Saturday in Whittier
- Things were so slow in the Valley that Paul Fritz suggested we go to Whittier for the day on Saturday. It was a fine day for a drive with mostly gray skies, mid 20's, mostly light winds, and only decently slick roads.
19 species seen included: 5 Bald Eagles along Portage Creek, 4 soaring over Whittier, Ravens, Magpies, a bazillion NW Crows, 2 flocks of Redpolls (~50 total), Common Mergansers, RB Mergansers, 2 Marbled Murrelets, 4 Pelagic Cormorants, BL Kittiwakes, Imm. Herring Gulls, GW Gulls, 1 Pigeon Guillemot, 2 Pine Grosbeaks, Harlequin Ducks, Mallards, Barrow's Goldeneye, BC Chickadee, Dippers (1 on the tunnel creek and 2 on Portage Creek) plus Sea Otters and Harbor Seals.
The Northwest Crows were the most numerous species in Whittier, and the day's highlight was a Crow with a food item which he repeatedly picked up, ascended 50 feet, and dropped to break it open. This was a behavior which he had obviously practiced and which had presumably worked in the past. The only problem was that it does NOT work when there's a foot of snow on the ground to cushion the blow of the falling food. We couldn't tell if it was a juvenile who had learned during the summer but never spent a winter in Whittier, or if it was just a dumb adult that couldn't remember how he did it a year ago.
We had burgers and drove home. The Crow is still trying.