An Amateur Birdwatcher's tally
January 2020, King County Washington. It was wet – icy wet. The sky was charcoal grey most of the time. This isn’t weather that makes me think – let’s go birdwatching! I want to turn all the lights on and snuggle under a blanket while reading or doing nothing more than being a cat bed for my Annie.
Yet my bird feeders called me – I fill them, and the birds come. I get to watch and take pictures. It’s win- win. I see the finches, chickadees, juncos, flicker, scrub jays, and sparrows. They brighten my day.
When I am in the car, whether riding or driving, birds flock together and draw my attention. Of course, I promise that I am not a distracted driver. I might not notice that the light has changed immediately as I am watching pigeons on the light pole or gulls circling beautifully a street over.
At stores and at work I parking lot bird watch. Though I feel that I’m not doing much with my hobby my list of identified birds defies that notion.
On the weekends my sister and I like to give our doggies extra walking time – in parks and rural places where we can bird watch. We travel to those places – doing drive by birding on the way.
Some roads are overflowing with water in the countryside. We plow through it. The fields are muddy. The dogs and I trot across anyway. Many waterways are full and flowing fast. We peer over them with awe. There are smells to be smelled and birds to be watched and pictures to be taken. Gulls and crows and starlings and pigeons dance and float over the city buildings. They amaze me.
No, I have not lost my enthusiasm for birding. This is my 3rd year of blogging about the hobby. I was surprised to go back through old posts and pictures. They give me a history I had forgotten.
In the first months of 2018 and 2019 I saw almost the same birds as January of this year. This year there was a notable exception – red winged blackbirds. I heard one this year – but have not seen them yet. They were common in the past years. Where have all the red winged blackbirds gone?
So far, I have not seen a sap-sucker yet either. Perhaps I will yet – I’m always optimistic. Meanwhile, my list has additions to the previous years – finches, Canada Geese, and a variety of ducks I probably saw before but didn’t identify at the time. Here is a list of January 2020 birds so far.
Chickadees Juncos House sparrows White crowned sparrows
House finch goldfinch towee flicker
Scrub jays Stellar jay crows gulls
Pigeons starlings kingfishers wren
Kestrel red tailed hawk bald eagle blue heron
mallards wigeons northern shovelers pintails
Canada geese Cackling geese
This is a new year. I am writing this post to finish the old, 2019. Wet is a good description of the middle of December in King County, WA. Weather fit for ducks. Also, great to see raptor birds. The trees are bare, and the big birds are up there – watching the world and looking for their next meal. In the 3rd week of the month I saw 4 eagles and 5 hawks plus 2 blue herons. In the 4th week of the month I saw 3 eagles, 4 hawks but no blue herons.
On week 3 the thrill of a lifetime occurred. We were driving along, birding, when we turned a bend. Just to our left, just a few feet up, on a branch over a river, was an eagle. I got several excellent pictures. The paparazzi was hot! I don’t think he ever noticed us. But we saw him!
The water receded some in the end of the month. I didn’t see any particularly unusual birds. Just crows, starlings, robins, red wing blackbirds, eagles, herons, hawks, kestrels, towees, juncos, sparrows (several types), chickadees, flickers, pine siskins, pigeons, Canada geese, mallards, wigeons, pintails, mergansers, and kingfishers. Still, I delighed in each species as I did my counts.
For the year 2019 I counted 68 species of birds. Most of them were common according to the King County bird checklist. I missed 31 common species so those go to the top of my to do list for 2020. I want pictures of those birds!
I counted 41 bird presentations on my website this year! Check out my final updates on the gallery page of this website. https://myyarncraftsplus.weebly.com/birding-gallery.html .
I love birdwatching. It's relaxing and fun. Even though I've been birding for over 10 years I classify myself as an amateur birder. I plan to write a blog each month about my experiences. Hope you enjoy them!