Seems the bird activity has really quieted down over the last week, and a few short walks to start out the month of February haven't turned up too many species. The best photo op of the week was of the pine siskins at the feeder:
There was some good waterfowl activity at Jackson Beach, with green-winged teal, mallards, gadwall, hooded and red-breasted mergansers, bufflehead, and common goldeneye. Here in the neighborhood there have been a pair of bald eagles regularly flying over Brown Island just across the way. I've also gotten a few brief glimpses of some other more uncommon species including a sharp-shinned hawk chasing a flicker, a hardy Anna's hummingbird who is spending the winter here, and a single varied thrush.
I've also gone out owling a couple of times where friends of mine have reported seeing and hearing owls, but no such luck there. It seems I'm rarely successful when I go out specifically looking for owls, at least at night - I just have to wait patiently for them to come to me!
Yesterday the sun was out for a bit and there was word whales had been seen on the west side of San Juan Island, so we went out for a late afternoon walk. Unfortunately the sun disappeared behind the clouds as we headed out there, and the chilly breeze picked up a little bit. It was very quiet out there - no whales, and very few birds - but it was still a pleasant walk. It turned into a subtle, but pretty, sunset:
I'm keen to have my first whale sighting of 2013, but in the meantime I've been following with interest the track of K25 Scoter who was satellite tagged in Puget Sound in late December. The tag is still transmitting, and he (along with the rest of K-Pod, presumably) has gone all the way to central California and back, and is now going up and down along the Washington and Oregon Coasts. You can see the series of tracking maps and get some more information about the tagging project here