Recent Observations

Pellia Sporophytes

It’s been a pretty busy couple of weeks and, though I’ve gotten out some, I’ve had a hard time keeping up with the weblog entries.

Weather: After fairly nice weather three weeks ago or so, temperatures cooled off quite a bit. The first day that really seemed warm was yesterday. It was mostly cloudy (with a fairly thin overcast), but temperatures were up around 60.

Birds: This spring seems to have brought a large number of Golden-crowned Sparrows. I remember quite a few last fall, but I don’t remember seeing quite so many in previous springs. It’s hard to know whether this is better observation on my part or an actual increase in numbers relatively to prior years.

One trip out to the park, I saw a gull repeatedly flying up, dropping something, then diving down to catch it before it hit the water. After several drops, it finally missed and whatever it had hit the water. It seemed to be playing, but I imagine that it’s a pretty good game for building skills to quickly grab food dropped by other birds.

There’s been a Red-breasted Sapsucker around the neighborhood. It seems like it might have a nest back along Westwood Trail somewhere, as I see it fly from that direction and then return that way at other times.

There were two Wandering Tattlers at Merrill Rock/Totem Park beach on Sunday. They come through here every year probably, but it’s only the second time I have seen them.

While double-checking some stuff for the bioblitz at Moller Park, I almost stepped on a nesting mallard. Actually, I walked very close to her to look at something. I only noticed her after I had turned around. She didn’t move the whole time.

I went out to Starrigavan a week or two ago to look for a Townsend’s Solitaire that had been reported. I never found it, but I did see a Red-tailed Hawk. It flew up from the ground just at the edge of the forest where the salmonberries grow above the beach. It appeared to have been digging in the moss and dirt, with talons and beak quite dirty. I took a look, and it seemed as if something had been stirring up the dirt near a pitched tent, but I couldn’t figure out why this hawk would have been doing that.

I saw my first Gadwall at Swan Lake.

There are more Northern Shovelers at Totem Park this year than I remember seeing in the past. I’ve seen over a dozen at a time, but all but a couple are males.

Flora: Flowers I’ve seen newly blooming the last couple of weeks include, Trailing Currant, Siberian Miner’s Lettuce, Purple Sweet-cicely, and Stream Violet. The liverwort sporophytes are also up and abundant.

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