Volatile Weather and Birding at Starrigavan

I was awake late enough last night to see a bright flash through my closed eyelids followed by the sound of rolling thunder a few seconds later. A second flash was not as bright, and the thunder took longer to arrive.

Around 4am I happened to be awake for another round or two.

Sometime after that I was awakened by the sound of precipitation hammering the house. At the time I thought it might be exceptionally heavy rain, but with a more wakeful mind later in the morning, I realized it was hail/graupel.

There was a fair accumulation of white stuff (I think mostly in the form of hail or graupel, but possibly some snow as well) when I looked out in the morning.

The Townsend’s Solitaire was back in the sea berry, but it did not stay long enough for me to get a photo. I did grab a shot while it was in the neighbor’s mountain ash.

I learned that someone in the neighborhood had seen it several times over the past couple of weeks or so. I’m not sure how widely it moves on any given day, but it’s apparently adopted this neighborhood as part of its winter territory.

After lunch I headed out to Starrigavan fully expecting the ground to be covered in some form of frozen water. I was surprised to see there was no new snow/ice, and all but the piles that had been there Saturday was gone. Apparently the squalls that dropped so much in the central part of town were fairly limited in extent, and did not happen to hit out at that end of the road.

I did briefly see the magpie fly down to the beach between Old Sitka and Starrigavan Creek. I was parked along the road on the other side of the creek and started walking down for a better look and a photo. I got distracted briefly by a Barrow’s Goldeneye swimming out from under the bridge, and in the moments I was focused on it, the magpie disappeared. I spent another hour and a half out there, but did not see it again.

The tide was falling while I was there and I walked from near the old caretaker house along the beach across the creek and then up to the road.

Somewhat unexpected was an immature Black-legged Kittiwake on the water. When reviewing my photos later, I discovered I had grabbed some shots of an adult flying by. At the time I was not thinking about what species it was (I think I assumed it was a Mew Gull), as I was mostly just practicing taking pictures of a bird in flight. That said, it was kind of far away for that, so perhaps there was something intuitive about taking the pictures. In any case, this was the first of the year for me.

Squalls continued throughout the day, but none as intense as had moved through last night. The space between squalls was enough to allow the sun to peak through a times, including while I was out at Starrigavan.

There was some nice light and layering effects as a result of the active weather, but I did not spend any time chasing it (just grabbed a couple of pictures when something caught my eye).

My iNaturalist Observations for Today

Leave a Reply