[Tweeters] Another Day On Oak Bays

Jeff Gibson gibsondesign at msn.com
Fri Dec 30 19:51:26 PST 2016

After another tumultuous bit of weather yesterday, it was nice and calm today at my job site along the shores of Oak Bay. Another day of cutting, and being cut by, looping mounds of Himalayan Blackberry canes growing on a slope above the beach bluff.

The bay was as calm as could be - big ol' loons could be seen way out there. Common Loons, not the Yellow-billed I keep wanting to see, but I was lucky to hear a loud yodel from one, which was neat.

My main work companion during the day was a Pacific Wren who was my close snoopervisor as I cut canes, pulled them apart from the tangle and made little piles of them to move later. The wren really got into inspecting all these piles, and the edge of the brush I was working into. For most of an hour, the little bird hardly ever more than 7 feet away from me, and on the ground, despite all my blackberry thrashing and sometimes swearing when the blackberry's clawed me a real good one. The wren was nice company, and didn't utter a peep the whole time. A few more of the little guys were also around during the day - hard to tell how many.

In another interesting example of what I call Field Relativity, I saw the largest Chestnut-backed Chickadee I've ever seen. Since I've been around Port Townsend I've noted the smaller size of the CB chickadee compared to nearby Black-capped's, but seeing this Chestnut- backed after watching tiny wrens for a few hours straight made it look pretty burly to me as it came up close to me and the wren. Lots of these chickadees along with kinglets and nuthatches up in the nearby firs.

After 5 hours I had enjoyed as much of this project as I could stand and stopped for the day. Before leaving I staggered over to the edge of the bluff to find a group of 11 Common Goldeneyes straight below me diving in the clear water.

Excited (watching birds swimming underwater is one of my favorite things), I went across the meadow to get my binocs, and was able to watch the group of ducks diving as a group and doodling around down on the bottom. Luckily the Goldeneyes were almost all males - their white-and-black patterns made them easier to see underwater.

That was pretty cool.

Back in Port Townsend a big Coyote ran right in front of my truck as I passed the golf course. Back at the ranch, I was guided down the dark way to my door by stars and a very bright Venus shining low in the SW. Well, sorta guided - at least I didn't trip over my garbage cans.

Jeff Gibson

reporting from

Jefferson County Wa

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