Rainy Day Birds

Despite temperatures officially near 40, snow fell this morning. None accumulated on the ground, however. Later in the day it was all rain at sea level.

A flock of siskins visited my porch feeder this morning. I was on a call, but took a few photos from where I sat. I have not seen any in several days, at least. These were behaving aggressively towards each other, more than I remember seeing earlier in the year.

Rowan and I went downtown for lunch. While there, I asked the bookstore about stocking playing cards I’m considering printing featuring a Sitka nature photo on the back. The response was more positive than I had even hoped, which felt encouraging.

After parting ways with Rowan, I spent some time at the channel.

Gull numbers seem to be slowly increasing. I didn’t try to count, but estimated several hundred were around. I didn’t spot any dark-mantled gulls, but did get pictures of a first year Glaucous Gull that came in to the ramp.

Upon my return home, I walked around to the south step. I noticed juncos feeding by the brush pile. They melted back into it as they do. After I had been sitting for a couple of minutes, they returned to their activities.

Over the holidays my dad had cracked many walnuts. I finally had Connor put the shells out along a path in the yard. I noticed juncos working at the shells and realized some of them still had bits of nut left in them. A couple of birds almost seemed to prefer these over the sunflower seeds in the feeder.

I briefly saw the banded junco (same one as earlier in the week). I also saw the white-cheeked junco for the first time since December (I think – though I haven’t spent much time watching the feeder in the yard in the months since). I enjoyed seeing a bird I could recognize.

While I was standing up to try and get better pictures of the white-cheeked junco, I noticed a bird gliding in from the south. I just caught a brief glimpse of it before it disappeared behind the fence. I wondered if it might be a hawk.

Moments later, I saw the bird fly across my yard heading north. I saw enough to confirm it was a Sharp-shinned Hawk.

I was a little surprised at how quickly the juncos went back to feeding. Sometimes, things remain quiet for several minutes, or even longer, after a hawk passes through. In this case, the predator seemed a little casual about things. Perhaps just looking to see if there was an easy meal, but not really serious about going after anything. In any case, the juncos were back out feeding within what seemed like only a couple of minutes after the hawk passed through.

I got a message from DK about a Slaty-backed Gull at the mouth of Indian River this evening. I didn’t have too much daylight left, but went out to Arrowhead Trailer park to see if I could pick it out from there. I did see it flap its wings at one point, but mostly it was obscured by other gulls. I moved over to Eagle Way side, and had a better angle from there. Still distant, but even though the pictures are poor, I think they’re sufficient for ID purposes.

My iNaturalist Observations for Today

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