alaskabirder

Its a Great Day to Bird

Month: August 2020

August – summer slipping away

Sorry folks.  I had set this up to be published on August 31, 2020, and not sure that happened.  If not, I apologize.

Hard to believe it is August already.  The leaves on the vegetation up at the park (less than 1/4 mile from our home) are already starting to turn red, yellow, and orange.  The fireweed flower stalks (flower from the bottom up) are near the top (generally an indicator that summer is about over).    I’m not ready.

And now that it is the end of August, the fireweed is done, which means summer is over.  Luckily no new snow (or as we call it “termination dust”) on the mountains yet.  Only a matter of time.  The mornings are cooler, the leaves are turning, and soon we will get our first frost, then our first snow.

I have been ‘spaced-out birding’ while trying to avoid the masses.  I am thankful that I live is a state that isn’t very populated, although some weekends it is quite busy in our little corner of the state.  I continue to go birding at the Anchor Point beach.  Shorebird southbound migration continues – hooray!!!

Anchor Point Beach

Our small birding group went to Anchor Point on 5 August.  We always have to time it when the tides are best for birding watching.  On the 5th, we had to work with an incoming tide so started on the beach and then moved to the river.  I prefer an outgoing tide, but the timing was off that day.  Not only do I consider the tides for birding, but also the weather and everyone’s availability.

We saw 11 different species of shorebirds:  Surfbird, Black Turnstone, Rock Sandpiper, Least Sandpiper, Long-billed Dowitcher, Short-billed Dowitcher, Greater Yellowlegs, Lesser Yellowlegs, Spotted Sandpiper, Semi-palmated Plover, and Wilson’s Snipe.

Surprisingly we saw 12 Rock Sandpipers — early arrivals as usually we only get one or two at the most this time of year.  It was nice to see more of them.  And, there were five (5) Spotted Sandpipers, all together in a group, so possibly a family.  The tide was rising and the food bank along the river was fading fast.  A Sharp-shinned Hawk, which we had spotted about five minutes earlier, swooped down and tried to take out one of the Spotted Sandpipers.  I’m happy to report no birds were harmed during our visit (not that we observed luckily).  I know the Sharp-shinned Hawk has to eat as well, I just don’t like to see their prey killed while I’m watching.  Out of sight, out of mind.

The only thing marring the trip was someone nearby shooting off their guns.  They seemed to be near the campground, and if I were camping there I would be distressed.  I have heard of bullets traveling up to a mile and striking someone.  So – go to the shooting range please.

A good photo to show the size difference between the Greater Yellowlegs (back) and Lesser Yellowlegs (front)

As Jim and I were getting ready to leave the parking lot we saw a man walking into the water and then dive in. Brrrrrr. Nice day out but that water has to be cold.

Tim in the background and Jim in the foreground

Lani

Beach Fleabane (Senecio psuedo-arnica)

On the 13th, Jack and I took Moxie to the Anchor Point beach so she could run and we could bird.  There are still shorebirds coming through, although not as many as in previous visits.  We did get a good variety – 14 different shorebird species.  Not too shabby.  I think the surprise of the day was the two Whimbrels I spotted at the end of the visit.  We were almost back at the boat launch parking lot when I was thinking that most of the Whimbrels have probably already migrated through.  About two minutes later these two Whimbrels flew and landed about 50 yards from me.  Nice.  I also saw a Sanderling, which is rare for this time of year.  I generally see one or two during the outbound migration.  Hope to see some again.  While the highest number observed for any given shorebird species was 14 (Black Turnstone), I was surprised to encounter 13 Semi-palmated Plover.  The plover  move through later in the season than the Turnstones and Surfbirds.

Out at sea (Cook Inlet), there was an occasional Horned Puffin and several dozen Sooty Shearwater.   There were also large concentrations of Black-legged Kittiwakes.  There must have been some small schools of fish for them to feed on.  Fun to watch them dive bomb into the water after food.

The tidal difference that day between low and high tide was only 5.5 feet (high tide 12.6 and low tide 7.1).  So the tide went out very slowly.  Not a whole lot of rocks were exposed and the shorebirds like the intertidal rocks.   It was a beautiful day so we walked to the mouth of the river.  Not much in the way of shorebirds there, mostly gulls.

When we first arrived it was foggy. I was afraid if the fog didn’t lift we wouldn’t see many birds. Luckily it didn’t last long.  Those are boat trailers in the photo.

