The last month has been consumed by moving facilities at work. That, along with the pretty dismal (wet and windy) weather, has left little time for birding. Our new work facility has more windows, however, so I've started a bird list there. It didn't take long to see some pretty awesome species there. The very first species on the list was trumpter swan, as I saw a pair flying over the parking lot illuminated by the golden sunrise. Later that same day, I watched a bald eagle perch on a tree top outside from our conference room. Every evening about a half hour before sunset a couple hundred red-winged blackbirds fly around in a huge flock before settling down to roost for the night. A couple days ago I saw a red-tailed hawk fly by at eye level out our second story windows, another impressive sight. A few co-workers have also started to contribute sightings and altogether we have nine species on the work list during our first two weeks of occupancy there. Not bad!
Yesterday I headed down to Portland for the holidays, making a stop at Nisqually Widlife Refuge along the way. Amazingly, despite pouring rain both before and after my stop there, the sun actually came out for a bit of a walk. My parents met me there and our first stop was the Nisqually Reach Nature Center near the river delta, where through my dad's scope we were able to spot one very distant snowy owl. There have been a lot of snowy owl sightings throughout the region again over the last month, and I'm hopeful Boundary Bay turns out to be a great spot again near Vancouver, BC sometime in the next month, because I would definitely be up for another trip there. We also spotted four brant (220), which will perhaps be my last year bird in 2012, making for a nice even number. There were also some western gulls, surf scoters, and common goldeneye on the water.
We also walked the Twin Barn Loop over at the main part of the refuge:
We mostly saw lots of waterfowl here, including hundreds of cackling geese, plus American wigeon, northern shoveler, Canada geese, gadwall, ring-necked ducks, mallards, American coot, and northern pintail. The most impressive sight, however, was probably the clouds:
Which also made for some pretty neat reflections:
There were quite a few raptors about, too. We saw two red-tailed hawks, one or two harriers, and six bald eagles. Five of the eagles were all perched together in the same tree overlooking the river. It reminded me of all the bald eagles that congregate in January and February also the Skagit River closer to home, something I'm going to be sure to check out early next year. First up, though, it's time to review the 2012 year list and kick of the 2013 year list in Oregon on New Year's Day. Look for those posts in the near future!