Daily Observations: Grosbeak and Gulls

This entry is part 181 of 221 in the series 2007 Photojournal

I went for a walk to Totem Park around noon. Later in the afternoon I stopped by Swan Lake, the Cancer Survivors trail, and Moller Field on my way to a city league basketball game.

Weather: It was partly cloudy this morning with increasing clouds through the early afternoon. There was a light west wind when I was walking at the park. A light rain started while I was at Swan Lake. By this evening after my game it was a pretty good rain. The snow level has raised up above close to 4000 feet or higher in the last couple of days.

Birds: At the bottom of the drive there were several Dark-eyed Juncos foraging in the little triangle of trees.

It seemed like Song Sparrow day at the park. I saw 2 or 3 different ones foraging at the upper part of the beach. I heard one singing in the estuary. As I was standing on the narrow estuary path, a sparrow flew from across the river and landed right at my feet. It sat there chirping a little bit, then moved off, apparently unconcerned with me. I think it was the one that had been singing. It seemed a little aggitated, so perhaps it had seen something threatening, but apparently not overly so.

It’s been a few days since I visited the park, so it’s hard to say whether today was typical of the last week or so, but the gulls seem to have really thinned out. I could hear them calling in the river from the beach side of the park, but when I got over to the river there were not nearly so many as I had thought there would be. I think there were probably no more than a couple of hundred in a couple of groups along the beach. The Mew Gulls seemed more common, though I suspect their numbers merely remained constant. With the larger gulls gone, the Mew Gulls are easier to see.

Overall it was fairly quiet at the park. I heard a Winter Wren, there were not nearly so many Harlequin Ducks as I have been seeing out from the river mouth. I saw 5 Surf Scoters off from the Battlesite, and I saw a few Mallards and an American Wigeon in the grasses in the estuary (the tide was up). There were a few Savannah Sparrows along the beach and the only shorebirds I saw were 7 Black Turnstones that flew by a couple of times, but did not appear to settle down. I also saw a raven or two eating on dead salmon, and a Bald Eagle fly over. A lone goose flew over when I was walking the beach. I think it was a Canada Goose.

This afternoon at the house I saw several Varied Thrushes in the back yard. The highlight of the day was a Black-headed Grosbeak that showed up briefly in the trees out back. The Steller’s Jay made a visit and was given some peanuts for the trouble.

At Swan Lake I saw a Northern Shoveler, American Coot, scaups, Cackling Goose, and the Mallards at the penninsula. At the upper end (from the Cancer Survivors path), I saw Ring-necked Ducks, at least 5 American Wigeons, and more scaups.

Along the Cancer Survivor’s path, there were some Dark-eyed Juncos, though not so obvious as when I was here a couple of days ago. There was also a Red-breasted Sapsucker.

At the baseball field, I scared up one snipe (one of these days I hope to have sufficient awareness to notice them before the flush) in left field. It had a little trouble with the outfield fence, but figured out that it needed to fly over instead of through the fence. There were Savannah Sparrows and American Pipits out in center field, though they flew over to right field as I walked along outside the fence.

Other Notes: I noticed some late bloomers today. Yarrow was blooming by Merrill Rock, and there was some Kneeling Angelica blooming near the track at Moller Park.

I saw a Seal and a Sea Lion from the park.

Series NavigationDaily Observations: Alice IslandEliason Harbor Gulls

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