An Amateur Birdwatcher's tally
It started with a swing through the post office. On the way home I diverted a few blocks off route to see one of my favorite birding spots. To my delight, I saw a sapsucker. Then I saw a second sapsucker. They were both on the same tree. One of them what's pecking away at a hole. After a signal from the first sapsucker the second sapsucker flew away. The first one pecked a few more times at the tree and then popped into the hole.
She stuck her head out looking very pleased with herself. The second sapsucker flew back with what appeared to be a small twig. I got sidetracked by an incoming Canadian goose, so I missed what happened with that twig. Both sapsuckers pecked and pottered for a while. Meanwhile, I observed them and the surroundings.
This was a small, city block sized stand of trees with a marshy pond area. Tree swallows swooped around as well as starlings. It appeared that the starlings had a hole on the other side of that tree. Mallard ducks and Canada geese serenely bobbed in the water to the right of the sapsucker tree. Red winged blackbirds called from out of visual range. Then some appeared and showed off their beautiful red wings.
Despite my fascination I did not stay in my spot long. It’s neither a park nor a private property – it’s a city or locally owned small wooded spot near a conservation area. There is a pull off but also a no trespassing sign. I try to obey signs, so I never stay more than a few minutes.
With the gradual lifting of stay at home orders I’ve ventured back to the sapsucker tree a few times a week. I’ve seen them and also a cousin – a flicker. No babies as of May 10, 2010.
But on May 10 was another exciting event – revisiting one of my favorite weekend spots – Flaming Geyser State Park. It was busy and we didn’t stay long. But the dogs and I greatly enjoyed a brisk walk. The daisies are out – an annual sign of summer for me. Blackberries are blooming. Buttercups are rampant. So are swallows and redwing blackbirds. I also saw an eagle on the way and a kingfisher at the park. So, it was a fun birding venture.
The next Saturday was a day I had promised my dogs a long walk – a 3.5k strut sponsored by my local city which had to be done under the social distancing guidelines of the time and published virtually. In other words, we walked, then took selfies and submitted them. I wasn’t sure how far 3.5k was so we went 5,600 steps and called it happy – very happy for the dogs. On the walk I saw an egret – my first, a blue heron, Canada geese, mallard and pintail ducks, robins, swamp wrens, a song sparrow and we heard a woodpecker. Knock, knock, knock. He was in some beech trees, but he wouldn’t appear. Although I was beat by the time we got back to the car I was elated as well. I think I’ll be trying that again now that I know we can do it!
I kept monitoring the sapsucker tree, as I grew to call it. They aren’t always visible when I go by. The redwings, the swallows, and the starlings are more common. Sometimes ducks bob around. I usually see the Canada geese, and I found out why at the end of May. Three goslings! The parents were proud of themselves and the babies stuck with their parents. Canada geese are very family oriented. Parents raise the children, then stick around to be grandparents. They mate for life.
I’ve also witnessed 2 separate duck families – moms with 8 -12 babies swimming along with them. One was at the Hylebos wildlife refuge. The other was on a trip to Flaming Geyser park. So, it’s been a good baby season for bird, it appears. I’m still hoping the sapsuckers will have a family. Maybe that will happen in June.
May was a good birding at home month. Most of the finches and royal sparrows have moved on. I occasionally see them at my feeders. Hummers have also popped up occasionally. Scrub jays have been predominant, quarrelling with the starlings and the squirrels. Song and house sparrows are still about. I see bushtits and pine siskins. The doves and flickers like the suet. I don’t put food out daily in the summer. I believe we are responsible to not let the wild birds get dependent on us. Though the stay at home orders are lifting I truly believe the best place to be IS home, where my animals are and where I can watch pretty birds all day long.
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!