Monday, October 12, 2015

Birthday Bird

Birders have this thing they do on New Year's Day where they make note of their "FOY" (First of Year) bird sighting.  The hope is that it will be an interesting bird. Of course we know that ALL birds are interesting -- the crows and robins and sparrows we see day in and day out, should never be dismissed as "common".

However, it is also always nice to see a wide range of birds when out and about.  On Sunday, I got out and about after a rain and windstorm, hopeful of seeing migrating warblers -- often, during a storm, they will find a good spot to hunker down.  It was also my birthday, and I thought, "It would be grand to see something other than crows and robins and sparrows today."  I was looking for a "birthday bird" -- it didn't have to be rare or even uncommon, just a nice bird.

It was a lovely morning down at the Fill:

I had Truman AND Winston along (I was dog-sitting).

We took a long, leisurely stroll around the loop trail -- where I saw lots of crows, and robins, and sparrows.  Not a warbler could be seen (or heard).  It seemed, in fact, unusually quiet.  Out on the lake there were Mallards and Gadwalls and a gazillion coots.  Where was my birthday bird?

Mind you, I enjoyed watching the commoners, but after an hour, having completed our loop, I felt mildly discontented.  So I hauled the hounds over to the new boardwalk at Yesler Swamp to see if anything different would turn up there.

And there we saw Mallards and Gadwalls (and sparrows and robins and crows).  I was about to give up when I heard a familiar chattering call -- kingfisher!

This lovely female Belted Kingfisher arrived at the swamp, and set about swooping over the water from shore to shore, yakking away.  She paused long enough to let me snap a pic:

Now, kingfishers are not rare at the Fill -- I see one maybe 10-20% of my visits.  They are, though, one of my favorite birds to watch, especially when they're diving for fish, and they are one of the more striking birds to look at, and gosh darn it, they are not crows or robins or sparrows.  I felt satisfied that this was my "birthday bird", and called it good.

Besides, the Hounds were quite ready to go home!


  1. That's a terrific birthday bird - just gorgeous. Glad you had a good time! (Puppies seemed happy too.)

  2. I love kingfishers. They aren't rare, but they don't come to feeders, and their mating antics are amazing. (I mean the show-off acrobatics.) So yes, a very fine birthday bird.


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    1. A kingfisher seems like a pretty nice birthday bird. As I dimly recall, I went to the coast looking for my birthday bird and it wasn't so brilliant. I understand there's a jar of non-birthday jam waiting for you in the SOM/AA office. Am I seeing you Thursday at Third Place for "The Living Bird" reading? (Previous version of this comment deleted due to a typo.)

    2. I hope to be at Third Place Books on Thursday by 6:30-6:45pm or so. will hang out by reading area. big things happening at work place (can you say "re-org"?) to chat about. thank you for jam, will connect with the courier service.

  4. A belated Happy Kingfisher Day Alex.