End of summer.

Maybe by calling this post "End of summer" summer will in fact end.  It's not that I haven't had a good time this season, because I have, but I am over the heat, the smoke, the haze, the butt sweat (not to mention the hurricanes, the floods, the wildfires and now the earthquakes).  There have been birds though, many that have yet to make it to the blog.  So let's begin.

Last Thursday was a regular day.  I was walking Rexi home from Jacob's son's elementary school when I received a text from Seagull Steve.  "So are you driving to Seattle right now?"  I checked Tweeters and found the reports that a Swallow-tailed Gull had shown up in Seattle, a ridiculously rare bird (a MEGA if you will) that belongs in the Gal√°pagos, not the Pacific Northwest.  It did not take much to convince Audrey to drop everything and get in the car to Seattle, never mind the facts that one:  she was at work, and two: that she would have to drive all the way to Malheur once we returned. 

We made it to Carkeek Park in Seattle by 1:30 and had great views of the bird through other people's scopes.  Photos were far less desirable as the bird never came close as it did for many other people.

 California and Swallow-tailed Gulls


 Audrey and I were both short on time so we didn't really look at anything else while we were there.  The bird continues to be seen from various points around Puget Sound so it's tempting to return for more gawking. 

Now back to more local birding.  Blue Lake Park has been my patch this year and it continues to make me happy by exceeding all my expectations.  Here are some birds from the the last month there:

Western Wood-Pewee vs. underwing moth

 Willow Flycatcher playing phoebe over the pond. 

 Snoozey McSnoozerson

 White-breasted Nuthatch

 Cooper's Hawk subtly eating and screaming

Kingfisher screaming and not eating

 TUVU after being chased around by geese (this is embarrassment)

Yesterday I hit up Chinook Landing to see what was around and learned that Warbling Vireos eat red osier dogwood berries.  Who knew?

Across the field from the vireo a lovely Orange-crowned Warbler hopped out into the open(ish) for me.  I read the piece on eBird about OCWA subspecies, but all I know is this is one of the gray-headed ones.  eBird took that as it being rare, though I don't know if that is true.

Behind the boat launch a young yellowthroat gave me an earful.

On the home front the feeders continue to be busy.  Red-breasted Nuthatches showed up a couple weeks ago and are spending all their time caching sunflower seeds around the neighborhood. 

All the birds are appreciating the baths right now and I'm doing my best to keep them full.

Yesterday the real harbinger of fall zipped over the yard and landed in a distant tree:  a Merlin!  Two crows took a couple half-assed dives at it before moving on. 

Lastly, there is a Barn Owl in my 5-mile radius that I have been checking on every month since I first discovered it last December.  It often flushes, but the other day I visited and it finally decided I was not worth flying away over. 

We are friends, forest muppet.
Later that day I took Jacob back to see it and it was snoozing hard with a foot out in front of it, barely visible at all. 

This is my first self-found non-barn-dwelling Barn Owl so it is a very dear bird to me. 

That's all I'm going to share today, though trust me there are a billion more photos from this summer that never made it to the blog.  There's always next time.  Stay safe out there!  Good times!!


  1. Great post Jen, glad you got the Gull, I'd never heared of the bird till now, so google next.
    Have a good weekend, Gordon.

  2. Stoked you got the gull, it doesn't get much better than that.

    Fall migration is raging here, but it was over 100 at my house yesterday. Fuck that noise. It's no hurricane though, so I will refrain from additional complaining.


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