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Monday, May 9, 2016


I'm back in the saddle again, after two weeks off for major abdominal surgery, so here's a report.


First, to catch up from where I left off a couple of weeks ago, on Friday, April 22, I went up to Edmonds, mainly to see what I could see in the marsh there, but to check out the waterfront as well.  My first stop was at the marsh, but the tide was too high for there to be much mud yet.  I went on over to Marina Beach and added a couple of Marbled Murrelets to my Friday list, but nothing else of interest.  I stopped at the Senior Center to check out the bay south of the ferry terminal, but nothing there, either.  Nor did I see anything of interest from Sunset Avenue.  Note that I have been to Edmonds a lot this year, so there is a limited number of potential species I could add to Monday, and most of those are difficult.


I went back to the Edmonds Marsh, and the tide had gone out quite a bit.  I managed to see some Least Sandpipers and one Western Sandpiper for my Friday list.  Those were my two main target species for the day, so that was good.  There were a few swallows around, too, and I added Barn Swallow and my first of the year NORTHERN ROUGH-WINGED SWALLOW to my Friday list.  That made five new Friday birds, to bring me to an even 100 for Friday.  The Northern Rough-winged Swallow brought me to 155 species for the year.


On Saturday, April 23, I went back to Edmonds, in the hopes of seeing some of those same birds.  Again the tide in the marsh was high, but I saw six Least Sandpipers, anyway.  I got nothing new from Marina Beach or the Senior Center, but from Sunset Avenue I added Pacific Loon to my Saturday list.  Back at the marsh, I didn't see any additional shorebirds, but I did get Brown-headed Cowbird for my Saturday list.  That brought me to 105 species for Saturday.


On Sunday I was restricted to clear liquids and was taking laxatives all day in preparation for my surgery the next day, so I started my hiatus from DOTW birding and didn't go out.  I had the surgery on Monday, came home from the hospital on Friday, and finally got out birding again yesterday, after two weeks off.


All the time I was off, I was reading about the shorebirds migrating through and stopping at the Edmonds Marsh, as well as all the other migrants returning, including the ones that will nest in our area and the ones that are just passing through to the north.  I was itching to get out looking for them, so yesterday, on Sunday, May 8, I went back up to Edmonds Marsh, expecting to pick up a couple of shorebirds.  No luck there, not a shorebird to be seen, not even any Killdeer, which are always there it seems like.  So, I went over to Marina Park and even though  it was pretty windy, I managed to pick up a pair of Rhinoceros Auklets for my Sunday list.  When doing a sea watch, wind is a double whammy - it makes for choppy water, which makes the birds bob up and down out of sight much of the time, and it also shakes my tripod, making the viewing more difficult, especially at great distances.  I checked out the Senior Center beach because I had learned that there are Purple Martin nest boxes there, but so far the martins haven't returned this year, it seems.  From Sunset Avenue, I saw three Pacific Loons, two in breeding plumage and one in its winter plumage still.  They are just passing through to their northern breeding grounds, and soon there won't be any in this area until they come back in the late summer or early fall, so it was one I had wanted to see while I could.  Those two species brought me to 106 species for Sunday.


All the moving around and driving on Sunday made my incision hurt a little, but I ventured out again this morning anyway.  I still have the surgical staples in my belly incision, and they irritate it a bit when I move.  I need to move, though, to get my strength back.  It's amazing how fast you lose conditioning when you are 71 years old, out of shape, overweight, and are just sitting around doing nothing.  I'm getting back into it, though - back in the saddle again, as I said at the start of this report.


So, this morning, Monday, May 9, I headed up to the Crescent Lake area, north of Duvall, to the old Monroe prison farm pond.  In the winter it's a great place for ducks, and in the spring shorebirds move through in migration, and I had seen some reports of shorebirds there recently.  It's great for swallows, too, with hundreds of them swooping around.


Before I even got to the pond, I saw a male Cinnamon Teal in the slough along Crescent Lake Road, so I had a Monday bird regardless.  As I pulled in to the parking area across the road from the pond itself, there was a woman with binoculars and a camera getting out of her car, so I had a birding companion.  She had stopped because there were shorebirds in the small pond that is close to the road (as opposed to the large pond, which is fairly far from the road and pretty much needs a scope to check it out).


We hit the shorebird bonanza!  There were 25 or 30 LONG-BILLED DOWITCHERS feeding in the pond, my first of the year and a species I rarely see around here locally.  Here is a picture of a Long-billed Dowager, coming into its breeding plumage.


There were also a couple of Greater Yellowlegs there, another one I don't see much around here.  Here is a picture of a Greater Yellowlegs.


Here is a picture that shows a Greater Yellowlegs with some Long-billed Dowitchers, for a size comparison.


You can see that the Greater Yellowlegs is significantly larger than the dowitchers.  There is another yellowlegs species, too, and there were two LESSER YELLOWLEGS there too, my first of the year.  As the name implies, Lesser Yellowlegs is smaller than Greater Yellowlegs, but otherwise they look very similar.  I didn't get a picture of a Greater and a Lesser together, but here is a picture of a Lesser Yellowlegs with some dowitchers.  It is about the same size as the dowitchers.


There were a couple of small "peeps" there as well.  There was at least one Least Sandpiper (has yellow legs) and at least one Western Sandpiper (has black legs).  They are significantly smaller than the dowitchers, and here is a picture of the Western Sandpiper with some dowitchers, showing the relative size.


I didn't get any pictures of the Least Sandpiper, but it looks pretty much like the Western Sandpiper except it has yellow legs.  Here is a better picture of the Western Sandpiper on its own.


In addition to the color of the legs, Western Sandpiper is slightly larger than Least Sandpiper, and the bill is thicker at the base and droops just a little.  To finish off the shorebird bonanza, there was a token Killdeer for a while, too, making it six different shorebird species in the same small pond, and close to the road to boot.  Score!  Five of those six species were new for my Monday list, and two of them were year birds.  What fun.


So, having exhausted the shorebird possibilities, I moved on to the swallows and again had a bonanza.  They were swooping around over the more distant pond, but would land on a barbed wire fence from time to time.  With my scope, I could scan down the fence and get great looks at them, picking out the various species.  In the end, I had six swallow species, all that could reasonably be hoped for there at one time  (the only other local swallow species is Purple Martin).  That was Barn Swallow, Tree Swallow, Violet-green Swallow, Cliff Swallow, Northern Rough-winged Swallow, and best of all, BANK SWALLOW, my first of the year and a great one to get.  In addition to Bank Swallow, Cliff Swallow and Northern Rough-winged Swallow were new for my Monday list.  I was on a roll!


My birding companion left to go look for birds to the north, and I left and headed back toward home, down the east side of the Snoqualmie River.  I went up W. Snoqualmie River Rd NE, looking mainly for a couple of species that had been reported yesterday there.  I soon spotted the first of those, WESTERN KINGBIRD, sitting on a wire near the Muslim slaughterhouse, just as had been reported.  Here is a picture of the Western Kingbird, which isn't common in our area.


