My reason for visiting this park was to add a couple year birds to my list. I had made this sort of vague goal of hitting 100 species before heading to California this weekend and I was at 96. I knew I would at least see some Cedar Waxwings there...
Check out that waxwing tongue! Down by the large reservoir were a bunch of crows flipping their lids and I was hoping to find them battling some interesting raptor. No, it was just gulls pissing them off.
Near what I think is the smallest reservoir (the weird one away from the other two) I heard some Red Crossbills up in a tree. I was psyched, but they were on the move. I followed them from tree to tree for awhile before losing them completely.
I followed the trail behind the reservoir to the top of the volcano (yep, it's a volcano) and came across the flock again. This time they flew to the ground to feed! Ten feet from me! My best views of crossbills ever...
I loved that they managed to find the only two square feet of snow/frost at the top of the park. After this encounter I walked back down to the largest reservoir to check out the gulls. Mostly Herring and Glaucous-winged (or hybrids) but one bright Western stood out. I walked back up the ridiculously steep and narrow staircase and looked back out towards downtown. Perched at the top of a tree was a Merlin!
The first one I've seen in sunlight. Yes.
He looked me right in the eyes at one point and I'm pretty sure he stole my soul.
So glad I made myself leave the house! The best part is that my year list was bumped up to 99 after that trip. Who will 100 be??