Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Pigeon Guillemot Pictures- San Juan Islands

Here are some pictures from our trip to the San Juan Islands back in June. We had a wedding in Vancouver June 26th and decided to make a whole vacation out of it. Steve's old co-worker Julie (of J&J's Excellent Adventure fame) lives in Anacortes, WA and invited us to visit and stay with her and her husband Jay. Not only was it great to catch up with our friends, but how often do you get an amazing destination like the San Juan Islands to visit with personal tour guides??

On Friday they both had to work but generously let us use their car and sea kayaks to explore Puget Sound. On their advice we picked up lunch at Gere-a-Deli (the hummus veggie sandwich was sooo good) and then drove to Snee Oosh Beach where we put in. It was my first time in a sea kayak so I was little nervous in the fast-moving water, but at the end of the day I was proud of my accomplishment and celebrated with a glass of white wine. Actually- who am I kidding- I really needed the white wine to calm my nerves once it was all over. hahahaha

Julie and Jay gave us advice about which island to visit, and in the end we decided to go right for Hope Island (see map at the top of the post). Since we had the whole day free we decided to go for a hike around the entire island, which turned out to be an exciting adventure. I'll post a separate post all about that.

So, back to the pigeon guillemots. These cute little guys we saw on the water as we approached Hope Island and after we landed on the beach I took a few pictures, although at a distance. Then, when we stopped on our hike for lunch I had a good view of some of the guillemots standing on a rock. They were making quick a ruckus- lots of squeaky short calls- as they fought for the best spot on this small rock. I turned on my video to try and capture the sounds they were making but as you can see, of course they chose that moment to clam up- there's just a short call at the end of the clip. If you want to heard a better audio clip of the pigeon guillemot call, go to this page on All About Birds:

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Boston Peregrine Falcon- Nictitating Membrane

On June 16th, the Boston Peregrine Falcon (the remaining male of the Christian Science falcon pair) stopped by our office's window ledge. I assume this is the male of the pair because he is so much smaller than the female that we were used to. Another noticeable trait is how big the male falcon's feet are. Just look at the size of those talons!

You can see the falcon's nictitating membrane up on its right eye. I'm not sure the reason for this, perhaps his eye suffered an injury or infection and he was keeping it up to protect it. At least twice I saw him lower it to look directly at us but he then he put it immediately back up. Does anyone know a lot about nictitating membranes? They've always fascinated me in birds. Here's one of a red-tailed hawk nictitating membrane that came up when it was preening/scratching.

In one of these photos you can see part of the falcon's ID band. It looks like it has the letter I and the number 7 on it.