Showing posts from November, 2012

Collective Nouns

This rock is one of the little gems in Deception Pass State Park that visitors might overlook.  It is located at West Beach just off shore from the parking lot.  As you can see, it is a favorite roosting spot for gregarious shore birds.  During the time I watched and took photos, more and more birds continued to arrive and join the gathering.  For want of a better name, I informally dubbed it "Fraggle Rock" on a previous visit .  Does anyone know if this landmark has an official name? On the left end of the rock, I spotted a " sunning " of Cormorants in the company of gulls.  These are either  Double-crested Cormorants ( Phalacrocorax auritus ) or Pelagic Cormorants ( P. pelagicus ).  A better look at their bills would have been helpful to distinguish them.  They dive underwater for fish and will literally swim with their webbed feet to catch their prey.  When they have had their fill, they will roost like this to dry their feathers, preen and socialize.

Brown Creeper

Several years ago, I think in the '90's, I saw one Brown Creeper ( Certhia americana) in my yard.  I have never seen another one since.  This morning, I was hiking along the dike at Wiley Slough over on Fir Island.  I was taking a brand new Canon 7D camera out for the first time.  I spotted this little fellow scooting around the side of a Red Alder right next to the trail.  He was very fast and kept moving away, but I managed to get this one quick shot.  The fast response of the 7D was a big help. Brown Creepers are permanent residents in Washington.  According to Seattle Audubon , there are two subspecies, separated by the Cascade Mountain Range.  These are small, woodland birds that feed on insects, spiders, their eggs and pupae they find in bark crevices.  A thin, curved bill is the perfect tool for this diet.  They will hunt in a spiral pattern around the trunk.  I can vouch for the acrobatic abilities of this little bird.  Nests are in tree cavities or behind bark w