Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Ducks, Montlake Fill

Green-winged teal with contortionist mallard.

Northern Shovelers, heads partly up.

A more typical pose. Shoveler's broad bills are combed with 110 tiny projections, which help them sieve animals out of the water.

Drake, head up.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Fall mushrooms, Discovery Park

It's mushroom time in Discovery Park. Here are a few sightings. Fred Rhoades kindly helped me with the IDs. Check his site out. He's currently testing the possibilities of 3D photography.

This is candlewick fungus, or Xylaria hypoxylon, a name I will keep in mind if I ever do a nature alphabet book.

A lovely coral mushroom, probably genus Clavulina.

Stropharia ambigua.

This is might be Chlorophyllum olivieri or Chlorophyllum rhacodes. Either way, there's a lot of them in Discovery Park.

Possibly Leratiomyces ceres.

Some kind of Psathyrella, possibly Psathyrella gracilis.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Flocking songbirds, Discovery Park

At the north edge of the south meadow, a big flock of cedar waxwings filled the branches of a tree. They took off. I looked up, and saw a northern harrier, followed by three crows. And then the noise was over.

Near the lighthouse, a mixed flock of song sparrows and golden-crowned sparrows hopped around the grass and shrubs. Golden-crowned sparrows winter here. They breed in the mountains of B.C., the Yukon and Alaska.

One of the golden-crowns was singing. I find the sound endearing. It seems slower and more easygoing than other sparrows. And they're handsome too. Here's a profile.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Baby seal, Discovery Park

I came across this young harbor seal at Discovery Park's north beach. One of the guys restoring the lighthouse said that the seal and its mother have been coming to the beach for about two weeks. The young one pulls up on the beach at 9 a.m. each day, while the mother fishes nearby.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Song sparrows learn by eavesdropping

I have a story in the P-I about the latest research on the song sparrows of Discovery Park.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

L pod has a new calf

The Kitsap sun has the details.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Youth on Age, Discovery Park

When the weather gets wet and the leaves fall off the alders and maples, things get a little livelier in the underbrush.
Youth on Age plants (Tolmeia menziesii) flower in the spring, but they do a lot of growing in the winter. New leaves are just showing up on this plant.

Caterpillar on cattail

Fall is time for enormous moth caterpillars. One of the most flamboyant in these parts is the spotted tussock moth caterpillar. This one was showing off its hairy glory on a cattail in Discovery Park. I'm not sure how it got there. I think it might have fallen off a nearby willow.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Mountains in fall

Here are a couple of luscious mountain stories to enjoy as mountain hiking season draws to a close.
Kelsi of Chattermarks visits a snow-dusted Sourdough mountain and Lee Rentz photographs larches, ice and blue skies in Headlight Basin.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Surf scoters, West Seattle

I saw a flock of Surf Scoters munching on mussels on the Fauntleroy Ferry Dock's pilings. Surf Scoters winter along the Pacific Coast. They breed on lakes in Alaska, the Yukon and Canada's Northwest Territories.
Those big gaudy bills are good for munching shellfish.