A Great Weekend With Seaducks, Forest Birds And A Black Phoebe

Ilya and I went to Washington State this weekend. It was a gorgeous sunny day and it was so nice to get out and a break from our local routine. We first stopped at Blaine to shoot some Long-tailed Ducks near Semiahmoo Spit. We were happy to have these stunning ducks so close, which rarely happens... at least for me!. We found a young male and a female. The male had a growth on his neck. This is the one duck that I prefer in non-breeding plumage than in breeding.

Immature Male (pink bill) and Adult Female LTDU in Blaine, WA - Photos: Melissa Hafting

Next we went to Wylie Slough on Fir Island in Mt. Vernon. Here we saw 1 of the 2 Black Phoebes that are present there. These birds have successfully had 2 broods already. I think soon we will see this species having confirmed breeding in BC; especially with the continued warming of our planet. Wylie Slough had some other rare birds today including a Northern Waterthrush and Lesser Yellowlegs. We dipped on the Cinnamon Teals that were seen there yesterday. There were a few Tundra Swans about and some Barn Swallows. Spring sure was in the air despite Short-eared Owls still flying around. Skagit County really is a wonderful place to bird at this time of year.

Black Phoebe at Wylie Slough in Mt. Vernon - Photos: Melissa Hafting

We stopped at the delicious Harris Ave Cafe on the way home in Fairhaven, Bellingham before coming home. It was a peaceful day indeed and so nice to get away to beautiful Washington.

The next day we stayed local and went to Stanley Park. Here we found a large flock of Steller's Jay that would come to our hands full of seed. We also saw an Interior subspecies of Steller's Jay. This is the first time either one of us had ever seen an Interior Subspecies in Metro Vancouver. We also had fun photographing Chestnut-backed Chickadees, Varied Thrushes and the like. Here are a few shots of that endeavor.

Coastal Steller's Jay at Stanley Park, Vancouver - Photos: Melissa Hafting

Interior Steller's Jay at Stanley Park in Vancouver - Photo: Melissa Hafting

Chestnut-backed Chickadees at Stanley Park - Photos: Melissa Hafting

Black-capped Chickadee at Stanley Park - Photo: Melissa Hafting

Song Sparrow at Stanley Park in Vancouver - Photo: Melissa Hafting

Also speaking of Jays and Corvids.... we all know they like to eat baby birds from time to time. But did you know that Tits and Chickadees can kill mice and other birds as well? Same with woodpeckers. Read this interesting article
HERE which depicts stories of how birds we would define as sweet and innocent as bold killers! 


  1. Wow super cool pics! My favs are of the jays on that orange lichen and of the long tailed duck QTs! Skagit county sounds beautiful, I hope to visit sometime! I am glad that you two had a great past couple of days!

    1. thank you so much shou! the fungi on the log was awesome. kudos to ilya for finding that log for us to work with


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