Here is another view of it.


It's always difficult to get pictures of a bird when you are looking up into a bright sky, and I had to use manual camera settings to get these, and then process them on the computer afterwards.


Moving on up that road, there is a house with some feeders in the front yard, right by the road.  Today there were several bright yellow male American Goldfinches feeding there.  I didn't need American Goldfinch for my Monday list, but they looked so pretty and bright in the sun that I took some pictures.



They had a hummingbird feeder, too.  It was fairly far away, but I couldn't resist getting some pictures of the Rufous Hummingbirds coming to the feeder.  I didn't need Rufous Hummingbird for Monday, but for some reason we only get Anna's Hummingbirds at our own feeder, so I don't get many chances to see and photograph Rufous Hummingbirds.   Here is what I think is a male that has a partially green back.  Most male Rufous Hummingbirds have a completely brown back.


Female Rufous Hummingbirds have brown sides and green backs.  Here is a picture of a female Rufous Hummingbird sitting at the feeder.  The color patch on her throat is common in older females, I believe.


Here is a picture of a female Rufous Hummingbird as she was hovering while she fed.


That stop was fun, even though I didn't add any Monday birds, and I moved on up the river a little more, to where I had seen a Great Blue Heron nest several weeks ago.  There were now three nests in two adjacent trees; here is a picture of the three nests.


You can see the heron standing on the right-most nest, and maybe you can also barely make out the one sitting on the middle nest.  I never saw a bird at the upper back nest.  Here is a closer shot of the middle nest, showing the Great Blue Heron, presumably sitting on eggs.


While I was taking the pictures, I noticed movement at the feet of the standing bird, in the right-most nest.  I took several pictures, but this one is the only one in which you can sort of see the two or three baby herons at the parent's feet.


I wish I could have gotten a better picture of them, but at least you can sort of see the little ones in that picture.  I hope to get up there more this week and next, to record their growth.


I headed back after that; it was getting on for lunch time.  I stopped once more at the place with the feeders, and I got this picture of a male Brown-headed Cowbird that I like.  Often the head just looks black, but the light was perfect, and you can sure see how the species got its name, Brown-headed.


So, it was an exceptionally good day of birding for the Old Rambler.  Thanks mostly to the shorebird bonanza and the swallow bonanza, I added ten species to my Monday list to bring it to a total of 114 species.  I also added four species to my year list, to bring that one to 159 species.  To top it all off, Lesser Yellowlegs and Bank Swallow were new for my Snohomish county list, to bring that one to 124 species.  Do I have enough birding lists, do you think?


I'm supposed to get my surgical staples out on Thursday, and I'm officially cleared for overnight birding trips three weeks after surgery, which will be next Monday.  I'm planning a trip over the mountains to Kittitas and Yakima counties, but probably not for at least two weeks from now, and maybe three.  I want to be cautious and not overdo it, but I'm itching to get over there and look for all the spring returnees, to add to my various lists.  I've actually booked a hotel for three nights in Yakima, in two succeeding weeks, two weeks from now and three weeks from now.  I'll cancel one of those, at least, and I'll decide on the timing of the trip based on how I'm feeling and on the weather forecasts.  I'd like to avoid the heat and the wind, both of which are usual over there in late May.  Meanwhile, I'll say it again - I'm back in the saddle.  GWATCDR.



Thursday, May 12, 2016


I had had such good luck up at the Monroe Prison Farm pond on Monday that I went back again on Tuesday morning, May 10. 


On my way, I drove up W. Snoqualmie River Rd NE, looking for the Western Kingbird I had seen there on Monday. I guess it had moved on or was off somewhere else at the time, because I missed it.  I visited the Great Blue Heron nest I had seen before this year, and got better pictures of the adults with their two chicks in the nest.  Here is a close-up showing the two young birds.


Here's a picture of the whole family and the nest.  The young ones will stay in the nest, being fed by the adults, until they are as large as the adults and can fly.


When I got to the prison farm pond, there were already two other birders there.  All the same six species of shorebirds were on the close pond again, although I didn't personally see the Killdeer.  I added Long-billed Dowitcher, Lesser Yellowlegs, Least Sandpiper, and Western Sandpiper to my Tuesday list.  The swallow bonanza from Monday was not repeated, however.  It turned out that the two birders already there had come because of my report to Tweeters, the local birding list-serv, about my Monday visit; they were hoping to see Cliff and Bank Swallow.  On Monday there had been many hundreds of swallows swooping around, and I had gotten six different species.  On Tuesday, though, there were only maybe a couple of dozen swallows in total, and I only saw three species.  I did add Barn Swallow to my Tuesday list, but that was it.  One of the birders there suggested that the reason for the difference might have been that it was overcast on Monday but clear and sunny on Tuesday.  He thought that when it was clear and sunny, that the swallows would be feeding up higher, out of sight.  I think another possibility is that there had been an insect "hatch" on Monday - when that happens, there are suddenly many thousands of insects over the lake for a day or two.  Whatever the reason, there was a decided dearth of swallows on Tuesday.


As compensation, there were a couple of male BLUE-WINGED TEALS on the more distant pond, my first of the year.  I'm not sure I would have noticed them, because of the distance, but the other birders pointed them out to me.  One of them also noticed a distant Turkey Vulture, and that was another Tuesday bird for me.  As we were all leaving, one of them noticed a pair of Yellow-headed Blackbirds at the dairy across the street.  That is a really great bird for anywhere west of the Cascades, and was my first for any county west of the Cascades.  So, I ended up adding eight species to my Tuesday list, thanks in part to the help of the other two birders.  But wait, I still wasn't done for the day.  I went home and had lunch with my friend, Dan, sitting out on our front porch, and while we were there I saw a Pine Siskin come to our feeder, and that was number 9 Tuesday bird.  It still wasn't over, though, because a little while later I noticed a different looking bird on the feeder, and I got my binoculars on it for one or two seconds, and it was my first BLACK-HEADED GROSBEAK of the year.  So, my total for Tuesday was ten new species for my list, an outstanding result for this late in the year.  I added ten on both Monday and Tuesday, mostly because the spring birds are back in force.  During my hiatus for my surgery, I had been reading about all the migrants coming through and coming back to nest, and I had been itching to get out and see them.  Now I have started to do that, and my daily lists are growing fast as a result.  Tuesday is up to 111 species now.  Year-birds Blue-winged Teal and Black-headed Grosbeak brought me to 161 species for the year.


On Wednesday, May 11, I didn't have as much time, so I stopped at Marymoor Park on my way to lunch in Bellevue.  I soon added Brown-headed Cowbird to my Wednesday list.  Then I spotted a great bird sitting on a snag across the slough.  Here is a picture of a Merlin.


