An Amateur Birdwatcher's tally
Of course it was hot in the middle of July, even in Washington state. If he had been human, he would have been sweating like crazy. If he had been human, he would have been wringing his hands as he paced back and forth.
The wife had put him out of the nest. Perhaps he had paced around it for a while, until, like any good spouse, she found him a job. “Honey, make sure that the area is safe and quiet.” She might have hissed. Now that was something he could do!
The nest was surrounded by brush, which was flanked by two footpaths. One was a boardwalk. It was about 5 feet away. He judged it should be okay for folks to use it. The bushes and trees protected his lady while she hatched their babies.
The other path was wide, much closer, and could get busy. He trotted over quite anxiously. A pair of women walked by, chatting. They didn’t even notice his dance of angst. A man with a tripod came along. He was startled by the goose’s actions, and took heed of them. He turned around. The goose was proud of himself. But there was no time to be pleased. More people approached. He stretched as high as he could, shuffled around, and hissed violently.
A middle aged woman limped along. That was me, with my bad knee. I was quite taken back by this angry bird who almost reached my waist. “What are you going on about?” I demanded. He clearly indicated I could not continue down my path. After a few tries I gave up and turned back. Had to go almost 500 steps on my Fitbit to go down the other path. I was most annoyed until I got back to the beginning of the path and read the sign.
The rangers had posted the explanation after I had left on my trek. But I was touched when I read it. A new daddy! Good for him.
I’ve said this before: Canada Geese are among my favorite birds. They are responsible family creatures. This tale, to the best of my knowledge, is true. I love it, since it proves my point!
Nisqually September 2018.
After 8 months of almost routine birdwatching we went to Nisqually Wildlife Sanctuary. It’s less than an hour away from our home but it seems a long distance to full time employees so it’s a special occasion when we go.
Dogs aren’t allowed. Katie and Maggie had to stay home with the cats. So the event did have its downside. Still, we stuck to the plan and headed down to the refuge. Our trip took us through Tacoma but traffic was light early in the morning on a weekend. After passing Fort Lewis we knew we were nearing the park. Our excitement rose.
The entry is bordered by swampy meadows and brush. But the meadows were dry. That didn’t bode well. We parked and I headed for the station to pay our fare of $3 per day. The little water way in front was full of algae. But on the back deck I saw a big bird facing my way, stepping slowly. I didn’t recognize it. But a passerby told me it was a blue heron! After getting more of a side view I realized his assessment was correct. There was also a single mallard. This would be the only duck I would see in a place that is usually well stocked with them. The place to too dry to hold any more. I was sad as I headed for the boardwalk trail.
No deer. Next to no water. The trees and bushes were drying up. In the rapine forest there was no pond or marshy areas. I got a picture of a wren. One single bird picture in almost 2 miles of walking.
The Nisqually river was low and still. No eagles perched high in the trees. No hawks watched from above. There were no woodpeckers. I did hear a kingfisher, though I didn’t see him.
So I went to the outlook, where songbirds often flutter. I saw a sparrow but didn’t get a picture. So I took a photo of the twin barns instead. Often times robins and crows graze in front of the barns. Sometimes an eagle perches on a tall tree nearby. But there was only one quick squirrel, two little garter snakes, and a little creepy crawly that I got a photo of.
After an hour and 15 minutes and a little over 6200 steps on my Fitbit, I reached the parking lot again. As we drove away we saw a second blue heron. Bird wise we did not do very well at Nisqually. But it is a pleasant place I could come back to often. Especially after the rains come. Even without my poor little doggies, who went to the dog park later and had a blast.
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!