Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Field trip afterglow with rufous hummingbird, Discovery Park

I'm still absorbing an amazing field trip I took on Saturday morning, led by Seattle Park ranger Penny Rose. The trip was part of a class on birding by ear, and she was a wonderful teacher. Rose is the kind of naturalist who can walk into a place and within seconds, can see and hear four times as many things as I could pick up in half an hour. I want to be just like her.
Among the sightings/hearings: 54 species, including four kinds of warbler and three kinds of flycatcher, three nests and the first Swainson's thrush song of the season. She also showed us through a trail I'd never tried before, but which will be one of my primary destinations in future. She calls it "bird alley."
Here's one of the characters you can find there.

We don't see many rufous hummingbirds in Seattle. It's possible that the city-loving Anna's Hummingbirds, who live here year round, make it hard for the migratory rufous hummingbirds to find niches. But this fellow is sitting pretty, guarding a territory that includes the big fireweed patch in the south meadow.

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