On July 11, 2010 my first Grays Harbor Birds column appeared in The Daily World, featuring the Osprey. The photo was about four inches high by five inches wide, and the statistics section was two columns wide and about 1 1/4 inches high, and I misspelled the first Latin name, paldion rather than Pandion. We have come a long way, covering 116 birds and a Leatherback Turtle in those five years. I appreciate having the opportunity to write this column and share my love of birds with you.
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The weather impact upon our salmon fishery is becoming the story these days. The lack of rain and snow pack is definitely being realized in low river conditions. These conditions are reaching record proportions and drawing the concerns of anglers, not only, for this season; but also for the fishery three years from now.
Since today is July 4th, folks do not have an extended weekend to indulge in their outdoor pleasures. This translates into possibly choosing barbeques and firework events over fishing. It certainly makes for a busy weekend no matter how you look at it. An extra day or two can facilitate some extra time to wet a line.
Way back in 1965, my toddler-aged daughter and I visited my parents in their Boston Harbor/Olympia home for a week. While hanging diapers on the clothesline I was the object of intense interest by a large flock of Violet-green Swallows. They swirled around me and perched on the clothesline examining me, cocking their heads and chattering away, talking up a storm…discussing me I am sure. Thus began a love affair with these small, beautifully colored birds that has lasted all these years. According to one quote, “…we will call them children of heaven.” (Dawson 1923) I hope you like this photo by Mike Hamilton as much as I do.
I know what you are thinking; this has to be a common bird to our area because we have a LOT of willow, we have a lot of water, and we have a lot of bugs…perfect, right? Not so fast bug-breath! It turns out they are fairly UN-common to the coast but can be found inland a bit. Still, I have heard their distinctive “FITZ-bew” call in the woods at Grays Harbor College, as well as in the red alder forest out at Grays Harbor National Wildlife Refuge; there is no other bird that sounds like that….well, unless a crow or a Steller’s Jay is now imitating them.
This is a difficult time to do some serious fishing. It has very little to do with weather, water conditions or even fish availability. It has everything to do with a multitude of distractions.
Some of Washington’s most popular fishing opportunities are available for anglers in the coming weeks, including trout in hundreds of rivers, crab in south Puget Sound, and chinook salmon in the Columbia River and in ocean waters along the coast.
Western Tanagers are the only tanager regularly found in Washington and are common to our area throughout the summer. But if you see one you can consider yourself lucky; they are pretty hard to spot, despite the male’s brilliant plumage of yellow and black with a bright orange-red head.
Lake Sylvia closed June 6 for kids-only fishing
The next big event on the fishing calendar is without question the opening of rivers, streams and beaver dams which occurs Saturday, June 6. This opener has varied over the years; but, it has consistently been occurring the first Saturday of June for many
So, first off the bat I will say, this is NOT a Canadian Goose, eh? It may have hatched on the upper reaches of the Canadian provinces, but it is still a Canada Goose.
The new fishing season got off to a predictably good start with the opening day of lake fishing on April 25. There were some juvenile derbies that occurred in our area before that date, which gave many youngsters some thrilling moments and lasting memories.
The White-crowned Sparrow is a true bird of the Pacific Northwest, residing here year-round, and considered one of the most common and abundant sparrows of Washington. Here in Grays Harbor, we most often see the subspecies pugetensis, foraging with other White-crowned Sparrows, but also mixing with Golden-crowned, Fox, and Song Sparrows.
For those of you keeping track of the birds in this column, you’re probably saying, “Hey, didn’t you just do a piece on the Bald Eagle?” And you would be right … I did. But, I am doing so again to make a point. I get asked several times a year about Golden Eagles out on the beach, and while I have learned never to say never, we just don’t see Golden Eagles in Grays Harbor County.