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

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Westport Pelagic

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:

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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.

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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

In Search of the Perfect Home

When I saw a duck in a tree for a first time I thought I was hallucinating. Of course back then I had no idea that Wood Ducks didn’t get their name without reason. OK, I didn’t even know the name of that duck in the tree.

Now I know but it doesn’t make the duck in the tree a common sight. It is still easier to spot these gorgeous birds on the water.

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Wood Ducks (Aix sponsa) nest in tree cavities. Female can sometimes spend days looking for suitable nest site. Male would accompany her and wait outside while she is checking the cavity. He wouldn’t play any role in choosing the nest site, neither would he help incubating eggs. In about 24 hours after hatching ducklings leave the nest. Their mom flies out of the cavity, lands, and starts calling them. Ducklings would follow her jumping down out of the nest to the ground. They are known to jump almost 300 feet (89 m)!

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In Search of the Perfect Home