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Thursday, June 1, 2017
My first stop this morning on my birding adventure was the Redmond Retention Ponds.† I saw a Western Wood-Pewee there, which is a good bird, but I didn't need it for Thursday and I've already used it as a BAD bird.† I also saw this Spotted Sandpiper sitting on a pst.
I didn't need that one for Thursday either, but it was a candidate for BAD bird for today.† As I walked back to my car I saw and heard a Killdeer.† It kept walking and flying off in front of me, almost like it was leading me on, and I wonder if it was leading me away from its nest or its young.† Here is a picture of it as it led me along.
Next I stopped at the Redmond Watershed Preserve.† I had read of four species I needed that someone reported there this week, but I never saw anything worthwhile.† I moved on from there to my main destination for the day, the Stillwater Unit of the Snoqualmie Valley Wildlife Area.
I stopped first at the Fay Road parking area and saw a Red-breasted Sapsucker on the same tree I had seen one on a few weeks ago.† Here is a picture of the Red-breasted Sapsucker, which I needed for my Thursday list.
The many holes in the tree are sap "wells" that the sapsucker has drilled, and when the wells fill with sap, the bird slurps it up.
I moved on to the main parking area and walked out on the trail.† I saw a Pileated Woodpecker fly in and got this picture of a male Pileated Woodpecker, a nice Thursday bird.
Here is another shot of him, looking away.
I heard American Bitterns calling today, repeatedly, so I guess they don't only call in the early spring.† There were at least two of them, maybe three.† I never could see one, though, partly because the grass has grown so long.† I didn't need that one for Thursday, though, and I already used it for a BAD bird.
Back to the woodpecker theme, at the dead snag where I had seen Hairy Woodpeckers a few weeks ago, they had obviously hatched their eggs and were now feeding their young.† Here is a picture of the female Hairy Woodpecker, with the bill of one of the chicks sticking a little out of the nest hole.
Here is a picture of the male Hairy Woodpecker, just after he had delivered his load of food to the nest.
Here is the male on another trip to the nest, and you can see he has a grub or something in his bill, to feed the young.
Here is a Hairy Woodpecker chick sticking its head out of the nest hole a bit.
Here is another shot of the same chick or another one, sticking its head out a little more.
There were a couple of Common Yellowthroats around, another species I needed for Thursday.† Here is a male Common Yellowthroat, with a bill-full of bugs, presumably for his chicks.
A little farther down the trail I saw a couple of Cedar Waxwings, not a Thursday bird, but a good candidate for BAD bird.† Here's a picture of a Cedar Waxwing.
The Cedar Waxwings seemed to be collecting what looked like nesting material from that tree.
I heard Swainson's Thrushes several times, but never could see one or attract one in by playing their calls.† It was a good Thursday bird, though, and it went down as "heard only".
A couple of weeks ago I showed pictures of four Pied-billed Grebe chicks that were riding on their mother's back and swimming around her.† Today I saw three larger Pied-billed Grebe chicks and it seemed like an adult was feeding them, at least part-time, while the chicks were also foraging for themselves.† I presume it was the same family, based on the location.† Here is a picture of one of the young Pied-billed Grebes.
Finally, I saw a Red-breasted Sapsucker fly to the hole I saw one drilling a few weeks ago, and the bird disappeared into the hole.† I would guess that there are very small young in the nest at this point.† Here is the Red-breasted Sapsucker looking out of the nest hole, prior to emerging and flying off.
That was it for today.† It was a day of young birds, adult birds carrying food, and nests.† This is a fun time of year, when all the birds are raising their families.
I added five species to my Thursday list, to bring it to 203 species.† I completed Red-breasted Sapsucker, to make 96 species that I have seen on all seven days of the week this year.† For my BAD bird, I'll take Cedar Waxwing.
Friday, June 2, 2017
This morning I headed over to the Stillwater Unit again, in search of woodpeckers.† I don't see either Hairy Woodpecker or Pileated Woodpecker very often, and since they are both nesting at Stillwater right now, it's a great opportunity to add them to each day's list.† I needed both of them today.
Before I even got to the area where the woodpeckers are nesting, I saw a couple of Cedar Waxwings, which I didn't need for Friday, high in a tree.† Here is a picture of a Cedar Waxwing that looks kind of fat or puffy.† Normally they look quite slim.
On its wing you can see the red waxy substance that gives the species its name.† You can also see the bright yellow tip of its tail.
Here is another picture that looks more normal.
That looks like a piece of nesting material in its bill.† I saw a pair of Cedar Waxwings near there yesterday, and they looked like they were gathering nesting material, so maybe they will nest in the area.
The first bird I added to my Friday list today was Western Wood-Pewee.† Here is a picture of a flycatcher that I believe is a Western Wood-Pewee.
Here is a back view of the same bird.
Flycatchers are tough to identify, but among other things, the wings are too long for the others that might be there, like Willow Flycatcher.
Here is another Western Wood-Pewee (I think) with some fluff in its bill, presumably nesting material.
Here is that second Western Wood-Pewee taking off with its fluff.
The Hairy Woodpeckers were still feeding their young at the nest hole in the snag by the first bridge, south of the parking lot.† They weren't feeding them as often today, it seemed, or maybe I just wasn't as patient, since I had gotten pictures yesterday.† That was a Friday bird for me.† Here is a picture of the female Hairy Woodpecker near the nest hole.† You can see just a bit of the bill of one of the chicks in the nest hole.
The female Hairy Woodpecker posed for me at the top of an adjacent sang, and I couldn't resist taking another picture.
Here's the male Hairy Woodpecker at the nest hole with some food.
I saw Red-breasted Sapsuckers several times today, too.† I watched one go into and then later come out of the nest I know about, but I imagine there are more nests in the area, based on how many of the sapsuckers I see in the area.† Here is a Red-breasted Sapsucker, another member of the woodpecker family.
I didn't need Red-breasted Sapsucker for Friday, but I did need Pileated Woodpecker, and I saw this male Pileated Woodpecker on my way back to my car.
I think its interesting how his feathers are ruffled up, showing their detail.
I heard Swainson's Thrushes several times today, and although I never saw one, it went onto my Friday list as a "heard only" bird.
I took this picture of a Red-winged Blackbird.† It is either a female or a juvenile, I suspect the latter because it doesn't have the "eyebrow" that female Red-winged Blackbirds normally have.
I saw the juvenile Pied-billed Grebes again today, and today the adults were quite a distance away.† I suspect the adults have left the youngsters on their own now, and they will probably have another brood now.† Two, or even three, broods a year is normal for Pied -billed Grebes.† The chicks don't have a very good survival rate, so having multiple broods each year makes sense for them.† Here is a picture of one of the two adult Pied-billed Grebes that were associating with each other today.
That was it for today.† It seemed pretty quiet, but I saw a few other species I haven't mentioned, and I got some pictures.†
By the end of the day a light in my camera viewfinder was flashing red, indicating that the battery was almost depleted.† On Wednesday I couldn't find my spare battery or the charger, and I decided that I must have left them both in my motel room in Kennewick on Sunday night.† I ordered another one of each from Amazon and they were delivered today, but I have been limping along with just the one battery and no way to charge it, since Monday.† It only cost me 13 bucks for both items, and I'm thinking I ought to buy another set as a spare, just in case I lose them again on a trip.† I hope I won't forget them again, but it seems like cheap insurance.† It would be a real bummer to be on an extended trip and not be able to charge my camera battery.
I added 4 species to my Friday list, to bring it to 205.† For my BAD bird, I'll take Northern Rough-winged Swallow, a species I saw today but already had on my Friday list.
Saturday, June 3, 2017
This morning I went back over to Stillwater.† I needed Hairy Woodpecker and American Bittern for my Saturday list.† I had heard bitterns there the last two days, and I hoped that the Hairy Woodpeckers would still be in their nest hole.
I stopped at the Redmond Retention Ponds on the way, to see what was around.† I saw a flycatcher, but it was too far away for me to determine if it was a Willow Flycatcher or a Western Wood-Pewee.† I suspect I should have known which one it was, but I didn't, even with some very distant pictures.† There were at least two Spotted Sandpipers around, too, and I saw a female Cowbird as I left.† I moved on to Stillwater after that.
At Stillwater, on my way to the Hairy Woodpecker nest, I saw a Pileated Woodpecker chick sticking its head out of their nest hole.† I had had that nest pointed out to me before, but this was the first time I had actually seen any action around it.† Here is the Pileated Woodpecker chick.
That nest hole it high up in a dead snag, so its harder to get pictures.† I didn't need Pileated Woodpecker for Saturday, but it was nice to confirm the location of the nest.† It's in the same snag that the Red-breasted Sapsucker nest hole is in - the one I saw the sapsucker drilling a few weeks ago.
At the Hairy Woodpecker nest, there were two birders already there, with their cameras set up on tripods, pointing at the nest hole.† Both had lenses that were almost as long as my arm and as big around at the end as a dessert plate.† I stepped up with my little toy camera and joined them.† At least I had my high-end $2500 binoculars around my neck, so I didnít feel completely outclassed.† We talked about birds as we waited for the parents to bring food in to the chicks in the nest.† Here is the male Hairy Woodpecker with food for one of the chicks.
I've been wondering how many chicks are in there.† Neither of the other two guys had seen anything but a male chick, and there's only room for one to look out at a time.† I took some pictures, and now I know there are at least two male chicks.† Here is one I'll call chick number 1.
Here is a different one, which I'll call chick number 2.† Look at the pattern of white feathers above the eye, as well as the red feathers on the top of their heads, and you can see the difference.
The second one seems a bit larger and he seemed to look out more often.† The chicks were much more active today, looking out of the nest hole most of the time and calling constantly to be fed.† They usually just kind of cheeped, but at least one of them was getting his big boy voice, sounding much like an adult Hairy Woodpecker calling.† Here is one of them sticking way out of the hole and looking around for mom or dad with food.
That last picture might actually be a third chick - it's hard to tell.† No female chicks have shown themselves, though.
Here is a picture of the male Hairy Woodpecker feeding a chick.
Here is the female feeding a chick.† This one is pretty blurry, but I wanted to give mom equal billing with dad.
While we were watching the Hairy Woodpeckers, a couple of Brown Creepers flew in and entertained us, as well as a Common Yellowthroat.† I didn't need either one of those, but then one of the guys pointed out an American Bittern flying across the marsh.† I had a great binocular view of it, and then a second one followed it.† They landed in the long grass and disappeared.† That was my second target species for the day.† I also had such close views of Violet-green Swallows that I put them on my Saturday list.
That was fun, watching the woodpeckers and talking about birds with two more expert birders than me.† I learned some things, including the location of a nearby Downy Woodpecker nest.† Downy Woodpeckers look very much like Hairy Woodpeckers, but they are somewhat smaller.† Size is hard to judge, but the relative length of the bill is shorter in Downy, too, and when you get used to looking at them, you can see the difference.† Here is a somewhat distant shot of a male Downy Woodpecker at his nest hole.
Here is a blurry shot of the male and female Downy Woodpeckers both at their nest hole.† The female has some food in her bill.
The Downy chicks aren't looking out of the nest hole yet, so they are likely younger than the Hairy chicks.† I'll watch that nest over the next few days.
I saw Cedar Waxwings two or three times today.† Here is a picture of a Cedar Waxwing.
There is supposed to be a Cedar Waxwing nest in that tree, but I couldn't find it today.† Later I saw a couple more Cedar Waxwings, a hundred yards up the trail, and I got some more pictures.† I never get tired of taking pictures of those sleek looking birds.
Here is one of them with nesting material in its bill.
Now for something completely different, there were a couple of garter snakes along the trail, trying to take advantage of the sun, which kept coming out and then going away again.† Here is one of the garter snakes.
When I was a kid and we visited this area every summer, I saw garter snakes all the time, but these days I rarely see one.
I was almost back to the car when I heard Swainson's Thrush singing in the distance, so that one went down on Saturday's list as heard only.
It was another fun morning with the nesting woodpeckers and the two birders, and I ended up adding 4 species to my Saturday list.† For my BAD bird I'll take Brown-headed Cowbird.
I need Pileated Woodpecker for Sunday, so maybe I'll go back over there, to monitor the progress of the nests.† Or, maybe I'll do something completely different tomorrow and go over there on Monday.† We shall see.
Sunday, June 4, 2017
This morning I decided to go back over to Stillwater to pick up Pileated Woodpecker for my Sunday list and to check on the Hairy Woodpecker nest.† When I got there I saw these stickers on the back of one of the cars in the parking lot.† I hope the image is large enough to be read on the various devices that people use these days.† I'll make it larger than usual.† I think this car belongs to a birder.
