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Showing posts from April, 2012

Similk Bay Shorebirds

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I have been beachcombing as long as I can remember.  My grandparents spent summers on the Washington coast and I would stay with them sometimes for several weeks.  I was only four or five years old in my earliest recollections.  I have salt water and sand in my blood.  Now, I am fortunate to live on one of the finest beaches of Puget Sound.  I can hike east or west, at least two miles in either direction.  To the east is Similk Bay, the northern-most reach of Puget Sound.  Here seen in springtime haze, Mount Baker stands enduring watch over Similk.


We believe that life began in water.  Scientists, the Book of Genesis and the Quran are in agreement on this point.  I'll bet you didn't realize that.  If you pay attention, you will find evidence of "the moving creature that hath life" every where you look on the beach.  Let's see what we can find along the western shore of Similk Bay.


Gulls are the most common shorebirds in the bay.  With pink legs, red beak spot an…

Good Morning

This proves leaving the big trees in my yard was a good decision.  While they make gardening a challenge, they are definitely attractive to wildlife.  Two of the Douglas Firs have hunting perches at the top allowing the Bald Eagles to look out over Skagit Bay.  I always look forward to their morning greeting calls.

Visiting Old Friends

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I was back on Kiket Island today and I knew exactly what I wanted to see again.  I think the Black Oystercatcher (Haematopus bachmani) has become my favorite shorebird.  I headed straight across the island and out to the spot where I saw them last summer.  With a high tide this time, I wasn't sure if my quest would be successful.


But I was successful, spotting this pair resting in almost the same place I saw the birds last year.  I have a hunch this could be the same pair.  They form long-term bonds and are known to return to the same feeding and nesting territory year after year.  Last year, the pair was nesting on the edge of Flagstaff Island which is attached to Kiket by a tombolo.


The preferred habitat is a rocky beach where they can feed on mussels and limpets.  I found these examples in stony tidal pools on the beach nearby.  The Oystercatcher's beak is tailor-made for opening mussels.


Across Skagit Bay, this is my view of Kiket Island and her little companion Flagstaff…

A Couple Hours at Deception Pass

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The weather started to look more spring-like this week.  With a day off and a pause in the rain, I decided to see what was going on at nearby Deception Pass State Park.  First, I crossed the bridge to Whidbey Island to check out the sand dunes at West Beach.  The Northwestern Crows were out and about raising a ruckus as usual.  This one paused to catch a drink from Cranberry Lake.


Next came a stop at Bowman Bay on Fidalgo Island.  This pair of Canada Geese was feeding on the lawn next to the parking lot.


The American Robins were still hunting earthworms in the picnic grounds, as we saw last month.  I didn't spot anyone who appeared to be full of eggs this time.


Among the spring flowers in the lawn, several Dark-eyed Juncos were foraging with the Robins.  Also spotted, White-crowned Sparrows that were too quick for my camera.  Everybody was singing in their individual voices.


I set off on the trail to Rosario Beach and found the Red-flowering Currants in full bloom.


Along the trai…