Here is another view.  I wish I could have gotten closer.


Merlin, a small falcon, is a difficult one for me to see, for some reason, and this was only the second one I had seen this year.  Wouldn't you know it, though, I saw the other one on a Wednesday, too, so this one didn't even go onto my Wednesday list.  Still, I was happy to see it and to get pictures, even if they are distant ones.


I "completed" Belted Kingfisher about then, too, meaning that now I have counted that one on each of the seven days of the week.  I didn't actually see the one yesterday, but I clearly heard it calling repeatedly as it flew up the slough, and I count "heard only" birds now, when I'm sure of the call.  My first clue to another one I needed for Wednesday, Killdeer, was the call, too, but I did manage to get a good look at the Killdeer as it flew around calling, and again when it landed.  Come to think of it, the loud calls of a Black-headed Grosbeak was my first indication of that species, too.  I played the call and the bird kept calling back and eventually flew into another tree.  Here is a poor, distant shot of a male Black-headed Grosbeak.


There were a lot of Great Blue Herons around because they nest communally in the trees in the part of the park where I was.  Here is a picture of one that seemed especially attractive against the green foliage.


I had to move on for my lunch date, so I missed a lot of other potential Wednesday birds there at Marymoor, but I'll go back.  Looking at the list of birds seen on last Thursday's bird walk there, there were over twenty species seen that I need for Wednesday (and most of them are needed for the other days of the week, too - the spring returnees).


After lunch, my friend Chris and I went to Phantom Lake in Bellevue, as we usually do, and he soon spotted a new bird for us there, my first WESTERN TANAGER of the year.  I wish I had had my camera, which I had left in the car, as male Western Tanagers are really beautiful birds - bright yellow, red, and black.  Out on the dock, I added Barn Swallow to my Wednesday list, too, to bring it to 111 species.  The Western Tanager brought me to 162 species for the year.


This morning, Thursday, May 12, I had a doctor's appointment at 10:15 to have the staples removed from my incision, but I snuck off to Juanita Bay Park to try to pick up a quick Thursday bird first.  On the way to the park, I drove past the cell tower near the intersection of NE 116th and I-405, where I knew there was an Osprey nest, but there was no sign of any osprey there that I could see.  Going on to the park, I played the song of Brown Creeper in the parking lot, where I have seen them before a number of times, but couldn't attract one today.  I tried Pacific Wren there, too, but struck out again.  Across the road, I tried the part of the park behind the fire station for Pacific Wren, where I have attracted them before easily, but not today.  I didn't have much more time, but I heard some loud calls that I recognized.  I could have counted Black-headed Grosbeak from the calls alone, but I always try to actually see the bird, so I played the call and one finally flew in briefly to give me a look.  So, I had my Thursday bird, and I headed off for the doctor's office.  That brought me to 107 species for Thursday.


I've completed 16 weeks of my Day Of The Week birding thing now (leaving out the three weeks I took off for my medical adventures), and here is my scorecard.  The table is getting too wide for most monitors, I'm afraid, and I'll have to figure out another way to report the numbers - maybe I'll just show the numbers for every four weeks, until the most recent four weeks.  For now, here is the whole thing again, anyway.


                        After     After     After     After     After     After     After     After     After     After     After     After     After            After     After

                        1 wk     2 wks    3 wks    4 wks    5 wks    6 wks    8 wks    9 wks    10 wks  11 wks  12 wks  13 wks  14 wks  15 wks      16 wks

Friday               27         40         43         51         52         53         57         71         80         83         90         91         92         95            100

Saturday           28         45         46         47         49         52         60         68         72         74         87         90         100       102            105

Sunday             10         33         42         55         57         71         73         74         77         79         82         83         103       104            106

Monday            09         34         37         50         53         55         57         67         68         75         80         81         93         104            114

Tuesday            30         39         43         44         57         58         69         78         80         82         96         97         98         101            111

Wednesday       15         37         43         55         64         66         79         83         87         90         100       102       104       105            111

Thursday           26         46         48         52         61         65         68         76         77         85         95         99         105       106            107


I've completed 68 species now (seen all seven days).  My year list is up to 162 species.  My streak is alive - I've been able to add at least one new bird to each day's list, for each day of the year so far.


I had the staples taken out of my surgical incision today, and I'm pretty much done now with the whole surgery adventure.  It's very red and tender around my incision, but that should improve over the next several days.  I'm wondering if I developed an allergic reaction to the staples.  No more dietary restrictions, and things seem to be working pretty well in the bowel department, too.  It appears the surgery was a complete success (knock on wood).  Now to add a lot more spring and summer birds to my daily lists…  I'm looking forward to my four day/three night trip across the mountains to Yakima and Kittitas counties, in a couple of weeks, too.



Thursday, May 19, 2016


Here's a report for the last week, a rather long one, I'm afraid.  On Friday, May 13, I went up to the Monroe Prison Farm pond again, after having had such good luck there with shorebirds on Monday and Tuesday of that week.  The ponds had dried up considerably, and the only shorebirds in the close pond were a single Killdeer and a single Greater Yellowlegs.  I had seen six shorebird species in that pond on Monday that week.  At least I needed the yellowlegs for my Friday list.  Here is a picture of it.


On the larger pond, which had also shrunk considerably in size, I picked up Cinnamon Teal and Blue-winged Teal for my Friday list, and there were also some Long-billed Dowitchers out there in the distance, another great one for Friday.  There was no sign of the Yellow-headed Blackbirds I had seen on Tuesday. 


After that, I drove back to Duvall and went up W. Snoqualmie River Rd NE.  I saw the Western Kingbird I had seen the week before and then had missed the last time I was there.  I also added Brown-headed Cowbird to my Friday list, as well as my first CEDAR WAXWINGS of the year.  I saw a group of three and later a group of two more.  No pictures, sad to say, as I find them quite attractive.  It was a good day, adding seven species to my Friday list, to bring it to 107 species total, which is actually my lowest total now for any day.  The Cedar Waxwings brought me to 163 species for the year.


On Saturday, May 14, I went back up to the Duvall area, since it was being so productive for me.  The Yellow-headed Blackbirds were back, and I even got a couple of distant pictures.



Yellow-headed Blackbird is a great bird for this side of the Cascade Mountains, and I have run into several birders this week up there who were there to see them.  Out on the pond there were some Long-billed Dowitchers still hanging around, so that one went on my Saturday list.  There were a couple of other shorebirds near them, and I struggled to identify them.  They were a long way away, and even though I thought I knew what they were, I wasn't going to count them.  When I got home and checked eBird that night, though, I noticed that another birder who was there soon after I was had reported PECTORAL SANDPIPER that day, so I decided to count them, too, since that's what I thought I had seen, but was not confident enough to count it.  Pectoral Sandpiper is rare in Western Washington in spring migration (more common in the fall, when they are going south), but this year there has been a flurry of reports from all around the region.  I also completed Barn Swallow that day, meaning I had seen them on all seven days after that.


