Recent Observations

I made it down to the park again this morning, but didn’t find any shorebirds, not even the Semipalmated Plover I saw last night.   It was actually fairly quiet in the park – I didn’t even see any sparrows along the upper shoreline.  In some ways it’s seemed like an odd migration so far, there’s been a very small number of early migrants, but they haven’t really stuck around at all.  It’s been interesting be reminded of observations in prior years and compare that to what I’ve been seeing this year.  I suspect weather has had something to do with it – we’ve had a pretty sunny and dry April (after a pretty chilly, snowy, and wet March).  Meanwhile, Washington, Oregon, and California have seen low pressure systems with rain a bit more than typical, it seems. 

Migrants I’ve seen so far this year include Black-bellied Plover, Marbled Godwit, Semipalmated Plover, Greater Yellowlegs, Surfbird, Black Turnstone, Rock Sandpiper (the latter three could be migrating from coastal BC or elsewhere in Southeast Alaska), Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Rufous Hummingbird, Savannah Sparrow, Fox Sparrow, and American Robin.  Given the lack of Golden-crowned Kinglets and Varied Thrushes I saw in January-March, it’s likely that they have also migrated in. 

On the other hand, the sunny and relatively warm weather we’ve been having this month has given the plants a real boost.  Many salmonberries are now blooming (and have been for a while), both Alaska and Early Blueberry are in full bloom with leaves out.  Red Elderberry flower buds are well developed and may be opening before long.  Even some herbaceous plants have started to bloom, as I’ve found Fern-leaf Goldthread, Dandelion, and Stream Violets blooming.  Purple Sweet-cicely is well developed in the park, though I’ve not seen any blooms as yet.  Wild Cucumber (Streptopus amplexifolius) is coming up fast – I’ve eaten a couple of stalks that I noticed while wandering around.  I’ve not made it upland yet, but I suspect the muskeg plants still have a little while yet before they’ll be blooming, but hopefully I’ll get out to check soon.

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