Totem Park and Baranof Street Cemetery

For the third day in a row I went down to the estuary, once again arriving near the time of high tide. 

I found a spot to sit on a log at the very upper edge of the estuary and watched the wigeons feeding. They never came especially close, but it was interesting to watch them and the movements of the water through the estuary grasses.

One thing I’ve noticed in these trips to the estuary is the Mallards are mostly resting, while the wigeons are almost continuously feeding. Presumably the wigeons rest at some point, but I don’t know. Maybe the ducks are getting more food from humans (visiting Swan Lake for handouts?) or something else about their diet gives them more time to rest?

I also wondered what the wigeons were eating. Since they are dabbling ducks, it is not surprising they don’t hang out in the deep water, but I do wonder why they prefer to feed from water rather than on the land. I can think of some plausible explanations, but I don’t really know.

The water currents were also interesting – they were not as regular as I might have guessed. Out in the deeper water at the lower end of the estuary there were waves coming in, but those were dampened out by the vegetation. Still, there seemed to be significant multi-second surges of water come through, then drop – even after the tide was really starting to drop. I was curious about the dynamics of this.

The Spotted Sandpiper (which I had heard and caught a glimpse of briefly yesteray) was also out foraging in the flooded estuary grasses. It seemed capable to more or less walk on water, as the semi-floating (but anchored) remains of last year’s sedges and grasses were sufficient to support it as it picked around.

This afternoon Connor let me know there were Pine Grosbeaks at the trailhead for Gavan Hill. They were gone by the time Rowan and I got there to look, but she and I walked around the cemetery loop just in case they might show up again.

We did not see the grosbeaks, but there were some interesting things to see (including a couple of lichens which I’ll try to go back to look at) and Rowan was pretty sure she saw a flicker fly by.

The winds continued through night – officially gusts got up to the high 50s, though I’m not sure they were that strong here. Even so, it got loud and I think may have woken me up more than once. The forecast rain did not really come. In fact, it was interesting to see how dry some of the bryophytes were at the park – I’m wondering if the wind helped dry them out. 

There’s another wind advisory for tonight. Winds are supposed to build through much of the night with peak winds are forecast from 3-5am. It’s not supposed to be quite as windy as last night, but more rain is supposed to fall.

My iNaturalist Observations for Today

Leave a Reply