Pine Siskins and Kids

Connor has set up some bird feeders in the yard, and with recent snows they have been popular with the juncos and Pine Siskins. Pine Siskins are fairly aggressive with each other, and bold with humans. Both the kids were able to have one feeding out of their hand. I only got pictures of Rowan with one, but they got video of each other which I will try to post at some point.

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Fungus and Murre


Rowan was impressed with the size of this fungus

The kids and I took a short walk through Totem Park hoping to pick up a Red-breasted Sapsucker for count week, but were unsuccessful in that regard. We did hear a Red-tailed Hawk call, so that more than made up for the miss on the sapsucker. We also found a fairly large Ganoderma growing on a hemlock.

A little later I watched a Common Murre that seemed strangely lethargic in Crecent Harbor. There were another two at the mouth of the harbor, one of which I watched climb up on a rock – though when I walked out on the breakwater, it slid back into the water and swam off. I am wondering if perhaps there’s something going on with the murres around here.

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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.

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Snow and Clearing Skies

The clouds broke up over town this morning after snow overnight. By around noon, it was again completely overcast and the snow started shortly thereafter. Coincidentally, the kids and I headed over to SJ since someone had suggested frisbee for those college students back in town for the holiday. A couple of other people showed up, and Connor and I played catch with them for a while (Rowan joined at the end, but spent most of the time helping other kids with a snowman and doing a little sledding). I was impressed that Connor was able to keep his hands warm without gloves on – he told me they only got cold when he took a tumble as we were walking back toward home, and I had given him a long throw to chase after. It snowed pretty hard the whole time we were there, with a decent breeze blowing in from the west or northwest (it was a little hard to tell, as it didn’t seem very steady).

Around 2pm or a little after, the clouds started to break up again, and we were treated to some nice light as the sun was going down.

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