Some of Our Smaller Neighbors

Overcast and calm. Temperatures in the lower 40s with occasional rain, mostly later in the day.

Early this afternoon white cheeks the junco was in the yard. I was able to get some photos. I imagine white cheeks is a regular visitor, but I’m not always watching the yard.

I spent some time this afternoon sitting at the kelp patch pullout. I did see the Fox Sparrow again, but wasn’t able to get a picture. It stayed too far back in the bushes and kept moving enough that I couldn’t get focused fast enough for even a partially obstructed shot.

This morning I saw on a comment left on an observation I posted recently. Following up on it, I realized I had misidentified a moss I had found last year, and continued the same mistake this year. This observation (and the first one) were both from Thimbleberry Lake Trail. I had also seen what I believed to be the same species on Japonski Island, so I decided to return there today.

I now think the moss is Orthotrichum pulchellum, a small moss (even by moss standards). It’s been easy for me to forget just how small it is when I’m mostly looking at the macro photos of it. Today I took a picture with scale (a quarter) that helps.

At both locations I found the moss growing on elderberry. I wouldn’t be surprised if it grows on other shrubs. Perhaps now that I have a better sense of it, I’ll find it more often.

While poking around in the bushes at the end of Seward Avenue, I noticed some feathers on the ground. Stepping forward for a better look, I saw a few more a couple of feet away. These included wing feathers, and I confirmed my suspicion they were Varied Thrush. I saw a third pile on a rock a few feet away.

The piles were in locations that were reasonably consistent with my memory of where I saw the Sharp-shinned Hawk (from the other side of the patch of bushes) a few days ago. I wouldn’t have guessed the hawk had something as large as a Varied Thrush based on what I saw when it flew. However, the feathers didn’t look very old, and it seems somewhat unlikely that two kills would have taken place at the exact same location in a short period of time.

My iNaturalist Observations for Today

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