As usual, I drove up W. Snoqualmie River RD NE and I again saw the Western Kingbird near the Muslim slaughterhouse.  I added five species for Saturday, to bring it to 110.  The Pectoral Sandpiper brought me to 164 for the year.


I was doing so well up there that I went back again on Sunday, May 15.  I added Blue-winged Teal, Spotted Sandpiper, and Long-billed Dowitcher to my Sunday list.  I also saw several more Pectoral Sandpipers, and I got better looks at them than I had gotten the day before, and I feel confident in the identification.  There were other shorebirds nearby, so I had a great size comparison; I could see the bill length was right; and the colors and patterns on them were right, too.  The Yellow-headed Blackbirds were still there, but I had actually gotten that one on a Sunday a few weeks ago over in Eastern Washington at Toppenish NWR.


As usual, I drove up the W. Snoqualmie River Rd NE as I headed back toward home.  The Western Kingbird wasn't on any of its usual wires, but I spotted it on the ground across the road.  Here is a picture of it on the ground with something in its beak.


It looks kind of like a spider web, and I wonder if the bird had caught the spider and the web stuck to its bill.  It was jumping around and looked like it was trying to get the web off maybe.  I moved up the road to the house with the bird feeders and got American Goldfinch and Rufous Hummingbird there;  I think both species have been there every time I've gone by there in the last week or two, and now I had them for Sunday.  While driving back along the road with the window open, I heard a bird song that I thought I recognized.  I backed up and played Common Yellowthroat on my phone, and ended up seeing and hearing both a male and a female.  I tried for pictures, but the only two I got are badly blurred.  Still, that made eight Sunday species, to bring me to 114 total on Sunday.


Monday, May 16, saw me back up at the prison farm pond.  I wanted to get Blue-winged Teal and Yellow-headed Blackbird while they were still around, and I was able to do so.  While scanning the pond I saw two other pretty rare (for here) shorebirds, WILSON'S PHALAROPES.  They are shorebirds, but they are almost always seen swimming, not on land.  This was another great sighting for Western Washington, and I posted it on Tweeters and later saw others up there looking for them.  In fact, one birder went up that same afternoon and reported seeing one of them.


I had a lunch date so I had to leave early, but I had my Monday birds, so I was happy.  After lunch, my friend Chris and I went to Phantom Lake in Bellevue, as usual, and I added Black-headed Grosbeak and Osprey to my Monday list as well.  That made five species for Monday, to bring me to 119.  A few weeks ago, Monday was my lowest day, and now it is the second highest.  Wilson's Phalarope brought me to 165 species for the year.


On Tuesday, May 17, I broke my pattern and went up to Edmonds instead of back up to the Duval area.  There had been a Pectoral Sandpiper and a couple of other good shorebirds reported at the marsh on Monday evening.  When I got there on Tuesday morning, the tide was out and all I saw was one Dunlin (a shorebird I didn’t need for Tuesday) and two Killdeer.  As it happened, I did still need Killdeer for Tuesday, and that completed all seven days for Killdeer.  Here is a picture of Edmonds Marsh in the morning sun, looking west.  The Olympic Mountains are in the background.


I went on up to Sunset Avenue, which overlooks Puget Sound, and added Rhinoceros Auklet and Pacific Loon to my Tuesday list.  The Pacific Loons will soon all be gone (migrating north to breed), so I wanted to get that one before they left.  The Rhino Auklets should be around all year, but I take them when I see them, even if I would rather have "saved" that one for a later Tuesday.  That was four more species for Tuesday, to bring it to 115.


On Wednesday, May 18, I went back up to the prison farm pond and Duvall.  I got Blue-winged Teal, Cinnamon Teal, and Spotted Sandpiper at the pond, but the other shorebirds seem gone now, headed north to breed.  I only saw one Yellow-headed Blackbird there, rather than the 6 or 8 that I had been seeing.  There were Eurasian Collared-Doves around, too, and I completed that one.


The most common swallow there by far is Barn Swallow, and here is a picture of one.


Note the long "swallow tail" - longer than that of any other local swallows.  Here is a picture of a Barn Swallow with its mouth open.  You can see how having a wide mouth like that would help a bird that catches bugs on the fly.


As I was getting ready to move on, I noticed this unusually colored domestic pigeon sitting nearby.


It let me approach to about five feet.  Here it is on a fence, with its neck stuck out more normally.


A pigeon fancier would probably know what breed it is.  It looks kind of like one referred to as a feral pigeon with red coloration, so I suspect that is what it is, a wild feral pigeon of unknown heritage.  There is an amazing number of pigeon breeds, and I think they can all cross-breed.  They are all part of one species, though, so for birders, they all just go down as Feral Pigeon, Rock Dove, or Rock Pigeon, depending on which term you use.


After I left there, I stopped briefly at the north parking lot for Crescent Lake Wildlife Area and saw a single Cedar Waxwing for my Wednesday list.  Next I moved on to the Tualco Loop Road to look for swallows.  I was hoping for Bank Swallow, but didn't see any.  I did see a few Northern Rough-winged Swallows for my Wednesday list, though.  Here is a picture of one on a wire, with terrible light conditions.


Here is a front view of another one.


After that I explored a new place (for me), Ben Howard Road, which runs east up the Skykomish River Valley from just south of Monroe.  One thing I am constantly doing up in that area is checking out the doves.  95% of them are Eurasian Collared-Doves, but I got a Mourning Dove near the start of Ben Howard Road.  Here is a picture of it.


Farther up the road was a public fishing access, and I pulled in there and walked around a little.  I heard one very interesting bird, but I had no idea what it was, and I never could see it.  I heard another one a little later and figured out it was a Black-headed Grosbeak, which I didn't need for Wednesday, but I got this peek-a-boo picture of the male.  There was a female, too.


Just as I took the picture, the wind blew that leaf in front of the top of his head.


Ben Howard Road was interesting habitat, although I didn't see much of interest.  I think you would have to get out of the car and would have to recognize birds by their songs and calls.  I spend most of my birding time in the car these days, and I'm poor at birding by ear.


On my way back toward home, I was watching for Turkey Vultures, since I needed that one for Wednesday still.  On Tualco Rd I saw one, and then there were more.  Six of them ended up landing in a field, and I got this picture of a couple of the ugly brutes.


Okay, maybe brutes is too strong, since they don’t actually kill anything, but they sure are ugly.  After another stop at the prison farm pond, which produced nothing new, I went down through Duvall and drove up W. Snoqualmie River Rd NE again, as I usually do when I go out to that area.  The Western Kingbird wasn’t on any of its regular wires by the slaughterhouse, but as I was returning a little while later, there it was, back again, for my Wednesday list.  At the house with the feeders, I added Rufous Hummingbird to my Wednesday list as well.


