Daily Observations

River Otter

I took a walk down to New Thompson Harbor today with a stop by Swan Lake on the way home. The folks in the harbor seemed especially friendly today, as a number of them stopped to visit for a bit.

Weather: It was partly cloudy with winds picking up through the day. Winds were out of the Southeast and the forecast was for a wind advisory tonight. By late this evening it was definitely windy outside. Temperatures were in the 30s during the day, but warmed up to over 40 as the wind picked up this evening.

Birds: Near the Lincoln Street playground, there were several Chestnut-backed Chickadees and Golden-crowned Kinglets foraging in the spruce trees. I was able to get some good looks at both of them before I continued on my walk.

Birds of note today at New Thompson Harbor included a juvenile Greater-white Fronted Goose feeding on the lawns around the parking lot, a Common Murre feeding in the water between fingers of the dock, a Marbled Murrelet close to the dock, several loons, Pelagic Cormorants, Long-tailed Ducks, Common Mergansers, and lots of gulls. I was told by someone who lives in the harbor that Great Blue Herons come and perch on the boats sometimes.

On my walk down Katlian Street, there were 30 or so scaups in a small cove, presumably ducking out of the wind. I saw several more flying over toward the channel a little later. Near the cove, there was also a heron perched on the wing of a float plane.

At Swan Lake there were two American Coots, 6 American Wigeons, and several gulls along with the usual assortment of Mallards. The lake was mostly frozen and the scaups I had seen there previously were not in sight. They probably moved out to the channel with the freezing of the lake.

Flora: The more I walk around, the more trees and shrubs I notice that have not lost their leaves. As common as it seems this year, I can’t believe I would have missed it in previous years. This makes me think that this year is unusual in this regard. The only thing I can think of is that with the cold spring and cool summer, the plants did not store up as much energy as they might have liked and were holding on to leaves a little longer.

Other Notes: I saw three river otters playing and sunning themselves near the Bill Brady Healing House along Katlian Street. I was upwind of them as I approached. A couple of times they looked in my direction and sniffed the air, but then went back to what they were doing. Finally, one saw me moving and it took off. The others followed after it. When I went over to look where they were, I saw a mink down in the rocks near the water.

There were at least a couple of sea lions in the harbor when I was there.

It warmed up enough this evening that there was a moth which came to the window of my office. I’m not sure where it hid out during the cold weather.

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