Birding with Visitors

I spent much of the day birding with Bill and Eileen, birders from Australia who had a few hours in town off the cruise ship (who had contacted me some time back about going birding). I met them downtown this morning (Bill told me that they would be easy to recognize, as the only birders on the ship, no one else would have binoculars like they did – and as best I could tell, he was right). We took a leisurely walk around Totem Park before I picked up my car and took them by Swan Lake. From there we drove out the road (making a couple of stops) to Starrigavan and then I dropped them off at the Halibut Point Marine Services dock where the ship was tied up.

Weather today was mostly cloudy – there were spots of blue sky from time to time, but also periodic showers. Winds seemed calm at the park this morning, but there was a bit of a breeze blowing in this afternoon. I think in advance of the low pressure (some good wind and rain) forecast to be here tomorrow.

Although I did not see anything surprising for me, it was quite fun to share in their excitement at seeing completely new-to-them birds. It’s always good to have reminders that the birds it is so easy to take for granted here may be exotic for folks from other places (even when those places have a house/yard list of 217 species!). Highlights included American Dipper, Pelagic Cormorant, Lesser Scaup, Trumpeter Swan, Spotted Sandpiper, Common Loon, and Red-breasted Sapsucker, but in truth I enjoyed watching them burst with enthusiasm about pretty much everything we were seeing and hearing. They seemed especially impressed with the vocalizations of a couple of the ravens in the park, and I was amused at how often Bill asked me about something, only to have me tell him it was a Bald Eagle. By the fourth or fifth time, he caught himself as he was asking, realizing that it was once again a Bald Eagle. I am so used to the calls they make, I don’t know what else an eagle might sound like, but I imagine other eagles could sound quite different. (Bill and Eileen, if you happen to read this – I had fun showing around today, thank you for your friendly enthusiasm for the birds!)

Rowan told me today that she saw some ripe salmonberries. I’ve still not noticed any, but may go look for some specifically. This is by far the earliest I ever remember hearing of them being ripe.

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