Thursday, June 08, 2006

Back from Seattle

Late on Tuesday night I got back to Washington, D.C., from my trip to Seattle, Washington. It was a wonderful trip, in which I got to visit with family members I do not see very often anymore and to experience a new city. That was really the best part of the trip, but I am not going to go into details about that on a public blog.

Since this was my first trip to the West Coast, I did see several life birds during the week I spent there, starting with the northwestern crows calling outside the hotel on the first day. It was enough to whet my appetite for birding on the West Coast. Now that I have had a taste of birds in the Northwest (and for the beautiful landscape), I want to see more. Below is the full list of bird species encountered in and around Seattle. Lifers are marked with an asterisk. One life bird was the cinnamon teal shown at right. I think that my favorite life bird of the bunch was an Anna's hummingbird; this species kept appearing again and again and gave gorgeous looks on several occasions.

I am not making separate lists for each site, but I had the chance to visit Ravenna Park, Discovery Park, and the Union Bay Natural Area in Seattle itself, as well as a couple sites in the Cascades.

Snow is still melting in the Cascades

Washington the state has a much different feel from Washington the district. For one thing, it was about twenty degrees cooler on most days in Seattle, and even cooler than that outside the city. Many trails in the Cascades were still snow-covered and spring seemed to be still in its early stages in the mountains. Around those trails the birds singing were ones I had not heard in more than a month, like hermit thrushes and winter wrens.

The other major difference I noticed was in the landscape. Now it gets extremely humid in Washington the district, but it retains the same basic plant and animal life as the surrounding region: forests dominated by deciduous oak, beech, and tulip poplars; swamps and marshes with an oak and sycamore mix. In Washington the state, one sees a landscape much more dominated by conifers and much more suited to rainforest conditions, even within Seattle itself.


Pied-billed Grebe
Double-crested Cormorant
Great Blue Heron
Canada Goose
Blue-winged Teal
Cinnamon Teal*
Turkey Vulture
Bald Eagle
Peregrine Falcon
California Gull*
Glaucous-winged Gull*
Western Gull*
Caspian Tern
Pigeon Guillemot*
Rhinoceros Auklet*
Rock Pigeon
Vaux's Swift*
Anna's Hummingbird*
Downy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker (Red-shafted subspecies*)
Pileated Woodpecker
Pacific-slope Flycatcher*
Western Kingbird*
Tree Swallow
Violet-green Swallow*
Northern Rough-winged Swallow
Cliff Swallow
Barn Swallow
American Pipit
Golden-crowned Kinglet
Cedar Waxwing
Winter Wren
Swainson's Thrush
Hermit Thrush
American Robin
Black-capped Chickadee
Chestnut-backed Chickadee*
Red-breasted Nuthatch
Brown Creeper
Steller's Jay*
American Crow
Northwestern Crow*
Common Raven
European Starling
House Sparrow
House Finch
American Goldfinch
Orange-crowned Warbler
Black-throated Gray Warbler*
Townsend's Warbler*
Common Yellowthroat
Spotted Towhee*
Savannah Sparrow
Song Sparrow
White-crowned Sparrow
Dark-eyed Junco (Oregon subspecies*)
Black-headed Grosbeak*
Red-winged Blackbird
Brewer's Blackbird*