[Tweeters] The Heart of the Park

Jeff Gibson gibsondesign at msn.com
Thu Mar 19 09:54:40 PDT 2015

It's Spring, and the birds are singing. The past week in Port Townsend has been interesting ,sound wise.
I've been in Port Townsend for a bit more than a year now, watching over my elderly parents. I call it " snoopervising", which is supervision of folks with dementia who need help, but think they don't need it or want it. I get to tell about a hundred white lies a day, pretending my real purpose here, but if you can't lie to your own parents, who can you lie to? Didn't some great philosopher, or whatever, say ,"Mother is the necessity of invention"?. I may have got that wrong. Just trying to keep the folks safe, don't you know.
Well, whatever. All I can say is Thank God for Fort Worden State Park - it's been a real touchstone for me here the past year. Actually, it's probably one of the reasons my parents wound up retiring here in town 25 years ago - my family got to know PT on camping trips to Fort Worden (and Fort Flagler) way back in the early 70's. And now here we are. Fort Worden is a pretty cool spot for a naturalist.
This past week has been really birdy. Walking around the Fort, the airwaves have been full of two of my favorite birdsongs - the rushed warble of the Purple Finch, and the bouncy tune of the Ruby-crowned Kinglet. Lot's of both birds singing. Also neat to hear was the somewhat song- less song of the Hutton's Vireo, and the sustained trill of the Winter Wren (yeah, yeah, it's pacific now, whatever). Trilling and calling Towhees have been abundant, and a few Robins were toodling . But just about always here , are the Nuthatches.
All through the seasons walking the park, I wonder if there was a single day without the "yanking", "eenking"( or whatever words you use to describe the call) of the Red-breasted Nuthatch, in the background. I particularly revel in their sound after being RB Nuthatch deprived after several decades living in my largely conifer-deprived North Everett neighborhood. (Can hear them sometimes at the Evergreen Arboretum, in the tall firs).
Anyway, I love to hear the Nuthatches on my park walks. Their repetitive call could make a good heart monitor beep. The heart of the park. Usually steady freddy, but in a group (and being a social bird, they typically are) they can make the park sound like it's got arrhythmia, if not "syncopated heart" - sometimes the Nuthatch chorus takes an amusing beat. After fledging season the Nuthatch soundtrack can get really goofy - apparently newby Nuthatches have to learn the beat, not to mention the call. It's a real Nuthatch conversation then.
Oh, I almost forgot - heard my first of the year White-crowned Sparrows singing two days ago - more this morning.
Jeff Gibsonforest nursePort Townsend Wa

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