Winter Sun at Totem Park

This entry is part 128 of 133 in the series 2011 Photojournal

Bright skies this morning lured me into taking a walk with Connor and Rowan down to Totem Park. However, by the time we were leaving, it seemed to be totally overcast and a light snow was falling. We walked down to Lincoln Street and found things to be pretty quiet, both on land and on the water. As we reached the park, the sun started to break out from behind the clouds, offering hope of a chance to accumulate a bit of sun exposure – something that has been sorely lacking in this significantly wetter than usual December.

By the time we got to the battle site part of the loop, the sun had broken out of the clouds, and it felt noticeably warm standing on the beach where I could get the full effect of the direct sun as well as the strong reflections off the water. I just stood there for a couple of minutes enjoying the warmth before Rowan informed me there were some shorebirds around the corner. Going to investigate, I discovered the wind blowing from the east – though not especially strong – was sufficient to make it feel quite chilly, despite the sun. I later retreated back to the calmer location – having the good excuse that I wanted to try and get some pictures of the redpolls I had seen adjacent to the beach there.

One of the things I’ve been keeping an eye out for is a good representative of Fomitopsis pinicola (one of two or three different species often referred to as Bear’s Bread). Despite it being very common, I have previously only taken pictures of this shelf fungus that were unusual in some way. Today I noticed one growing on a spruce trunk right at the start of the beach-side of the west loop. A little further down the path, I took a picture of the somewhat similar Heterobasidion annosum, as well. This can sometimes form a shelf, and in such cases may look quite similar to the Fomitopsis, but unlike Fomitopsis, it often grows flat, not forming a shelf at all.

Despite there being few birds around, I did see some things of interest. Species-wise, at least a couple of Common Redpolls were working the alders with a handful of Pine Siskins. Redpolls were absent last winter, and this is only the second time I’ve seen any siskins in the past several months. Also of note were at least a couple of Rock Sandpipers in with the Black Turnstones, and a probable Red-tailed Hawk first spotted by Rowan (who told me she saw the red tail – I just saw a brief glimpse of it before it disappeared behind the trees).

While attempting to photograph the siskins and redpolls, I was also treated to some activity of a small group of Barrow’s Goldeneye right near the shore, but I think I’ll post on that separately, as I would like to wrap this up.

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Walk to Totem Park

This entry is part 126 of 133 in the series 2011 Photojournal

Around noon (shortly after the 12.38 high tide) I went for a walk down along Lincoln Street and through the park. I was thinking with the high tide there might be some birds fairly close to land, but it was much quieter than I hoped. I did see some Harlequin Ducks and gulls by the park. Black Turnstones on the beach, and Red-breasted and Common Mergansers off-shore and in the river, respectively.

Weather was quite gray this morning, though it was starting to get brighter by the time I left. While out walking, the clouds broke up and I saw a brief bit of sun and blue sky between the rain and hail squalls.

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Low Island Song Sparrow

Download Audio While visiting Low Island recently, I was able to observe and record this Song Sparrow (Melospiza melodia) singing. It sounded a bit different than the sparrows I’ve been hearing around town – I guess I should try to record some of them for comparison. Brant (Branta bernicla) and Black Turnstones (Arenaria melanocephala) can … Read more

Walk through Totem Park

This entry is part 2 of 133 in the series 2011 Photojournal

The kids and I walked a loop from the house down to Lincoln Street around Totem Park, then along the river to Sawmill Creek Road, over to the new house and then back home. We had a nice break in the clouds at the start of our walk, but overall it was generally overcast. There … Read more

Shorebird Sounds

On a recent birding outing, I was able to record some vocal shorebirds, including one of a dozen Black Oystercatchers and a flock of Black Turnstones (with a Dunlin and 8 Rock Sandpipers mixed in, though I’m not sure if their voices can be picked out). Black Oystercatchers Black Turnstones (with accompanying calls from other … Read more