Sanderling

Whimbrel

Whimbrel.  These birds flew and I checked out their rump.  Definitely Whimbrels and not Bristle-thighed Curlews.

When I first saw this Song Sparrow I thought Wow!!! That is a weird looking blackbird. The sparrow seemed almost black. Our Song Sparrows are much darker than in the Lower 48.

My friend Jim and I ventured back out to the Anchor Point beach and river on 21 August.  We didn’t see as many shorebirds but did get a lot of seabirds.  Timing is everything, as Jack likes to say.  Sometimes on the water (Cook Inlet) you don’t see any birds.  This time we saw a lot, especially gulls and Horned Puffins.  Despite the outgoing tide, some of the puffins were clearly visible with binoculars.  But a scope is really needed to check out the birds on the inlet.  We had a total of 31 species.  Not bad for a couple of hours of birding.  The highlights for me were the two Lapland Longspur migrating south.  They are rare for this time of year.  We also had two Northern Harriers.  Always fun to watch the harriers slowly glide over the land and river in search of their next meal.

Our first sea jelly of the year. About the size of a dinner plate.

Lapland Longspur

Common Merganser

Savannah Sparrow. We had around 40 of these birds. Must be migrating south already.

A powered hang glider. He flushed up a lot of birds, especially the Savannah Sparrows.

You can just barely see Mt. Redoubt in the background. This was at low tide.

And yet another trip to the Anchor Point beach and river on 28 August with Jack, Jim, and Moxie.  We did see some shorebirds, but not many – Rock Sandpiper, Short-billed Dowitcher, and Greater Yellowlegs, oh and one peep.  The inlet waters were calm bird wise compared to last week when Jim and I were there birding.  Timing again.

The highlight of the trip was spotting a Humpback whale.  We even got to see it breach.  I think there were actually two whales.  Amazing creatures.

Greater Yellowlegs

Greater Yellowlegs

Rock Sandpipers

Lapland Longspur

Mount Iliamna

Wetlands behind the boat launch parking lot. The shorebirds use the ponds during spring migration, but rarely during outbound migration (at least when I have checked the ponds).

Home Grounds and Eveline State Recreation Site

So the other night I heard a crane calling.  The sound was plaintive, as though it had lost its mate, which very well could be as we do have a nesting pair of eagles nearby.   As I was looking for the crane I happened to look down on the ground near our garden.  There in the grass was a brown blob.  I got my bins out and looked.  I was surprised to see a Wilson’s Snipe just sitting in the grass.  The bird stayed there quite awhile,  allowing me to get a photograph.  I do love snipes.

I love clouds and saw these clouds one day over the house

Wilson’s Snipe in our yard

Looking out our living room window,  They see their reflection in the window and think it is another crane.  So they peck at the window hoping to scare the crane off.  Annoying.

In early August Jack and I took Moxie (the dog) for a walk in the park (Evenline SRS).  They do have a nice looped trail (a little over one mile).  We had a fair number of passerines in the park that day, including many hatch year Orange-crowned Warblers, plus several Golden and Ruby-crowned Kinglets.  We flushed a Spruce Grouse (or Moxie or Chaz did – Chaz is the neighbor’s dog who usually accompanies us).   Not many birds were singing except for the Alder Flycatchers.  They seem to like the dead treetops.  Easy to find that way.  It was a nice walk and yes, the leaves they are a changing.

Jack and I walk this park nearly every day.  A few days after noting that only the Alder Flycatchers were singing, they were silent.  That might be because they’ve already headed south for the winter?

Still not near the top so summer is still with us for awhile (Fireweed) (photo taken in early August)

Jack on the trail with Moxie and Chaz

Boardwalk on the trail

View from the high point in the park

Chaz on the trail. Some people mistake him for a bear.  And there have been several bear sightings in the park.   We’ve not seen them in the park this year.

Moxie at the picnic area in the park

One of the trail signs

And the “Summer” trail map

Snowshoe trail marker

Monkshood (Aconitum delphinifolium) – Very poisonous

Native larkspur (Delphinium glaucum)also a poisonous plant

Park trail. The grasses and fireweed get quite high so have to talk loud, sing, or clap to be sure you don’t startle a bear or moose that may be nearby

Mushrooms are popping up

And some of the fireweed leaves and other plants are starting to turn colors. Fall is my favorite time of year.