First I'll tell the story of my morning, and then I'll present all the Hairy Woodpecker pictures together, at the end of the report.† I know there have been a lot of Hairy Woodpecker pictures lately, but I've really been enjoying watching the family mature.
As I went past the snag with the Red-breasted Sapsucker nest hole, I saw one of the adult sapsuckers sticking its head out of the hole.
It soon flew off, and I got this extremely blurry picture, which I like anyway, of it departing.
There were three birders standing there, swapping birding stories, and I got this picture of them, showing the honking big lenses that two of them had on their cameras.
My little zoom camera has more zoom than either of those two do, but the quality of their pictures is far better than what my little camera can achieve.† My camera cost me less than 500 bucks, and theirs must have run at least 10 grand each, with those lenses.† Mine is considerably more portable, too.† I can't claim to be a serious photographer with my little toy camera, but it serves my purposes admirably.
I got my Pileated Woodpecker for Sunday there, and here is a picture of a female Pileated Woodpecker.
I saw one of the Pileated Woodpecker chicks stick its head out of the nest hole today, but I didn't get a picture of it.† I didn't get any pictures of the nesting Downy Woodpeckers today, either, although I did see them at a distance.
We all moved on to the Hairy Woodpecker nest and took pictures for the next hour or two.† As I mentioned, I'll show my Hairy Woodpecker pictures from today at the end of this report, all together, but in the meantime, I saw other things.† Here is a Tree Swallow that perched nearby.
Here is another Tree Swallow picture.
I had already counted Tree Swallow on Sunday, so it wasnít one for my Sunday list.
I walked down the trail at one point and got this very distant picture of a male Common Yellowthroat.
Here is a closer shot of another male Common Yellowthroat.
Here is a picture of our Hairy Woodpecker stakeout.† The nest snag is the second one from the left, and the nest hole is just above that branch stub that sticks out on the right side of the trunk.† It is a really ideal setup for pictures.† The other two guys said that this is the best setup for a Hairy Woodpecker nest they have ever seen, and I gathered that they have seen a lot of them.† I find it quite surprising that the woodpeckers don't seem to mind people being so close.† It's less than a quarter of a mile from the parking area, too, along that nice gravel trail.
On my way back to my car I heard Swainson's Thrushes in the distance, so that one went onto my Sunday list.† I got this picture of some Mallard ducklings, too.
I counted nine ducklings, but they were pretty spread out around the mom.† Here is the female Mallard with three of the ducklings.
Okay, now for today's Hairy Woodpecker photos.† I got this close picture of the female Hairy Woodpecker today.
The chicks were very active today, sticking their heads out of the nest hole and calling incessantly for food.† After studying my pictures, I concluded that there are three chicks in the nest.† Presumably they are all male, since they all have red on their heads, but I'm not sure of that.† You can tell the difference among them by looking at the gray "eyebrow" over the eye and the amount and location of red on their crowns.† Here is chick Number 1.
Here is chick Number 2.
Hairy Woodpecker chick Number 3.
They took turns sitting in the opening, and whoever was there when a load of food came in, got it.
Here is the female Hairy Woodpecker and one of the chicks, right after she fed it.
They were never satisfied with what they got, always clamoring for more.† Here is the male with one of the chicks, right after stuffing it's bill with a grub.
Here's a picture of the female actually feeding one of the chicks.
Here is the male giving a chick some food.
Here is the female Hairy Woodpecker stuffing a grub into another chick's mouth.
In the next picture, you can see one foot of the chick as the male feeds it.† I thought the chicks were close to fledging, but they still seem quite a bit smaller than the adults, based on the relative size of their feet in this picture.† The chick's foot seems significantly smaller than the dad's.† Most birds are about as big as the adults when they fledge.
Here is one more picture of the female delivering some food to a chick.
I know that's a lot of Hairy Woodpecker pictures, but it was really fun to watch them today.† I plan to go back again tomorrow, as I need both Hairy Woodpecker and Pileated Woodpecker for Monday, as well as other birds I might see there.
I added two species to my Sunday list today, to bring it to 191.† I'll take Common Yellowthroat for my BAD bird today.
Monday, June 5, 2017
I can't let this woodpecker thing go.† It's a great opportunity to add woodpecker species to my DOTW lists, and I'm really enjoying watching the developments at the nests.† So, I went back over to Stillwater again today.† It's a half hour drive each way, but what else do I have to do?
I still needed Pileated Woodpecker and Hairy Woodpecker for Monday, and I also needed American Bittern, Western Wood-Pewee, and Cedar Waxwing, all of which I have seen there in the last few days.
My first Monday bird was Pileated Woodpecker.† The chick or chicks were sticking their heads out of the nest hole more today than the last few days, and I got this picture of one of them.
That completed Pileated Woodpecker for me, which was great for a species I usually have a hard time finding.
There were Black-headed Grosbeaks singing all over the place, and I got this picture of a male Black-headed Grosbeak.
I didn't need it for Monday, but I haven't yet used it as a BAD bird.
The Hairy Woodpeckers were still feeding their young, and the young ones were still sticking their heads out and calling incessantly for food.† Here is a Hairy Woodpecker chick today.
That was another Monday bird, and now I only need to see one tomorrow to complete that species.† I suspect I'll be back to do just that, GWATCDR.† Here is the male feeding a grub to one of the chicks.
While I was watching the woodpeckers, I tried playing the song of Yellow Warbler.† I hadn't yet seen a Yellow Warbler around here this year, and every one else was reporting them all over.† I didn't see or hear any immediate response, but when I quit playing the song, I heard one respond.† I was able to see it well a few times, but it never stuck around long enough in one place for me to get a picture.† It was an excellent Monday bird, though, and I wanted that one for a BAD bird as well.† Yellow Warbler was pretty common down in the Malheur area, but I still need the species for a couple of days, so maybe I can see them at Stillwater again.
I also heard Virginia Rails calling several times. They are hard to see, but the call is distinctive, so that one went onto Monday's list as a "heard only" bird today.
There was a flycatcher around, too.† I got several looks at it, but never got a picture, and I never could decide if it was a Western Wood-Pewee or a Willow Flycatcher.† I needed both for Monday, but neither one could be added to my list because I just couldn't tell which species it was.
The Downy Woodpecker chicks have started to stick their heads out of their nest hole now.† That nest is pretty distant, but I took some long distance shots of a chick or chicks sticking their heads out.
Notice how much shorter the bill is, compared to the Hairy Woodpecker chicks.† Other than overall size and the relative size of the bills, the two species look very much alike.
Back at the Pileated Woodpecker nest snag, one of the chick was sticking its head way out, and even had its claws on the edge of the hole.
Later one was just sticking its head out.
That same snag has a Red-breasted Sapsucker nest hole, but I haven't seen any sign of a chick sticking its head out of that hole yet.
I never heard or saw a bittern today; they don't seem very vocal lately.† I've seen or heard one on each day of the week now except Monday.† I didn't see any Cedar Waxwings today, either, and Monday is the only day I haven't yet seen that species this year.
As I was walking back to my car, I was just thinking that I hadn't heard any Swainson's Thrushes today, and that was another potential Monday bird.† I was actually glad, because I preferred to "save" that species for a later Monday. †Then just as I was nearing the parking lot, a Swainson's Thrush started singing quite close by.† I never could lure it out in the open, but it sang repeatedly for several minutes, so it went onto my Monday list as a "heard only" bird.
I ended up with 5 species for Monday, to bring Monday to 188 species.† My streak of seeing a new DOTW bird every day this year continues.† I completed one species (Pileated Woodpecker) today, and now I have completed 97 species.† It has been several days since I added a new bird to my year list, and that still stands at 310 species.† For my BAD bird today, I'll take Yellow Warbler.
Tuesday, June 6, 2017
My original plan for today was to go back to Stillwater to complete Hairy Woodpecker and check up on all the woodpecker nests.† Then last night there was a post on Tweeters and also a couple of eBird reports about a couple of flycatchers at Marymoor.† One of the flycatchers was a genuine rarity here and the other one was uncommon and I hadn't expected to see one on this side of the mountains.† I decided to chase them instead of going over to Stillwater.† Then this morning there was a post to Tweeters by a guy who had looked for the two rare flycatchers at Marymoor this morning and hadn't found either one of them.† As he was leaving, another well known birder showed up and he was going to look.
By the time I was ready to leave, there hadn't been a follow up post, which meant to me that no one had seen the flycatchers, so I went back to my original plan and went to Stillwater.† The reason I tell that story is to illustrate how the internet and today's communications affects birding.† With cell phones and the internet, you get pretty much real-time information sometimes.
Anyway, at Stillwater I heard a Swainson's Thrush singing loudly right where I had heard one yesterday morning - probably the same bird.† That was a "heard only" bird for Tuesday, since I couldn't lure him out again today.† That completed Swainson's Thrush for me.
At the Pileated Woodpecker nest, one of the chicks was sticking its head out again.
I didn't see any activity at the Red-breasted Sapsucker nest.† I presume there are young ones in the nest, but they aren't yet big enough to stick their heads out.† At the Downy Woodpecker nest one of the chicks stuck its head out, and here is a distant picture.
Nothing was going on at the Hairy Woodpecker nest.† Another birder/photographer, one of the two guys who were there over the weekend, showed up and both of us watched for 10 or 15 minutes, but nothing stuck its head out of the nest.† We ended up concluding that the Hairy Woodpecker chicks must have fledged.† Interestingly, a woman who is often there came by about then, and she said that there was a chick sticking its head out of the nest a half hour earlier.† It must have just fledged, and we all missed it.† As we stood there we heard Hairy Woodpecker calls from the woods behind the nest snag - the same calls we had been hearing from the chicks for the last couple of days, since they got their big boy voices.† The male Hairy Woodpecker flew in close for a minute and then went to the woods and joined up with what appeared to be one of the chicks, presumably feeding it.† So, I just missed seeing the last chick fledge, but I did manage to see my Hairy Woodpecker today, to complete that species.
A Brown Creeper flew in and stuck around for a short time, but not much else was going on.† I didn't hear any bitterns today, like yesterday.† Back at the Pileated Woodpecker nest, two of the chicks were sticking their heads out, the first time I had seen that.
Two things to note about that picture - first, one of them is a male (the closer one - the red under the bill is the sign) and one is a female; second, they have their red crests more or less raised.† Here is another picture taken a minute or two later, and they both have their crests down.
I found it interesting that they can raise and lower their crests, even at that age.
While I was watching them, their mom flew in with food.† The picture I got of her feeding one of them came out poorly, but here is a picture of the female adult Pileated Woodpecker and the two chicks.
While walking back to my car I saw a female Bullock's Oriole, to complete that species.† I also got this picture of a Great Blue Heron looking for prey.
A Cedar Waxwing flew in and I got this picture.
I saw a Mourning Dove, which I don't see very often around here, and then a little later I saw it (or another one) sunning itself.† I assume that is what it was doing, as it had its wings and tail feathers all spread out in the sun.
Here it is after it straightened up and stood normally.
Back near the parking lot I saw a male Spotted Towhee in the grass and got this picture.
That was it for Stillwater today, and I went out to lunch with my friend, Chris.† Afterwards we went to Phantom Lake as usual.† I was still looking for a decent BAD bird and we saw a male Black-headed Grosbeak.† It was pretty far away, but here is a distant picture of it.
I added 3 species to my Tuesday list, to bring it to 180, which is my lowest day of the week at this point.† All three of them completed that species, to make it a round 100 species that I have completed now this year.† For my BAD bird, I'll take Black-headed Grosbeak.
Now that the Hairy Woodpecker chicks have fledged, I'm not sure what I'll do next.† I'm running out of birds to get for some days of the week, and Wednesday is the worst, in terms of remaining needed species that are easy to see locally.† It's probably time to start taking swallow species, but on Wednesday I already have four of the seven local swallow species, and one of the remaining ones is difficult.† I need some rarities or uncommon species to show up where I can find them.
Wednesday, June 7, 2017
This morning I headed over to Marymoor Park in Redmond.† I stopped at the area around the office and mansion and walked around playing the song of Golden-crowned Kinglet.† I didn't get any response.
Next I stopped at the East Meadow and walked around a bit.† I got this picture of a male Anna's Hummingbird with the sun shining on his red gorget.
There were lots of Savannah Sparrows around.† I didn't need that one for Wednesday, but I haven't yet used it for a BAD bird.† Here are a couple of pictures of Savannah Sparrows.
It's good to know how many there are around that meadow.† I feel like I can go there any time and quickly get a BAD bird, when I need it.
I was hoping to see Lazuli Bunting in that area.† I didn't need it for Wednesday, but it would make a great BAD bird, and I wanted to see if there were any around, for future information.† I walked to the south end of the meadow, in the area where the rare flycatchers had been seen a couple of days ago.† I didn't really expect to see either of them, but you never know.† I was thinking I might walk all the way out to the end of the boardwalk, to see if there were any Purple Martins around.† Purple Martin is a swallow species, and I haven't seen one yet this year.† I think there are nest boxes at the end of the boardwalk.
