Daily Observations

Pectoral Sandpiper

I made it out to Swan Lake to look around for a little while today when I dropped Rowan off and later picked her up from preschool. This afternoon I took a walk through the park along Indian River and then around the beach.

Weather: Yesterday was sunny. Today started out sunny, but as the morning progressed, a thin overcast developed. Throughout the rest of the afternoon, the clouds thickened. The breeze seemed to be out of the northwest again. Temperatures were warm, probably in the upper 50s, possibly even over 60.

Birds: At Swan Lake I saw a Pectoral Sandpiper, a couple of Savannah Sparrows, 7 American Wigeons, several Mallards, a Blue-winged Teal, a Greater Scaup, and a Northern Shoveler. This was the first Blue-winged Teal I have seen. The sandpiper was feeding on the grass and fairly cooperative. I also heard what I am pretty sure were Lincoln’s Sparrows singing.

Some of the ducks were acting fairly aggressive. I saw one of the Mallards chase off the Blue-winged Teal. It wasn’t just a quick lunge either, the Mallard pursued the teal for several feet.

Several Tree Swallows were swooping around the lake. In the distance across the lake I heard at least one Steller’s Jay.

When I arrived at the lake after picking Rowan up, there were 10 or more Ravens all along the edge of the lake on the penninsula. They all departed quickly when they saw us approach. I’m not sure if it was just going to be a big bath time, or what.

I went to the park this afternoon to look for a Northern Waterthrush that had been reported along the river yesterday. I did not find it, but I did see a couple of Savannah Sparrows and heard both Winter Wrens and Townsend’s Warblers.

At the river mouth there was a Bald Eagle standing in the water. It seemed to be perched on something and then had the tide come up. I’m not sure why it didn’t just fly off, but presumably it didn’t mind getting its feet wet.

In the forest there was a couple of Orange-crowned Warblers.

Out on the beach were several Mallards, 7 American Wigeon flew in just after I had passed. I also saw several Ravens, gulls (many immature, but a few looking like adults, Glaucous-winged and Thayer’s Gulls mostly, as far as I could tell). There were several Brant off shore, though not as many as I had seen on previous days.

There were a couple of Black-bellied Plovers along the beach also.

One thing that’s interesting this year as compared to last is where the Ravens are hanging out. I remember last year it seemed like they were always on the SJC lawn, but this year I haven’t seen them there much at all, certainly not in the numbers I remember from before. This year there have been lots of them down on the beach. They mostly seem to be digging around in the rotting seaweed. I think the herring spawn along the park piled up and got subsequently buried, so it’s taking longer to decompose than it might have otherwise. It certainly smells rotten in a few places, so perhaps that’s what the Ravens are going after.

The Robins have been actively singing around the house. I’ve also been hearing Wilson’s Warblers and Ruby-crowned Kinglets calling frequently.

Flora: The Yellow Pond Lilies had flowers coming up at Swan Lake.

I noticed a couple of cherry trees that were starting to bloom.

An elderberry was blooming along Lincoln Street.

It looks like it might be a good year for Salmonberries. There are still many blooms and I noticed some green berries the size of the end of my little finger this afternoon.

Sedges and plantain were blooming near Indian River.


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