Moxie drinking water on a boardwalk trail in the park.  She doesn’t like to get her feet wet if she can help it.

We’ve had a nice mix of species in our yard.  A Sandhill Crane pair with a colt visited.  They like to hang out in the garden.  We’ve also had two hatch year Steller’s Jays searching for food.  They like the cracked corn we leave out for the cranes.  And not to be out done, the Ring-necked Pheasant hen and her four chicks were at the mound where we put out the corn.  And that was all in one day.  We still have our mix of sparrows around.

Steller’s Jay at the feeder

Searching the area below the feeder for food

And just checking out the garden area

Sandhill Crane colt (chick)

Up close view. You can tell the colts from the adults in that the colts don’t have the red feathers on their heads.

Ring-necked Pheasant hen and one of her four chicks

This photo was taken at my sister’s house in Anchorage. A Red-breasted Nuthatch flew behind the little house and then walked out the front door.   Fun to watch.

Our Sandhill Crane pair like to loaf on our deck.  Won’t be long now before they head south for the winter.

Kenai Flats, Cannery Road, and Kasilof Beach and River Mouth

My friend Jim and I drove up to Kenai/Soldotna to check out the shorebirds at Kenai Flats, Cannery Road, and the Kasilof River mouth and beach.   The Burke’s had reported seeing up to 50 Wilson’s Snipe at Cannery Road.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen more than three snipes at once, let alone 50.  We wanted to check it out.

Kenai Flat

The grasses are tall so hard to see into some of the ponds.  We did get a really nice view of a Peregrine Falcon on a snag.  What a beautiful adult bird.  I wish it had been closer so I could have gotten a photo of the bird.  We did get great views with our binoculars and spotting scopes.

There are also a lot of stumps out in the flats.  One looked like it might have a bird on it.  Sure enough we saw a Short-eared Owl perched on top of one of the stumps.  Again too far away for a photo.

With respect to shorebirds, we were ‘limited’ to several Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs.  But that was fine.  Always nice to see these birds.  There were two Trumpeter Swans in a pond, and two Sandhill Cranes nearby.  The Arctic Terns have left for points south so only gulls still hanging out along the river.  And I mean a lot of gulls, (think thousands), many of them hatch year birds.

Slough on the flats

View of river from the Tarbox viewing platform

Cannery Road

We left the Kenai Flats and headed to Cannery Road.  The small ponds here were mostly dry, but we did find a small number of Lesser Yellowlegs (seven) and one Greater Yellowlegs feeding in the pond.  Jack and I had been here about a week earlier and we had about twenty dowitchers and one Pectoral Sandpiper, in addition to the yellowlegs.   As we were checking out the ponds, a Northern Harrier flew over the ponds scattering the birds, revealing the few ducks around.  The yellowlegs seemed undeterred.   Then we noticed several large flocks of shorebirds.  These birds turned out to be Wilson’s Snipe and I estimate we saw at least 60 of them.  Four landed real close to us, but unfortunately a vehicle drove by flushing the birds.  We only got quick views.

Before we left the Northern Harrier was joined by another harrier and they proceeded to chase each other.  There also were two Common Ravens who didn’t care for the harriers,  we think the harriers were trying to take the prey the Ravens had captured.

The north side of Cannery Road

Northern Harrier

Flying over the ponds

Flushing the waterfowl

Love the grasses and clouds

Kasilof Beach and River Mouth

We hustled over to the Kasilof Beach to check the incoming tide for shorebirds.  We were told it is better to get here a half a hour early, rather than a minute late.  Truer words were never spoken when it comes to this beach and shorebirds.

The tide was still somewhat out but we could see shorebirds feeding in the mud flats.  We just had to wait for them to be pushed closer to the shoreline.   And looking out we could see a lot of shorebirds – yellowlegs and dowitchers, with a few smaller peeps mixed in.  In all, we estimate there were around 200 Greater Yellowlegs and about 75 Lesser Yellowlegs.  The estimated 50 dowitchers we couldn’t identify to species as they were too far out and then flew overhead in silence.

We did see several Surfbirds and Black Turnstones in the mix, plus Semi-palmated Sandpipers, Least Sandpipers, Semi-palmated Plovers, and other peeps (these birds flew silently overhead).   Nearby there were  several Semi-palmated Plovers (three) on the beach loafing.   Jim was hoping for a Sanderling, but if there was one in the bunch, we didn’t see it.

