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.

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