Monday, December 25, 2017

Autumn Birds at Mission Hills

Autumn Birds Spotted at Mission Hills Apartments
This was my first fall living in the Pacific Northwest so I was not sure what to expect. Unfortunately within the geographic limits of Mission Hills I found a dearth of birds that either perched here or flew over. There are several possible reasons for the lack of birds here and in 2017. The most obvious is that this area is not a place of interest for layovers by migrating birds. Another is that the commotion resulting from the re-building of 18th Street was too much for the travelers. Perhaps the long and dry summer changed some migratory decisions. I do not know the answer to any of those questions.

 Anyway, here is what I did see:

Crows and plenty of them.

Scrub Jay I only see a scrub jay here a few times a week. In the wooded area just north of our gate and south of the Elementary School there are many and easy to see any day.

Fox Sparrow By about October 1 I did not see any

Steller Jay like the scrub jay though in lesser numbers, they fly into the leaf clusters at crepuscule so are hard to find. In the wooded area mentioned above they are more plentiful and visible.
Dark-eyed Junco as the season grows into winter we will see many of these.

Canada Geese I haven’t seen a single one land on the ground at Mission Hills but they fly overhead routinely and have used the adjacent property for resting. On November 30th thousands flew towards the southeast shortly before nightfall. I’m sure many residents heard them if not seeing them.
Great Blue Heron On October 12th at around 11:00am, there was a lone Heron in the pool of the garden area. It startled as I approached and flew into one of the large fir trees where it perched for many minutes. In the late afternoon it perched on the roof of the management building for over an hour.
Red Tail Hawk the family that flew from the trees just east of the complex seemed to have migrated. I saw a lone hawk (probably the summer ’17 offspring) soaring above as late as December 14th.
Black Capped Chickadee One often hears “Chickadeee-deee-dee” before seeing them but they flit around the residential trees and shrubs daily.
Song Sparrow These little birds hang close to Dark Eyed Juncos and feed with them.
Northern Flicker This largish woodpecker is pretty common in the woods and I have only seen one here in the garden area but I had a camera with me on the day I saw it in early October.

Ring Billed Sea Gulls These can be seen flying overhead and in the adjacent property field pretty regularly. I have not seen one land at Mission Hills and I am actually only guessing that they are Ring Billed based what I have seen of other gulls perched in the general area.
House Finch These were pretty prevalent in the summer but I did see a single one as late as December 12th.

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