Seattle, Washington 7/19-22/13

All photos are Marshall Faintich


Mt. Rainier from the air

Alice and I spent a long weekend in Seattle, Washington before flying off to Calgary, Canada for our Tauck tour of the Canadian Rockies and Glacier National Park in Montana. I spent most of Saturday birding in Discovery Park located next to Puget Sound, and also saw a few birds near where we were staying. I ended up with 28 avian species in Seattle, including five new life birds: Steller's Jay (#500), Spotted Towhee, Glaucous-winged Gull, Gray Jay, and Northwestern Crow. I added another 11 life birds on the subsequent tour. I also saw some western North America sub-species and some juvenile species that I only see as adults in Virginia during the winter.

Seattle was cool and foggy in the mornings, and hot and sunny in the afternoons. I hiked the 3-mile loop trail in the morning, going back to several spots where there was good birding. In the afternoon, I hiked the loop trail again, and then decided to hike the 300+ foot descent down the 2-mile long beach trail where I saw two Great Blue Herons. But hiking back up that trail for my ninth and tenth mile of the day was a bit much, and I was worn out by the time I got back to my car.


Discovery Park

The first bird that I saw in Discovery Park was a Dark-eyed Junco (Oregon sub-species)


Dark-eyed Junco


Dark-eyed Junco

The most common bird species in the park was White-crowned Sparrow. The Pacific population of this species is browner and stockier than the eastern variety, and has a yellow bill.


Adult White-crowned Sparrow


Juvenile White-crowned Sparrows


White-crowned Sparrows: Feeding Junior

I saw a juvenile Brown-headed Cowbird hanging around with some of the juvenile White-crowned Sparrows, and suspected that perhaps it was being raised by adult sparrows. Sure enough, when papa came to feed junior, the Cowbird got the first bite.


White-crowned Sparrows and Brown-headed Cowbird


White-crowned Sparrows and Brown-headed Cowbird

I deleted some of the Cowbird photos from my camera to make room for more photos, and it wasn't until I got home and started processing the photos that I saw a pair of Rufous Hummingbirds in some of the Cowbird photos. I didn't even know that I had seen this species there. Wish I had kept all the photos in this series!


Rufous Hummingbirds


Rufous Hummingbirds


Rufous Hummingbirds

I did know that I had seen a few Anna's Hummingbirds in the park.


Anna's Hummingbird


Anna's Hummingbird

One of my trip target birds was a Red-shafted (Western) subspecies of the Northern Flicker, and there were several of them in the park.


Northern Flicker


Northern Flicker

There was a small flock of Northwestern Crows there. This species is very similar to, but a bit smaller than the American Crow, and is distinguished by its call. These crows were very noisy, and their call was completely different from the caw caw of the American Crow. It sounded like something between the call of an American Crow and a Common Raven.


Northwestern Crows


Northwestern Crow


Northwestern Crow

I saw an Osprey and a Red-tailed Hawk at Discovery Park. As soon as the hawk took flight, it was harassed by the crows - same as here in Virginia.


Osprey


Red-tailed Hawk


Red-tailed Hawk


Red-tailed Hawk

My 500th life bird was a Steller's Jay. Unfortunately, I only got a brief look at it and some poor photos as it was deep in the woods (I did get better photos of this species in Canada).


Steller's Jay

Another new life bird for me was the Spotted Towhee. This species is just as noisy as the Eastern Towhee.


Spotted Towhee


Spotted Towhee


Spotted Towhee


Spotted Towhee

Below are photos of some of the other birds I saw in Discovery Park.


Song Sparrow


American Robin


Cedar Waxwing


Purple Finch


Barn Swallow


Violet-green Swallow


Violet-green Swallow


Violet-green Swallow


Great Blue Heron

I saw Black-capped Chickadees and Glaucous-winged Gulls in the park as well as near where we were staying.


Black-capped Chickadee


Black-capped Chickadee


Black-capped Chickadee


Glaucous-winged Gull


Glaucous-winged Gull


Glaucous-winged Gull

There were a few House Finches as well.


House Finch


House Finch


House Finch

I saw a black rabbit in the Discovery Park parking lot. I don't know if it is a native species or if it were released by someone in the park.


Rabbit

I did see one unidentified species - looks like a long-tailed flycatcher.


Unidentified species

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