Before I could even get to the start of the boardwalk, though, a Band-tailed Pigeon flew overheard and circled back for me to get a good look at it.† That was a Wednesday bird, and since I was short on time and the sun was pretty hot, I headed back for my car.† On my way I saw this Cedar Waxwing.
It's interesting how fluffy its belly feathers look, with its legs and feet enclosed by the feathers.† I wonder if it was a female that was getting ready to lay eggs.† Some female birds develop fluffy belly feathers in breeding season, so they can incubate the eggs better.† I didn't need Cedar Waxwing, but I can never resist taking pictures of them when I get the chance.
I saw a distant bird, and it turned out to be a flycatcher.† It was a long way away, but I got some pictures and from the pictures I think it was a Willow Flycatcher.† That was a good one for Wednesday and also one I hadn't yet used for a BAD bird.† Here is a picture of what I think was a Willow Flycatcher.
It looks rather like a Western Wood-Pewee, but the wings are too short to be a pewee and the chin is whiter than a pewee would have.
I had a little extra time, and I still wondered if Lazuli Buntings were around, so I went up onto the viewing mound at the north end of the East Meadow.† I played the song of Lazuli Bunting and after a while a pair of them flew in to check me out, a male and a female.† It's great to know they are there, because they are pretty uncommon around here.† Last year a male hung around that area for weeks, so maybe this year I can get it for other days.† I still need Lazuli Bunting for four days of the week.
I added 2 species to my Wednesday list, to bring it to 203.† I debated about my BAD bird.† Either Willow Flycatcher or Lazuli Bunting would be a great BAD bird; I wasn't counting on either one of them.† I ended up deciding to take Willow Flycatcher today, and I hope to see Lazuli Bunting again.
Tomorrow is supposed to be rainy in the morning, but the afternoon should have some clearing times.† I need to work out a plan, but I'll be out there, one way or the other, like every other day this year so far.
Thursday, June 8, 2017
It was raining this morning, as forecasted.† It was supposed to stop about noon or 1 PM.† I did some things around the house and headed out at about 10:45 to see what I could find.† I was going north to Fobes Road, near the town of Snohomish, which is about a half hour drive north of here.† I had been there once before, last summer, to look for a Solitary Sandpiper, which I found.† I was looking mainly for Eastern Kingbird and Willow Flycatcher, both of which had been reported there recently.† Eastern Kingbird is quite uncommon on this side of the mountains, and that was what I really wanted.† The story is that they breed in this small area near Fobes Road, and have been there for a few years.† They are migrants, but migrants often return to the same place they were hatched, and thus a population can become established there.
It was still raining lightly when I got there, and I drove around for about 45 minutes, looking for the kingbird.† They like to perch on wires or on any prominent place, while they look for flying insects to go after.† I wasn't sure if insects even came out in the rain, so I wasnít sure that the kingbirds would not be hiding away from the rain.† All I saw was some robins, some starlings, a couple of doves (which I didn't bother to identify), and one Spotted Towhee.
After that 45 minutes of driving around, I parked and read my book for about 20 minutes, then ate my lunch, which I had brought from home.† The rain was pretty much stopping by about 12:30 or so, and I parked in the parking lot and ventured out onto the trail.† The rain had passed, but now it was windy, not a great condition for seeing birds, either.† It turned out that the trail led to the Snohomish River and I walked along the dike on the bank of the river.† There was almost no bird activity.
Eventually I saw a couple of Cedar Waxwings and I heard a Swainson's Thrush.† There was one Gadwall on a pond, and a few swallows flying around, which I was ignoring, of course.† I heard some bird sounds, and I realized I had no idea what kind of sounds an Eastern Kingbird made, so I played their various songs and calls on my phone, just in case I heard one.† I was about ready to give it up when I noticed a couple of birds fly in to a dead tree nearby.† It turned out they were Eastern Kingbirds, and I guess they were actually attracted by the calls I had been playing.† I have never had any success with playback with flycatchers, so it hadn't even occurred to me to play their calls in the hopes of attracting them.
I took some pictures, but the birds were perched up high, against a bright cloudy sky.† They are black and white, which doesnít help any, either.† Here is a picture of one of the Eastern Kingbirds.
Here is an odd one, with the bird looking right at me.
One of the birds flew down to a lower perch, but it was still a very difficult shot.
I was pleased with finding the kingbirds.† Not only was it a Thursday bird, I thought it was a great BAD bird as well, since I never expected to see one locally.† I walked back to my car and went home.
When I entered my birds into my spreadsheets at home, I realized that I had actually already taken eastern Kingbird for a BAD bird, back on May 22, in Eastern Washington, on my way to Malheur.† Bummer!† I had taken it then on the assumption I would never see one around home.† You can't repeat BAD birds, so I had to take another one for today.† I ended up taking Spotted Towhee for my BAD bird today.† Eastern Kingbird brought my Thursday total to 204.
I learned two things today, though.† First, it appears that I can get Eastern Kingbird at Fobes Road for other days if I want to drive up there, and second, it appears I can attract them with playback.† When the going gets tough for DOTW birds, I might go back up there.† I still need Eastern Kingbird on 3 days.
Friday, June 9, 2017
There were clouds around this morning, but the rain held off as I drove to Stillwater.† My plan was to get the "gimme" Downy Woodpecker at the nest hole.† I needed Downy Woodpecker to complete the species.† On my way to the nest area, a couple of Brown Creepers flew in, and I got this close shot of a Brown Creeper, which I didn't need for any lists.
There was no sign of life at the Pileated Woodpecker nest, so I figured they had fledged.† I did see a Red-breasted Sapsucker leaving its nest hole in that same snag, but no little sapsuckers are sticking their heads out of the hole yet.
At the Downy Woodpecker nest, I was grievously disappointed.† No activity at all.† No little heads sticking out and no woodpeckers in the area.† I guess they must have fledged, which was a complete surprise to me.† It kind of caught me flat-footed; I had been counting on getting that one for a Friday bird and completing the species.† While I waited around, just in case they were only sleeping and would wake up, I played the calls of Virginia Rail and got a couple of responses.† I didn't need it for Friday, but it was a decent BAD bird, anyway.
Eventually I gave up on the Downy Woodpeckers and headed back for my car.† On the way to my car I got this picture of a female Wood Duck and one of her ducklings.
That was another one I haven't used yet for a BAD bird, but they are pretty easy to see at my local park.† I saw and heard a couple more species, but didn't get anything interesting or new.† Because I had been so sure of getting Downy Woodpecker, I didn't really have very much time to look for another Friday bird.† I headed toward Marymoor Park, which was on the way to where I had a lunch appointment, in Factoria.† On the way I decided to look to see if the swallow species that nested last year in nest boxes at the north end of Lake Sammamish was there this year.
I went straight to where I can look at the nest boxes from my car, which was important in this case, as it had started to rain steadily.† I got a little water inside my car, due to the window being open, but I was able to see some PURPLE MARTINS, a new year-bird for me.† Here is a distant picture of the nest boxes and a couple of Purple Martins.
So, I had my Friday bird, and I headed for lunch.† After lunch we went over to Phantom Lake, as usual.† There wasnít much around, but I got this picture of a good-sized frog.
Here is another view, since I have so few pictures today.
From the dock we saw a male Black-headed Grosbeak, and I got this picture.
While we were walking along the path past the grassy area, there were swallows swooping around, and I got a good enough look at one of them that I decided I had to add Barn Swallow to my Friday list, although I would rather not have seen it, frankly.† My conscience wouldn't let me ignore it.
So, with only a little birding, and with the weather not cooperating, I added two species to my Friday list, to bring it to 207.† Purple Martin brought my year list to 311 species.† For my BAD bird, I'll take Virginia Rail, although I considered Purple Martin, too.† I expect I'll be back over to Lake Sammamish to add Purple Martin to other days in the next few weeks, and I'll take it as a BAD bird on one of those days.† It is a great rainy day bird to go for, since I can see them from the car and they are always there during nesting season.
I have one more week of local birding before we head south for our annual Yosemite trip.
Saturday, June 10, 2017
This morning I drove to Richmond Beach Park, on Puget Sound.† It was about a half hour drive, like so many of the places I go birding.† I don't think I had ever been there before, and I was looking for Marbled Murrelets, which had been reported there repeatedly recently.
I parked and went over the bridge that goes over the railroad tracks, carrying my scope.† I set it up on the west side of the bridge and scanned the water.† I didn't see any birds at all except a few crows and some gulls.† Eventually I saw a raft of Surf Scoters, but they were too far away to see if there were any other species with them.† I was about to give it up when a couple of birds flew through my scope view.† I followed them and they landed out in front of me.† They were indeed Marbled Murrelets, just the bird I was looking for.
That was all I wanted, so I headed back toward home.† On the way I decided to try to find a good BAD bird, and I went to Magnuson Park, which is on Lake Washington, on the Seattle side.† I took a look at the owl box that's supposed to have a clutch of Barn Owls in it, but there wasn't anything to see in the middle of the day.† Then I drove to the swimming beach and parked.† I walked down to the lake and looked at the raft that's offshore from the swimming beach, and there were gulls on it.† Some of them were immature gulls, which are rather hard to identify.† I took some pictures, intending to look them up later, and then I noticed that one of the gulls was actually an adult California Gull, the very species I was looking for.† They are somewhat common around here, supposedly, but I don't see them very often.† It was a Saturday bird, and an excellent BAD bird, one I wasn't counting on.† That was it for my birding today.
I ended up getting two Saturday birds, to bring me to 204 for Saturday.† For my BAD bird, I'll take California Gull.† I took some pictures of gulls, but that's very boring, so I'm not going to include them in this report.
Sunday, June 11, 2017
I went over to Marymoor Park this morning, with a list of target species.† As I approached the park entrance, though, I noticed a lot of traffic.† I made the turn into the park and was stuck in a line of cars.† There was a reader board on the side of the road saying welcome to the Parks 5K today, and to expect heavy traffic.† That was it for me.† I waited for an opening and I did a U-turn and got the heck out of there.† I decided to head up north to try for some saltwater birds instead.† As I got on the freeway I saw an Osprey on the nest platform.† I didn't need Osprey for Sunday, but I hadn't yet used it as a BAD bird, and I'm running short of species to use for my BAD bird, so I was glad to see it.
I drove on up to Mukilteo to see if I could find a Sunday bird there.† I needed a couple of saltwater birds, Marbled Murrelet and Rhinoceros Auklet, but there was nothing out on the water except a few Pigeon Guillemots, which I didn't need for anything.† I was scanning around and I noticed some white birds flying in the distance, to the northwest.† I got out my scope and could see that they were Caspian Terns, one of the species I still needed for Sunday.
That was it for my birding today.† I headed for home.† But, wait, it wasn't over yet after all.† We went to a graduation party this afternoon and were sitting out in the backyard, enjoying the beautiful day, when I heard a loud bird song.† I actually thought I recognized it as a Purple Finch, which I needed for Sunday.† I played the song on my phone and the people at our table agreed that it was the same as what was singing across the yard.† Later the bird came back and sang some more.† That time I walked out into the yard and actually saw it at the top of a tree - a male Purple Finch.
My two species today, Caspian Tern and Purple Finch, brought me to 193 species for Sunday.† I used Osprey for my BAD bird.† No pictures for the second day in a row.† It's getting pretty hard to add to my day lists now - I donít know how long I can keep up the DOTW streak.† I think I can get through this week, until we leave for Yosemite on Friday, but our travel days to and from Yosemite are going to be very tough.† I think I have a decent chance on the trip south, but the trip home looks extremely tough.† We shall see.† One day at a time.† I need to decide where to go tomorrow, and let the future take care of itself.
Monday, June 12, 2017
This morning I headed over to Stillwater.† I wanted to complete American Bittern, and Monday is the only day I don't have that one.† I had others I needed as well.† One of the things I wanted to do was to check on the Red-breasted Sapsucker nest hole that I've been watching.† I saw a sapsucker working on that nest hole back on April 26, and I've been watching it since then.† In the last week I've seen Red-breasted Sapsuckers going in and out of the hole, presumably feeding young.
Today there were a couple of sapsuckers going to the hole, presumably feeding young.† Here is a picture of a Red-breasted Sapsucker on a nearby tree, on its way to or from the nest hole.
Here is another view of a Red-breasted Sapsucker near the nest hole.
Here is one of the sapsuckers feeding the young, with its head in the hole.
Today I saw them go all the way into the hole sometimes, and sometimes just stick their head in.† Here is a picture of one of the Red-breasted Sapsuckers part way into the hole.
