Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Best Part of Really Cold Weather

Is the first mild day after!

I headed a bit downstream along Coal Creek from where I had seen the American Robins on Tuesday. I walked quickly into the sun, and a more wooded riparian area where I had visited a House Wren hole a few times this summer.

As I headed along the bank I noticed that the creek was running a bit, but at the time the only sounds of activity I heard were Junco and Chickadee calls high above. I was returning a few minutes later when I saw a shorebird shape explode up from the creek's depression and fly a bit downstream. There I was momentarily distracted by the deep purple colors of the male Mallard's head at that angle. Eventually, I found two Wilson's Snipe hiding along the shore. With the bits of green grass sticking up and melting snow no one would guess that the high temperature yesterday was well south of ten degrees.

That was a fun surprise. The last thing I expected to see on today's walk was a group of shorebirds. Even more surprising for me was that from first sighting to confirmation of the pictures online I was thinking Wilson's Snipe. This is a species I have seen a couple of times before, and between the size and bill shape I knew it would be that or something close.

I turned from the Mallards and Snipe and got a well lit look at this Northern Flicker savoring a drink of liquid water.

Finally, as I returned across the open space towards my car I was shocked to see a Coyote crossing the trail ahead of me,moving away from a neighborhood and towards the trees and creek bed. Coyotes are no strangers in this area, and despite some localities culling efforts earlier this year they are not all that uncommon to see, even in areas with heavy development. What was strange was to see one in the relative open at 2:00 in the afternoon. I hope this one stays out of trouble, this is their home as well, but if pets go missing it usually ends poorly for the Coyotes.

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