Daily Observations

Sunday:
I went for walk around Totem Park this afternoon.

Weather: Snow fell for much of the morning into the early afternoon, but there was partial clearing later. It was fairly calm in Crescent Bay, though there appeared to be a bit of chop on the water out toward Eastern Channel.

Birds: Birds I saw on the walk included Common Mergansers, Bufflehead, a few Surf Scoters, Pelagic Cormorants, Barrow’s Goldeneyes, 3 or 4 Common Goldeneyes, Mallards, a Great Blue Heron, Mew Gulls, a Bald Eagle (that appeared to make a run at gulls or ducks on the water), and quite a few Harlequin Ducks. I also heard an American Dipper along Indian River. There were some Raven tracks in the snow on the beach and quite a lot of crow tracks on the flats out from the battle site bench.

Other Notes: A hemlock tree fell into the river not far up from the bridge. It has fallen since the last time I was on the trail that connects the main park to Westwood Trail, but that’s been quite a while. From the way it was laying, I suspect that the river has not been high since it fell.

Wednesday:
I stopped by Swan Lake briefly this afternoon while running errands.

Weather: It was rainy for part of the day, with a couple of brief heavy showers while I was out.

Birds: There were three Ring-necked Ducks and the Cackling Goose with all the Mallards in the open water where Wrinkleneck Creek enters the lake.

Thursday:
Connor and I wandered around a bit today to look for birds. We started at Swan Lake and then spent an hour or more up on Hemlock Street.

Weather: It was partly cloudy today with occasional rain showers. Wind seemed to be fairly minimal, but it was chilly.

Birds: At Swan Lake there were 3 Ring-necked Ducks, the Cackling Goose, Glaucous-winged Gulls, and Thayer’s Gulls.

While at Swan Lake I noticed a flock of birds fly up to a tree on the hillside above Halibut Point Road across the lake. They flew sort of like starlings, but I did not think starlings were likely to be flocked up in that area, so Connor and I went over to check them out. It turned out to be a flock of about 100 Bohemian Waxwings. We spent over an hour watching them fly between Mountain Ash trees, a berry bearing ornamental shrub, and the alders they seemed to like to perch in. While moving between locations they sometimes flew remarkably close to us.

While watching the waxwings I also saw two Yellow-rumped Warblers and at least one Song Sparrow.

Friday:
Connor, Rowan, and I went with Scott Harris and his family to Kamenoi Point Beach, where Scott was going to do his monthly survey.

Weather: It was clear and cool with a light wind out of the north. High clouds started to move over in the afternoon. Kamenoi Point Beach was quite nice, as the southern exposure resulted in lots of sunlight with the island blocking the wind from the north. It felt fairly warm, though there was still heavy frost on the sand in the shadows of the beach logs. We went into Port Krestof briefly and there was quite a bit of ice.

Birds: There were a couple of Winter Wrens among the beach logs near Brent’s Beach Cabin. I saw Golden-crowned Kinglets and think I heard a Brown Creeper or two on Kamenoi Point Beach. There was a flock of Black Turnstones on the rocks at the end of the beach.

On the water off the beach there was a loon (almost certainly a Common Loon, but possibly a Yellow-billed Loon). I also saw several Surf Scoters. Off the point were some Harlequin Ducks. Pelagic and Double-crested Cormorants were on the rocks out from Brent’s Beach.

In the Magoun Island there were a fair number of Common Mergansers and Barrow’s Goldeneye. We also saw two Horned Grebes. A flock of perhaps 20 Canada Geese flew over. We also saw about that many on the shore of Port Krestof (though it’s possible they were the same geese that had just flown around the Magouns and back to the beach in Port Krestof). The light was poor for seeing in Port Krestof, but in addition to the geese, I was able to recognize gulls, crows, and Mallards on the beach. There were also Buffleheads in the water.

It was hard to see much on the boat ride, but I did notice Mew Gulls near the runway, Surf and White-winged Scoters at various locations, a flock of Long-tailed Ducks by the Apple Islands, Common Murres, and a Marbled Murrelet.

Other Notes:
There was at least one set of Mink tracks, and possibly two or more, on Kamenoi Point Beach.

Recent storms did a fair amount of reshaping of the beach. Last time I was there, a month or two ago, there was a large pool where a stream leaves the forest. Today that pool was gone, and the stream just ran down to the ocean. Also, the beach nearest the point seemed quite a bit steeper than I remembered.

There was a small patch of Shore Pine growing at the edge of the forest. This is the first place I’ve seen pines along the shore where it seeemed unlikely that they had been put there by humans.

Saturday:
This afternoon Connor, Rowan, and I went down to Sage beach for a little while.

Weather:
Mostly cloudy skies with cool temperatures in the lower 30s.

Birds:
There were Dark-eyed Juncos in the yard.

From Sage Beach I saw a Common Loon, Common Mergansers, a Barrow’s Goldeneye, Harlequin Ducks, Pelagic Cormorants, a Great Blue Heron, and Bald Eagles.

Other Notes:
It appears that at least two kinds of seaweed are growing on the rock. One is a Prasiola, the other seemed to be made up of very fine hair-like growth that was pretty well plastered to the rocks (but quite slippery), as the tide was out. Both were up in the very upper intertidal zone, above the Barnacles, even. I think this zone probably only rarely gets covered by water in the summer, though the 10 or 11 foot plus tides occur monthly during this time of year.

About matt goff

I am an aspiring naturalist who seeks to learn all that I can about the more-than-human aspects of this place that is my home.
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