• Erin


Kiddo and I left the densely foggy, cold valley this morning and drive back up to the confluence. Very shortly into our drive the fog cleared and the sun came out and we ended up hiking in t-shirts.

Kiddo wanted to do the same hike with all the rocks. The big puddle on the bridge had dried up. We saw only a few old mushrooms. Kiddo noticed the lack of mushrooms from our previous hike. We spotted bushes heavy with toyon berries. We took lots of snack breaks.

We saw a pine tree full of bushtits at a similar place to where we saw them last time.

We took a rest at the top and pretended to be owls (I practiced my owl eyes, kiddo practiced hooting and flapping his wings).

We sat and snacked and had our binoculars ready. We both had noticed lots of bird calls. We got a lovely view of some western bluebirds, some similar grey birds and a hummingbird with the brightest pink patch I’ve seen in a hummingbird. See that pink flashing next to the western bluebirds blue was lovely in the warm sun.

I just did a little investigation and the grey birds we saw were female western bluebirds. That seems so obvious now!

We first noticed The western bluebirds high in a sparse pine tree. They swooped out and returned, probably snacking on flying insects? They called often and eventually swoooed down and perched on a low bush very close to us where we could get a really good look which was great for kiddo who hasn’t mastered binoculars yet. Though adorably calls them “noculars”. And has even made his own noculars out of two toy blocks with holes drilled through them while playing boat.

Back in town, kiddo was napping in the car. Not wanting to wake him I drove to Land Park while listening to a podcast.

He awoke at the park and we did a quick walk around the lily pond as almost-full moon was rising in hopes of seeing the owl.

No sign of owl during our quick walk but we saw lots of ducks including one with a big puff ball in its head! (Pictured above) Looked like it had a perm or a shower cap on!

Kiddo led us on a short hike through a garden he loves and there was lots of doves flying around and calling. Getting ready for bed perhaps?

We walked back to car in last light, which was about 5:30 on this January day.


On a related bird language and benchmarking note, I’ve been seeing lots of bushtits this winter but not as many of my beloved kinglets.

Earlier this week a group of bushtits landed in the low bush outside my window as I worked. I watched them for a few minutes eating, peeping, and flitting about low on the bush. At once they popcorned up to the slightly higher and further north pomegranate bush. I looked to the south and noticed one of the stray cats, sissy, sauntering in from that direction. As she moved closer they flew off around the corner of the house.

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