Swan Lake Sparrow, Cemetery Epiphytes

By the time I got up and going this morning, the winds  that came up overnight had significantly died down. Although there were some dark clouds, it was not a solid cover, and the sun shone through in places.

I decided to sit for a while at the upper end of Swan Lake – not so much because I thought the rail might still be around (though I would be happy to see it), but because I thought it was an interesting place when I visited there previously, and I think I might try to spend a bit more time there.

I ended up sitting at the edge of the marshy area for the better part of an hour (I think – I didn’t keep close track of time). It was a spot where I could feel the sun when it came out from behind the clouds. I could also feel a light breeze coming across the marsh.

The lake is still mostly frozen, but the edges have thawed, and at the upper end there were several Mallards. I think a Green-winged Teal was also there, though I never saw it (just heard the cricket-like calls).

The most intesting thing that happened was a Song Sparrow that seemed to be alarming. It started on the far side of the estuary making the shweeping calls that Song Sparrows do. It sounded mildly aggitated, and the other birds I could hear in the general area mostly did not seem to pay it much attention. One exception was a Pacific Wren on my side of the marsh (but further down, closer to the lake) which kept chipping for the whole time the Song Sparrow as going.

Song Sparrows regularly do this sort of alarming, and often it seems there is no particular reason for it. What made this sparrow stand out to me was how it gradually moved across the estuary (above where I was sitting). From where it started, it moved to a shrub and kept calling from the lower branches of it. It was too far for me to be sure, but I had the impression the sparrow might have been looking at the marsh grasses and sedges that surrounded the bush.

Before long, it flew to another bushe and continued alarming. I think it made three or four hops from where it started before ending up (as best I can tell) at the far upper corner of the marshy area. I was really curious if the sparrow was following something slinking through the marsh vegetation. If so, I saw or heard no evidence of it other than the sparrow’s behavior.

Rather than go directly home, I stopped by the Baranof Street Cemetery to get my iNaturalist observations for the day. I got a handful of epiphytes (today’s photos are from that part of my outing).

I’m not sure why the cemetery is such a good place for epiphytes. I am sure part of it is the number of mountain ash and alder, but there are other places with those trees but without so many epiphytes, so I’m not sure why the cemetery area is so favorable.

This evening I experimented using my phone to take pictures of the view through a microscope. It worked better than I had expected – I included a photo of a Porella had collected a couple of weeks ago.

My iNaturalist Observations for Today

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