Rainy Day Walks at Totem Park

Steady rain through mid afternoon. Winds seemed fairly calm until showers started moving over after a break in the rain.

It took me a little while to get motivated for a walk in the rain, but I did eventually put on my raingear and head down to the park.

The tide was not quite as low as yesterday. Although the minimum was at nearly 9:30am, it had already started to come back up by the time I made it down.

Before going down to the beach, I checked out the building for moths. I didn’t see anything new, but did become distracted by abundant liverwort sporophytes in the little vegetated area on between the building and the forest.

While checking out the sporophytes, I also spotted a springtail, and spent a few minutes trying for decent photos of it (with a bit of success). With my camera trained on the small arthropod, I noticed on the screen an even smaller one which I also tried to get photos of.

I poked around a bit in the large tidepool area before heading out to the southern point.

I could see there were birds far out by the water line, but was not feeling especially ambitious. Plus there were a couple of folks already out on the flats who appeared to slowly making their way along looking at birds. I didn’t want to spook everything up before they had much chance.

I ended up sitting on the sandy slope and watching. Despite the rain, I felt comfortable with my layers (and no wind). Over the better part of a half an hour, I sat, listened, and watched.

Pipits were nearby, as well as the six Snow Geese which walked up towards me before moving on towards the point. Four Black Oystercatchers flew in, and I saw a Black-bellied Plover, but most of the rest was too far out for a decent chance to identify.

Before heading back, I did walk out towards the old channel and then up to the trail.

Along the small trail by the estuary, I noticed another place where rocks had been pulled out recently (I think), exposing a hole. I had seen a couple other places recently and wondered if a bear might have done it. Given the size of some of the rocks, it’s hard to imagine anything here besides a bear or humans that could move them.

Later this afternoon after the rain had let up and I saw a report of a Long-billed Dowitcher observed at the park earlier in the day, I decided to head back down.

This time, the tide was up and had just started its retreat. A good number of shorebirds were along the shoreline between the southern point and the river. Among them were over 100 Dunlin, 5 Black-bellied Plovers, dowitchers, Western Sandipipers, Least Sandpipers, a Whimbrel and a Marbled Godwit. As I was leaving a bit later the Black Turnstones started to arrive.

There were also good numbers of ducks out on the water. As they came a bit closer to shore, I tried counting what I could. I got 25 Northern Shovelers, 50 Northern Pintails and 15 American Wigeons. I didn’t try to count the other species, except for the 2 Gadwall. It was nice to see four Red-breasted Mergansers, the first I’ve seen in a couple of weeks, at least.

While I was there, the first of the showers came. The rain and breeze made things feel much chillier, and I had not layered up as much as this morning. By the time I got back to my car, I was a bit wet and chilled.

On a brief check of Starrigavan, it seemed fairly quiet. Not many ducks around, in any case.

My iNaturalist Observations for Today

Read more

Low Tide at Totem Park

Given the forecast, I was a little surprised to see a bit of blue sky out my window when I woke up this morning. The day turned out to be overcast with occasional small breaks, and not much rain until the transition from afternoon to evening. I went for a walk around the park this morning. The tide was out (it ended up being a -3ft tide, a bit lower than predicted), and I walked the water line for a good chunk of the park. I was not in any particular hurry, and ended up spending much of the morning at it.

Moths and Birds

Overcast in cooler, with rain arriving later in the day. Breezy at times. There were at least hundreds of Black Turnstones, at least hundreds of Surfbirds, and smaller numbers of Rock Sandpipers, and Dunlin. I also saw at least one Western Sandpiper, several Least Sandpipers, and a couple of Black-bellied Plovers.

Sitka Nature Show #235 – Zach LaPerriere

Download Radio Show The April 25th show featured a conversation with Zach LaPerriere. This is Zach’s fifth time on the show, and the first since early last year. We talked about some of what he’s been doing over the the last year, including multiple public bench commissions he’s been working on. You can find Zach … Read more

Mountain Bluebird, Briefly (and other Birds)

Clear skies with a light frost this morning, followed by temperatures up to near 60F. A bit breezy during the middle part o the day, but calm this morning and evening. …. I was surprised to see a Mountain Bluebird in the small trees by the fairway. It seemed a little wary of me and flew to the alders along the edge of the course.