Here is still another picture of a Red-breasted Sapsucker in a pose I like.
Finally, here is one more picture of one of the adult Red-breasted Sapsuckers, next to the nest hole.
I don't know if Red-breasted Sapsucker chicks stick their heads out of the nest hole, like other woodpecker species, but I'll keep watching that nest hole, although I'll be going out of town on Friday this week.
I walked down the trail farther, listening for Red-eyed Vireo, which has been reported there this week.† I played the calls, too, but never heard or saw one.† I did see 5 or 6 Band-tailed Pigeons at the top of a tree.† It was a terrible photo op because of the bright sky behind the birds, but here is a picture of a couple of the Band-tailed Pigeons.
They seemed to be paying attention to each other, and I got this picture of them "kissing", if a bird can kiss, without lips.
Maybe one of them was a fledgling and was being fed, but it sure looked like they were being affectionate.
I saw a Yellow Warbler and a Bullock's Oriole, but I didn't need either one of those for any lists.† I still hadn't gotten a Monday bird, but then I saw a single Cedar Waxwing, to complete that species for me - now I've seen Cedar Waxwing on all seven days of the week.† It didn't stick around for a picture.
I was rushed this morning because of a lunch appointment, and I hurried off to Bellevue.† After lunch, Chris and I went over to Phantom Lake as usual.† It was fairly quiet today, but at one point 30 or 40 Band-tailed Pigeons flew in and landed in a couple of trees.† I donít see that species very often, but today I saw them at both my locations.† This was another difficult photo op, but here are a couple more pictures of Band-tailed Pigeons.
I still needed a BAD bird for the day.† I had already used all the birds I've mentioned in today's report.† I intended to go over to Marymoor after I took Chris back to work, to look for a BAD bird, but then a Cooper's Hawk flew through and gave us a very brief view.† I was able to identify it, though, and it was an excellent BAD bird, one I wasnít at all sure I would see before my BAD birding streak finally ends.
That was it for my birding today.† I added Cedar Waxwing to Monday, to bring Monday to 189 species.† Completing Cedar Waxwing brings my completed total to 101 species.† I'll happily take Cooper's Hawk for my BAD bird.† Three more days of birding locally, and then we head for Yosemite.
Both of my streaks are alive, and it now appears I can keep them alive at least until the Yosemite trip starts.† Covering my travel days will be a challenge, but I have a plan.
Tuesday, June 13, 2017
This morning it was raining lightly, but it looked like it was stopping, so I headed over to Marymoor to try for the Eastern Kingbird that has been hanging around over there.† It was only about 9 o'clock and the traffic hadn't settled down yet.† There was a backup at the light at NE 124th St and Willows Road, and as I waited in line through 3 or 4 cycles, I noticed a bird on the top of a pole.† I thought it was probably a pigeon, or maybe a crow, but I was just sitting there, so I grabbed my binoculars and took a look.† It was a lovely American Kestrel, to my surprise.† I have been looking for a kestrel for weeks, to use as a BAD bird, but there aren't many around here, especially in the summer.
I drove on, and as I approached Marymoor, I could see that it hadn't actually rained there, although it was overcast.† I went to the East Meadow, where the kingbird has been reported recently, and I walked out onto the path.† I immediately heard a Common Yellowthroat singing, and I needed that one for Tuesday, so I was done for the day, theoretically, since I had a Tuesday bird and a good BAD bird.† I wanted to see the kingbird, though, so I walked around the East Meadow.† I saw several Savannah Sparrows, which I have completed but not yet used for a BAD bird.† There was no way I would use Savannah Sparrow today, though, when I had an American Kestrel already.† I was hoping for swifts, since they show up at Marymoor when it's overcast, but I never saw any swifts today.
I went all the way around the East Meadow loop, and didn't see the kingbird.† Back near my car, I stuck around to try to lure a Common Yellowthroat in for pictures.† While I was doing that, I saw the Eastern Kingbird sitting on a bush a short distance away.† Here is my initial picture of the Eastern Kingbird.
After I took a couple of pictures, it flew off to the northeast, out of my sight.† I returned to my car and ran into Hank and Karen, a birding couple that I have seen before several times as I birded the area.† They were looking for the Eastern Kingbird, too, and I told them I had seen it and which direction it flew.† It was the classic birding clichť - you just missed it by 5 minutes!† From my point of view, it was lucky that I had stuck around to try for pictures of the yellowthroat, or else I would have missed the kingbird, too.
I left them to chase the kingbird and I drove around to where I had last seen it flying off to, and as I drove along the road I saw the kingbird on top of a bush.† I stopped in the road and took some distant pictures, and then went and parked in the parking lot for the model airplane field and approached the bird.† I got some more pictures as I approached.† Here is a picture of the Eastern Kingbird and a Savannah Sparrow, for a size comparison.
Here is a closer picture of the Eastern Kingbird on that perch.
Eventually I got close enough to make it fly, but I saw where it went, and I chased it.† As I approached its new perching area, I noticed that Hank and††††††† Karen were approaching from the left.† They had seen it across the meadow and had walked across to where I was.† Hank and I took a lot of pictures as we approached the bird from different angles, and here are my two best shots of the day.† Here is one of the Eastern Kingbird from the back, looking over its shoulder at me.
Here's one from the side.
After the bird finally flew, Hank, Karen, and I talked birding stuff for a while, and then I headed for home.
It was a successful day.† I got a BAD bird, American Kestrel, that I had classified as "difficult" in my spreadsheet of remaining local BAD birds, and I got two for my Tuesday list, to bring me to 182 for Tuesday, my lowest day.† I didn't ever get a picture of a Common Yellowthroat, but I did get a fleeting look at one and I heard more than one singing.
Two more days, and we head for Yosemite, GWATCDR.† Wednesday is probably my toughest day of the week, at this point, due to a shortage of local birds I still need, but I ought to be able to get something tomorrow. †I still have 2 or 3 easy ones left for Wednesday, and I should be able to get one of them if I can't find a more difficult one (knock on wood - no jinx).
Wednesday, June 14, 2017
Wednesday is my toughest day in my DOTW birding thing, at this point.† There are only a few species left I can get locally, and 2 or 3 of them are fairly easy, but the number is getting low.† I headed out this morning for Marymoor, hoping to see the Eastern Kingbird again.† I also wanted to get a decent BAD bird.
I drove past where I had last seen the kingbird yesterday, but saw nothing.† I parked at the East Meadow and walked out onto the trail.† There were a lot of Savannah Sparrows around, as usual.† That's one I haven't yet used for a BAD bird, but I was hoping for something better.† Here are a couple of pictures of a Savannah Sparrow.
I love the delicate little feet of song birds.
As I walked around the East Meadow, looking for the Eastern Kingbird, I got this picture of a female Brown-headed Cowbird.
I heard Swainson's Thrushes a few times, but I didn't need that one any more.† I also got a distant view of a Willow Flycatcher, which is a good bird, but I already had it for Wednesday and I already used it for a BAD bird.† I saw a single Cedar Waxwing, which I also didn't need, and got these two distant pictures of it near the top of a tree.
There were lots of swallows around, and I got this picture of a Tree Swallow sticking its head out of a nest box, just before it came out and flew away.
I already had Tree Swallow for Wednesday, although I haven't yet used it for a BAD bird.† Here is another picture of a Tree swallow at a different nest box.
A pair of Black-headed Grosbeaks flew through and landed for a minute in a bush.† I have shown lots of pictures recently of male Black-headed Grosbeaks, but here is a picture of a female.
After I completed the loop around the East Meadow, I went up onto the viewing mound and looked around, still hoping to find the Eastern Kingbird.† I never found the kingbird, but I did see a male Lazuli Bunting, which was the BAD bird I was looking for today.† I already had it for Wednesday.† Here is a distant shot of a male Lazuli Bunting.
Here is another shot of him from the front.
Here is a shot of a male Anna's Hummingbird at the top of a tree.
And, finally, here is a picture of a male Common Yellowthroat with some food.
I was still looking for a Wednesday bird, and it didn't look like the Eastern Kingbird was going to make an appearance, so I took a good look at some of the swallows swooping around and found a Barn Swallow, which I needed for Wednesday.
That was it for today.† The Barn Swallow brought me to 204 species for Wednesday.† For my BAD bird, I'll take Lazuli Bunting, a species I had classified as medium difficult.† I remain at 311 species on the year.
Thursday, June 15, 2017
The forecast today was for rain, and it was starting to rain lightly as I headed out.† I went up to the Snoqualmie River Valley, near Duvall, and drove up W. Snoqualmie River Road NE.† I was looking for a Western Kingbird that has been hanging out around the Muslim slaughterhouse out there.† I've seen a Western Kingbird in that location for the last two years, and I suspect this is the same bird returning.
Anyway, I didn't find it, despite going past the slaughterhouse four times.† I did see a Eurasian Collared-Dove just past the slaughterhouse, and that was my Thursday bird.† It would also do for a BAD bird, since I hadn't taken it yet, but I hoped for something more difficult to find.† I feel like I can go up to that road any day and see a Eurasian Collared-Dove.† In fact, I saw a number of them today in that general area.† Here is a picture of a couple of Eurasian Collared-Doves that I took later.
Back on W. Snoqualmie River Road NE, I got this picture of a recently fledged European Starling.
The first time I saw juvenile starlings, I was stumped, since they donít have the coloring of the adults.† Here is another picture of the recently fledged European Starling, and it shows the starling body shape, with a very short tail.
While I was taking pictures of the starling, an adult White-crowned Sparrow flew in and sang to me.
Farther up the road I took some pictures of the Great Blue Heron nests that have been there for the last 2 or 3 years.† Here is a picture of the nest tree, with three nests and four Great Blue Heron nestlings.
The tree is across the Snoqualmie River from where I was parked.† It was raining lightly by this time.† Here is a picture of the nest with two juvenile Great Blue Herons in it.
Here is another one of the nests with a single Great Blue Heron nestling in it.
They look about as big as adults to me, and I expect they are about ready to fledge.† They don't return to the nest after they can fly, I don't think.† The fourth one was out on a limb near its nest.† That is the next thing they do - venture out onto the nearby branches.† Then finally, they fly.† There's a house directly across the road from where I was taking these pictures, and it would be fun to watch them from there, from the time the parents started sitting on the nest until the young ones fly.† Great Blue Herons usually nest in a rookery, with many more nests, but these brave souls have been in this site for at least this year and last year, maybe more.† There are a lot of Bald Eagles around that area, and they will go after the young nestlings.† The parents stick around at that time, but I guess these youngsters are big enough to look after themselves now, because I didnít see any adults in the area.
At about that point, I got good looks at Barn Swallows that were swooping around, so that one went on to my Thursday list.† I've been "saving" swallows, trying not to look at them closely enough to identify them, but these were just too obvious to ignore.
On my way back to the main road, I saw a Cedar Waxwing, and I can't resist taking pictures of that species.† I find them incredibly handsome.
Here is another picture of that one, at the top of another tree.
A male House Finch flew in and posed briefly, too.
I had my Thursday bird and a BAD bird, but I wanted to try for a better BAD bird.† I've seen ravens in that valley, so I drove north to the Crescent Lake area.† At Crescent Lake I got this picture of a flycatcher.
It was a lot farther away than that picture would indicate, and the lighting was terrible.† Flycatchers of that family are very hard for me to identify, too.† I never heard it call or sing, although it was acting like it was calling.† I was too far away to hear it, though.† I think that most likely it was a Willow Flycatcher, which I need for Thursday, but I just don't have quite enough evidence to call it, so it will just go down as an unidentified flycatcher of the Empid family.
I drove around Tualco Loop Road and I saw a large black bird flying.† I stopped and there was another one in a field.† I wanted to get a very distant picture, but there were cars coming from both directions, so I drove on.† I turned around and went back and the one in the field was still there.† Here is a very distant picture of a Common Raven, I believe.
Size is always difficult when there is no comparison bird nearby, but I think there is enough evidence in that picture to call it a Common Raven, as opposed to an American Crow.† Then the other one flew by and they both took off together.† They were calling as they flew, and that cinched it.† They were definitely Common Ravens.† I have that one down as medium difficult in my list of remaining local BAD birds, so it was great to get it today.
I ended up adding two species to my Thursday list, to bring it to 206.† I'll gladly take Common Raven for my BAD bird today.† I can go get Eurasian Collared-Dove any time (he said).
Tonight is pack up and load up time for our Yosemite trip.† We plan to be on the road in the morning as early as we can, which is probably 9:30, or even later, but I always try for 9:00.† We have three days on the road before we get to Yosemite on Sunday afternoon, and I have plans for day-birds and BAD birds each day.† We'll see if those plans work out.† Travel days are always a challenge.
