Daily Observations

Squirrel with Lichen

The semester is winding down, and I’ve been pretty busy. My time outside has mostly been limited to several short trips to Totem Park.

Weather: Mostly cloudy conditions prevailed Monday and Tuesday, today was mostly clear through the morning, with overcast this afternoon. Rain and wind are forecast to return in the coming days.

Birds: Today there were a lot of hummingbirds around. It’s hard to say just how many, but I think there may have been more than 10 along the stretch of Lincoln Street between Kelly Street and Sage Building.

There have consistently been shorebirds on the beaches in Totem Park, though I’ve not observed them in exceptionally large numbers. Black-bellied Plovers, Dunlin, Short-billed Dowitchers, Marbled Godwits, Black Turnstones, Western Sandpipers, and Least Sandpipers.

Today I saw Northern Shovelers, Green-winged Teal, Mallards, Greater Scaup, Common Goldeneye, and Common Mergansers not too far offshore from Sage Beach and/or the park beach in front of the visitor center.

There’s a Ruby-crowned Kinglet (or maybe more than one) that’s been singing up a storm outside our house. I hear it singing out pretty regularly from first light if I happen to wake up then.

Today I listened to Song Sparrows singing along Lincoln Street. The one I listened to late this morning sang 4 or 5 different songs. It mostly alternated two (singing each of them from 2 to several times before switching) then eventually switched to a different set of 2 or 3 songs. The later songs were a little more difficult for me to keep in my head, so I couldn’t quite tell if there might have been some variations (hence the 2 or 3). The sparrow I listened to for a few minutes this evening was not very far down the street, but of the 2 or 3 different songs I heard him sing, none were the same as those I heard this morning (in fact, they weren’t even very close at all). This suggests to me that they might be different birds, but I’m not positive about that. I have read that Song Sparrows typically have a 5 to 8 song repetoire. If I can manage to do so, I’ll try to go down and record these birds singing.

Flora: Many things are starting to leaf out. Trailing Currants are blooming and Stream Violets are blooming (or close to doing so). Flower buds are showing on Red Elderberry and Mountain Ash.

Other Notes: Monday I happened to notice a squirrel gathering lichen (Bryoria sp.) from a fallen branch. I assume the lichen was for nesting purposes, but I was not quite sure why it felt the need to comb and shape the lichen into a neat ball that it was holding in its mouth. I didn’t end up being able to watch the squirrel for very long before it ran off and I was not able to follow it.

I know the amount of daylight has been increasing gradually for the last few months, but I just recently noticed how much lighter it is. I’m writing this at almost 9:30pm, and the sky is still light. On the other side, it’s definitely getting light by 5am, and maybe even earlier.

Sometime in the last few days I saw the first banana slug I remember seeing this year. It might even have been last week, but I don’t think I mentioned it then.

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