Late Winter Birding

We decided to do some birding today and spent time at Totem Park as well as Starrigavan. Highlights included Black Oystercatchers and watching an American Dipper foraging at Totem Park. At Starrigavan the tide was fairly high, and a small group of Surf Scoters was pretty close to the road, allowing for pretty good views … Read more

Snowy Day at Totem Park

I got an e-mail this morning from someone who reported seeing a dozen or so geese off the point at Totem Park this morning. She said it was dim and she didn’t have binoculars so couldn’t see them too well, but it looked like they might not have white cheeks, and might be worth checking out. I took this as motivation to get out of the house – something I might not have done otherwise.

By the time I headed out, skies were getting darker and snow was starting to fall. When I reached the park snow was falling heavily. Between the wind, snow, and moderately low tide, I couldn’t see the water at the end of the park, and I didn’t really want to wander out into the stiff breeze with blowing snow. Instead, I spent a little more time on the trail, gave some attention to the two species of alder, then walked over to the river mouth, and finally to the point, by which time the snow was starting to let up.

I walked out on the flats and was able to approach some of the 100 or more crows fairly closely. They seemed to be foraging for invertebrates and eating snow. It was fun to watch (and try to photograph) them flying up with mussels (I think) and dropping them to crack them open. I got pictures of several different individuals, but not a good full sequence for any particular time. I sorted the gallery pictures below so it’s in order, even though the pictures are from 2 or 3 different birds. One particular crow allowed me to approach quite closely as it was eating snow. I was interested in this, since Rowan had just told me a couple of days ago that she was able to see the crows eating snow at the park.

After heading back to the trail, I stopped to take pictures of 5 different alder trees. I like to try and notice differences between the species of alder (Alnus rubra and Alnus viridis) – and I think I found another one today. It seemed to work pretty well for the trees I could find at the park today, anyway.

Read moreSnowy Day at Totem Park

Low Island Song Sparrow

[sc_embed_player_template1 fileurl=http://weblog-media.s3.amazonaws.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/20110417_Low_Island_Birds.mp3] While visiting Low Island recently, I was able to observe and record this Song Sparrow (Melospiza melodia) singing. It sounded a bit different than the sparrows I’ve been hearing around town – I guess I should try to record some of them for comparison. Brant (Branta bernicla) and Black Turnstones (Arenaria melanocephala) can … Read more

Shorebird Sounds

On a recent birding outing, I was able to record some vocal shorebirds, including one of a dozen Black Oystercatchers and a flock of Black Turnstones (with a Dunlin and 8 Rock Sandpipers mixed in, though I’m not sure if their voices can be picked out). Black Oystercatchers [sc_embed_player_template1 fileurl=http://weblog-media.s3.amazonaws.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/20100220_BLOY_PortKrestof.mp3] Black Turnstones (with accompanying calls … Read more