We’ve been keeping a yard list of all the animals we see since we moved to the Goldstream Valley in 2008. At the end of the year it’s fun to look at the data and compare this year against previous years.
We saw 39 different species of bird, 8 mammal species, and one amphibian (the full list). In an average year we see 36 bird species, 7 mammals, and the one amphibian we have in the Interior, so we saw a few more than usual in 2023.
Here’s a list of species we either saw for the first time this year, or are uncommonly seen on our property:
|Years seen (including 2023)
And we only missed one species we commonly see, Northern Shrike, which we’ve seen in 11 out of 16 years.
I’d meant to recap our trip to Homer earlier this month, but never got around to it, so here it is (I’m waiting for the New Shed Hefeweizen mash to finish). We entered all our birds into the animals database winding up with a total of 53 species, including yellow-billed loons, which was a life-bird for both Andrea and me. We didn’t see any Red knots, which was a disappointment since they’re expected to go extinct within the next ten years. Last year we only saw one, but in past years we’ve seen groups of them. It’s shocking to witness the elimination of a species (OK, subspecies…) over such a short period of time.
Spring migration was well underway when we got back from Homer, and we’ve been keeping track of all the birds as they come into to our yard. We’re still twenty-one species shy of our total last year, but new birds are still showing up. This morning’s new species was a Swainson’s Thrush, which showed up one day earlier than last year.
We’ve been keeping track of all the animals we’ve seen in our yard, but now that it’s winter, seeing something new is rare. Last month we saw our first great horned owl of the fall season, and today the pine grosbeaks showed up. The males are a bright magenta color (like the three in the photo on the right) and the females are a light olive green color. Not only are they very colorful birds, they have a really delicate song that’s not at all what I expect to hear.
I took the picture through the sliding glass door to the deck, so there’s some glare on the window. Click on the photo for a larger version where you can really see them.
We had an interesting visitor this afternoon when I came home from work. The sun had already set and all I had was by little digital camera, but the photos show a three-toed woodpecker on a dead tree near the house. It was banging away for at least twenty minutes before I went inside.
It (he) had a bright yellow cap, which is sort of visible in the photos, and you can see the barring on the back which distinguishes him from a black-backed woodpecker. Very cool.