Daily Observations

American Coot

I went downtown today and spent some time at the Back Door. On my way back, I went by Swan Lake to check out the birds there. I ended up spending a half an hour or so watching birds, taking pictures and trying to avoid the hail by sitting under a tree.
This evening there was a pretty nice pre-sunset (it wasn’t really setting just yet, but the lighting was pretty dramatic as the sun was low in the sky and behind a large cloud), so I went down to Lincoln Street Beach to watch the sun set and take a few pictures.

Weather: Another blustery day with periodic thunderstorms moving through. I did not see any flashes or hear any thunder today, but there was some hail. The sun also peaked through for some periods of time. At one point I was able to see a rainbow from my office window. Temperatures were down in the upper-30s last night and the snow level looked like it might have made it down to 2000 feet or so.

Birds: On the way into town, there was a lone Harlequin Duck in Crescent Harbor.

When I arrived at Swan Lake, the mallards were causing traffic to back up a little as they crossed the street in a big group. I parked my bike at the penninsula and heard someone call my name. The glare from the sun was pretty bright off the wet pavement, and I could not see who had called my name, but I thought I heard the voice say something about a shorebird. I figured out who was talking to me but still did not see the shorebird, so I went over to talk with Marge, who was checking out the birds from her car and then I saw where the shorebird was feeding (it was obscured by a tree from where I had originally been standing). Marge and Tedin drove off, but I stayed to look at the birds for a little while longer.

The shorebird was a Dowitcher, and I am pretty sure it was a juvenile Long-billed Dowitcher based on the calls I heard it make occasionally, the rounded back it showed while feeding, and the tertials also appear to be more consistent with the Long-billed Dowitcher rather than the Pacific form of the Short-billed Dowitcher (see photo below).

The coot was still on the lake and I tried to get some pictures of it, but it stayed out a little too far. I gave up and went back to watching the dowitcher. In the mean time the coot swam over to feed pretty close to the road, so I had a chance to get a good look at it then (see photo above).

There were quite a few scaups out in the lake, a little far for me to tell whether they were Lesser or Greater Scaups, however.

I think there might have been a Golden-crowned Sparrow in the shrubs near the lake edge and I am sure there was at least one Song Sparrow.

This evening I saw quite a few ducks out off the park. I don’t know if they were Harlequins, Scoters, both, or something else as the light was getting dim and the birds were some distance away.

Flora: There were a couple of plants with flowers still hanging on along Swan Lake. I saw a yarrow with some flowers and a Foxglove with a stalk that looked pretty dead, but it still had a few purple flowers at the top.

Long-billed Dowitcher

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