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Beacon Hill Birds get even more bath-crazy in smoke
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Beacon Hill Birds get even more bath-crazy in smoke

Beacon Hill Birds get even more bath-crazy in smoke

Posted through smoke on sad anniversary day of September 11, 2020

Birds, especially the Neotropicals–the birds that migrate south to the Tropics every fall–love to take baths, regardless of the weather. But as smoke today descended on Butyl Creek (our 12-foot recirculating creek on Beacon Hill) we noticed the bathing traffic was higher than usual. (We are near the peak of the fall migration). The Yellow Warbler in the photo above was bathing furiously but would compose itself and look around for danger every few seconds.


Here three species crowd into one section of “Pumphouse Lake.” (It’s about 8 ft. across, so definitely a small “lake.” In foreground is a Western Tanager, on the mossy rock is a Black-headed Grosbeak, and to the right is a Dark-eyed Junco.

Here a Brown Creeper bathes in the favorite style of Hummingbirds, by clinging to the side of “Butyl Falls.” I’ve seen hundreds of Creepers working their way up tree trunks, which is what they do for a living, and I never remember seeing the bright cinnamon back and rump. However, it always seems to show when they bathe, just as the orange-crown of the eponymous Warbler rarely shows in the field, but stands out at bath time.

All the birds are in “basic,” i.e., nonbreeding plumage, but this Black-headed Grosbeak looked quite snappy.

This is a female Black-throated Gray Warbler, our first of fall.

We love the Western Tanager, Although they are quite a bit duller than in spring, they are no less classy.

We had 24 species of birds come in for a bath today, many represented by many individuals. Here is the list of species seen bathing at Butyl Creek on Beacon Hill, Seattle, today, Sept. 11 2020.

  1. Golden-crowned Kinglet
  2. Song Sparrow
  3. Dark-eyed Junco
  4. Yellow Warbler
  5. House Finch
  6. House Sparrow
  7. Steller’s Jay
  8. Western-scrub Jay
  9. Northern Flicker
  10. American Robin
  11. Black-capped Chickadee
  12. Brown Creeper
  13. Black-headed Grosbeak
  14. Swainson’s Thrush
  15. Eurasian Starling
  16. Lincoln’s Sparrow
  17. White-crowned Sparrow
  18. Orange-crowned Warbler
  19. Black-throated Gray Warbler
  20. Western Tanager
  21. Spotted Towhee
  22. Bewick’s Wren
  23. Anna’s Hummingbird
  24. Bushtit

Delia and I wish the migrant birds well on their southward journey. (The migrants are the Warblers, the Thrush, the Grosbeak, the Tanager and the Lincoln’s Sparrow, the last doesn’t go all that far.) Us irresponsible humans have thrown up every obstacle in their path, importantly including climate change spurred on by fossil-fuel use AND SPURRED ON ALSO BY THE BURNING OF ETHANOL, BIOMASS and AG BIODIESEL. Greens and reporters have often failed to see through these last fuels that have been wrongly sold as ‘sustainable.’.

But in spite of the obstacles in their way, we can wish them well and hope for the best!

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