My Montana

My Montana
My Montana

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Birding in Washington State with Friends Old and New

May 2, 2017

I am taking  a very circuitous migration route to Red Rock Lake National Wildlife Area in Montana. I came to Seattle to visit a dear friend I met while volunteering at Malheur NWR who I usually see once a year when she comes to visit me. (And I've managed to visit three other friends on the way and have one more meet up planed this weekend before finally reaching my summer home next Monday.)

Teri has been very good to me, taking me to the Seattle Market, to Bainbridge Island via a ferry, where we visited a lovely art museum and were awed by feather art - more later.) Yesterday we went birding until the rains sent us home to nap.  Today we went birding at the Stillwater Unit of Snoqualmie Wildlfe Area, run by the state of Washington. We went on a birding trip led by members of the local Audubon Chapter, including one of Teri's friends that we met up with while she was visiting me in Yellowstone National Park.  It was good to get to visit with him again.

I loved the trees which were festooned with other plants

We started off the trip, walking along a levy, looking for American bitterns.  I think we found a female first and a male a little later because only the second one was calling to both mark his territory and to advertise for a mate. Out leaders had scoped out the area the previous day and showed us pictures of a male also displaying a set of white, fluffy feather, that sort of made a band of white over his shoulders. We didn't see that behavior today but the female was within sight of him yesterday and we think he may only do that when females are watching.

Hunting for whatever birds they can find

I believe this bird was a female because it didn't call

This bird called repeatedly

I loved the trip because everyone was happy to spend a long time, both looking over an area and then lingering to observe bird behavior. 

My favorite birds were the red breasted sapsuckers.  I took a picture of the hole when we first went past it because it was so beautiful in between shelf fungus and with a pile of sawdust on the fungus. Then one bird went into the hole and we waited until it came  and sat with sawdust in its mouth, right at the hole entrance.  Then another bird flew in and landed beside the hole. 

The nest builder taking a break

The second bird

The pair

One of three pine siskins that were playing near the sapsucker hole

A black capped chickadee

We saw lots of tree swallows

Who were also setting up housekeeping

We enjoyed watching a pair of hooded merganser males

A mallard female and a Canada goose share a log

The only hereon we found was this great blue, sitting high in a tree

Another fun happening was finding four otters on a log. They were rolling around on each other on the log, then all went into the water and came closer to scope us out. 

The otters - too far for a decent picture

Up periscope

Just what ARE you doing>

Bullfrogs, an introduced invasive species were also present, but not calling

We saw or here lots more species including several species of sparrows, including the coveted Harris sparrow, looking very dapper in his courting clothes.  We also had a few flyovers of Vaux's swifts.  I haven't yet gotten the eBird list shared with me so I'm not sure of the total number of species.  But I expect it will be about thirty.  It was a very good day indeed. 

I'm linking up with Wild Bird Wednesday.  Click on the picture below to access lots of great bird blogs from around the world.