Friday, June 16, 2017
We were away by 9:10 this morning, which was excellent.† We had rain off and on most of the day, which isnít ideal, but it wasnít really a problem.† Our first stop was Hyak, just over Snoqualmie Pass.† There is a house there with a lot of hummingbird feeders, and they attract large numbers of Rufous Hummingbirds.† On the west side of the Cascades, Annaís Hummingbirds are the most common hummingbird species, but they donít get many Annaís on the east side.† Here is a picture of that house with the feeders, in the light rain.
There was a lot of hummingbird action, as usual.† Here is a distant picture of a male Rufous Hummingbird, which was a Friday bird.
Thatís a raindrop in the upper left of that picture.† Because of the low light and the distance, that was the only picture I got worth showing, but there were other Rufous Hummingbirds, and I never saw any other species of hummingbird there.
We got back on the freeway (Interstate 90) and went on down to the town of Cle Elum.† After a quick stop at Mickey Dís for me to take a leak, we went to what birders call the Railroad Ponds.† I was looking for Pygmy Nuthatch, which I needed for Friday and which also would be a great BAD bird.† Unfortunately, the dead snag that the nuthatches had been nesting in had fallen down, and I wasnít able to attract any with playback, although I didnít try very hard.† One reason I didnít try very hard was that a couple of House Wrens were hanging around, and they were very responsive to playback.† I didnít need that one for Friday, but it was a decent BAD bird.† Here is a House Wren.
Here is a picture of a House Wren singing back to me.
Finally, here is a picture of a House Wren in a little different pose than usual.
Iím sure there were many other good birds there, but we had many miles to drive and the clock was ticking, so we moved on.
We stopped at the rest area outside of Selah for me to pee again, and when we were driving out I got this picture of a Western Kingbird.
I didnít need it, but I donít pass up easy pictures.† All my pictures today were taken from the comfort (and stability) of my car seat.
We stopped at Brooks Memorial State Park, outside of Goldendale, for our lunch, which we had brought with us, but I didnít see anything there in the light rain.† No more bird action after that, and we finally got to our destination for today, La Pine, Oregon, at about 5:30.
I added one species to my Friday list Ė Rufous Hummingbird Ė which I had deliberately ďsavedĒ for today, by not looking for them around home on Fridays.† That brought me to 208 species for Friday, my highest total day.† For my BAD bird, Iíll take House Wren, a species I canít find around home.
Tomorrow is another travel day, and we have over 400 miles to go tomorrow, so the birding will be minimal.† I have a plan, but weíll see how it works out.† Getting a good BAD bird will be the tricky part Ė one I canít get near home.† I need to compile a list of possibilities and then look up where I might see one of them.† What a life!
Saturday, June 17, 2017
We got away shortly after 8:30 this morning, which is great for me.† Our first stop was Collier Memorial State Park, in southern Oregon.† We pulled in to the day use parking area and some birds flew up into the trees.† I chased them and they turned out to be Cassinís Finches, which was both a Saturday bird and an excellent BAD bird.† I was done for the day!† Hereís a poor picture of three of the Cassinís Finches.
We walked to the bridge, hoping to see an American Dipper, which we didnít see, but I saw an Osprey nest at the top of a dead snag.† That was another Saturday bird.† Here is the Osprey that was sitting on the nest.
I got White-breasted Nuthatch there, too, but I didnít need that one for Saturday.
We moved on, picked up some sandwiches at Subway and went on to Grass Lake rest area on Highway 97, between Klamath Falls, Oregon, and Weed, California.† After eating my sandwich, I wandered around the rest area and saw a few birds.† Here is a male Western Tanager.
There was a female Western Tanager, too, but I didnít get a good picture of her.† Here is another picture of the male Western Tanager, though.
I didnít need that one for either Saturday or as a BAD bird, but they are such attractive birds that Iím always glad to get pictures of them.
There were a couple of Yellow-rumped Warblers around, too, which I also didnít need, but here are a couple of pictures.
There was also a pair of Mountain Chickadees, which I had seen on a Saturday before and had used for a BAD bird already.† Here is one of the Mountain Chickadees at what seemed to be a nest hole.
Here is one of the Mountain Chickadees perched out on a branch.
Here is one more of a Mountain Chickadee.
I saw a couple of Yellow-headed Blackbirds there, one I didnít need for Saturday, but havenít yet used for a BAD bird.† We had also seen a couple of American White Pelicans and several Great Egrets along the way Ė two more good candidates for BAD bird today.
It was a beautiful sunny day today, and we had great views of Mount Shasta.† Here is a picture of Mount Shasta from an official vista point.
Here is one final picture of Christina with Mount Shasta in the background.† Christina is wearing the dress she has worn on the first two days of our almost-annual drive to Yosemite, for over 20 years.
That was it for my birding today.† I got two Saturday birds at our first stop, within five minutes, and then saw a number of potential BAD birds as the day wore on.† Those two species, Osprey and Cassinís Finch, brought Saturday to 206.† Iím going to take Great Egret for my BAD bird today.
Tomorrow we head up to Yosemite.† It was over 100 degrees here in Sacramento today, and I expect it to be almost that hot in Yosemite this week.† Our rooms at the Yosemite Lodge donít have air conditioning, and I donít appreciate the extreme heat.† At least it cools down somewhat at night.† I have a plan to get my birds for Sunday tomorrow morning before we leave Sacramento, but nothing is ever guaranteed in birding.
Sunday, June 18, 2017
This morning we were actually on our way shortly after 8:00.† Our first stop was Ancil Hoffman Park, where I immediately saw a couple of Wild Turkeys on the golf course, as planned.† I needed that one for Sunday, and it was also a decent BAD bird, so we turned around and boogied.
After a stop at a grocery store to stock up on food and wine, we hit the freeways for Yosemite.† While we were barreling down highway 99, a bird flew out from under an overpass, and I could see it was a swift.† The only swift that would be there is WHITE-THROATED SWIFT, a year bird for me.† That one was a total surprise, but I had an excellent, although brief, look at it, and it was definitely a swift, not a swallow.† They do nest in the weep holes (water drainage holes) under highway overpasses, so it wasnít especially unusual, just unexpected.
We stopped for gas and headed up highway 140 into the park.† It was a pretty drive up the Merced River, and we stopped and ate our lunch just inside the park next to the raging river.† This is a ďhigh waterĒ year in Yosemite.† They had record snowfall last winter, and now all the rivers and creeks are flowing like mad.† In a low water year, there is maybe ten feet of clearance under the bridges in the valley, and this year the water is almost up to the bottom of the bridges, with maybe a foot of clearance on some of them.† Meadows are flooded and there is standing water everywhere.† The waterfalls are spectacular, of course.
We got checked in to our room at the lodge and moved all our crap into the room.† The temperatures were in the low 90ís, but it clouded over and we actually got rained on a little, while thunder boomed in the distance.
After we got moved in, I sat out on our patio and enjoyed the view.† Here is the view from our patio Ė thatís Sentinel Rock in the middle of the picture.† The river is maybe 50 yards away, but you can see standing water just across the path this year.
A Song Sparrow kept flying up into a tree across the path and I got this somewhat distant picture of the Song Sparrow singing.
A Spotted Sandpiper fed along the water, and I got a couple of pictures of it.
In processing those pictures, it struck me how effectively it blends in to its surroundings.
In the distance I saw a male Bullockís Oriole and got this picture.
It cooled down nicely eventually, and I sat out there until it was time to go over to the dining room for dinner.
So, with the unexpected appearance of the White-throated Swift, I got two species for Sunday, to bring it to 195 species.† The swift was a new year-bird, too, and that brings me to 312 species for the year so far.† For my BAD bird, Iím going to take the White-throated Swift.† Both of my silly streaks are still alive.† Now I just have to get out birding each day, and I should be able to keep them both going this week while we are here at Yosemite, although as I keep saying, there are no guarantees in birding.
Monday, June 19, 2017
My first birding stop this morning was the meadow at the base of El Capitan.† Iíve seen both White-headed and Acorn Woodpeckers there in the past.† Today I saw a couple of Acorn Woodpeckers, but no White-headed ones.† I needed both for Monday.† Here are a couple of pictures of an Acorn Woodpecker.† They were both difficult shots because of the black bird against a bright sky, and this was the best I could do.
I gave up on the White-headed Woodpecker, hoping to catch up with one later in the day, but I never did.† Next I went to Foresta, a little community just outside the park, off Highway 120 on the way to Crane Flat.† I saw a California Scrub-Jay, which I didnít need, but I couldnít get any pictures.† At one stop I saw a flycatcher and determined it was a Western Wood-Pewee, which completed that species for me.† Here is the Western Wood-Pewee that completed my set of seven days.
I walked up and down the road playing the song of Blue-gray Gnatcatcher because I had seen them there in previous years.† They were still around and I added that one to my Monday list.† Here are a couple of pictures of one of those cute little guys.
This one was very responsive to playback, and it flew around singing back to me, perching for pictures.
I moved on into the valley and tried for woodpeckers, Cassinís Vireo, and MacGillvrayís Warbler, but never got any responses.† I did hear MOUNTAIN QUAIL a number of times, so it went onto my year list as a ďheard onlyĒ bird.† They are easy to hear if theyíre around, because they have a very distinctive, very loud call, but they are very difficult to actually see, let alone get a picture of.
I saw a couple of Chipping Sparrows, which I didnít need, but I did get one picture.
I also got this picture of a Stellerís Jay, a species I completed weeks ago.
On my way back to the highway there were two Brewerís Blackbirds in a dead tree, and I got these two pictures.† First, here is the female Brewerís Blackbird.† Sheís all puffed up and had been preening.
Hereís the male.
I saw another pair of Blue-gray Gnatcatchers, too.† They were flying around a California Scrub-Jay that was many times larger than they were, making a real fuss.† I assumed that they had a nest nearby and they felt that the scrub-jay was a threat.† After the scrub-jay flew off, they perched and called for a while, and I got this picture of a Blue-gray Gnatcatcher calling.
Next I drove to Crane Flat and went up toward Tioga Pass.† I knew the road was still closed for the winter at some point, but I didnít know where.† I wanted to get to Tamarack Flat Road and go down that road to the campground.† Iíve seen good birds along there, and itís a pleasant drive.† It turned out that the highway was open that far, but the campground and the road leading to it were both closed.† Every year a local Indian tribe uses that campground for a week-long get together, and the campground and road are closed then.† Usually it opens the Monday we arrive, but maybe this year they are having their get together a week later.† Anyway, I had to turn around and go back to Crane Flat.
I drove up the road to the heliport and fire lookout, just west of Crane Flat.† I stopped at the top of the first hill in the right habitat and played the song of a bird I had hoped to see on Tamarack Flat Road.† After a while I got responses from 2 or 3 birds, and one approached me.† Here is a picture of my first GREEN-TAILED TOWHEE of the year.
The picture is kind of washed out because the bird was in the deep shade.† Here is another picture showing a front view of a Green-tailed Towhee.
As I returned to my car after getting those pictures I saw a flycatcher, and it was pumping its tail up and down.† That indicated that it was a Gray Flycatcher, a really good Monday bird.† Flycatchers in that family are very difficult to identify, but Gray Flycatcher is the only one that actively pumps its tail up and down after it lands.
At the top of the fire lookout road, I walked down the path a little distance and played the song of Hermit Thrush, which I had seen there last year.† I got a response, but it was from a Warbling Vireo, an excellent bird, but one I had already seen on Monday this year.† I did get this picture of the Warbling Vireo, though.
I stopped and ate my lunch on the way back to the highway, and while stopped I saw a couple of birds.† I didnít need Western Bluebird, although I havenít yet used it for a BAD bird, but I did need Cassinís Finch.† Both of those flew on before I could get a picture.
I didnít get any more pictures or any more Monday birds after that.† I went out Evergreen Road, the road to Hetch Hetchy, and stopped several times, but it was getting really hot by then, and I didnít see anything at all.† I also stopped at Hodgdon Meadow campground and drove through hoping to see a White-headed Woodpecker, which I had seen there before, but no luck today.† The temperature was in the mid-90ís by the afternoon, which I didnít much like.† I got back to the lodge about 4:00, where our room was only 76 degrees, thankfully.
So, I ended up adding 7 species to my Monday list, to bring it to 196.† My two year-birds brings my year total to 314.† Completing Western Wood-Pewee makes it 103 species that I have now completed.† Iíll take Cassinís Finch for my BAD bird.
The lodgeís wi-fi sucks, but Iíll try to get this out tonight.† If not, then in the morning.† The heat is supposed to continue for several more days.† I had forgotten how much the heat saps my energy.† I just feel lethargic and slow when the temperature gets above about 85, and I get exhausted easily.
