Winter Birds and Snowy Landscapes

Partly cloudy early, becoming overcast with snow in the afternoon. Temperatures just above freezing. Calm wind.

Snow accumulation overnight appeared to total 4 inches or so at my house. By the time I was out and looking, it was a little above freezing. I suspect it had already begun to melt and compact.

I woke and saw sun shining on Gavan Hill. I was tempted to get up, but after a very late night, I thought it better to go back to sleep.

With all the snow, I was not surprised a Varied Thrush showed up in the yard today. Connor’s been putting lots of food out, and the juncos plus a few other sparrows were actively feeding.

After getting my radio show ready this afternoon, I drove out to Starrigavan for a look.

The water seemed extra calm after yesterday’s winds.

I stopped to take pictures of a Great Blue Heron perched on a rock that was barely showing above the surface.

Nearby four Barrow’s Goldeneyes were swimming.

I was looking down when I heard the heron start squawking and looked up to see it flapping its wings and the goldeneyes taking off.

My best guess is the sudden departure of the goldeneyes from nearby startled the heron (especially if it was on edge due to my presence). It’s also possible the heron started calling and acting agitated for some other reason, and the ducks flew because they were startled. It is amusing to think herons might like to scare other birds sometime. Perhaps they have a sense of humor.

Otter week continued, as I saw a river otter swimming across the bay while I was out for the heron.

This winter has been light on snow at sea level. I don’t miss the hassle of getting around in it after it turns to slush and/or ice. On the other hand, I do enjoy how the landscape looks when there’s fresh snow covering the trees.

My iNaturalist Observations for Today

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