Gulls and a New Year Bird

Rain was steady through most of the day. If there was any snow at the beginning, it had changed to rain quickly. I’m not sure what the total will end up being, but certainly over an inch.

My day was mostly inside, but I did need to get out to take Rowan somewhere, and while out took a look at the channel and at Swan Lake.

The channel was quieter than it has been. The tide was high and some gulls were hanging out at the ramp in front of Japonski. As I pulled up, they became wary, and then took off, with nearly half of them flying towards the bridge and beyond, and the others looping back around to return to the ramp.

I didn’t find any unusual ones. While I was watching, a sea lion came swimming up not far off the shore line. I was going to try and take a picture of it, but it only popped above the surface briefly. It seemed to be traveling in a path parallel to the shore line, so I was watching where I thought it might be based on how fast it was moving. I happened to catch a ghostly white form below the surface that had veered off the expected path. I missed the exact moment, but as best I could tell, it popped up right underneath gulls that were sitting on the surface. They flew off immediately, and the sea lion turned back to continue on as it had. I wondered if it was curious about the gulls, or perhaps been having a bit of fun at their expense, or maybe it was considering trying to make a meal of one.

At Swan Lake, I saw a Northern Pintail male in breeding plumage, the first pintail I’ve seen this year (#82 for the year). At one point it appeared to be walking on the surface of the water, clearly evidence of its divinity.

On an unrelated note, the remaining ice at the lake seems like it will likely disappear by the end of the week, if conditions continue as forecast. There’s a large gap around most of the shoreline, and cold temperatures over the weekend did little to refreeze the open water.

Rowan treated me to an ice cream cone while we were out, and while eating it, we saw a couple of swans that have been hanging out in front of Ken Brown apartments. I’m not sure how long they have been there, but I first became aware of them a little over a week ago. They were really working at the grass where water had pooled up. It appeared they might have been uprooting it. I wonder if maybe they were taking advantage of the water saturated ground (assuming it wasn’t frozen, which may not be true) to pull out more of the grass, including the roots.

My iNaturalist Observations for Today

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