Tuesday, June 20, 2017
Today was something of a repeat of yesterday.† When youíre doing DOTW birding and you find something that works, you stick with it.
I stopped at the El Capitan meadow and again picked up Acorn Woodpecker and missed White-headed Woodpecker.† As I drove down in to Foresta, I stopped at the corner where I had seen the pair of Blue-gray Gnatcatchers harassing a scrub-jay yesterday, and I played their little song.† One cooperatively flew in and sang back to me.† I didnít bother trying for pictures, since I got some good ones yesterday.
As I approached the point where I had first seen Blue-gray Gnatcatchers yesterday, I spotted a bird on a distant burned snag.† With binoculars, it looked like a flycatcher, but I couldnít tell what species.† I took some pictures and here is one of them.
From the picture, I thought I knew what it was, so I played that speciesí song.† The bird was well over a hundred yards away, and I wasnít even sure it could hear my phone at that distance.† Flycatchers arenít generally very responsive to playback, either, but I tried it anyway.† Wow!† The bird immediately flew straight down to the road and perched in a tree for pictures.† Here is a picture of my first ASH-THROATED FLYCATCHER of the year.
I donít recall seeing that species here in Yosemite before, but I knew they were theoretically here.
I went on down into the Foresta community and stopped at my usual places.† I played various songs and calls, but never saw anything interesting or new.† I did hear Mountain Quail a number of times, for my Tuesday list, but they are just about always calling there.† On my way out of Foresta, I saw a male Lazuli Bunting in a tree.† That was a Tuesday bird.† It was in deep shadow and I didnít feel like getting out of the car and chasing it for a picture, so this is the best I could get, from the car.
Next I drove to Crane Flat and went up the road to the fire lookout and heliport.† At the top of the hill where I had seen Green-tailed Towhee yesterday, I stopped and played their song.† Today I wasnít getting a response, but I did get a brief look at a White-headed Woodpecker, which was a Tuesday bird.† A Mountain Chickadee flew in briefly, too, another Tuesday bird.† As I was getting ready to leave, a Green-tailed Towhee finally showed up and I got this picture.
I stopped a little farther along the road and played the song of Fox Sparrow, but didnít attract one.† Instead, a Green-tailed Towhee was attracted and flew in to sing back to me.† Here is a picture of that second Green-tailed Towhee.
While I was chasing him, a White-headed Woodpecker showed up.† It wouldnít sit still for pictures at all, and this was the best I could do.
Next, I drove on up to the parking area for the fire lookout and walked down the trail.† I was looking for the Warbling Vireo I had seen there yesterday, since I needed it for Tuesday.† After a minute or two, it showed up and sang back to me.† I got this picture of it from underneath.
A few minutes later I got this picture of the Warbling Vireo singing, partially hidden behind some pine needles.
As I walked back to my car, I saw a bird in the distance, sitting on a burned out tree, and I took some distant pictures.† From the pictures I could see it was a Fox Sparrow.† Here is a very distant picture of a Fox Sparrow.
It was time for my lunch by then, and it was hot in the sun, so I drove back down the road and stopped in the shade.† There was a nice breeze blowing and it was only 83 degrees at that elevation (about 6500 feet), so it was comfortable sitting in the car while I ate my leftover ham and potato salad.† I heard birds from time to time and saw a few, too.† One of the ones I saw was a HERMIT WARBLER, one I have seen in Yosemite before, but not often.† I got out of the car and played the song of Hermit Warbler and one flew in immediately.† There ended up being two of them, and they were quite responsive to playback.† The trouble was, they never stopped flitting around.† I only got one decent picture of them in 10 or 15 minutes of trying.† Here is a Hermit Warbler.
I saw a Brown Creeper a couple of times, and although I didnít need it, I like creepers.† At one point, one of them caught a moth and I got this picture of a Brown Creeper with a moth.
I watched it struggle with the moth and eventually swallow it down.† Here is the Brown Creeper after its meal.
While I was trying to take pictures of the Hermit Warblers, a male Western Tanager flew into a tree nearby.† No picture, but it was a Tuesday bird.
There was another bird calling repeatedly, and I wasnít sure what it was.† I got this picture of a bird deep in a bush, and it turned out to be another Fox Sparrow.
It was getting late by then, so I headed toward home.† I detoured to check out Tamarack Flat Road, but it was still closed and the Campground Full sign was still out.† I got gas at Crane Flat ($4.07 a gallon), and went back to the valley.† The temperature was only 86 at Crane Flat (elevation 6200 feet) but it was 96 in the valley (about 4000 feet elevation).† I stopped at the parking area along the road by Bridalveil Falls and got out to look for swifts.† Swifts like cliffs and waterfalls, and I figured there would be some there.† Here is a picture of Bridalveil Falls.† (The modern version is to use ďfallĒ rather than ďfallsĒ, but I think Bridalveil Fall sounds stupid, so Iím going with the way I learned way back when.)† Here is Bridalveil Falls:
I donít usually do scenery pictures, mainly because there are millions of them out there already, much better than I can do them, but this one sets up the next couple of pictures of swifts.† The swifts were flying above the falls, and there were some lower than the falls, too, seen against the rock face.† I was able to see with binoculars that the lower ones were definitely White-throated Swifts, so that one went on to my Tuesday list.† Iím not sure about the higher ones.† Here are a couple of pictures.
OK, the pictures are crap, but they do show the wing shape enough that I think they were also White-throated Swifts, rather than Black Swifts, although Iím not certain.
It was 96 by my car thermometer when I got back to the lodge, but it was only 77 in our non-air conditioned room, which was a nice relief.† We are on the bottom floor (out of two), and I cool the room down as much as possible overnight.† Itís 75 in here now, at 9PM, and I have the door open and a fan blowing in cooler air.† It gets down to about 70 by the morning.† We have to close the door when we go to bed, to keep critters out, and there are only a couple of small ventilation openings to let in the night air.† There is a ceiling fan and they provide a couple of other fans as well, and that helps a lot.
I added 14 species to Tuesday today, to bring it to 196.† My two new year-birds make my year total 316 now.† I completed Warbling Vireo and Western Tanager, to make it 105 completed species now.† For my BAD bird, Iíll take Ash-throated Flycatcher.† Both of my streaks are still alive.† Tomorrow Iíll try to do it all again.
Wednesday, June 21, 2017
Today my brother, Rick, went birding with me.† Our first stop was the El Capitan meadow, where we saw several Acorn Woodpeckers, but no White-headed ones.† We looked all day for a White-headed Woodpecker, but never found one.
After that we went on to Foresta and stopped at the overlook corner, where I have seen good stuff in the past.† There was a California Scrub-Jay there today, but I didnít need it and it didnít cooperate for pictures.† A male Spotted Towhee flew up and called from a little tree, posing for pictures.
That Spotted Towhee looks somewhat different from the ones I see at home, but it is the same species.† Here is another shot of it.
We drove down into the valley and stopped where I had seen Ash-throated Flycatcher yesterday.† I played its song, and like yesterday, it flew right in and posed for me.† Here is the Ash-throated Flycatcher in a nice setting.
We heard Mountain Quail off and on, as usual, so it went onto my Wednesday list as a ďheard onlyĒ bird. We stopped at last yearís woodpecker spot, but saw no woodpeckers or anything else.† The slight detour to the Big Meadow did produce a couple of Common Ravens, and here is a picture of one of them.
A stop at the creek also yielded nothing.† Last year that was a great site for birds, and this year there has been almost nothing there.† Next we drove up onto the hill, looking for Chipping Sparrow where I had seen them earlier in the week.† There were Chipping Sparrows there again today, so that one went on to my Wednesday list.† Here is one of them.
There were a number of other birds around there today, too.† I got these next two pictures of a male California Quail, which I didnít need for Wednesday, but I always enjoy seeing.
There were some Dark-eyed Juncos around, which I didnít need, and a pair of Western Bluebirds, which I also didnít need, although I hadnít yet used it as a BAD bird.† Here is a picture of the male Western Bluebird.
That picture was a difficult one because of the bright sky behind the bird and the dark colors of the bird itself.† I had to process it a lot.† Just as an example of what processing can do for a picture, here is what it looked like directly out of the camera, just cropped to size.
There were other birds around, too, and I wasnít able to identify some of them.† I think that one was a Warbling Vireo, which I didnít need for Wednesday, and one was definitely a House Wren, which I did need for Wednesday.
As we left the campground area where those birds were, we spotted a flycatcher on a branch.† I thought I could identify it as one I needed as a year-bird, but it kept flying out to catch bugs, and I couldnít get a good look at it or a picture.† Finally it caught a flying insect and went back to the tree.† I watched where it went, and through the branches I could see it at a nest, feeding some young birds.† I stalked it from all angles and for at least ten minutes it just sat silently and quietly by the nest, presumably guarding it from us.† Here is a picture of my first OLIVE-SIDED FLYCATCHER of the year, with a chick in the nest next to it and another one directly under it.† [Correction Ė It was a Western Wood-Pewee.† See tomorrowís report for details.]
Here is a picture from another angle that shows three chicks, if you look closely.
The whole time we were there, the chicks were begging for food, but the adult just sat there and barely moved.† Iím sure it was very aware of us and was guarding the nest.† Here is one more picture from still another angle.
Iíll be checking out that nest on each of the next three days.
We saw a couple of Lazuli Buntings on our way out of the valley, but I didnít need that one and I didnít get any pictures.†
We stopped at the overlook corner and I spotted a bird at the top of one of the trees.† It was a Band-tailed Pigeon, a bird I donít recall ever seeing in the Yosemite area before.
It turned out that there were at least four of them.† Here is a picture of another one.
Band-tailed Pigeon is a ďgoodĒ bird that I donít see very often, but I didnít actually need it for Wednesday.
We drove on up to Crane Flat and went up the road to the fire lookout/heliport.† At the top of the first hill we stopped and I played the song of Green-tailed Towhee, which I had seen there the last couple of days.† We never saw one there today, but we heard at least two of them answering back, so it went onto my Wednesday list as a ďheard onlyĒ bird.† While we were there a Mountain Chickadee flew in briefly, and that was another Wednesday bird.
We drove up the road to the spot where I had seen my first Hermit Warbler of the year yesterday.† I played the song and one flew right in.† I didnít spend much time trying for pictures, but I did get this odd shot from right underneath the bird.† I show it because it is a typical view you get of warblers, as they forage around in the trees overhead.
We ate our lunch there and saw and heard other birds, but the only ones I could identify were Dark-eyed Juncos and a Fox Sparrow, neither of which I needed.
We went back down the road, looking for White-headed Woodpeckers, but never saw any.† At one stop I played the song of Green-tailed Towhee again, and one flew in and posed for us in the sun.† That took the ďheard onlyĒ designation off of it for today.† It had an insect in its bill, but that didnít stop it from singing back to us repeatedly, as I took pictures.† The sun on its raised crest was striking, and its green color really showed up in the sun.
That was it for our birding, except we stopped at Bridalveil Falls for me to see the White-throated Swifts again, which I easily did.
It was another hot day today.† It had been just 83 degrees up at 6500 feet at Crane flat, but it was 96 in the Valley, at about 4000 feet.† Fortunately, the sun goes over the valley wall just after 5 PM, and it cools down nicely after that.† Each night our large family (and friends) group has a picnic dinner at one of the picnic areas across the valley.† Tonight we had 35 people there for soft tacos and the usual accompaniments.† Alcohol was involved.† Here is a picture of the group as they were getting their dinners.
Thatís the river in the background, and itís very high this year, flooding parts of the valley.† Most of the people ride their bikes to the picnic area, and they had to go around the long way this year because of the flooding.
So, I got 10 more species for Wednesday today, to bring it to 214 species.† The Olive-sided Flycatcher was new for the year, to give me 317 species so far this year.† [Correction Ė no new species for the year, my total stayed at 316.]† Iíll take Western Bluebird for my BAD bird today.
Tomorrow I plan to make the rounds again and see if I can see anything new, along with old friends that I still need for Thursday.† Doing this DOTW birding thing is interesting because I can just keep going back to the same places, looking for the same birds, when they are new ones for me this year.
Thursday, June 22, 2017
First, a correction to yesterdayís report.† It turns out that the flycatcher on the nest was a Western Wood-Pewee, a much more common species than the Olive-sided Flycatcher that I thought it was.† That means I didnít get a new year-bird yesterday, and my total was 316 species for the year after yesterday.† More info on that later in todayís report.
This morning I headed straight for Foresta, without the stop at El Capitan meadow, because I already had both Acorn Woodpecker and White-headed Woodpecker for Thursday this year.† I stopped at the overlook corner, but I didnít see anything there today.† I stopped where I had seen Blue-gray Gnatcatchers on Monday (I didnít need that one for today) and Ash-throated Flycatcher the last two days.† I did need that one.† I played the calls, but the bird didnít show up today.
