Thursday, January 29, 2009

San Juan Winter Birding

Today was a great day.  Early rise and great breakfast at Rocky Bay Cafe.  Then I was set to go birding with my friend Monika (Orca Watcher Blog).  The condition of the day were cloudy and cold with a moderate breeze.  We were mainly setting out to look at sea birds but as always we check out everything we come across.  

First stop of the day was Cattle Pass.  Located at the south end of San Juan Island and is an area with lots of current flow, we expect to see birds feeding here.  Last time we were there, not much luck.  Today we had more success and started out list for the day.  Whale Rocks located across the way, is a typical haul out for Stellar Sea Lions.  Today we only saw one that I can recall.  Off off Goose Island we spotted a large group of Harbor Seals hauled out.  After spending a bit of time id'ing all the birds it was time to move on.

A quick stop at Fourth of July Beach and off to False Bay.  This is a great place to check out birds. There was a mix of sea birds and duck in the area.  As always there were Bald Eagles around. Today I think we saw Bald Eagles at every stop.  We were not the only curious birders today.  While at False Bay we met Ross, a local nature enthusiast, and he shared his scope with us.  Much appreciated!  Scopes are great for pulling in close views with amazing details.  After checking out the scene there it was once again time to push on.  We were in my car writing down the sightings and Ross knocked on the window.  He was observing gulls stopping their feet in shallow puddles in the shoreline mud.  It is an insane little dace to drive worms out of the mud so they can feed on them.  Once again many thanks for Ross pointing it out and sharing his scope again.  This is something I have not observed before.  It was really fun to watch.

As we pulled off of False Bay Dr, we stopped to check out the flooded areas in the fields.  We were lucky and spied some great views of Pintail Ducks.  They were mixed in amongst a varied amount of Mallard Ducks.  We then headed out to Small Pox Bay on the Westside of San Juan Island.  Not much going on there so we moved on.

British Camp was the next stop on the list.  We had a pretty productive viewing there.  But we notice an old Osprey nest, that has been in the area for a long time,  was pretty much gone.  The bowl shaped nest was torn apart.  We are not sure how it happend.  Once can only guess, but it could have been the wind.  I am not sure.  There was an interesting Juvenile Bald Eagle in the area.  If I had to guess, maybe 3 years of age.  I say this because the plumage was mottled and beak color transition was completing.  

So here is a list of the days birds:
*Surf Scooter * American Wigeon *Gadwall
*Northern Pintail *Mallard Ducks *Great Blue Heron
*Common Loon *Cormorants *Glaucus Wing Gull
*Scaupe *Trumpeter Swan *Junco
*Flicker *Greater Yellow Leg *Oyster Catcher
*Crow *Raven *Bufflehead
*Bald Eagle *Horned Grebe *Hooded Merganser
*Red Breasted Merganser *Common Merganser
*Harlequin Duck *Mew Gull *Red Tailed Hawk
*American Robin *Canada Goose *Peregrine Falcon

So the Falcon was at my house.  Monika did not get to see it.  Non the less it was pretty cool.

But the end of the day we were heading back to town for coffee.  I was driving and all of the sudden a fox catches my attention.  I had to think for a second before I asked Monika if she saw it.  It was back and it did NOT have a tail.  We turned around and there it was.  Monika was able to get some photos.  It was funny looking.  Never know what you are going to see.  Yesterday I saw a crow in town that was miss three quarters of its top beak.  

Here area a few photos.

Cattle Pass

False Bay

Monika looking through the scope that Ross was sharing.

Well that was my day.  Nice to spend most if it outside looking at wildlife.  Even better when you run into other people out doing the same.  But you can tell from the pictures it is pretty cloudy here.  Makes for dark images.

Monika took pictures of some of the birds and the fox.  Please see here blog

Hope everyone is having a great day.

1 comment:

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