As the tide crept closer to shore, the birds would generally fly off in large flocks (25-50 birds) at a time – almost in waves.  When the tide was real close to shore, most of the birds had already flown off.

There were also a large number of Northern Pintails along the surfline.  And out further we did get glimpses of Red-throated Loons – always nice to see.   At the tip of the beach on the south side of the river, we had a large flock of around 17 Bonparte’s Gulls.  There were also hundreds of Herring Gulls and at least one Mew Gull.  One first cycle gull kept feeding close to shore.  I wondered if maybe it was injured.  It hung out alone.

Overall we were happy with the birding, but did note that it would be better to be at the Kasilof beach during the am tide, when the sun is at our backs and we would have better lighting.  However, the morning tides this week were too early – the drive is at least  two hour from Homer.  Maybe next year.

Kasilof Beach – as you can see the tide is out some distance

Lots of fisherman coming home

There are three Semi-palmated Plovers in this photo

Two Semi-palmated Plover

They hide well in the gravel

Eagle Lake

We ventured back out to Eagle Lake on the 14th of August to see if the adult Pacific Loons were still there.  They were.  Definitely no chick.  They are certainly beautiful birds.  The Mew Gulls, ever present in May, June, and July, were gone.  They had raised their young and found no reason to stick around.  The Merlins were gone also.  I don’t know if they were just gone in search of food and would return at night or if they too had left for good.

The passerines were pretty quiet, although I was able to pish two Orange-crowned Warblers, two Golden-crowned Sparrows, and a Fox Sparrow out of hiding.  We also had a Ring-necked Duck with nine ducklings.  I was surprised they had survived the Merlin and Bald Eagles in the area.

We saw two Sandhill Cranes near the far end of the lake.  And five Greater Yellowlegs flew in and landed in the tall (tall for them) grasses, sedges, and rushes.  Also at the far end of the lake was some white material in a tree and on the ground.  Jack and I decided to take a closer look and started walking in that direction.  About half way there I saw some movement, stopped to look, and spotted a large black object.  Yup, a black bear.  It was curious about the white material also.  At one point it must have smelled something in the woods because it took off at a dead run.  Luckily it wasn’t running towards us, but it was kicking up a lot of water.  We might not have been able to go over there anyway – too much water, even with our Xtra-tuff boots.  Turning around and going back the way we came seemed the smart thing to do, so we prudently retreated – Moxie never was the wiser…

This will probably be our last visit to the lake this year.  I conduct loon monitoring on the lake and that monitoring  is now complete.   Hopefully next year the pair will return and will raise a chick to fledge.

Pacific Loon pair

Black Bear

Besides Birding

When I went to vote early at City Hall for the Alaska primary, they had these markers on the floor to help people with physical distancing.    Alaska is “Xtra tuff” country (the boots).  Hope you all got out and voted in your primary and don’t forget to vote in the general election in November.

And speaking of voting, our local Friends of the Homer Library had an essay contest on voting.  Jack’s essay won second prize.  Way to go Jack.

Physical distancing markers

Great message

Remember, voting is both a right and a privilege.  Vote, Vote, Vote. 

It’s Always a “GREAT DAY TO BIRD”

July Birding 2020

So despite the Covid-19 pandemic I have been able to get out and bird the local area, as well as my own yard.  Early morning birding doesn’t appeal to Jack so I generally go with four friends:   Lani, Megan, Jim, and Tim.

Anchor Point/Anchor River

We’ve gone several times to the Anchor Point beach/Anchor River to bird.  This is the time of year to catch the migrating (outbound) shorebirds.   They breed in the Arctic and then head south to leave the young to figure out migration and survival.  Jack and I have taken Moxie a time or two as she loves the beach but happily doesn’t chase birds.  The best time to go for shorebirds is when the rocks along the beach are exposed following an outgoing tide – generally when the outgoing tide is around 9.0 feet or less.  The more exposed rocks, the more feeding areas for the birds.  From late June through July, the shorebirds seen are the following:

  • Black Turnstone
  • Surfbird
  • Ruddy Turnstone
  • Whimbrel
  • Sandpipers – Least, Western, or Semi-palmated
  • Spotted Sandpiper
  • Short-billed Dowitcher
  • Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs
  • Red-necked Phalarope
  • Rock Sandpiper
  • Bristle-thighed Curlew

At least that is what I’ve seen this year.

