Wednesday, April 19, 2017

First Bellingham birding day was fabulous

Last Sunday I finally got out and did some birding.  I had looked at a map to see which nearby parks looked best and I decided to check the closest one first.  This was Cornwall Park which turned out to to be not at all birdy so I left after a short walk down one trail and a quick drive through the rest of the park.  It's a very urban park with big open spaces for people to do stuff, no water, mostly one type of trees and lots of dogs playing.  Great for other stuff that people do at parks but not so good for the birding.

Next I went to Squalicum Creek Park which looks like more of an urban park on the map.  While it is true it has a fenced off-leash dog park and a baseball field in the middle, it also has a creek running next to the road.  And it abuts the Bay to Baker Trail which is very birdy indeed.  The water helps bring the birds in and the trail has a variety of trees along it which gives all those birds someplace to go for food and shelter.

Golden-crowned sparrow and fearless Towhee

At first, I was dubious about seeing much so I took some shots of a gull posing on top of a phone pole.  Within a quarter mile, however, I found the spot where a woman drops bird seed every day when she walks her tiny dachshund.  I know these details because while I was standing there admiring the variety of sparrows and the absolutely fearless towhee who decided he wanted to feature in my photos, the lady & dachshund wandered by.  We had a nice chat which was interrupted by a couple of Stellar's Jays wanting to get in on the photos.

I then wandered down a side trail following a small grayish bird (that I never did identify) flitting about and spotted a hummingbird perched up on a branch.  I was expecting an Anna's because that's what I'm familiar with in my yard so I was quite pleasantly surprised when I got the bins on him and saw the wonderful orange glowing in the sun.  This was the second best moment of a very good birding trip. And my first rufous of the year.  Go me!  

King of all he surveys

I thoroughly enjoyed the almost 10 minutes I got to watch him swiveling and preening on his perch.  I really like watching the feisty little hummers and this was a beautiful one.

The best moment of the trip, however, was watching 3 small birds chase each other around.  Two of them were obviously chickadees but the third was flying differently and seemed more warbler like.  This was in part because he kept flitting about and avoiding sitting still long enough for me to get bins on him.  When I finally did get a good view of him, I was gratified to see a clearly identifiable Audubon's Yellow-rumped warbler.  Black and white streaks, yellow throat.  Check off another first of the year.

Overall, it was a wonderful morning spent among the trees, watching the birds and starting to feel connected to our new neighborhood.  I'm really looking forward to going further along the trail next time and seeing what else I can see.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

I hate moving or why is my studio all still in boxes?

Okay, I'll just admit it right upfront.  I'm in a cranky mood today so I'm gonna whine a little bit.

The moving trucks came the last week of March and over 3 days the movers finished the packing, loaded all our stuff, drove it from Bellevue to Bellingham, unloaded it all without breaking anything, (altho they lost some bookcase pegs, more about that later) and mostly put it where I told them it should go.  We've spent the 2 weeks since unpacking and moving boxes around so we could get to the ones we wanted to unpack next.  I didn't get the taxes finished before we had to pack my office so that's hanging over my head along with 4 kitchen boxes still to unpack ( and all the cabinets are already full), 8 boxes to unpack in the bedroom so I can have space for the rowing machine and get some cardio in,  all of the bedroom boxes except for the wardrobe ones and this, this picture below is the current state of my studio in the garage.  So I have done no art making or even fabric fondling for over a month now.  Grrrrr.

I hate moving.  I sincerely hope this is the last time.

On the plus side, we are doing lots of short walks because all kinds of places are within a mile of our house.  We've met several of the neighbors.  James is being a big help with things around the house.  I will call out that his 6 years of experience in the Air Force meant he knew how to find the US version of an Ikea assembly instruction so he could find the correct part number (European ones have a different number, or so he tells me) to order the (lost by the movers) pegs that hold the shelves up on our bookcases.  The last time we moved, the movers commented on the large number of white bookcases.  Then when they were loading all the boxes of books & other stuff, the same guy asked where all this stuff was going to go.  "On the white bookcases" was my reply.  Those pegs are absolutely essential.  I had gone to the Ikea webpage and couldn't find it so I sent them some email.  I still haven't heard back from them and it's been at least a week.  James found the part number and a link to them on Amazon in less than half an hour.  My Hero!

And we really like the neighborhood.  My morning walks are giving me a great opportunity to admire all the interesting paint choices on the houses on our street and look at what people are successfully growing in their yards.  It was too windy this morning for me to go the extra 4 blocks to the most eye popping paint job so here's one of the milder ones that also has a very interesting garden.

All in all, we are settling in nicely.  Once the taxes are done and we have a day with enough clear weather to move stuff out of the garage onto the driveway long enough for my studio placement to get done, I will be a very happy artist.