Morning Low Tide and Afternoon at Beaver Lake

Overcast with occasional scattered drizzle. Temperatures in the upper 50s, and winds calm.

I went back to Sandy Beach for low tide this morning. With much less wind and very little rain, it was much easier to make observations. On the other hand, it was only me looking, so I may not have found as many interesting things as I might have otherwise.

It did occur to me that it might be an interesting exercise to go to the same section beach again and again until I knew essentially every (decent-sized) rock and recognized how it changed. I am not actually sure how much the rocky sections on either side of sandy beach change over weeks and months, though I suspect it’s not much (in terms of the rocks and their placements).

Of course some of the animals are anchored in one place, while others move around (though some have remarkable fidelity to a particular location). Seaweed changes significantly over seasonal growth cycles as well.

I don’t think I saw any of the same things I observed yesterday, and today I found some new stuff, including at least a couple of species I’ve never observed before. There were also at least a couple that I’ve only seen once or twice.

Later this afternoon I thought about going out to the golf course to see if the Cedar Waxwings were still around, but ultimately decided I would rather go check Beaver Lake to see if I could see the goldeneye duckling that had been reported earlier in the week.

Clouds were low on Bear Mountain when I arrived, and I thought I might actually be in them by the time I got to the lake. They lifted a bit on my way up, but had settled down again on my way back (to the point where I couldn’t see the waterfall).

I had been planned to take a break at falls on way up, but others already there, so I continued on.

I saw a female Barrow’s Goldeneye plus 5 ducklings at upper end of lake. I watched them for about an hour.

The adult kept some attention on them, but they ducklings tended to scatter a bit. From time to time one would seem concerned and start calling.

The mother quacked a couple of times when ducklings came along the shore near me, and when she did, they went back to her. Both ducklings and the adult were diving for food.

Upon continuing my walk, I saw a lone duckling at the far end of lake. Apparently this one is more independent than the others. Upon looking up information about Barrow’s Goldeneyes, I learned it’s not unusual for young birds to be basically independent from very early on.

This is at least the third or fourth time in recent years they have nested here. I wonder if it’s the same bird, and where the nest location is (if she’s used a tree cavity, which I understand to be typical, but not the only place they will nest).

I heard an aerial predator alarm near the top of hill coming over from Beaver Lake on my way back. I didn’t figure had much chance of seeing anything, so didn’t stay long.

I heard an aerial predator alarm again near the bottom of the hill (just before the first big turn going up the hill on the narrow part of the trail). This time when I paused I caught sight of a raptor. I saw where it landed in a tree and was able to get enough of a look to tell it was a Red-tailed Hawk. It took off just as I got my camera up to take pictures, and I did not see where it landed. I suspect it didn’t go far, as I heard more alarms from where the wide part of the trail enters the coniferous forest. This was the direction the hawk had flown, but I couldn’t find it again. I only stayed for a couple of minutes since I was running late as it was.

If your high frequency hearing is diminished, it may be easier to see the aerial predator alarm calls on the spectrogram than to hear them on the recording, especially with all the background noise from the stream.

My iNaturalist Observations for Today

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