Friday 29 August 2014

Discovery Park, Seattle, August 2014

My beautiful colleague, Jennifer, joined me for a late afternoon walk around Discovery Park to the northwest of Seattle and experienced one of the slowest starts to a bird walk, ever. No birds were seen on the journey, which started me worrying and we were still birdless 20 minutes after stepping from the bus in the park. The park can boast one of the highest species count in the area as it has mature woodland, meadows, scrub and the beach on Puget Sound, but they seemed reluctant to be spotted today..

We had taken the path that cuts into the deep, dark woods close to the bus stop at Google Earth ref; 47 39 52.30N 122 24 39.68W, hoping to find a Barred Owl for which the park is well known. Eventually a muted “dee, dee, dee” drew our attention to a Black-capped Chickadee and a small feeding flock of Chestnut-backed Chickadees and Brown Creepers with a few Cedar Waxwings a little higher up.

In a small meadow at the top of the steps that lead down to the shoreline, another small mixed flock of chickadees teased me as I tried to get a photograph. A Red-breasted Nuthatch made up the bark-creeping element of this party.

We followed the steps down to the path that runs along the shore where a few more small flocks of chickadees included a Hutton’s Vireo in their number.

The waters of the bay were exceptionally quiet as well today with very little seen until we rounded the corner at the lighthouse on the point. White-crowned Sparrows fed, one drupelet at a time, from the wild blackberries that grow abundantly here.

A Caspian Tern passed us a couple of times and a Boneparte’s Gull tried to hide amongst a flock of Mew Gulls right on the edge of the bay. A couple of Common Mergansers took flight before we could get a good look.

I was especially surprised to see so few American Robins which didn’t show until the evening was drawing in and the light was fading. It wasn’t quite as dark as the sunset shot might suggest. This picture was slightly underexposed and shot with a cloudy white balance to warm it up a bit.

Bird list for Discovery Park;
Mallard 1, Common Merganser 2, Osprey 1, Bald Eagle 1, Boneparte’s Gull 1, Mew Gull 20, Glaucous-winged Gull 8, Caspian Tern 3, Northern Flicker 1, Western Wood-peewee 1, American Crow 30, Black-capped Chickadee 8, Chestnut-backed Chickadee 15, Bushtit 8, Red-breasted Nuthatch 2, Brown Creeper 4, Bewick’s Wren 2, Hutton’s Vireo 1, American Robin 5, Cedar Waxwing 6, Song Sparrow 4, White-crowned Sparrow 5.

Bus number 43 runs from 3rd Ave and Union in downtown Seattle. The fare costs $2.25 and the timetable/map can be seen here.

Visit the dedicated USA and Canadapage for more posts from Seattle, including; Montlake Fill and Bremerton Ferry.
Birdwatching, Birding, Seattle, WA.

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