Daily Observations

Gulls at Totem Park

I did not really spend any time outside yesterday except for a brief stop by Swan Lake after dropping Connor off at school. Today I stopped by Swan Lake again briefly, and this afternoon Connor, Rowan, and I walked the beach at Totem Park.

Weather: It was rainy both yesterday and today. It has not rained constantly, but some of the showers have been pretty heavy. It has not been all that windy in town.

Birds: There were 8 Green-winged Teal at Swan Lake yesterday morning. The Greater White-fronted Geese were also still there yesterday and today.

Today at the Park I saw a couple of people scanning the flats with binoculars. I thought they might be looking at/for birds, so I asked them. They said yes, and asked me if I had seen anything interesting. I replied that it depends on what you consider interesting. It turned out they were from Southern California and had taken the ferry up from Bellingham. It sounded like they were touring southeast by ferry.

While I was visiting, Connor was wandering down the beach a little further. When I caught up with him, he told me there had been a bird. He needs a little practice describing birds, but was clear about it being smaller than a gull. He also insisted it was not a Black Turnstone. The way he described it’s behavior made it sound like a shorebird, so we walked along a bit further and were able to find a Spotted Sandpiper. It’s been at least a few days since I last noticed one.

There was more beach exposed at the park today then there has been when we’ve been down there the last few times. Several hundred gulls (at least) were spread out and many were feeding on dead salmon on the shore. Most of the ones I looked at specifically were Thayer’s Gulls. I also saw several Black-legged Kittiwakes. Perhaps they just show up when the tide is out a little bit.

There were quite a few Black Turnstones, though I didn’t try to find them all, nor did I look too hard for the Ruddy Turnstone or Semipalmated Plover that were there last time.

There were quite a few Harlequin Ducks out from the river mouth. There had also been some flying by as we walked down the beach.

I saw my first Double-crested Cormorant of the season off the park beach.

Other Notes: The number of salmon carcasses on the beach is increasing. The smell is getting stronger as well. There are also quite a few skeletons that have pretty much been picked clean.

Yesterday I visited a patch of lingonberries that my dad had found a while back. They were pretty good this year, though not quite as good as the first year he found them. I picked about half a quart in 30-40 minutes. That was most of the berries in the patch. I think the first year we picked over a quart, maybe closer to two, in the same patch.

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