While I was doing that I saw some little birds on the ground near some standing water.† I approached and one flew up into a tree.† I took a look at it and thought it was a male Lesser Goldfinch, which I needed for Thursday.† Then I looked at the ones on the ground, and they were two pairs of LAWRENCEíS GOLDFINCHES.† That was a great species to see; I had it in my spreadsheet for the year at a 20% chance of seeing any time this year.† I took these two pictures of a pair of Lawrenceís Goldfinches.
I donít see either of those goldfinch species very often, so I figured I must have been mistaken in my initial identification of Lesser Goldfinch.† Then this afternoon when I was processing my pictures, I noticed a bird in the corner of one of my pictures of the Lawrenceís Goldfinches, and it was a male Lesser Goldfinch.† It is very blurry because I was focused on the Lawrenceís Goldfinches, but here is a male Lesser Goldfinch.
So, I ended up getting both goldfinch species there.† I also saw a couple of California Towhees, and that completed that species for me.† Here is a California Towhee.
I drove through Foresta, stopping at the usual places, but didnít see anything interesting.† I went up the hill to where the flycatcher nest was, and I heard Mountain Quail finally, so that one went onto my Thursday list.† The adult flycatcher was still at the nest, guarding the young ones, so I guess that one of the adults sticks around all the time to protect the chicks while they are so young.† Here is a picture of it with three of the young ones showing themselves.
After a short while, another adult flew in with some food, and it perched and called.† The call was that of Western Wood-Pewee, not Olive-sided Flycatcher, so I realized I had misidentified the bird yesterday.† I got a better look at the front of the bird today, too, and it looks like a Western Wood-Pewee in these next two pictures.
I also got this next picture from under the nest, and it shows that the throat is not as light-colored as an Olive-sided Flycatcherís throat.
I took a lot more pictures because the light and the background were both so good.† Here are two more of the adult Western Wood-Pewee and the nestlings.
While I was doing that, a Chipping Sparrow flew in and posed briefly.
Back down on the main road out of Foresta, I saw a male Lazuli Bunting, which I needed for Thursday.
On my way out of the valley that Foresta is in, I stopped again at the overlook on the curve because there were a couple of hawks circling above.† I wasnít sure what they were, so I took some pictures.† After looking them up, I think that this one is a Red-tailed Hawk of the subspecies calurus, and it is a light morph.
The other one looked superficially the same, but the breast and belly are dark, as are the leading edges of the wings near the body.
I think that second one is a calurus dark morph.† Red-tailed Hawks have extremely variable plumage, with several subspecies and morphs.† I donít try to keep track of them, but it was fun to look these two up in my field guide. †Here is another picture of one of them as it prepared to descend.
All those pictures are blurry because it is impossible to hold the camera steady when pointing it at a flying bird.† Iím just glad to get any pictures at all of flying birds.
That was it for Foresta today.† It wasnít very productive today, but thatís birding.† It was fun to check on the flycatchers again, and I always like getting pictures of Lazuli Buntings.† The two hawks were fun, too, and Lawrenceís Goldfinch was an outstanding one for my year list.† I guess Foresta was okay today, after all.†† I had a House Wren and a Nuttalís Woodpecker, too, which are good birds, but I didnít happen to need them today.
I moved on to the Crane Flat fire lookout road, to try for my three ďgimmeĒ species there.† I got Green-tailed Towhee at the first place I tried for it.† I didnít take the time for pictures today since I had gotten them the last couple of days.† I soon attracted a Hermit Warbler at the same place I had seen them the last couple of days, and today I finally managed to get a good picture of one.
I also managed to call up a Fox Sparrow there, and got this picture.† That completed Fox Sparrow for me.
I saw a White-headed Woodpecker there a couple of times, too, but I didnít need it for Thursday and I couldnít get a picture.† I ate my lunch at that spot and then went on to the parking area for the fire lookout and helipad.† I didnít even leave my car, but I saw a bird calling on a dead tree, and I got this picture of another Fox Sparrow.
That was it for the Crane Flat area.† I didnít see anything else of interest and I head back to Yosemite Valley.† I stopped at Bridalveil Falls to pick up White-throated Swift again, and while waiting for one to appear, I saw a female Black-headed Grosbeak, to complete that species.
I finally got a good look at a White-throated Swift, and my birding day was over.
It seemed kind of slow today, but I added 10 species to my Thursday list, to bring it to 216 species.† I also got 22 pictures to show.† I guess it wasnít such a slow day after all.† I completed three species, and I have now seen 108 species on all seven days of the week.† Lawrenceís Goldfinch was new for the year, making up for the deduction I had to take for Olive-sided Flycatcher yesterday.† I now have 317 species for the year to date.† Iíll take Lawrenceís Goldfinch for my BAD bird today.
The weather continues to be in the mid-90ís, which I donít like at all, but at least the mosquitoes havenít bothered me this year.† My Achilles tendon was really doing great at the start of the week, but I think I have been over-stressing it by walking on uneven surfaces too much, and now it hurts again.† Itís still much better than several months ago, though.† My new hiking sandals are working out great, except that I attached some inserts with doubled-over duct tape (not having any double sided tape), and they slip around in the sandals.† Other than that, they are great.
We donít leave until Saturday morning, so tomorrow is another day of birding.† I think my sister, Betsy, is going to go with me tomorrow, and maybe my brother, Rick, again, too.
Friday, June 23, 2017
My sister, Betsy, and my brother, Rick, went out birding with me today.† We skipped El Capitan meadow since I had Acorn Woodpecker already on a Friday.† We went to Foresta first and stopped at the lookout on the curve.† I played Blue-gray Gnatcatcher and one flew in after a while, so that one went on to my Friday list.
Down in the valley we stopped and I played some bird songs and calls.† A male Lazuli Bunting, which I needed for Friday, flew in to check us out, and I got these two pictures.
We didnít see anything else in the valley, and went up on the hill to the campground up there where the Western Wood-Pewees have their nest.† Here is a picture from today, taken as we arrived, of the pewee nest with an adult in attendance.
I played the calls of Chipping Sparrow and attracted a couple of them, for my Friday list.† Here is another picture of the Western Wood-Pewee at its nest, from a different angle.
A couple of times the adult at the nest left to catch a flying insect and then returned.† Here is a picture of the nest without the adult in attendance.
Here is a closeup of a couple of the chicks.
They werenít just sitting still; they were constantly writhing around and begging for food.
There was a pair of Western Bluebirds there today, too, but I couldnít ever get a picture, and Iíve completed that species now.†† I kept listening for Mountain Quail, but I never heard one today.
We stopped a couple more times on the way out of Foresta, but I never saw anything else interesting, and I didnít get any more pictures there.
We drove up to Crane Flat and went up the fire lookout road.† At one stop I attracted both a Fox Sparrow and a Green-tailed Towhee with calls, and I needed the towhee for Friday.† At my Hermit Warbler stop, I managed to eventually call up a Hermit Warbler for Friday.† While we were there, a White-headed Woodpecker flew in briefly, and that one went onto my Friday list, too.† After a while we moved on to the end of the road, and turned back.† Back at the top of the first hill, where I had seen several birds a few days ago, we again stopped.
We could hear what I think were Green-tailed Towhees calling, but I had already gotten that one.† I played Mountain Chickadee because I had seen one there a couple of times earlier in the week.† Eventually a couple of them flew in and gave us good looks, although neither one ever stayed still long enough for a picture.† That was another Friday bird.† A House Wren also showed up, and I got a couple of mediocre pictures of it.
I didnít need that one, but pictures are always good, even if they are mediocre, especially on a day with not many pictures.
That was it for our birding today, except I stopped at Bridalveil Falls and picked up White-throated Swift for Friday.† I dropped Betsy and Rick off at the lodge at 1:00 PM, and the crowds and traffic were so bad that I went back down the valley and found a place to park in the shade to eat my humble lunch.† I ran the a/c from time to time and enjoyed the woods, while I waited for the crowds to die down a little.† I took these next two pictures of a Common Raven from the car while I sat there.† They arenít very good, but I figured it was good practice to try to take pictures of a black bird in the strong mid-day light.
I thought I was through for the day, and I processed my pictures.† It was still much too hot for me (mid-90ís) and it was up to 79 in our room today. †Still, 79 feels pretty good when you come in from 96 degrees.
I didnít feel like going over to dinner at one of the restaurants with a group tonight, partly because of the heat, so I stayed in.† When the temperature outside dropped into the 70ís, which was about 6 PM, I went out and sat on our patio and had some drinkies and snacks.† A surprising number of birds were flying around, and I took some more pictures.† The light was low so they are not very colorful and are not real sharp, but pictures are pictures and they speak for themselves.
Here is a picture of a juvenile American Robin, hatched this year.† It has a spotted breast instead of the normal red breast of an adult.
A bird flew in that I couldnít immediately identify, but I decided it must be a juvenile Yellow-rumped Warbler.† Here are a couple of pictures of it.
Another bird flew in and I decided it was the only Orange-crowned Warbler Iíve seen here in Yosemite this year.
As I said, the light was very low and I was hand-holding the camera from about 50 feet away, so the pictures arenít very good.
Finally, here is a picture of a male Black-headed Grosbeak that flew in for a minute or so.
So, that was it for today.† I added 8 species to Friday, to bring it to 216 species.† I completed one species, Chipping Sparrow, to give me 109 completed species.† For my BAD bird today, Iíll take Hermit Warbler.
Tomorrow we head for home.† Christina will go with our daughter, Johanna, to catch a flight back to Seattle from Sacramento.† Iíll make my way down from the mountains, hopefully getting some birds on the way, and go visit my friend, Fred, in Sacramento for a couple of nights, before heading for home up the coast.† It has been another excellent family Yosemite trip, and I got some birds and pictures, too.
Saturday, June 24, 2017
We were all packed up and loaded up, including the three bikes, by about 9:30, and I headed out.† (Christina was going with our daughter, Johanna and Johannaís friend to the Sacramento airport and flying home this afternoon/evening.)† On my way out of the valley, I circled around and stopped at Bridalveil Falls to pick up White-throated Swift for Saturday.† After that, I went to Foresta and stopped at the lookout on the curve.† I played Blue-gray Gnatcatcher and eventually one flew in briefly.† Here is a picture of the gnatcatcher.
I went down into the valley and tried for a couple of species, but I didnít find anything new or interesting.†† I moved on to Crane Flat and went up the road to the fire lookout.† I tried for Green-tailed Towhee in several places, but today I couldnít call one up, so that one didnít go on my Saturday list.† I did manage to call in a Hermit Warbler, and I even got a couple of passable pictures of Hermit Warbler today.
The pictures are far from great, but the bird just didnít sit still long enough to get a better picture.† At least they both show the bird enough to identify it.
I looked for White-headed Woodpecker along that road, but came up empty on that one.† I needed to get down to Sacramento, which was about a four hour drive, so I took off after that.
The drive seemed very long and it was pretty boring, although I took a route suggested by Google Maps that turned out to be less than ideal, and I kept worrying I had missed a turn.† I finally was approaching Sacramento, though, and I stopped at Mather Lake to look for a couple of species.† I saw one of them, Mute Swan.† Here are some pictures of the family of 9 Mute Swans Ė two parents and seven cygnets.† First, here is a picture of the two adults and a few of the young ones.
Here is a picture of the two adults and a cygnet.
Here is one of the adults Mute Swans on its own.
Here is one final picture of an adult and a cygnet.
That was it for my birding today.† I added four species to my Saturday list, to bring it to 210 species.† For my BAD bird, Iíll take Mute Swan.† Mute Swan is an interesting species.† Many birders consider them ďplasticĒ, since they arenít native to North America, and any of them in the wild are descended from escapees from collections.† These swans at Mather Lake have been there for at least 20 years, though, and they seem to be a self-sustaining population, which makes them officially countable, I think.† Anyway, some birders will count them and some wonít.† I will.
Iím staying in Sacramento with my friend, Fred, for the next two nights, and tomorrow we plan to go out birding.† There arenít a lot of species that I need around here, since I was here earlier in the year, but I hope to get something for Sunday and a decent BAD bird.
Sunday, June 25, 2017
Fred was out late last night and he slept in, so I went over to Ancil Hoffman Park on my own to get some Sunday birds.† I had five target species I needed for Sunday.† I got the first one as I drove in, Yellow-billed Magpie.
I got this picture of a male Northern Flicker, a bird I completed long ago.
I also got this picture of a California Towhee, another bird I have completed.
I soon got my second target Sunday species, Acorn Woodpecker.† Here is a picture of a male at a nest hole.
The male went into the hole completely and a female flew in to the hole.† Here is a picture of the female Acorn Woodpecker.
