Monday, August 1, 2011

Updating the Yard LIst

Summer has finally come to Seattle and we've had a stretch of mostly dry, warm weather.  The wildflowers are blooming in the garden (which was taken over by weeds before they arrived).  And the Seattle Mariners followed up their surprisingly good first half with a club record 16 straight losses in July.  Yikes. 

But on to the wildlife. 

Sunday morning I was looking out my window and I spied an unlikely couple having breakfast together.  They're both frequent visitors to the feeders, but I've never seen them together before.  There they were, just chowing down like old friends.  I had to take the pictures through the window, because there's no way I could have gotten out on the deck without both of them taking off. They hung out for about ten minutes, not the least bit concerned with each other.
Sunday Brunch with a pal.
My dog Lulubelle routinely flushes the squirrels off the porch in the mornings.  It's impressive to see them leap into the branches of the cherry tree.  The House Finch has been here since winter.  He and his mate are here almost every day.  I haven't seen any young finches though.

Speaking of the cherry tree, it is heavy with fruit.  Most of it is beyond human reach (unless you know someone with one of those cherry picker trucks).  However, the ripe fruit usually brings a burst of bird activity.  As soon as some of the fruit begins to fall I expect to see robins and many other birds congregating in the yard.   Last year, it also brought a raccoon.  They're always around the neighborhood but we very rarely see them.  I'll be keeping my eyes on the tree in the evenings, though, hoping to get a good shot.

My second discovery was even more exciting, because it was a new species for the yard list.  Over the weekend I saw a bird with a lot of bright orange on its undersides.  I thought it might be the Black Headed Grosbeak who was here earlier in the winter, but who I never managed to get good photos of.  This time I was able to get some good shots, but when  I looked at them it wasn't the Grosbeak at all.  It was someone I've never seen in the wild before (although I've seen them a number of times at the wildlife rehab center.) 

Recognize him? (Because of the blackness of his hood and tail, I'm assuming he's male, since the females are supposed to have a greyer coloring, but I'm not totally certain about that). 

Yep, that's a Spotted Towhee.  Beautiful bird isn't he? There were actually two of them in the yard at the same time.  I don't know if they were a couple, or just buddies.  My guide says they prefer to eat off the ground, but these guys were eating at the feeder.  I guess they didn't read the guide.

With the good weather expected this week I hope to get outside a lot and find some new interesting activity to report.  

And just in cast you're interested, this is my Yard List since moving to West Seattle last summer (not counting the Red-Tailed Hawk who was mobbed by crows in the tree across the street):
      June 2010 through December 31, 2010
  1. American Goldfinch (winter plumage)
  2. American Robin
  3. Anna's hummingbird
  4. Bewick's Wren
  5. Black Capped Chickadee
  6. American Crow
  7. Dark-eyed Juncos
  8. European Starlings
  9. Northern Flicker
  10. Red-breasted Nuthatch
  11. Rock Pigeons
  12. Steller's Jay
  13. Jan 1st 2011 through June 21st 2011
  14. House Finch
  15. Song Sparrow
  16. Yellow-rumped warbler
  17. Bushtit
  18. House Sparrow
  19. Black-Headed Grosbeak
  20. Wilson's Warbler 
  21.  June 22nd 2011 through _____
  22. Rufus Hummingbird
  23. Spotted Towhee
If you like Birdland West, you might also want to check out our sister blog Books and Beasts, which focuses on reviews of books about animals and related topics.

(Many of the original photographs featured on Birdland West are available for sale as art quality prints.  You can check out all of our offerings at  If you see an image here that does not show up on our Imagekind site please contact me directly and I'll let you know about availability.)

No comments:

Post a Comment