It was a long morning of birding for me - about three and a half hours door to door (9 AM to 12:30 PM).  It is a half hour drive each way to that area, so that means I was actually only birding for about two and a half hours, but it seemed long to me - the fat, old, dilettante birder who is recovering from major surgery and has a painful right heel that hurts when he drives or walks.  It was productive, too, adding 11 to Wednesday, to bring me to 122, my highest daily total at this point.


So finally that brings us to today, Thursday, May 19.  I again went up to the Duvall area and my first destination was W. Snoqualmie River Rd NE, to try for the Western Kingbird.  I struck out this time, both coming and going (it is a dead end road, so each time I go there, I actually get two chances at everything).  Moving on to the prison farm pond, I got the expected Blue-winged Teal for my Thursday list.  I hadn't expected Blue-winged Teal to be easy, but I now have it on every day but Saturday.  I guess I'll have to be back up there on Saturday to complete that one.  There was another birder there when I got there, and we chatted about local birding, of course.  I kept scanning the distant shore and finally was able to pick out a couple of little shorebirds, and after losing sight of them, I found one of them again, and it was a Spotted Sandpiper, which was a good one for Thursday.  The Yellow-headed Blackbirds were not in evidence today, so maybe they have moved on.  I only saw one yesterday, and maybe it was the last one.  They don't really belong here, but a small flock of them must have gotten lost on their way to their breeding grounds, wherever they are - Eastern Washington most likely.  I managed to see them on five of the seven days of the week, anyway, and maybe they are still around but were just hiding today.  I saw a couple of Brown-headed Cowbirds there, too, for my Thursday list.


After that I drove around the Tualco Loop to try for swallows.  There were a lot of swallows over the fields, but most were Barn Swallows, with some Violet-green Swallows as well.  I have completed those two species.  Here is a picture of a Violet Green Swallow, anyway.  The light was horrendous, but you can sort of see its green back.  The white that curls around and over the eye is the distinctive marking on this species.


I kept looking at swallows as they swooped around, and eventually I was rewarded with a Cliff Swallow, one of the difficult ones to find.  I got a great look with binoculars at the buffy colored rump on the bird, as it flew away from me.  No other swallow has that buffy rump.  It was an excellent one for my Thursday list.  I drove the first part of Ben Howard Rd again today, but didn't see anything interesting.


On my way home, I stopped again at the prison farm pond, but there still was no sign of any Yellow-headed Blackbirds.  I drove W. Snoqualmie River Rd NE again, too, and again missed seeing the Western Kingbird as I went north up the road.  I saw a couple of American Goldfinches at two places, though, to complete that one.


I've shown pictures of some Great Blue Heron nests across the river from that road, including a couple of pictures of one nest that had two young birds in it.  The last several times I have driven that road, I always saw an adult bird on that nest, but saw no sign of the youngsters.  They seemed large enough that I would have seen them, and I was figuring that something had happened to them (eagles grab young Great Blue Herons out of nests, and there are a lot of Bald Eagles in that area).  Again today, on my way north on the road, I saw nothing but the adult on that nest.  On my way back, though, the two young ones were showing themselves, so I guess they can crouch down pretty low in the nest.  Here is a picture that shows one of the little ones, and you can just barely see the top of the head of the other young one on the far left of the nest.


I think it is interesting that the young ones spend so much of their time out of sight.  That might be a survival tactic.


As I made my way back past the slaughterhouse, I spotted the Western Kingbird, on a wire on the other side of the slaughterhouse, where I hadn't seen it before.  Western Kingbird is pretty uncommon here in Western Washington, but thanks to this one bird, I now have it on six of the seven days.


I got six more species for my Thursday list today, to bring me to 113.


Here is my scorecard after 17 weeks.  I'm changing the format of the data (not that anyone else cares, but these reports are for my own records and enjoyment as much as for others').  The table was getting too wide, with too much data.  I like to see how each day is doing, and how it has done throughout the year, so here is how it looks now, in an abbreviated form.


                        4 wks    8 wks    12 wks  16 wks  17 wks


Friday               51         57         90         100       107

Saturday           47         60         87         105       110

Sunday             55         73         82         106       114

Monday            53         67         81         114       119

Tuesday            44         69         96         111       115

Wednesday       55         79         100       111       122

Thursday           52         68         95         107       113


I've completed 73 species, seeing them on every day of the week.  My year list is at 165 now.  I never thought I would still be getting a new Day-Of-The-Week bird on each and every day of the year for this long.  The "streak" has gotten me out birding every day this year, other than the three weeks I took off because of my hospital stay in February and my surgery in April.  Some of the days of the week are getting to be pretty tough, but I'm hoping to keep the streak going until we leave for Yosemite on June 17.  The travel days to Yosemite will be a challenge, but that adds to the fun.  Being out of the area should help me, and if I can make it to June 17, then I hope to be able to make it into July.


On the subject of my medical issues, my recovery from surgery was going great until this week, but now I've developed what I hope is a minor complication. It's going to mean that I'm not going to be able to head over the mountains to Yakima and Kittitas counties next week, as I had hoped to do.  I'm hoping I'll still be able to do that trip the following week, the first week in June, after the Memorial Day holiday.  I'm also hoping that this new complication won't make me suspend my DOTW birding again, but its day to day at this point.  We shall see.


What a life!



Thursday, May 26, 2016


Another week is in the books, and here's a birding report for the last week.


On Friday, May 20, I didn't go out birding in the morning for a change, since I was planning lunch with my friend, Chris, and we usually go to Phantom Lake after lunch for a few minutes.  If I didn't see a Friday bird there, then I planned on stopping at Marymoor Park on the way home to get one.


Phantom Lake came through big time.  There was lots of bird song, and Chris soon spotted a bird near the top of a tree.  I could see it was a flycatcher, and one I needed for sure.  In my haste to get closer for a better look and pictures, I took a little tumble and fell onto my knees (on soft wet grass), but no harm done other than wet knees.  Here is that first flycatcher.


It wasn't until I got home and saw my pictures that I realized it was an OLIVE-SIDED FLYCATCHER, a great one for my year list.  There was another bird nearby, and here is its picture.


Once I saw my pictures, I decided that one was a WESERN WOOD-PEWEE, a more common flycatcher, but my first of the year.


Later there was a Cedar Waxwing on a branch, posing for pictures.  Ironically, Friday was the only day I had seen Cedar Waxwing previously this year, so it didn't go onto my Friday list, but I like the pictures.


It even turned around and posed again.


The red spots on the wings are waxy, thus giving the species its name.  I think of Cedar Waxwings as being the "sleekest" of birds.


My two flycatchers brought me to 109 species for Friday and 167 for the year.


