river. It was a little hard to tell, because I think there were several Harlequin Ducks out there with them. This is the most Surf Scoters I have observed so far this fall.
Mammals: There were 5 Harbor Seals in the shallows just off the beach at the Battlesite. They were behaving in a way that I have not seen before. They stuck their heads up a little further out of the water than usual, and put their nose up in the air like they were trying to smell something on the air. I wondered if there might be Killer Whales in the area and these seals could smell their breath on the wind. After a little bit two of the seals seemed to have moved on. I saw one a little later up in the estuary.
This morning while sitting outside the house, a Red Squirrel ran (somewhat hesitantly) from the hemlocks near the cable/electric boxes across the street down at least to the hemlocks at the end of where we live. At first I thought it might be coming for the peanuts, but that did not turn out to be the case.
Other Notes: The mushrooms seem to still be going pretty good. I noticed some new ones today, though I did not really have the right stuff to take pictures in the dim woods.