I made a couple of quick trips down Lincoln Street to the west beach at Totem Park today and later in the evening had a chance to get out to Starrigavan with the kids. We walked both the Estuary Life trail and the Forest and Muskeg Trail on a pleasantly warm evening.
Weather: There was just a little bit of thin overcast through the afternoon, with mostly clear skies the rest of the day. Temperatures were pleasantly warm.
Birds: On a morning walk I saw a Wilson’s Warbler and an Oranged-crowned Warbler this morning along Lincoln Street. I also heard an Orange-crowned Warbler outside our house.
I saw and heard some shorebirds by Sage Beach, but was not able to identify them.
Around lunch time I saw a warbler (probably a Wilson’s Warbler) finding food in the large willow tree behind the neighbor’s house.
On a mid-day walk I saw a pair of Whimbrels on Lincoln Street beach.
There had been a Gadwall reported at Starrigavan and I thought it would be nice to see it, but it did not seem to be present. I did see Mallards, Northern Shovelers, an American Wigeon, a Great Blue Heron, and a Greater White-fronted Goose in the estuary, however.
Flora: There were fern-leaf goldthread in bloom along the forest part of the Forest and Muskeg Trail. It looked like they were nearing the end of their flowering period.
The muskeg looked very brown still. I am uncertain how much of that is due to normal winter lack of green, and how much, if any, is due to freezing damage from the March cold snap.
There were some yellow pond-lily leaves growing with the flower buds just getting started.
Other Notes: There was a strange marine mammal that I watched down at the park on my noon walk. At first I thought it was a log that was about to sink with one end above the water. But as I walked down the beach, I heard a noise coming from the log and realized that it was actually an animal. It was definitely not a harbor seal, but I had never seen a sealion behave like this. It was just staying there with its head well out of the water. It would occasionally breathe out loud enough for me to hear it from shore. I observed it acting like this for at least 5 minutes before it turned and started swimming.
The kids really liked watching the water skippers on the muskeg puddles.