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From Washington State. Last updated: 1/11/2006

Above: A 2nd winter Glaucous-winged x Western Gull. Here in the Pacific Northwest, a significant percentage of the gulls are hybrids. Photographed at Redondo Beach Park near Seattle, Washington (1/6/2006).

Above: Northwestern Crow near Puget Sound (1/6/2006). Although I understand there is contention over the genetic purity of the Puget Sound area birds, they were quite distinctive compared to American Crows I've seen and heard south of here.

Above and below two: Part of a large flock dominated by minima Cackling Geese, but perhaps containing several Aleutian (leucopareia) Cackling. (Note the white neck-rings in a few of the birds.) Check out Harry Krueger's "Cackling Goose -- Canada Goose Subspecies Identification Indicators" for more information on these subspecies. I'd be interested in any feedback on the birds in these photos. I'll try to get better shots, too--these were taken late in the rainy day from quite a distance! Photos taken at Nisqually NWR, southwest of Seattle (1/8/2006)

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Below: I was unsure of what subspecies to call this Canada Goose. A Washington birder, Steven Mlodinow, offered the following: "The large Canada Goose is a moffitti, though it might have a bit of Dusky (occidentalis) blood given that it is a tad darker than average. Occidentalis was introduced (or such was attempted) in the 1970s (I believe) but interbred extensively with the local moffitti, and the result is some intermediate looking birds that still live in sw. WA, but none look quite like 'pure' Duskies."

Below: A bird definitively identified: Horned Grebe at Redondo Beach Park, Washington (1/6/2006)

Below: Rock Pigeon at Redondo Beach Park.

Below five: One of the saddest scenes I've witnessed. As my friend Drew and I approached the Ocean Shores jetty at Grays Harbor (1/7), we noticed about 35 Western Grebes huddled on the beach. After over 2 weeks of powerful west winds, the birds were simply exhausted, and were taking refuge on the shore, protected by the jetty. (Coastal Washington has recently experienced fallouts of over 1,000 Red Phalaropes in tidal marshes, unheard of except due to powerful storms. We had one just 10' from the shore at a nearby beach.) Grebes can hardly walk, and almost never go to land except to nest. Many of the birds struggled to return to the water, only to be repeatedly pounded back by the surf. As the poor birds preened and tried to rest, we noticed 6 Harbor Seals in the shallows, almost certainly intent on taking easy meals. So obvious was their interest in the birds, I expect they had already taken several. These photos were taken just before dusk, and as darkness fell and we walked away, it began to hail. The cycle of life can be harsh indeed.

Above: The bird resting in the foreground is a Clark's Grebe. Unfortunately, I actually missed this bird in the field.

Below: A couple scenes from Olympic National Park, Washington (1/7/2006).

Full bird list as of Wednesday, 1/11: Canada Goose, Cackling Goose, Snow Goose, Mallard, Northern Pintail, Am. Wigeon, Eurasian Wigeon, Northern Shoveler, Green-winged Teal, Ring-necked Duck, Greater Scaup, all three scoters, both goldeneyes (Barrow's far more common), Bufflehead, Common and Red-breasted Mergansers, Red-throated Loon, Pacific Loon, Common Loon, Red-necked Grebe, Horned Grebe, Western Grebe, Clark's Grebe, DC Cormorant, Pelagic Cormorant, GB Heron, Bald Eagle, Northern Harrier, American Coot, Semipalmated Plover, Killdeer, Black Turnstone, Surfbird, Sanderling, Rock Sandpiper, Dunlin, Red Phalarope, Mew Gull, Western Gull, Glaucous-winged Gull, hybrids, Pigeon Guillemot, Marbled Murrelet, Rhinoceros Auklet, Rock Pigeon, Belted Kingfisher, Red-shafted Flicker, Downy Woodpecker, Hairy Woodpecker, Northwestern Crow, Common Raven, Black-capped Chickadee, Chestnut-backed Chickadee, Red-breasted Nuthatch, Brown Creeper, Winter Wren, both kinglets, Am. Robin, Varied Thrush, European Starling, Spotted Towhee, Song Sparrow, Golden-crowned Sparrow, Oregon Junco, Red-winged Blackbird, Brewer's Blackbird, Purple Finch, House Sparrow.

Mammals: California Sea Lion, Harbor Seal, Mule (Black-tailed) Deer, Eastern Gray Squirrel (introduced).

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