Westport Pelagic

That is what I got in my mail today from MapMyRun app:

Naturally, it brought back memories.

Here’s some of the moments I captured while on that wonderful “walk”.

Red-necked Phalarope (Phalaropus lobatus):
Red-necked Phalarope and Velella (By-the-Wind-Sailor)

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Westport Pelagic

Groundhog Day

Far, far away, in Pennsylvania, Punxsutawney Phil came out of his burrow this morning and saw his shadow.

Which means, winter is going to last for six more weeks. At least in Pennsylvania.

But here, in Washington, we don’t have Groundhogs, Marmota monax. We have their close relatives Hoary Marmots, Marmota caligata. And they are sound asleep in their burrows under snow. They’re not going to predict anything, just wake up when it’s warm enough.

What are we to do? Well, we can celebrate Marmot Day and wish them Happy Hibernation :)

I already wrote about Hoary Marmots in King of the Mountain.
But I have some photos of young marmots left :)

A pity, there’s no name for a baby marmot in English. Like, marmolet or marmotty :)


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Groundhog Day

Winter birds of Eastern WA

I’ve just returned from the fabulous three day field trip to Eastern Washington lead by Stefan Schlick.

I’m going to try and stick to chronological order.

On our way there we stopped at Cashmere to have a quick but excellent look at Acorn Woodpecker (Melanerpes formicivorus):

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Winter birds of Eastern WA

I’m not a lunch!

I could have missed the drama that unveiled in front of my eyes two years ago if not for Pine Siskins and Red Crossbills.

Yep, two years ago siskins were frequent visitors to our backyard, and crossbills would show up from time to time, always a joy. When was it last time I saw them on our feeders?..

Anyways, it was a normal February day.  Very dark, rainy and COLD. One of those days when you really don’t want to photograph, but rather just seat home and watch busy outside life through the glass doors to your deck.

There were year round residents – chickadees, nuthatches, juncos, sparrows, and then large flock of siskins and crossbills came.

Not everyday one sees crossbills just 12 feet away. Gotta at least to try and take a dissent photo, I thought, then sighed, and reached for my camera.

Carefully I opened the door, moved the chair close and stack my camera out…

I didn’t shoot once. Tens of wings made a frou-frou sound and all the birds disappeared! A second ago the air was filled with voices and now it went eerily quiet.

Not a soul,,. But wait! From the corner of my eye I notice a red spot on the black feeder pole, under the squirrel baffle:


Downy Woodpecker, Picoides pubescens!

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I’m not a lunch!

Nighthawk Conference

OK, it wasn’t a Nighthawk but WOS (Washington Ornithological Society) Conference 2014 in Yakima, WA. But to me, it kinda was. Seeing that cool bird four days in a row could alone make any trip special.


I had my first nighthawk sighting at Selah Rest Stop on I-82.

I was driving for more than two hours in late Thursday afternoon. Yakima, and my hotel, and the night’s rest before three days of birding were within a sone’s throw and I didn’t really needed a stop. But I new I’d see White-throated Swifts and probably Prairie Falcon.

Plus, the setting sun lit everything with such a warm light that it made me crave for it touching my skin.

Of course, when I got out of the car I was almost blown down to the canyon, so strong the wind was. Still, the birds didn’t seem to care. White-throated Swifts and Cliff Swallows were swooping and gliding.

Prairie Falcon didn’t disappoint me either. He came out of nowhere and brought his mate along.

And then the sun set and that gorgeous moon rose:

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Nighthawk Conference