Sunday, February 27, 2011

Vancouver Lake Park.

This morning I wanted to bird somewhere close by where I could also walk the dogs.. Luckily I checked OBOL and saw a post about some good birds at Vancouver Lake.... Perfect!

The park was brimming with birds... Steller's Jays, juncos, sparrows, and a billion robins.  Yes I'm reporting that number to eBird. 



There were a few Yellow-rumped Warblers foraging on the ground....


A little Bewick's Wren was making a ruckus in the shrubs....


The best bird of the morning was this Red-breasted Sapsucker... He has obviously been very very busy!



Such a pretty bird!  I managed to have the briefest of staredowns with a Ruby-crowned Kinglet:


There were tons of Spotted Towhees around- I don't think I've ever seen so many at one time...


It was nice to see trees covered in buds....


I drove over to Frenchman's Bar Park to walk the dogs some more... There are still tons of Sandhill Cranes around.



That was about it...  It was a great morning.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Ridgefield NWR 02-25-11

I spent a couple hours this afternoon at Ridgefield sorta hoping I might stumble across the Barnacle Goose, but no luck there...  Found some other good birds though.

First off there were tons of hawks around....


All Red-taileds from what I could tell. 


I think I finally found the Harlan's too- and then took really really terrible photos of it!



Near the marshy area where the snipe flock hangs out were a couple of snipe very close to the road....



That was rad.  Towards the end of the loop I heard some rustling in a bush... I drove up a bit and saw a Fox Sparrow digging up leaves and making a mess.  


Pretty cute!  That was about it for the afternoon...  Good times!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Another snow day...

Surprise surprise, we actually got snow!  I was hoping something interesting might turn up at the feeder this morning and it did! 


Yes that is a Song Sparrow and yes it's extremely common and yes it was the first time one showed up at my feeder! 

This prompted me to start a new yard list for 2011.  I've got high hopes for this year... Last year the most exciting birds I had were a pair of Black-headed Grosbeaks that showed up during downpours twice in the spring.

Anyway, the rest of my visitors this morning were regulars...




There was a lot of flicker vs. starling action at the suet feeder...



Good times!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Kitsap Peninsula.

I took a day trip yesterday up to the Kitsap Peninsula in Washington.  I left pretty early and found that I-5 was completely covered in ice.  Awesome.  I saw 5 separate accidents in my first hour of driving.  Cars were just sliding right off the highway.  I crossed my fingers that the trip would be worthwhile. 

The first place I wanted to visit was Point No Point near Hansville.  I read about the place in Birding Washington, and hoped like heck that it would be as bird-filled as they made it sound.  

It was beautiful for sure.


That may or may not be Mount Baker.  To the east I could see Mount Rainier and the Seattle skyline...


Pretty sweet.  It looks like a beautiful day, right?  Well.. the wind was so strong it was hard to hold the camera straight, let alone keep the sand out of my eyes.  Anyway, the birds....  Lots of gulls, mostly Mew and Bonaparte's.


The bird in the front of this photo is bugging me... It seems to have almost no streaking but everything else fits a Glaucous-winged Gull.

Another shot of either the same or a similar gull later on...


My only idea is a Glaucous-winged X Herring Gull... I see that Sibley's says Herring Gulls can get their breeding plumage in February so maybe that is why it's so clean-looking.  Or I am way off and it's something else completely.

Here's a Glaucous-winged Gull snacking on a dead bird...


Some Mew Gulls soaking up the sun, or trying not to be blown away:


There were tons of Bonaparte's Gulls...



That was cool because I've only ever seen three together at once and there were well over a hundred there.

Three Brant flew by at one point and landed in the water...



Way up above the beach in a fir tree on a cliff were two Bald Eagles...


So I didn't see the birds I had hoped for, probably because I don't have a scope, but I did see some good ones.  

My next stop was Scenic Beach State Park in Seabeck.  It's located on the east side of Hood Canal and faces the Olympic Mountains.  I had initially thought it was a dumb name for a park, but really, it was about as scenic a beach as they come....


And yes I had a big piece of something on my lens which I didn't notice.  Oh well!  The dogs enjoyed yet another freezing and windy walk on a beach....


The wind was making their ears stick up.  It was funny.

On our way back I stopped in the town of Seabeck to look at some ducks in the water...


Some pretty Barrow's Goldeneyes.

That was about it for my trip... I definitely need to get myself a scope so I can finally see those alcids!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Snow!

Woohoo it's snowing!!  Well, it was for over an hour at  least... I think it's raining now.  Anyhow, it always makes me a little giddy.  I took this snowy opportunity to watch my feeders for a bit, which I haven't done much this winter...

Black-capped Chickadee, Dark-eyed Junco

You can't tell that it's snowing in most photos but I swear it was!

Dark-eyed Junco

 House Finch


European Starling


Northern Flicker

 Northern Flicker

 House Sparrow

Add some warm lemon-blueberry bread fresh from the oven and some hot coffee and you have the perfect winter morning!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Rentenaar Road & Ridgefield NWR

I decided to brave the rain yesterday and find myself some birds... In the morning I walked the dogs along Rentenaar Road looking for interesting sparrows. 


Unfortunately I didn't find any.   Mostly White-crowned at one end of the road, and Golden-crowned at the other.  Song Sparrows throughout.  There were lots of Sandhill Cranes and Snow Geese on the move though...



When I first arrived a Bald Eagle flew in and perched in a tree near the end of the road..  I kinda felt like he was watching over me because he sat there for the whole hour and a half I was there, and flew off only when I was on my way out. 


I also want to mention the complete douchebag of a hunter that was shooting RIGHT next to Rentenaar Road.  I know it's a hunting area around the road, but I watched a bird drop from the sky directly above the road and actually land on the other side of the road from where it got shot.  I saw him looking for the bird when I was driving out but I don't think he ever found it.   Idiot.

Anyway.  I saw the weather was clearing up a bit in the afternoon so I drove up to Ridgefield to hopefully see some more birds...

My first Cinnamon Teal of the year....


Definitely one of my favorite birds.  It started pouring rain around this time so I didn't manage many good shots, but I did see some good stuff. 


Of course I manage to find a Great Horned Owl when I have the worst lighting and weather possible!  He kept moving around trying to shield himself from the downpour...


There seemed to be lots of Ring-necked Ducks around.


That was about it for my rainy day of birding!