Skip to main content

The Daily Bucket is a regular feature of the Backyard Science group.  It is a place to note of any observations you have made of the world around you.  Insects, weather, fish, climate, birds and/or flowers.  All are worthy additions to the bucket.  Please let us know what is going on around you in a comment. Include, as close as is comfortable for you, where you are located.
Seattle. February 19, 2013.

Gonna be a  v e r y  s l o w  day.

Had you been with me on last week's bird count you'd have heard me mutter those words as we began our trek at the Old School for Wayward Girls. There was no sound except for the airplanes overhead. No house finches or house sparrows squabbled at the feeders in the yards across the alley where we parked. No gulls or crows or robins or even starlings pranced across the upper meadow where the school ruled before all three ugly brick stories were torn down a couple decades ago.

There were no wrens or chickadees or kinglets muttering among themselves in the ivy strangled trees beside the path leading down to the beach from where the school custodian's cottage once stood. Old newspaper reports suggest that the school custodian was not a good man. The day's silence was only a reminder of how awful this place must once have been.

There were no butterbutts or waxwings or siskins hanging out in the last of the old Garry Oaks and Madronas that cling to the steep slope above the beach. Nor was there any sign of the mixed flock of sparrows that usually dives into the newly restored shoreline thickets when I approach.  

No eagle sat in the big cottonwood overlooking the lake. No common goldeneyes played in the shallows, and they are the most common of the winter ducks to grace this stretch of shoreline.

There was only one little brown bird standing on a half submerged rock maybe five feet off the concrete stairs leading down to the lake. Just one little brown bird.

And then you would have heard me say, out loud:

I know exactly who you are, and you're not supposed to be here.

Cinclus mexicanus. American Dipper. North America's only aquatic songbird, a bird I often see up in the mountains, bobbing up and down on the rocks in fast moving streams, diving under the currents to catch the little creatures that live in fast moving streams up in the mountains.

Many years ago a pair of dippers lived on the east side of the Forest peninsula at the terminus of a tiny manmade waterfall below the salmon hatchery. The salmon hatchery has been empty for a decade or more now; the waterfall died with it. The dippers chose to move on.

Until last week, when this one bobbed and swam and dove and came up with tiny fish once, twice, three times, working its way south along a gentle stretch of lake shore, then disappearing under the pier that marks the edge of public and private land.

February 11, 2013. American Dipper at the Old School for Wayward Girls.American Dipper. Feb 11, 2013. Seattle. The Old School for Wayward Girls.
I've returned more than once to search the rocks, the snags, the thickets at the beach below the Old School for Wayward Girls, but this dipper, too, has moved on.

###

Your turn. Everyone is welcome to add their observations to the Bucket.

I'll be back mid afternoon PST and into the evening.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site