[Tweeters] Signs of spring, Tiny's Land, n. Lake Stevens
scottratkinson at hotmail.com
Mon Mar 24 08:24:58 PDT 2014
Yesterday we took advantage of drying conditions and spent pretty much the whole day working in the yard. Highlights were a FOS female RUFOUS HUMMINGBIRD at the feeder; a single TREE SWALLOW heading north (rare here in the woods); and a pair of RED CROSSBILLS in tall cedars. I was relieved to see them because as elsewhere regionally, finches have collectively been just about non-existent this winter. Down in Marysville the first pugetensis WHITE-CROWNED SPARROW could be heard singing near the "Y". Back at Tiny's Land, we also had a (SOOTY) FOX SPARROW, a bird that apparently wintered in the increasing bramble thicket on the north side of the lawn.
There were plenty of other indicators of spring at Tiny's Land. While cleaning the pond, I detected three PACIFIC TREE-FROGS, including one partial albino! This was the strangest color morph I'd ever seen; it was milky whitish mostly, but had a few odd tiny blue spots on the back. The eyes and mask were the regular colors. A W. ROUGH-SKINNED NEWT was also found in the pond, along with the usual numbers of leeches, water fleas, and others; no water tigers yet. The most interesting creature to put in a showing, however, was a NORTHWESTERN SALAMANDER (Amylostoma gracile) that had taken up residence where one of the carved mega-mushrooms had fallen over in a recent storm. What an impressive creature--it took up the striking defensive posture right away, raising its back and pointing its head toward the ground--and ejecting a white milky paste from the back of its head and upper tail. Remarkable! VIOLET-GREEN SWALLOWS are already casing out their traditional nest site, while a HUTTON'S VIREO was singing away in the tall cedar-alder forest north. About 26 bird species seen/heard yesterday there.
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