This week’s photo, taken in Washington Park Arboretum in Seattle, WA on a rainy December 20, 2014, features a female PINE GROSBEAK feasting on fruit.
Many people from outside the Pacific Northwest think that it rains all the time in Seattle. Having lived here for over two years now, I can say that it ain’t so. Often, we experience long stretches with no precipitation. When there’s a “chance of rain” in the forecast, sometimes it rains a little bit, and sometimes not at all. Seldom does it rain all day long.
Last Saturday, however, was one of those days. It also was the date of our monthly bird count at the Arboretum. It was raining steadily when we met at 8am, and it was still raining 2+ hours later when we concluded our survey. After a couple of hours exposed to the elements, the lenses of my binoculars were fogged up, so I began viewing the birds with just my eyes, which were working much better than my binocs.
After our survey, we sloshed our way over to the area where a PINE GROSBEAK, a rare bird for the Seattle area, had been discovered about a week earlier. After 30 minutes of searching without success, we tried a different approach. Instead of looking for the bird, we began looking for a birder who was already looking at the bird, and that strategy worked very well. The Pine Grosbeak was feeding on Sorbus berries, along with several VARIED THRUSHES and AMERICAN ROBINS. As the wet weather continued, a few birders started doing the “life-bird” dance, a ritual that occurs after someone sees a species of bird for the first time in their life. Fortunately, I do not have any video of the dancing.
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