On Saturday, May 21, it was raining lightly when I got up, but I headed out to the Monroe Prison Farm pond anyway.  I was going to set up my scope under the rear lift gate on my car and scope the pond, out of the rain.  As it turned out, the rain was just ending when I got there.  I got both Blue-winged Teal and Cinnamon Teal, which "completed" both species for me - all seven days.  That brought me to 112 species for Saturday.


On Sunday, May 22, I went down to Juanita Beach Park to look for California Gull for my Sunday list.  Among the first gulls I saw was this one:


It was in with a bunch of Ring-billed Gulls, and I thought at the time it was just another of the Ring-billed Gulls.  When I got home and saw my pictures, I could see the trace of red on the bill and noticed that the black on the bill wasn't really a "ring" around the bill, it was just black at the tip.  Gulls take several years to reach their adult plumage, and each year they look different.  California Gull takes four years to reach adult plumage.  I think that this is a juvenile California Gull, perhaps at the end of its third winter.  I generally just ignore juvenile gulls, since they have so many different plumages - they change every year for three or four years, and also change from summer to winter, to a lesser degree.


Meanwhile, up to four Ospreys started flying around overhead, calling loudly.  I didn't need Osprey for Sunday, but I couldn't resist taking pictures of the beautiful birds as they wheeled overhead.  Here are two pictures of Osprey, calling loudly as they flew around.



One of them caught a fish.



This next one looked ready to dive for a fish.


Crows often harass raptors (and owls), and I got this picture of a crow chasing an Osprey.


So, that was fun, but I was still looking for a Sunday bird, since I hadn't recognized the juvenile California Gull.  I saw a couple of gulls down the beach and hustled down there and got this picture.


Nope, not a California Gull.  It is a Glaucous-winged Gull.  Note that the wing tips are the same gray as the wings and back; most gulls have black wing tips.


Finally I got this picture of an adult California Gull.


Yellow legs, a red spot on the bottom half of the bill, the right size, the right bill shape - yep, California Gull.  I noticed that the neck seemed to have a strange hump in it, and then I noticed the bird hacking like it was trying to cough up something.  Here is another view of it, as it tried to bring up whatever was stuck in its throat.


It still seemed to have a thickness at the bottom of its neck.  Finally it was able to hack up a small fish and some other stuff, and then it proceeded to take the fish back in and swallow it again.  Here is a picture of it just as it grabbed up the fish again.


Here is a closer crop of that last picture.  Note what appears to be fishing line coming from the fish to the dock.  I wonder if the little fish is actually a lure and not a fish at all.  If so, it would have a hook and be trouble for the gull.  I don't see any hook, though.


This time the fish seemed to go down okay, and the bird also scooped up that other stuff on the dock, which it had also coughed up.


Here is another juvenile California Gull.


You can see that its wings are molting and the plumage is changing from brown to gray.


The California Gull was the only Sunday bird I got that day, to bring me to 115 species for Sunday.


On Monday, May 23, I didn't have much time, and I went to the east side of Juanita Bay Park, to what is referred to as the fire station road, because it is behind the fire station, which is on the corner.  I tried playing Pacific Wren songs, but got no response.  I have since found out that Pacific Wrens go up into the mountains in the spring to breed.  They should be coming back down here to the lowlands in June or July.  I next played Golden-crowned Kinglet, and one flew in very soon.  It flitted around, singing back to me.  It didn't stay still long, but I managed to get this picture of it singing and displaying its golden crown.


Normally that crown is a narrow stripe of yellow, but when it wants to, it can raise it like that.  The kinglet was my only Monday bird, to bring me to 120 species for Monday.


On Tuesday, May 24, I went up to Duvall, to look for the Western Kingbird I had seen there a number of times.  I struck out on Tuesday and couldn't find it.  I drove on up the road, looking for swallows.  I found a place where Cliff Swallows had built nests under the eves of a barn, and that was a great Tuesday bird.  Cliff Swallows are one of the more difficult swallow species to find around here, so I imagine I'll be back up there on other days, to add Cliff Swallow to those days.  Driving back, I saw another bird on a wire and it turned out to be a Savannah Sparrow, another one I needed for Tuesday still.  I stopped at the Great Blue Heron nest I had seen before, to check on the nestlings.  They were not attended by an adult bird, for the first time, and I suppose it is because they have gotten too big to be prey for eagles any more.  Mom and dad can spend their time looking for food for the family, rather than having to take turns sticking around the nest to protect the little ones.  Here are the "teenager" Great Blue Herons.


Note how much they have grown since this picture from just twelve days earlier.


I also got this picture of a Eurasian Collared-Dove.


It was darker colored than most Eurasian Collared-Doves, and it wasn’t until I saw this picture that I was sure it wasn't a Mourning Dove.  You can just make out the black "collar" on the back of the neck in that picture.  It didn't have spots on its back, like a Mourning Dove, but the color was more like a Mourning Dove and I couldn't see the collar at the time.  My field guide says that Eurasian Collared-Dove possibly hybridizes with Mourning Dove, and I wonder if this was a hybrid bird.


So, the swallow and the sparrow added two my Tuesday list, to bring me to 117 for Tuesday.


Wednesday, May 25, found me at Marymoor Park.  The day before, a number of good birds had been reported there, and I was looking for one in particular.  In addition to the one I was looking for specifically, a male Lapland Longspur had been sighted at 7:30 the evening before, and that is a real rarity in this area.  There were 6 or 8 other birders there while I was there, mostly looking for the longspur, although some were also looking for Western Kingbird, which had also been reported.  No one found the longspur again, but I spotted two Western Kingbirds and people came over to view them.  I didn't need it for Wednesday, since I have been seeing the one up near Duvall so regularly.  I did see the bird I had specifically targeted, though, and got this picture of a male LAZULI BUNTING, one for my year list.


I would have liked to have walked down to the lake to see the Purple Martin nest gourds there, but my heel hurt too much, and I was afraid it would make it worse to walk the half mile or so it would have been, each way.  I haven't seen Purple Martin yet this year, and that is one of the few places I know of where I might see them this year.  They should be nesting for a few more weeks, though, so maybe my heel will recover enough for me to make the walk in a couple of weeks.  While I was there, I also picked up Savannah Sparrow for my Wednesday list.  That brought me to 124 species for Wednesday, my biggest day at this point.  The Lazuli Bunting brought me to 168 species for the year.


