Sunday, March 11, 2012

Saturday March 10, 2011- Browns Point and the Tacoma Waterfront

We decided to stay a bit close to home this Saturday. I'd seen another birders post from March 9 at Brown's Point that included some birds we hadn't seen yet so that was our first stop. Browns Point is a community park just opposite the city of Tacoma. I'd been there many times but never as a birder. We got there and the gate was open so we drove in. It was cold, wet and windy--so what is new for this winter? We watched for awhile from the car and were intrigued enough to brave the elements and get closer to the water. It was pretty wet so Rudy opted not to bring the camera, I did bring the video because it's a lot easier to keep dry. The video is a nice way for us to confirm what we see when we are out. We take the videos, the camera is HD and has a great zoom, and when we get home we watch the videos with the bird books out and confirm what we see. It really has been a great way to learn and then remember the birds for the next time we see them. Also, I just got a new pair of binoculars, Nikon Monarch 100 x 45. All I can say is niiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiice!

The first birds we watched were black with some white on the wings--pigeon guillemot's (#61). We wandered over to the other side of the point and saw a ways out in the water one rhinoceros auklet (#62). There were also some horned grebes, surf scoters, a cormorant, and golden eyes. Then in some bushes next to the beach Rudy saw some birds and they turned out to be house sparrows (#63). So that was a good little count for an hours work and a fairly short drive. It was still very early, about 9:30am, so we decided to go over to the Tacoma waterfront to see what we could see. There were not a lot of birds but we did finally see a pair of red-breasted mergansers (#64). That was a thrill to see them. They both have those crazy hair-dos but their even a bit wilder then their other merganser cousins.

We had driven around enough till it was noon so we went over to the Spaghetti Factory for lunch, I was ready to eat and it had been quite a while since we were there so that worked out well. After that we headed over to Dash Point State Park and Salt Water State Park and the Des Moines Marina. We saw pretty much the same birds we'd been seeing so nothing extra to the list. We ended up going past the Smith Brothers Dairy area in the Kent Valley and saw some American wigeons, cinnamon teals, northern pintails and a great blue heron all in one field that held enough water for a couple of small ponds. On the way home we saw a red-tailed hawk in a tree on the outskirts of town. We acutally spent a pretty full day out and only added four new birds but we still consider it a good day for the list.

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