Sunday, August 21, 2022

U.S. Birding 2022

For summer break, we headed to Washington State to see my grandparents. At the airport in Saudi, I realized that I had forgotten my camera back at the house! Luckily for us however, there was a one hour delay. My mom and I debated for what seemed like ages before agreeing to let me go back to RT to get the camera. Ras Tanura is 45 minutes away from the airport, so we had to hurry. We ran back upstairs and told my dad, who was hesitant at first. We hurried to the parking garage and hopped into the taxi. I rushed into the house and grabbed the camera. As I opened the closet door, something big, yellow, and furry banged into me. Blueberry had charged down the stairs from my room because he heard the door open. I almost wished he hadn’t come down so he wouldn’t have to see me leave again. We made pretty good time back to the airport. When we got back to the check in counter, we discovered that mom and sister had already checked in with all of our bags. “I can’t believe that they let you check in our bags without us!” Dad was surprised. “This is probably the only country where they’d let you do that.” Once we went through security, we had an easy time getting to Washington. My dad had a class about teaching and life skills online for the first week we were there, so one of the days, I went to Wiley Slough, a forest and marshland that was flooded to raise the salmon population. We walked a mile to the river but we didn’t see many birds. On our way back, we saw a few swallows and some Cedar waxwings, but they were high up in the trees. My sister and my mom walked ahead of me because I was looking for little songbirds in the bushes. When I was almost at the parking lot, I saw a Cedar Waxwing on the ground with something in its beak. As I got closer, I realized that it was a dragonfly. I got some very cool shots, including the picture of Bombycilla Cedrorum, the Cedar Waxwing that is pictured below.
I also had another encounter with some Cedar Waxwings at Goat Lake, a five mile hike from the outskirts of Granite Falls. There was a very short cutoff trail down to a bunch of logs spread out in a corner of the lake. There were at least 20 waxwings and several robins flying around for mosquitoes. I didn’t have my camera with me because it would have been too heavy to lug all the way up the mountain. We didn’t encounter many birds besides the waxwings on that hike. Our next birding experience was in Florida at the South Jetty on Venice Beach. On our final of seven days in florida, we headed to the South Jetty to get one final bird experience before Cape Cod We were walking towards the end of the pier, dodging all the fishing poles, when I nearly tripped over a Snowy Egret eating a bait fish a fisherman had dropped. There were at least 20 egrets on the pier, and all of them were stalking a fisherman who had just caught a bunch of fish in his net. There were also several pelicans, including two perched on a pole with a speed limit for the boaters. The pelicans flew up, and then dove into the canal, and then surfaced with a full pouch.
In Cape Cod, we visited our friends Greg and Lois Cronin, who have several feeders and bird boxes in their yard. A pair of Eastern Bluebirds had nested in their yard two times already this year, and there were more nestlings in a third box. Greg let us peek inside the nest. The chicks were very fuzzy covered in their downy feathers, and it was probably cold for them so they were nearly on top of each other. After we saw the bluebirds, we saw a juvenile from a clutch earlier this year possibly feeding his younger siblings. An osprey also flew overhead towards the lake, but it was at the wrong angle of the sun for a good shot. There were also several orioles at the orange feeder, and at least one breeding pair earlier this year. There was also a female Ruby Throated-Hummingbird at the hummingbird feeder. When we move back to the U.S, I want our yard to look just like the Cronin's yard. Pictures, Top to bottom: Female Bluebird feeding nestlings Juvenile Bluebird with mealworm Osprey on the wing Female Baltimore Oriole Male Baltimore Oriole
Thank you for reading my blogpost!

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