Daily Observations

I went for a relatively short walk up Indian River Valley today. I did not have a lot of time, and walked up to the bench muskeg. After sitting on the bench for a bit, I decided to make my way to the big pine muskeg. The snow was still fairly deep in places, and several times I went in up over my knees. After sitting a bit under the big tree, I went to the stream and walked it down to the trail.

Weather: Overcast, quite thin at times. Temperatures in the upper-30s.

Birds: I did not see much, though I did notice some finches that were too fast and far away to identify. Also heard Golden-crowned Kinglets and at least one Brown Creeper. The creeper was making its “That’s a funny sounding chickadee call” call.

I walked from Lincoln Street Beach to Marge and Tedin’s place, mostly along the waterfront looking for birds to report for the Great Backyard Bird Count.
Weather: Overcast with rain late in the afternoon. A bit breezy.

Birds: I saw quite a few different birds, but the highlights were Pine Grosbeaks eating Mountain Ash berries across from the Franklin Building and a Downy Woodpecker just as I arrived at Marge and Tedin’s.

This morning I spent a couple of hours sitting on Marge and Tedin’s porch waiting to see the Savannah Sparrow and/or Fox Sparrow that have showed up a few times recently.

Weather: There was a little bit of sunshine early and temperatures were much warmer, up near 50 this morning. Very windy through early afternoon. Temperatures cooled a bit, and it started raining by mid-afternoon.

Birds: While sitting I saw lots of juncos, quite a few Pine Siskins, 3 Rock Doves, a Song Sparrow, and an American Tree Sparrow in their yard.

There were quite a few gulls at Swan Lake, though I did not see anything that struck me as out of the ordinary. Among the gulls at McDonalds there were at least three that gave me a bit of an identification puzzle. Another interesting thing about the gulls at McDonalds was one particular gull that appeared to be a second-cycle Glaucous-winged Gull. It was very aggressive, repeatedly chasing after other birds. In the process it missed out on several opportunities to go after a bite to eat.

I spent some time sitting on the porch late this morning, then Rowan and I went down to Lincoln Street beach early this afternoon.
Weather: It was mostly cloudy this morning, with increasing clouds resulting in a straight overcast by mid-morning. Temperatures were in the lower 40s. It was reasonably calm at the house, though I could see the big flag on campus waving a bit in the breeze. Down on the beach there was a pretty good wind blowing out the southeast, but we were still fairly protected from the full brunt of it. There were periods of light rain at various times today. Much of the snow has melted off the ground, though the places where it was piled remain.

Birds: While sitting on the porch I noticed several Varied Thrushes, Dark-eyed Juncos, and five Chestnut-backed Chickadees. Only the chickadees came by to get something to eat from the bird seed spread on the ground near the house.

Other Notes: There’s at least one fruiting Black Reflecting Cup fungus down on the Lincoln Street Beach log. I did not see any on the hillside trail above Sage Building where I’ve noticed them in the past.

Weather: Overcast with some rain.
Birds: I saw a single Common Redpoll on the lawn between the Centennial Building and Kettleson Library. This seemed a little bit odd, as they usually travel in large flocks (and I don’t usually see them feeding on the ground). On the other side of Kettleson, I found the flock. There were probably 75 birds or more, mostly redpolls with a few Pine Siskins mixed in. They were on the ground pulling the seeds out of mountain ash berries.

I didn’t get out much, but did spend some time sitting in a lawn chair in the front yard.
Weather: Sunny and calm. It would have been a very nice day for kayaking, but unfortunately I didn’t manage to get out.
Birds: There were lots of Pine Siskins feeding on the bird seed in our yard. Several Chestnut-backed Chickadees showed up as well. The Dark-eyed Juncos and Varied Thrushes were around, but seemed a bit more wary, while the chickadees flew so close on their trips between the seed on the ground and their preferred eating perch in the lilac, I could almost feel the wind from their wings. Several Pine Siskins fed at my feet, and I felt one hop on my foot and take off. Another one landed on my knee to eat a seed. Later, when I was walking slowly through the yard, a Pine Siskin tried to land on the brim of my hat. I’m thinking the siskins, typically canopy feeders, just have not learned to be so wary of things on the ground, unlike the typically ground feeding juncos and thrushes.

Connor and I went to the beach for awhile early this afternoon, then Connor, Rowan and I went down there late this afternoon.
Weather: Calm, sunny early, overcast developing throughout the day. Temperatures were in the mid 30s or higher.
Birds: Lots of Pine Siskins still visiting the bird food in the yard. There were a couple of Red-breasted Mergansers off of Sage Rock on the first beach trip. 10 or so Mew Gulls were active not far off-shore later. Connor found two dead Bald Eagles just up from the beach.

Other Notes: I was interested to find an active caterpillar on the beach-side Sitka Alder branches. With no leaves, I’m guessing it must eat the buds, bark, or something. I wasn’t able to find the same one later to show Rowan, but I did find a second one.

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