Daily Observations: Swan Lake and Sage Beach

This entry is part 174 of 221 in the series 2007 Photojournal

Evening Clouds

I had an early afternoon basketball game today, and on the way home I stopped by Swan Lake to spend a little time watching. Later in the afternoon, Connor, Rowan and I went for a walk down to Totem Park.

Weather: It was a cool day with some rain in the morning. Mostly cloudy skies with a little bit of clearing in the afternoon. Winds were light.

Birds: At Swan Lake there were 4 Northern Shovelers, 6 American Wigeons, 1 Hooded Merganser, 5 Scaup (probably Lesser), 1 or more Green-winged Teal, and the Cackling Goose (in addition to the assorted Mallards that are typically there).

While I was sitting at the lake, I happened to notice two Ravens fly over the lake (from the Southwest toward the Northeast), the second starting across just after the first one had moved beyond it. This would not be particularly remarkable except for what I saw each raven do as it flew over. As the first one was flying over the lake, I heard it make a two note (higher-lower) call with a partial roll. It did this two or three times while it was over the lake, but once it was beyond the lake, I did not see it do it again, though it was still in view for a few seconds (the time between these actions while over the lake was only a second or two). The second raven, following shortly after the first one made a different call (more of a typical caw), but executed what appeared to me to be the same style of partial roll while flying over the lake. I also did not see it do this once it moved beyond the lake. I am at a loss as to why these birds might have done that, though it seemed to me to be some sort of acknowledgement of the lake (though what that might mean, if anything, I don’t know).

From Totem Park I could see at least a dozen (presumed) Fork-tailed Storm-petrels across the bay in front of Turning Island. The weather was calm, and I was tempted to go kayaking to get better views, but it was getting too close to dark by the time we got home.

At the park we saw a couple of Mallards in the Visitor’s Center tidepool, with many more around at the river mouth. I think I saw a Northern Pintail at the river mouth as well, though I am not sure.

We saw scattered gulls, with one flock out on the flats closer to the Visitor’s Center, but more out near the river mouth and in the estuary. I saw all 5 species, with Thayer’s Gulls seeming to be the most numerous, followed by Glaucous-winged Gulls, Black-legged Kittiwakes, Mew Gulls, and just a few Herring Gulls.

There were lots of Harlequins off shore from the river mouth.

At the upper part of the beach there were Savannah Sparrows and an American Pipit or two.

I heard some Black Turnstones, but didn’t investigate to see how many there were.

There was a Winter Wren right by the trail where we get back on it at the end of the park.

We saw one or two Great-blue Herons in the tidepools (probably two, but it’s possible it was just one that moved while we were on the trail in the woods).

There was a small flock of Chestnut-backed Chickadees near family housing when we were walking back.

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