Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Down by the lake

I don't know why I'm still surprised by the urban wildlife in our neighborhoods and in a way thankful that I have the time (laid-off/unemployed) to visit these backyard treasures. On a recent visit to Seward Park, I was able to see cute, fuzzy chicks, raccoons foraging in the reeds, red-winged blackbirds, an elusive kingfisher, turtles mating (maybe I should post that photo with my raccoons mating video), cormorants drying their wings, a bald eagle circling- just to name a few. All you need is time and a little bit of patience.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

More from Nisqually

I got a chance to return to Nisqually NWR with some friends to walk the Brown Farm Dike Trail- apparently it will be open until May 3rd.

We were so close to this juvenile- it was amazing! An offshoot to the trail led right under the tree he was perched on.

I don't know what kind of hawk this is, but it sure is cute.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Visit Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge

Last winter while I was selling bird prints at an art fair, someone mentioned to me the Nisqually NWR as one of their favorite local places to go birding. I finally made the trip down to Lacey and wish I would have done it sooner, especially since the wonderful 5 1/2 mile, Brown Farm Dike Trail will soon be removed due to the estuary restoration project. Although the refuge is located right beside I-5, I hardly noticed. I was too involved by the sounds of birds and trying to identify others to notice the cars off in the distance.

Greater Yellowlegs

Through the trees we saw a juvenile eagle eating its prey.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Rediscovering Discovery Park

I recently visited Discovery Park and was delighted to be led on an unfamiliar trail. I guess I shouldn’t have been completely surprised since Discovery Park is the largest city park in Seattle with more than 500 acres. Unless you were familiar with all of the trails or had a map one would probably stick to the more notable and familiar trails- like I have done over so many years.

This time, however, I was shown a beautiful trail along Shilshole Bay. We walked from the North parking lot and followed some zigzagging trails until we were northwest of the parking lot in a remote picnic field. We followed some stairs that led us amongst the trees and down to the beach. From the rocky beach I could see the Shilshole Marina and Golden Garden Park. We had an unobscured view of the Puget Sound along the trail which eventually brought us to the wetlands near the Wastewater Treatment Facility.

One of my favorite places at Discovery Park is the marsh beside the Wastewater Treatment Facility. We saw red-winged blackbirds, a turtle and heard a frog that never revealed itself to us.
I also discovered an ornithologist’s checklist for Discovery Park and hope to visit more often.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Kiwanis Ravine Revisited

Last Friday I returned to Kiwanis Ravine in Magnolia with a group of friends to see if there was any activity at the herons nesting site since the last visit in March was unsuccessful. We walked to the pedestrian overlook but there was no sign of any herons amongst the trees. Surprisingly we saw a few herons on a neighboring house. It seems the herons preferred the new housing structure to their old digs.