Do you see the difference between the sexes?† In the male, the red on the crown comes right up to the white forehead above the bill, and on the female there is a strip of black feathers between the red crown and the white forehead.† Not much difference if you ask me, but I guess it is enough for them to tell each other apart.† I always have to look it up; I canít remember which is which.
I walked around a grassy area under some trees in the pleasant morning temperature.† It was significantly cooler today, and was pleasant until after noon, with a nice cooling breeze.† I got my next Sunday bird soon and sat on a seat at a picnic table as an Oak Titmouse foraged for food on the ground right in front of me.† I took maybe 25 or 30 pictures of it, but it moved constantly, so most of them are worthless.† Here are four pictures of the little cutie.† Oak Titmouse.
Thatís a lot of pictures of the same bird, but they are hard to get pictures of since they move constantly, and I think they are really cute little birds.
My fourth target Sunday bird of the day was Nuttalís Woodpecker.† I played its call and one flew in.† It stayed up high in the trees, and this was the best picture I could get of the Nuttalís Woodpecker.
I walked around playing the calls of my fifth target, White-breasted Nuthatch, but I never saw one.† On my way out of the park I got this picture of a Wild Turkey, which I didnít need for Sunday.
I observed and took pictures of Wild Turkeys for many years before I read something that caused me to notice that goofy clump of feathers hanging from its breast.† I donít know what its function is, but they all seem to have it, once they reach maturity, both males and females.† When I first became aware of it, I couldnít believe I had never noticed it for so many years.
I had four new birds for Sunday, with pictures of all four of them, and I went back to Fredís house so we could go out birding together.† We went to the Yolo Bypass wildlife area, to see it after the flood.† It was all under water a couple of months ago, and we wanted to see how it looked now.† There were very few birds around, other than egrets and blackbirds, but we drove around the auto tour to see everything.† It was much greener than either of us had ever seen it, but there wasnít much standing water, other than in the rice fields, and there were very few birds.
At one point we saw a duck on the side of a channel.† It just sat there and I got pictures.† It was a female Common Goldeneye, a very untypical bird to see there at this time of year.† I had seen some reference to it in an eBird report that indicated it might be injured and was hanging around because it couldnít leave.† Here is a picture of the female Common Goldeneye.
When I processed that picture, I noticed that her left leg is much skinnier than her right one, so maybe that is her injury.† I donít know why that would keep her from flying off, but maybe there are more injuries that I canít see.
Here is a picture of a Snowy Egret.
Here is a Great Egret.
We saw flying Black-crowned Night-Herons a couple of times, and then on our way out we saw three of them right along the road.† Here is a Black-crowned Night-Heron.
Here is another picture of a Black-crowned Night-Heron, maybe the same one.
I didnít need any of those species we saw at the Yolo Bypass, up until then, but some of them were potential BAD birds.† Then as we were about to leave I spotted a new one for me, a male BLUE GROSBEAK, a year bird.† I almost got a great picture of it out in the open, in the sun, but it flew one second too soon, just as my camera focused on it.† It went up into a tree and I got some distant pictures of it in the shade.† Here is my best shot of my first Blue Grosbeak of the year, a male.
We went one more place after that, a park with some ponds on the northwest side of Davis.† I was looking for Common Gallinule, which had been reported there, but I didnít see one or anything else I needed.† I did get this picture of a Western Kingbird, though.
So, that was my Sunday.† I added five species to my Sunday list, to bring it to 200 species.† I completed Acorn Woodpecker, and that makes 110 species that I have seen on each of the seven days of the week this year.† The Blue Grosbeak is the 318th species of the year for me.† For my BAD bird, Iíll take Black-crowned Night-Heron.† Notably, today I got pictures of all five Sunday birds and my BAD bird, something that doesnít happen often.
Tomorrow I head for home.† I plan to take three days and go up the Oregon Coast.† The weather forecast on the coast is for temperatures in the 60ís with no rain.† That sounds like heaven to me, after over a week of temperatures in the 90ís.† Iím a cool weather boy.†† I have plans for each day to get the birds I need to keep my two streaks alive until I get home, but sometimes plans donít work out.† The reports for the next three days will probably be short and they wonít have many pictures.† Maybe Iíll break down and take some scenery pictures, since I love the ocean very much.
Monday, June 26, 2017
Today was a traveling day, with little birding and no pictures, sorry to say.† Before I left Sacramento, I went over to Ancil Hoffman Park again and picked the low-hanging fruit.† I didnít need Acorn Woodpecker today, but I did need Wild Turkey.† I also needed Nuttalís Woodpecker, Yellow-billed Magpie, and Oak Titmouse.† I found all four of those needed birds in about 20 minutes, but I didnít bother taking pictures since I had pictures from yesterday already.
I hit the road for Arcata, CA, about 9:30.† I chose to go over Highway 20 to Highway 101, rather than go on up to Redding and go across US 299.† The route I chose was supposedly about 15 minutes longer in time, but about the same in miles.† Mainly, I wanted to get to the cool weather as soon as possible, but I also donít much care for US 299.† There was a lot of road construction and repair on 101, with delays and detours, so it ended up taking maybe half an hour longer than the other route would have.
When I got to Arcata, just before 4:00, I went over to Arcata Marsh to look for birds, but I didnít see anything, so I went and checked into my motel early and am now settled in for the night, with a possible walk down the street to a restaurant for dinner.† Or, maybe Iíll make my own dinner in the room, as usual.† We shall see.
Tomorrow I have another 7 hours of driving, and I plan to get to Newport, Oregon.† I have plans for birds, but mostly Iíll be driving.
I added four species to Monday today, to bring it to 200.† For my BAD bird, Iíll take Yellow-billed Magpie.
Tuesday, June 27, 2017
Tuesday was another travel day.† I stopped twice to look for birds, but otherwise just drove and enjoyed the ocean scenery along the Oregon coast.† At my first stop, a beach access parking lot with a view of some offshore rocks, I picked up Common Murre and WESTERN GULL (first of the year) for my Tuesday list.† I also spotted a single Brown Pelican as a BAD candidate, even though I didnít need it for Tuesday.
I stopped again at the harbor at Crescent City and saw several Common Loons, to complete that species.
That was it.† No pictures and no more birds.
I added three species to Tuesday to bring it to 198 species, which is the lowest day of the week.† Completing Common Loon makes 111 species completed now.† Western Gull makes it 319 species for the year.† For my BAD bird, Iíll take Brown Pelican.
Wednesday, June 28. 2017
Before I get into today, here is a picture of a California Scrub-Jay that I took on Monday morning at Ancil Hoffman Park.† I didn't bother processing it until today because I knew it wasn't very good.† It's hard for me to pass up a picture of a blue-colored bird, though.
Today was the third travel day in a row.† Each day was only about 300 miles, but after three days of it, I'm glad to be home.
My first and only birding stop this morning was at Yaquina Head, just north of Newport, where I spent last night.† I got two of my target species, Common Murre and Western Gull, in the first couple of minutes, and then spent the next 20 minutes taking pictures and looking for a third species.† Here is a picture of some Common Murres in the water.
Here is a Brandt's Cormorant on a nest, on an offshore rock.
Both sexes get that bright blue throat pouch during the breeding season.
Here is a picture of some more cormorants on nests, with a lot of Common Murres just standing around.
I don't know when or where the murres build their nests, but I didn't see any on nests today.
Here is a Western Gull.
Here is a view from Yaquina Head, looking south at the rocks I was watching.
I heard Black Oystercatchers call three times - the call they make when they fly - but I never could see one.† The call is distinctive, though, and Black Oystercatcher went onto my Wednesday list as a "heard only" bird.
After 20 minutes there, I headed for home.† It was a fairly good drive, with only a few slowdowns due to traffic and construction.† I got here about 3:30, and it is very nice to be home.† Now I need to get back into my local birding, going for my DOTW and BAD birds every day.
As for today, I got 3 more species for my Wednesday list, to bring it to 216 species.† I'll take Western Gull for my BAD bird.
Thursday, June 29, 2017
This was my first day home after the Yosemite trip.† It's time to get serious about getting DOTW and BAD birds.† I need to work carefully for the next five weeks until I leave for Arizona, to keep both of my streaks alive.† I think it can be done, but the DOTW one is especially challenging on some days.†† I have some minor hand surgery scheduled for July 11, and I hope that doesnít interfere.
Today I headed up to Duvall to look for the Western Kingbird that has been hanging out there for the last several weeks.† Western Kingbird is fairly rare in Western Washington, but this one has been reliable there.† It wasn't in its usual place on NE Snoqualmie River Road, in front of the Muslim slaughterhouse, as I went by.† I went on up the road looking for Eurasian Collared-Dove for my BAD bird for the day.† Eventually I saw one, and then saw five more on my way back south on the road.† Back at the slaughterhouse, the kingbird still wasn't in place, so I parked my car and got out to look for it around the area.† Just then it flew in and landed on a wire.† Score!† Here is the Western Kingbird today.
Here is another shot, from the front.
I had my Thursday bird, but I got some more pictures.† I got out of the car to try for a picture of a Eurasian Collared-Dove, but it flew off.† Before I could get back in the car another little bird landed on a wire.† It turned out to be a female Lazuli Bunting.† Here is a picture.
What the heck, I don't have many pictures today, so here is a second one of the female Lazuli Bunting.
I don't see female Lazuli Buntings very often for some reason.† That was the first one I had seen this year, for example, and I've seen males a number of times.† This one doesn't look exactly like the pictures in my field guide, but I think that's what it is.† It seems too yellowish, but maybe that's just the light. As a reminder, here is what the male looks like.† I took this picture of a male Lazuli Bunting in May of 2016.
A male House Finch also flew in and perched on that wire, and I got this picture.
That was it for my birding today.† The Western Kingbird brought Thursday to 217 species and I'll take Eurasian Collared-Dove for my BAD bird.† Tomorrow I hope to go over to north Seattle in a quest for a new year-bird.
Friday, June 30, 2017
This morning I had a birding buddy, a guy I met in Australia a couple of times.† He and his family have been touring around the American West in an RV for the last couple of months, and now they are on their way home to Australia.† They parked their huge RV in our driveway last night, and this morning Ken and I went over to north Seattle in search of a year bird for me.† I knew of a nest location, and the young birds were supposedly just about to fledge.
We found the nest, but there was no sign of any activity when we first got there.† Then a couple of juvenile MERLIN nestlings showed themselves and we got good views.† Merlin is a small falcon and these were my first Merlins of the year.† Here are the two juvenile Merlins we saw today.
Here is another picture of them.
Here is another picture, more closely cropped.
I like the fluffy looking white down on the top of their heads.† They didn't fly while we were there, but they both stretched their wings and I think they will fly in a day or two.† While we were watching them an adult Merlin flew in to a tree on the next block, and I got this distant picture.
In that picture you can see a gray or silver band on its right leg.† It called a number of times, but it never approached the nest tree.† It flew to another nearby tree and I got this picture that shows that it had a blue band on its left leg.
I later found out from the woman who had given me directions to the nest that this one was the female.† Supposedly, she sticks around close to the nest while the male hunts food for the youngsters.† When the male gets something (Merlins usually catch small birds in flight), he brings it to the female, who then feeds the young, while the male goes back to hunting.† We didn't see the male or any feeding today, though.
After 20 or 30 minutes we headed back toward home.† We stopped at a couple of places for me to get a decent BAD bird, but the best I could come up with was Gadwall, a duck species that is easy to find all year.† Back at home, we sat out on our front porch, and Ken noticed a small bird in the Douglas Fir tree in our front yard.† We determined that it was a Golden-crowned Kinglet.† There turned out to be at least three of them, and at least two of them were juveniles.† I tried for pictures, but they never stayed still for long.† Here are three rather blurry pictures of juvenile Golden-crowned Kinglets, maybe the same one.
There were several interesting things about the sighting.† First, I don't recall ever seeing Golden-crowned Kinglet in our yard before, although maybe I'm just not remembering.† Second, I needed it for Friday.† Golden-crowned Kinglets had been easy to see in the winter, but when spring came, they sort of disappeared, although they supposedly are still around in the summer.† The ones today must have nested fairly nearby.† I have been looking for weeks for Golden-crowned Kinglet to use as a BAD bird, but haven't been able to find one.† I had it in my spreadsheet of remaining local BAD birds as a medium difficulty one, as a result.† Finding one in our yard was a real bonus.
So, I added two species to Friday, to make it 218 species, now the highest day of the week.† Merlin was new for the year, to give me 320 species on the year now.† For my BAD bird, I'll take Golden-crowned Kinglet.† Merlin is another medium difficulty BAD bird, but I figure I can go back over to the nest in the next week, multiple times I hope, and I'll take it another day, when I don't have any other good choices.