The Black Turnstones are generally the birds seen in the highest numbers – several hundred.  Surfbirds aren’t far behind.  Whimbrel numbers vary from a few to up to 88 (the most I’ve seen on the beach at one time).  And this year I even spotted a Bristle-thighed Curlew.  These birds are distinguished from the Whimbrel by their unmarked buff colored rump.  This bird just happened to be about 30 yards from me when it flew straight out.  Couldn’t miss seeing the color of that bird’s rump.  Woohoo!!!  In Alaska I’ve only seen this bird once before (since it often misses our area as it migrates to breed in Western Alaska) during the 2009 Kachemak Bay Shorebird Festival and it was on this beach.

At one of our birding outings our group did see 37 roosting Greater Yellowlegs on the sand/gravel bars in the Anchor River.  That was quite a sight.  None of us had ever seen that many yellowlegs at one time.  We were surprised to also find two Red-necked Phalaropes – birds usually attributed to the sea during migration – along the river as well.  One was later spotted in the rocks feeding along with the Surfbirds, Whimbrels, and Black Turnstones.

There are other non-shorebirds to see here as well, although out on the bay it has been pretty quiet.

On 28 July Jack and I ventured back to the beach and walked from the boat launch parking lot to the mouth of the river.  The mouth is several hundred yards further north than when we first started going to the beach over 10 years ago.  At the first fishing hole, we had at least 48 Greater (mostly) and Lesser Yellowlegs loafing or feeding along the river – mostly loafing.   Then at the mouth we had another 24 Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs, again loafing, along with a small mix flock of Black Turnstone and Surfbirds.   These two species’ migration numbers are dwindling.  Early to mid-July is generally the peak outbound migration for these birds.

Arctic Tern

There are about six or seven Arctic Terns in this photo.  Jack and  I saw a total of 12 – adults and hatch year birds during one outing

Jack and Moxie at the Anchor River

This Bald Eagle (subadult) was about ten feet away

I don’t think I would want to be on the receiving end of those claws

This is the first time in 13 years there has been an abandoned vehicle on the Anchor Point beach. I wonder how long it will stay there.

Bristle-thighed Curlew

The bird walking away after it flew a short distance away from me, thus enabling me to get a good look at its buff colored, unmarked rump (now hidden).

Can you spot the bird in this photo?

Here it is … a Least Sandpiper

They launch boats from this beach and park the trailers on the beach.  Halibut fishing anyone?  Busy this year despite the pandemic.

Anchor Point beach – lots of seaweed

The sand and gravel bars in the Anchor River

Anchor River

To the beach, to the beach to the sandy beach

A Red-breasted Nuthatch youngster. Not as colorful – yet – as its parents

Searching for spiders and other bugs to eat

Mew Gull

First cycle Glaucous-winged Gull

Common Raven

Now how did she know I was going to take her photo. Artist doing plein air painting ( outdoor painting)

This is area with ponds is just behind the Boat Launch Parking Lot – a good place for shorebirds and waterfowl during spring migration.  Not so good during outbound migration for these same species.

The grasses have grown tall so not as easy to see birds here as in early spring

On July 20th we had a beautiful day

I like this photo of the Black and Ruddy Turnstones because of the print marks on the rock caused by the Black Turnstone

Rock Sandpiper – we usually see these birds here in the winter time

Size Comparison between the Rock Sandpiper (left) and Black Turnstone (right)

Here the Ruddy Turnstone (back) and Rock Sandpiper (front)

The waves surprised this Rock Sandpiper into flushing (getting out of the way of the water)

Lesser Yellowlegs – one day we saw 14 of these birds.  They are much rarer here than Greater Yellowlegs.

Red-breasted Merganser and five ducklings. There were actually two families on the river one day. The other family had four ducklings, smaller in size than these ones.

Mew Gull chick. Yeah, big chick. The parent tried bomb diving Moxie.

One of the Lesser Yellowlegs on our big day of yellowlegs (28 July)

Greater Yellowlegs feeding along the bank of the Anchor River

I “spotted” this Spotted Sandpiper along the banks of the Anchor River.  I later saw four at the mouth of the river. The bird is lacking its “spots”.

Dead sea otter on the beach. I could smell this critter some distance off. Luckily Moxie didn’t want anything to do with it.

