Daily Observations

Northern Goshawk

The last couple of days I have spent much of the time showing Alexia Stevens different places. Actually, it’s probably more accurate to say that the last couple of days I’ve used Alexia as an excuse to get out and spend time looking around. She gave a very interesting talk about bird language Thursday night. I’m hoping that we can bring her back up here next year to do a full weekend class on bird language. Places we’ve visited include a couple of different trips to Totem Park, Starrigavan, a brief stop at Swan Lake, and the Cancer Survivors Trail by Lower Moller field.

Weather: It’s been chilly, snow level has been below the top of Gavan Hill, but not too far down. There have been periods of rain, with wind, especially associated with the rain showers. Thursday morning was pretty windy.

Birds: Once again, the Cancer Survivors Trail near lower Moller field was full of birds. A new one for the season was Orange-crowned Warblers. We watched one visit the blueberry flowers, and wondered whether it might be getting pollen or nectar. However, when I checked one of the flowers, I did find a small fly in it, which makes me think the bird may have been going for flies in the flowers rather than the nectar or pollen. In addition to the recently arrived Orange-crowned Warblers, there were Savannah Sparrows, Golden-crowned Sparrows (singing), Song Sparrows, Pine Siskins, Robins, Townsend’s Warblers, Dark-eyed Juncos, Rufous Hummingbirds, Ruby-crowned Kinglets and possibly something else I’m forgetting.

There was a report of a possible Townsend’s Solitaire out at Starrigavan earlier in the week, so we decided to take a look out there. We didn’t see a Townsend’s Solitaire, but did notice a Northern Goshawk (the first one I’ve seen). We also saw several Savannah Sparrows and Dark-eyed Juncos. There was also one sparrow that flew up and took a quick look at us before flying off. We couldn’t really decide what it was. It seemed too small and sleek to be a Song Sparrow, plus the head stripes had quite a bit more contrast. I did not think it was a Lincoln’s Sparrow at the time, nor did it have the yellow that Savannah Sparrows that frequent here have. We tried to find it so I could take a picture, but never saw it after the one brief glimpse.

At Totem Park on Friday there were several shorebirds and quite a few ducks not far off-shore. We also got some good looks at Townsend’s Warblers. Shorebirds included Black-bellied Plovers, Dunlin, Western Sandpipers, Short-billed Dowitchers and a Greater Yellowlegs. Waterfowl included Northern Shovelers, Green-winged Teal, American Wigeon, Mallard, and Northern Pintails. A few gulls flew up and landed on the beach while we were looking at the other birds. Among them was a Black-legged Kittiwake.

Friday morning there were three Northern Shovelers at Swan Lake, one lone male and a pair. All three were right on the peninsula when I first noticed them, but they swam off promptly when I got out to try for a photo (though I did get a couple before they got too far away).

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