On Saturday, I joined the PAWS naturalist, Kevin, and a group of volunteers on a field trip to the beautiful Redmond Waterhshed Preserve, a nature area with several trails through second and third growth forest and wetlands. We were a fairly large and noisy group which limited how much we were able to see. (I tend to like birding alone because I can walk as slowly and as quietly as I want and stand still for long periods, which tends to facilitate encounters with birds.) But it was great fun going with someone like Kevin who knows everything there is to know about PNW wildlife (animal and plant) and can point out stuff that you’d never stop to see normally – banana slugs, different types of plants, and piles of pinecone debris left by dining douglas squirrels. And even with a big noisy group we managed to spot a bird that was a new one for me: a lovely little female Hairy woodpecker. We also flushed a group of about a dozen Gadwalls but I can’t count those because I only saw their backsides as they took off in an indignant mass.
As I had taken the whole day off to go on this field trip, I kind of found myself at a loss when we returned to Lynnwood in early afternoon wanting more, so after a nap and some farting around at home, I hopped the bus over to Scriber Lake Park just to get a little bit more nature into my system. Scriber has kind of become my local patch since I’ve been staying here, and I’ve seen some interesting sights there, including hummingbirds, wood ducks, and a beaver. On Saturday, within less than a minute of entering the park, I encountered a busy little flock of the cutest bird that could only be Bushtits. I know they’re not uncommon out here, but it’s the first time I’ve consciously seen any, so I was a happy camper. I also saw some lovely Robins, Spotted towhees, and some greedy Mallards that came to greet me hoping for a handout on the lake.
One more lifer worth noting: last week at work I finally spotted the Pileated woodpecker that I’ve been hearing banging away at the trees all summer. I had heard that he was around, but hadn’t yet seen him. As I was standing on the pool pad, cleaning a haul-out from a seal pool, suddenly there he was in the treetops. There is no other bird around here that looks like that, and what I sight!