Turned 23...went birding again

What does turning 23 mean to me? For now, it's just a number halfway to 46 and one-third to hmm...69? I still have a long way to go to reach those numbers, but right now I'm at a stage in my life where I am proud of the person that I am and thankful for the life I have (except career-wise), and hopefully, I can continue to top that in the times to come. I am not a big fan of celebrating birthdays because annual celebrations are meaningless (to me). I rather enjoy each and every day (8401 days and counting) and make sure I did something meaningful or interesting today (no matter how small or big) so I won't regret this day when I look back.

Today, I first drove my parents to Steveston to buy groceries while I looked around. Then my mother and I walked along the West Dyke Trail from Garry Point Park to Williams Road where my father picked us up by car. Along the way, we saw many interesting things.

I saw several Red-breasted Mergansers (Mergus serrator) today, including seeing this female up-close. I suddenly realize how much it resembles Joker from Batman movie (R.I.P. Heath Ledger) with the black around the eyes, the red long bill, the whitish face, and the frazzle-looking hairstyle.

Female Red-breasted Merganser (Mergus serrator)
Why so serious?

I also observed something interesting performed by the male Red-breasted Merganser. When there was a female in front of this male (below). He lowered his head down and started to run and charge towards her! It happened in several short bursts before he arrived in front of her, then everything was fine again. Had anybody observe this kind of behavior before?

Male charging towards the female. Definitely an interesting sight to see.

Bufflehead preening.

European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris)
Hate them or love them, European Starling is definitely a beautiful-looking bird.

Red-breasted Mergansers (Mergus serrator)
Saw another pair of Red-breasted Mergansers. Such particular-looking birds sporting that punk rock hairstyle.

Trying to photograph a bird-in-flight. Merged two pictures together to get this gull. Pretty good.

Mount. Baker (in Washington State)
Mount Baker in Washington State was clearly visible from Steveston this afternoon. Its magnificent presence posed a potential hazard for Rock Paper Lizard as he went shopping in US last weekend. That was a funny post.

Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias)
The Great Blue Heron knew. Something and/or everything.

Double-crested Cormorant (Phalacrocorax auritus)
Another attempt of photographing bird-in-flight. This time, a Double-crested Cormorant.

Today, my mother picked up that sense when you know something (or someone) is looking at you, and she spotted this Raccoon before I did. Bravo! It was the first time I seen a Raccoon hanging around in Sturgeon Bank, although it was on its way to head to townhouses in Steveston.

Northern Raccoon (Procyon lotor)
There was something wrong with the right eye of this critter. Blind or cataract? Anyone know?

Our presence made it hesitant in crossing the trail. As soon as we gave it space, it headed into the water and swam across the ditch. Pretty soon, it disappeared into someone's front yard. (There is a wonderful post at The Marvelous In Nature about raccoons and some of her personal experiences with them. Great reading!)

This enormous Mute Swan was swimming among a group of Mallards and Wigeons, making its size seems even more impressive than usual. What a bird!

Killdeer (Charadrius vociferus)
Then it was my time to impressive my mother by spotting a pair of Killdeer from several meters away. Second time seeing these funny creatures. Very cool.

Before we arrived at Williams Road, a different kind of mergansers, Hooded Mergansers, were observed. What a day!

Overall, today was just great for going out and watch birds. I wondered if I saw 23 species of animals today. Here's the list (number of individuals in bracket; ++ = more than 20 individuals).

1. Gulls (++)
2. Mallards (++)
3. American Wigeons (++)
4. Red-winged Blackbirds (++)
5. Eurepean Starlings (++)
6. Green-winged Teals (2)
7. Killdeer (2)
8. Mute Swan (1)
9. Bufflehead (1)
10. Great Blue Heron (1)
11. Red-breasted Merganser (7)
12. Hooded Merganser (3)
13. Northern Harrier (1)
14. Double-crested Cormorant (3)
15. American Robin (1)
16. Bald Eagles (2)
17. Raccoon (1)

So close, but I guess not.


Cicero Sings said...

Quite the day in deed ... a bounty of sightings on your 23rd birthday! Happy Birthday and many, many more!!

We're big on enjoying each day for everything it holds.

Wanderin' Weeta said...

Happy (belated) birthday!

I love those raccoon photos!

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