An Amateur Birdwatcher's tally
You can’t take me anywhere. Not without my noticing the birds. Shopping. Doctors. Work. Yard sales. Birds are just about everywhere which makes watching them an awesome hobby. Who needs electronics in the car? I do use GPS sometimes. But usually I am too busy birdwatching.
This month I seem to have been on the move a lot. Yard sales. I saw a hummingbird and got a good picture of it. Perhaps it’s not too wise to go around taking pictures of stranger’s houses. Who knows what anyone thought of that if they saw me? But I can’t resist a pretty bird. And I was careful not to get any photos that would invade the homeowner’s privacy. I made sure to narrow in on the bird and its feeder.
Then we went to Walmart. Usually one can count on seeing starlings, gulls, crows, and brewers’ blackbirds. We saw them – and something I have never identified before. American dippers were mixed in with some starlings. Later in the week – I saw another American dipper at work! He was enjoying some blackberry bushes.
At this time of year, it's not uncommon to witness raptor birds soaring across fields and roads. It's not even unusual to see pairs and trios of hawks and eagles. As I mentioned on Facebook, these are usually difficult to get snap photos of. But they are exciting to watch. In the summer heat it’s rare to see Canada Geese, though I found some in a field. It’s also hard to find ducks. Starlings and swallows are common. I see plenty of them in my travels. I noticed house finches nesting in the light poles of 2nd Street of Auburn, WA. A block later is full of pigeons because of the train.
Finally, I don't have to go anywhere to watch birds. I have feeders and bird baths in my yard. My neighbor does too. I only must look out a window or step out on the porch of my home to enjoy this hobby. Sometimes, I find I am the watched. Just the other day I looked out of my window while I was working to see your chipping sparrow staring at me. Wonder how he would describe me? On second thought I don’t want to know!
As usual, I’ve loaded some new photos on my bird gallery page. Enjoy!
“Kestrel.” We said together, eyeing the bird on the wire. It flew away, but not far. I refocused my camera. My sister refocused her binoculars. The bird was on a dumpster in Flaming Geyser park. He had his back to us. “Pretty.” I breathed. He was red.
“I don’t think he’s a falcon.” My sister said, straining to see through the binoculars. I was busy snapping photos. “No, maybe he’s a hawk. What’s the other one?” “A pigeon. No, a dove.” She announced. Bizarre. A dove resting near a hawk? The hawk flew up to the wire where the dove sat.
Silence in the car. A tiny bit of fear of what we would see next enveloped us. The hawk landed on the wire beside the pigeon. They – not kissed but leaned forward and did a little birdie hello. We glanced at each other. “Huh?” Clearly, this was not a hawk. We pulled out the Sibleys.
Still unconvinced, we looked first in the raptors section. But nothing matched our bird. The page to pigeons fell open. “There it is.” It was a brown rock dove. Hanging out with a pied rock dove. In over 10 years I have never identified brown rock doves. I didn’t know they even existed. I know about them now.
The brown rock dove wasn’t my only new bird in July 2019. I also saw a western wood pe-wee. It was also in Flaming Geyser Park. At first, I saw it bathing in the river. I was awestruck. This was different, a grey bird the size of a robin. Maggie let me take several pictures, though she was bored. This was her dog walk, and she wanted to walk!
Later I saw the western wood pe-wee in the marsh area of the park. I showed it to my sister, who is my fellow bird watcher. She couldn’t identify it either. I used Whatabird to look it up later.
My chipping sparrows moved on, so my rental property is empty. The next-door finches are still hanging around and the hummer shows up randomly. I keep the feeder fresh for him.
So, the birding adventures stay exciting through the first week of July. I can’t wait to see what happens next!
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!