Today, Thursday, May 26, I again didn’t have much time, so I went down to Juanita Beach Park to look for Osprey.  I saw a couple when I first got there, but I wasn't satisfied with the looks I got, so I stuck around and eventually saw another perched Osprey and then one flying around overhead.  There were Bald Eagles flying around, too.  I have been "saving" Osprey when I can, to use when it is raining or when I don't have much time, but today I figured I might as well take it because I hope to go over to Eastern Washington next week, and I'm bound to see Ospreys over there next Thursday, I figure.  There was no point in saving it, so I "saved" a couple of other species I should be able to find, for future Thursdays.  All the days are getting more difficult, as I see more and more birds.  This streak I have going, which I never imagined would go on so long, is running out of steam, I fear.  I hope to make it until we leave for Yosemite on June 17, and if it can survive that first long travel day when we are driving from home to south of Bend, Oregon, then I ought to be able to keep it going until I get back in early July.  Going to new places helps a great deal, since there are always some new species to see in a new place.  I hope my trip to Eastern Washington next week comes off; that will help a lot for those four days.  The Osprey today brought me to 114 species for Thursday.


Here is my scorecard at this point, in a different format from what I have used before:


After                 Fri        Sat       Sun      Mon      Tue       Wed     Thu


4 wks                51         47         55         53         44         55         52

8 wks                57         60         73         67         69         79         68

12 wks              90         87         82         81         96         100       95

16 wks              100       105       106       114       111       111       107

17 wks              107       110       114       119       115       122       113

18 wks              109       112       115       120       117       124       114


I've seen 76 species on each of the seven days of the week ("completed" them).  My year list stands at 168 species.


I'm hoping to head over the mountains next week for three nights in Yakima.  I will probably leave on Tuesday, but it could be delayed a day or two if a room becomes available at the motel for next Friday night.  Right now they are fully booked for that night.  I'm still working through the complication that developed in my surgery recovery (which caused me to delay my trip from this week to next week), but things are going well, and I hope to be able to head out on Tuesday, after the holiday weekend, GWATCDR.



Monday, May 30, 2016 (Memorial Day)


On Friday, May 27, I went up to the Monroe Prison Farm pond to try to get three species I needed for Friday.  I got one of them on the way there, with two Turkey Vultures in a tree along the road.  The water level was really down in the pond at the abandoned prison farm.  It will be completely dry soon, I'm sure.  I scoped the far side of what was left of the pond and got distant views of two Spotted Sandpipers, my second target for the day.  In the meantime, I kept looking behind me at the dairy, where the Yellow-headed Blackbirds have been, and finally one flew up onto the roof of a shed, and I had my third target.  Three out of three - I called it a day and headed for home.  Friday was at 112 species after that.


On Saturday, May 28, it was overcast and threatening rain, so I went down to my local park, Juanita Bay Park, and played some bird songs in the parking lot.  I couldn't get a Brown Creeper to respond, but as soon as I played Golden-crowned Kinglet, one flew in to check me out.  I was satisfied to add that one to my Saturday list, and I went home after about ten minutes at the park.  I have been trying to take it easy on my right heel, since it has been hurting and I want to have it be as good as possible for my upcoming trip.  The kinglet brought Saturday to 113 species.


It was raining when I got up on Sunday, May 29, but I headed over to Marymoor Park, hoping the rain would let up.  My first stop was in the east parking lot for the dog park, and I could see the male Lazuli Bunting in his usual tree, so I had my bird without getting out of the car.  I went on through the park and down East Lake Sammamish Pkwy NE to where I had read that there were nest boxes for a species I hadn't seen yet this year.  I could have walked a half mile each way (in the rain) to see some other nest boxes, but I thought I would see if I could get close enough to see these other ones from the car or close to it.  I had good directions, and I found the short little street (with two houses and a gate to a private beach club on it) that I was looking for.  I looked from my car with binoculars, and I could see nest boxes on pilings out in the lake.  Most of the nest boxes seemed to be for Tree Swallows, and there were a lot of swallows flying around.  Eventually I saw that a couple of the nest boxes were different and that there were dark-colored swallows flying around them.  I turned my car around and stopped at the entrance to the private beach club.  The rain had let up for the moment, so I got out my scope and was able to see some PURPLE MARTINS, which is what I was looking for.  There was even a baby one on the ledge in front of the "door" into one of the nest boxes.  Tree Swallow boxes have a hole in the front, without any perch, and Purple Martine boxes have a rectangular opening with a ledge in front of it.


I went back to where I had seen the Lazuli Bunting, since the rain had let up, and I walked to the tree that he seemed to favor.  He did show up and I got this picture in the poor light.


It started to rain lightly again, but I stuck around.  The bunting left and a Song Sparrow flew in.  Here is a picture of a wet Song Sparrow singing in the rain.


A male Anna's Hummingbird perched repeatedly at the top of the same tree.  Here is a picture of a wet hummingbird.


The male Lazuli Bunting came back, and I got a picture of him singing in the rain, too.


I had to keep wiping the raindrops off my lens, but I'm pleased with the pictures I got, and it was worth sticking around in the light rain.  The male Anna's Hummingbird flew down and posed for me in a bush.  There wasn’t much light, but I like these two pictures anyway.



I always like to get pictures of hummingbirds away from feeders - "in the wild" is how I think of it.


So, I was satisfied with two species for Sunday, but at home in the afternoon, a female Black-headed Grosbeak was on our feeder, so I added that one to Sunday as well.  That brought Sunday to 118 species.  Purple Martin brought me to 169 species for the year


It was sunny when I got up this morning, and I decided to go back to Marymoor to try again for Purple Martin and Lazuli Bunting.  Both are good birds, so I might as well go for them on each day of the week, if I can.


I went straight to the short little street I had found yesterday and stopped in front of the beach club gate, after turning around.  I saw a couple of Purple Martins around their nest boxes right away.  I didn't even bother betting out my scope.  I could identify them with binoculars without a problem.


I went into Marymoor Park (which is basically adjacent to where the nest boxes are), and immediately saw the male Lazuli Bunting back at his favorite tree, singing away.  I walked over there and joined another birder/photographer who had been there for a half hour.  The morning sun made for great light, but the bunting flew off before I could get any pictures.  I hung around, entertaining myself with taking pictures of what I presume was the same male Anna's Hummingbird I had seen on Sunday.  Here is a picture of him in the sun, showing his iridescent green back, as well as his iridescent red gorget.


A couple of other birders showed up, looking for the Lazuli Bunting as well, and we chatted while we waited for him to come back to his tree.  While we were waiting, two Cedar Waxwings flew in, another one I needed for Monday.  I got only one picture, but I like it.


We all noticed that the male Lazuli Bunting was singing nearby, and we looked for it.  They found it, and I got one picture of him in the sunshine.


So, that was three species for Monday, and I was satisfied.  I could have walked around and probably gotten more, but I didn't want to walk on my bad heel any more than I had to, so I went home.  Monday was at 123 species after that.


