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The Daily Bucket is a regular feature of the Backyard Science group.  It is a place to note any observations you have made of the world around you.  Snails, fish, insects, weather, meteorites, 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.
June 28, 2013 (and a few weeks before)
Mostly cloudy and cool
Barlow Bay,
Salish Sea, Pacific Northwest

It's an old broken down dock. About 20 feet of the shoreward end still has a deck with some rotting boards, but mostly it's a line of pilings stretching out into this very quiet bay. Back in the day, this bay and its docks were a bustle of commercial activity, fishing boats coming and going, nets and buildings on the shore. Today the salmon are mostly gone, and this corner of the island is a dead end. That's a good thing for the wildlife: otters, seals, invertebrates, fish, geese, eagles and lots of sea birds who come here to hang out and feed.

The tops of the pilings are very popular.

The gulls have little fear of a kayaker. I can get quite close, within one piling-space. They sleep, groom or gaze out to sea. Sometimes the pilings are occupied by one kind of bird, but that's just chance, I think. Usually there's a mix of species (are these all gulls in this photo?).

This juvenile gull lands right on the edge, though there's plenty of room. These pilings don't have the cones and spikes some dock owners install to deter birds.
The Double Crested Cormorants are more leery. Their comfort zone is 3-4 piling-spaces. The juveniles are the lighter colored ones.
When I'm too close, they will stand up, squat, shoot off a stream of excrement, then jump off with wings spread, just clearing the surface before flying off.
Most biologists state that cormorants like to stand in the sun with wings widespread to dry them. There are other hypotheses for the function of this spread-wing posture.
The gulls and cormorants are the regulars on the pilings. Sometimes others make use of an empty piling.

More kinds of birds below....

Great Blue Herons occasionally perch on the pilings too. It's an excellent vantage, and safe.

This Belted Kingfisher is stopping on the deck for a moment on his way across the bay. I hear the Kingfishers more than I see them, chattering across the water.
Rarely, an osprey makes an appearance. I didn't even notice this fellow until I looked at the photo!
There are only about 15 pilings. Sometimes they're all occupied. If a bird wants a spot, it simply swoops in flapping, and invariably the bird on the piling will fly off. It's like musical chairs some days.
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What's happening in your backyard these days? Reports are appreciated from all across the land (and sea). I'll meet you below in the comments, morning Pacific time.

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And don't forget to check out the Green Diary Rescue on Saturday for stories you may have missed.



"Green Diary Rescue" is Back!

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"Green Diary Rescue" will be posted every Saturday at 1:00 pm Pacific Time on the Daily Kos front page.  Be sure to recommend and comment in the diary.

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