Eagle Lake

Jack and I also do loon monitoring at Eagle Lake. We have been monitoring Pacific Loons here since around 2009.  This year we were hopeful that a chick would fledge.  We saw a young chick riding on the back of one of its parents one week, and then the next week when we went back the chick was swimming on its own near its parents.  We watched as several times the parents would dive for food leaving the chick unattended.  This was not good.  In fact, the following week when we went to check on the chick it was gone.  It might have been one of those times when the parents were underwater searching for food that the young chick was taken by a killed – most likely by a Bald Eagle.  There are Merlin (small raptor) and Mew Gulls in the area, but the chick looked too large for a Merlin or a Mew Gull to overtake.  Of course I guess all the Merlin or Mew Gull would have to do is kill the chick in the water and slowly drag it to shore.  I wonder what happened.  If only I was a fly on the water (wall) so to speak.   We will go back out in August one more time to see if the Pacific Loon pairs are still there so we can complete our monitoring tasks and complete the necessary report.

On the way to Eagle Lake one day we saw a Spruce Grouse hen with eight chicks

Spruce Grouse Hen

Spruce Grouse chick – they are getting big

Eagle Lake

Jack checking out the birds with the spotting scope

This Greater Yellowlegs did not want us there. Squawked the entire time.

The lake is slowly evaporating leaving small mud islands like the one this Greater Yellowlegs was using

Merlin (adult)

This hatch year Merlin was squawking up a storm. Not sure if the bird wanted us to feed it or leave.

Alpine Bog Swertia (Swertia perennis) – a member of the Gentian family

Lily pads and flower

Elephant’s Head

Up close view of the Elephant’s head (Pedicularis groenlandica) a type of  lousewort

White Bog-orchid (Plantanthera dilatata)

Lincoln’s Sparrow

Round-leaved Sundew (Drosera rotundifolia). There was a lot of sundew at the lake

Wild Gernanium (Geranium erianthum)

Home

There is never a dull bird moment at our house.  I think one day I counted about 15 hatch year Golden-crowned Sparrows.  We must have several breeding pairs nearby.

We also successfully hatched three Tree Swallows.  Well we didn’t personally, but the pair on our property were able to raise and fledge that many.  We have a nest box that has been used since we lived here.  Early in the year two pairs of Tree Swallows were fighting over the box.  The winners laid four eggs, of which three hatched.

Our nest box has three holes, rather than the typical one hole.  The purpose of three holes is to prevent the first born from poking out the hole and gobbling up all the food that the hard-working parents bring back for the young.  With three holes, three chicks can all hang out their hole waiting for food.  When they do start appearing at the holes, it is signal that flight feathers are developed and they are only a matter of days away from fledging.  And once they fledge, they and the parents disappear – time to head south we suspect.

This year the young birds first appeared at the holes on a Tuesday and by Friday the last youngster had fledged.  It seemed as though the last young bird had been holding out for a free meal as it was hanging out of the hole for most of the day without the parents returning to feed it (at least not that we observed).  I was getting a little worried when it finally gave up and flew away.  When that happened, I knew I wouldn’t be seeing any of the swallows again.  And I haven’t.  I hope they have a safe journey south.

At our house the young birds continue to chase each other around the yard, while their parents smartly eat to fatten up for migration.  Will miss all the sparrows when they head south in the fall.

For a diversion to enjoy, we have a family of Black-billed Magpies with five youngsters cavorting around.  They are now just coming into their long tails and blue/green sheen on their flight feathers.  Noisy birds.

Hatch year Tree Swallows in their nest box waiting for food

American Robin youngster

One of our Sandhill Crane pairs – the pair failed to produce any colts this year sadly

This one relaxing on the rock path to our garden

There are at least ten birds here feeding – mostly sparrow youngsters

Golden-crowned Sparrow (hatch year bird)

The swimming pools/bath tubs for our birds

Fox Sparrow bathing

We had this Porcupine visiting us one morning. Luckily Moxie was inside so she couldn’t investigate.

I flushed the porcupine as I opened the window to take a photo

Making its way to safety

What it uses – its quills – to defend itself.

One of the seven Black-billed Magpies – this is one of the youngsters

Black-billed Magpie

Our Poppies

I like that they don’t all bloom at once

And they are quite prolific

One morning I woke up to four hatch year Ring-necked Pheasants under our spruce tree feeding on sunflower seeds. I also saw the hen drinking from our water dish. I suspected there were pheasants around, but this is the first time I’ve seen them since early winter. Yay!!!

Morning has broken ….

It’s Always A Great Day to Bird

 

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