Tomorrow I plan to head over the mountains to Yakima for a three night trip.  There are tons of birds I need for my day lists and for my year lists over there now, and it'll be interesting to see how many of them I can see.  There will be a lot of forest birding and "walking-around" birding, and I'm not very good at those, partly because I don’t know the songs and calls of the birds, and also partly because I don't do a lot walking these days - especially with my bad heel.  However many I get, I'm sure I will enjoy getting out there, though.  I plan to mostly visit places I have been before, but I also plan to visit some new places.  I'll try to take pictures and send out birding reports, but my laptop computer wouldn't start at all yesterday, and I started shopping for a new one, as there didn't seem to be anything I could do about it.  I keep trying, though, and after about 10 or 15 attempts, it actually started and let me boot into Safe mode.  I did a System Restore back to April 24, and since then it has worked fine.  I don't really trust it, and it could crap out on me while I'm on the trip.  If you don't hear from me, it just means my computer died, not that I fell off the face of the earth.  I've got my fingers crossed, though, and maybe it will work just fine from now on.  We shall see.



Tuesday, May 31, 2016


I was up and out of the house by 9:10 this morning, pretty good for me.  My first stop was Bullfrog Pond, just west of Cle Elum.  I had one particular target species there, and a number of other ones I could use.  I played the song of Veery a lot, and I think I heard them singing back, but I’m not familiar enough with them to make the call based on hearing them only, and I never saw one, so I didn’t count it.  I did see a CHIPPING SPARROW, though, a nice year bird.  At the river, I spotted a distant American Dipper, a good one for my Tuesday list.  It was probably a hundred yards away, and the light was all wrong, but I got this picture that shows the silhouette of the bird, with its distinctive shape.


There was lots of bird song there, but I don’t know the songs, of course, so I didn’t get anything else there.  I saw 3 or 4 other birds, but not long enough or well enough to identify any of them.


I moved on to the Cle Elum Railroad ponds, as birders call the area.  As I approached the dead snag where my main target species had been nesting back in April, I saw a couple of birders with cameras at the base of the tree.  I stopped a little distance away and saw a Pygmy Nuthatch at the nest hole.  I presume it is a second brood of babies that they were feeding since they had been nesting way back in April..  Here is a picture of a Pygmy Nuthatch leaving the nest hole.


Both the male and the female repeatedly flew in, so they must have been feeding young ones.  They never stuck around for long, though, so it was hard to get pictures.  Here is one that shows one of the parents outside the nest hole.


There was a Tree Swallow that perched in the same dead snag, and here is a picture of it.


While I was trying for pictures of the nuthatches, I saw a bird across the road and ended up adding both Cedar Waxwing and Brown-headed Cowbird to my Tuesday list.  Then I heard a bird singing and saw it nearby.  It turned out to be my first HOUSE WREN of the year.  It wouldn’t sit still for pictures, but here are the best two I could get.



While I was trying to get pictures of the House Wren, a female Northern Flicker flew in to a nest hole in another dead snag.  I didn’t need it for any lists, but I love the pictures of it feeding its young.



So, that was fun, and I moved on.  I stopped to take a leak and spotted a Western Wood-Pewee for my Tuesday list.  I didn’t need Spotted Towhee, but this one posed for me while singing, so I snapped his picture.


I didn’t get anything else there, and next I went to Mickey D’s in Cle Elum for lunch.  After filling up with fat and salt, I drove through town and stopped at a fishing access that I knew of, to look for Red-eyed Vireo.  I played the song repeatedly, but didn’t see one or hear one this year.  My next stop was the Swauk Cemetery.  As I drove in, I heard a loud and distinctive bird call that I didn’t recognize.  I never could find the bird, though, and it soon stopped calling.  I did see my first Tuesday Western Bluebirds, though.  Here is the male.


Here is the much more subdued female.


Here is the male with a bug it was taking back to their nest box.


I heard Western Meadowlark there, but I didn’t need that one for Tuesday.  I also saw a couple of Yellow-rumped Warblers, another one I didn’t need for Tuesday.


Along the Swauk Prairie Road, I got this picture of another female Western Bluebird, showing a different perspective.


Too bad the light was so bad.  I also got this picture of a Western Meadowlark along that road.


On Bettas Road, I was trying for Mountain Bluebird, but didn’t see any.  I did get these two pictures of Brewer’s Blackbirds, though, showing the difference between the male and the female of that species.  Here is the male.


Here is the female Brewer’s Blackbird.


By that time I was in a hurry to get to Yakima, but I took a little detour at Hungry Junction Road to check out the turf farm there for Long-billed Curlew.  I didn’t see one, but I did get this picture of a Red-tailed Hawk soon after that, as I made my way back to the main road.


I also picked up my only Black-billed Magpie of the day along in there, one I hope to see every day on the trip.  I got gas on the outskirts of Ellensburg and boogied down the freeway to Yakima.  I stopped at the Selah rest area to take a leak and also to try for several species, but I didn’t see anything there.  My last birding site of the day was the Poppoff Trail, which is part of the Yakima Greenway or Yakima River Trail, or something like that.  The same trail runs in front of my hotel, between my room and the river (picture later).  On my way to the Poppoff Trail, I added Osprey to my Tuesday list, as I saw one on a nest platform next to the freeway.


It was fairly hot by then – 84 degrees by my car thermometer.  At the Poppoff Trail I set off for a little walking and soon picked up Northern Rough-winged Swallow for my Tuesday list.  I later got these two pictures of what I think were both Northern Rough-winged Swallows.



I was mainly looking for a particular species, and I had specific directions on where to look.  I made my way to the end of the unofficial trail I had been told about and played the songs of the target species.  After a short while, a bird flew in, but it stayed in the trees, always hiding behind leaves.  I eventually decided it was indeed my target species, GRAY CATBIRD, but it took a while.  I never could get a picture, but I got some good looks at it.


On my way back to the car, I head California Quail calling, a good one for my Tuesday list.  I was going to count it as a “heard only” bird, since the call is so distinctive and it is one of the few I know well, but as it turned out, I saw a pair of California Quail a little later.  The light was terrible (my usual excuse for poor pictures), but I got these two lousy pictures, and I can’t decide which is less bad, so I’m going to show them both.



I also spotted this little bunny on the way to the car.


I was hot by then, and my heel hurt like hell, after all my driving and walking.  I found my hotel and checked in.  I’m tired of staying in cheap motels, and I went for the highest rated motel/hotel in Yakima this time, and I’m here for three nights.  It is only $103 plus tax per night, which is somewhat higher than I’m used to paying, but as I said, I’m tired of staying in cheap motels.  I get a free hot breakfast, two free drinks (beer or wine), a free soup and salad bar, and free cookies in the lobby, so that makes up for some of the cost.  Lodging costs have really gone up in the last few years, too, so this is really a bargain.  Here is a picture of the room, which is on the fourth floor, overlooking the Yakima River.


Here is the view from my balcony.


So, when all was said and done, I added 13 species to my Tuesday list, to bring it to 130 species.  Three of those were year-birds, too, to bring me to 172 for the year.  It’s 10:00 now, and time for me to send this out, so I can get some sleep.