An Amateur Birdwatcher's tally
March took an interesting turn in my birdwatching. Midmonth came the orders to stay home. Only leave for work or essential activities. Birding was not on the list of essential activities.
As I’ve stated before, drive by birding is a normal process for me. For 2 weeks I went the park and walked the dogs but practiced social distancing. That wasn’t good enough, though. So, I have been birding at home, and a few quick drivebys to and from my essential errands.
Swallows and red winged blackbirds are coming back, but they don’t visit my yard. All I have is a tiny bird bath for water. So, ducks and geese don’t come by often, either. I did get to see mallards, mergansers, buffleheads, pintails, wigeons, northern shovelers, and green teal ducks in the beginning part of the month. I got a picture of a tree swallow. Canada geese dotted some fields. Blue herons were abundant. Eagles were gone, and hawks not very common this month. But it was good to get out and go see what was there.
At my last visit to Flaming Geyser Park Katie and I strolled around searching for a sapsucker or woodpecker that kept clanking against metal signposts. We never found him. A batch of stellar jays were defending their fir trees from the robins. Later, the swallows will most likely win the battle and the jays will move away for a while. Three ducks bobbed along the Green River. Red wing blackbirds, swallows, and wrens occupied the marsh. It was a nice place and time. Katie enjoyed sniffing every tree and pole around. She’s not too interested in birds. I have known her to try to race a crow before. But she disapproves of my birdwatching hobby. I should only walk her.
Also, before the stay at home push my sister and I drove up to the blue heronry. I told that to a new birder and he wanted to know the address. I had to explain the herons didn’t register with the post office or city officials. They have a group of nests in a conservation here in King county near the animal shelter. Every year they return to communally raise their young. This is that time of year. We counted about 18 nests. There was even an upstairs and a downstairs in one tree! I got a picture of that.
After driving around the conservation we went over to Boeing Ponds and birdwatched. The pond was teeming with surf scoters, mallards, and buffleheads. Robins sang cheerfully. An Anna’s hummingbird entertained us. Wrens played by the water. It was incredible. I also saw a cute killdeer.
Then came the stay at home law. I get to telework again, so I at least have a job. I have a yard with a bird station so I’m lucky there. I started counting birds that I can see daily at home. The count is about 12-15 regular species! That includes crows and seagulls which fly by so it’s a bit of a stretch. But I love my little plethora of birds. House sparrows, white crowned sparrows, golden crowned sparrows, juncos, black capped and chestnut back chickadees, house finches, gold finches, scrub jay, starlings, flickers, and doves. I haven’t seen my hummers in a while. They seem to come through periodically. But I have their feeder set up for when they come.
Check out my gallery for new March pictures! While you’re at home, check out your own yard, patio, or windows for visitors from afar. Stay safe and pray for those who are suffering and those helping the suffering.
I'm ashamed of myself. I wrote most of my February article in February, but I never finished it. The Corona Virus, CORVID19, has gotten out of hand in my area. A lot of my attention has been focused around the virus and the events in my area relating to it. I contemplated not mentioning this, there has been such a lot of talk about the virus and it's ramifications. But it has affected my life considerably, as it has probably affected anyone reading this.
Yes, I have gone birding. I have done quite a bit of bird watching, both at home and in my typical drive-by fashion. The only crowds where I went were avian. I didn’t have to worry about contagion and infection, but what type of hawk I was viewing.
I didn't see too many new birds in the month of February. Much of the month was cold and dismal. There was unusual flooding which made my trips a little more adventurous. It is not recommended that one drive through a road full of water. I am usually cautious, but I did go through some shallow road ponds. Well, I rode. My sister usually drives.
Flaming Geyser State Park is one of my favorite places to birdwatch as I walk my dogs. I saw kinglets, Golden Crown kinglets at the park. They seem to be hanging out with some chickadees which surprised me. I went and visited the Weyerhaeuser pond for the first time ever and saw surf scoters. Those were the two new birds of my month. Very tiny kinglets and big scoters. I didn’t get pictures of either.
The birds frequented my feeders, bringing me some pleasure. It was a relief from the frightening news that even got into social media. I have gotten some of the timing down of my little feathered guests. The first visitors are usually scrub jays. Chickadees come soon after, followed by sparrows and juncos with finches. They welcome the flicker and starlings. The chickadees stay until just after noon. The sparrows and starlings stay until later. The flicker just hangs out at the suet for about thirty minutes. If the doves show up, they come just around the time of the flicker. The day is full at the feeder station! Juncos are usually the last to leave.
So far, March is shaping up much better than February bird wise. I hope to present a much more interesting tale for this months’ bird watching experiences. Meanwhile, check out my birding Gallery for a few new pictures to show that February was not as dreary as I feared.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!