|Actually from when I was leaving San Juan Island, but better than an all dark picture...|
How often is it cheaper to stay somewhere than it is to get there? Ferry: $40. Room: $35. The Wayfarer's Rest is a hostel in Friday Harbor, which may be quite busy in the summer, but I had the whole place to myself on this night in January (not unheard of in the off-season, I hear). Full kitchen - wish I'd brought some eggs! Grabbed a shower, and called it a night.
Got up early again for owls - something I'll feel obligated to do during this year if I feel like I've got a chance to see an owl I haven't for the year. 15 owl species can be seen in Washington in a good year (Snowy, Spotted, Northern Hawk-owl, Western Screech-owl, Burrowing, Barn, Barred, Short-eared, Long-eared, Northern Saw-whet, Northern Pygmy-owl, Flammulated, Boreal, Great Horned and Great Gray. Great Horned are common on the island, so I drove San Juan Valley Road a bit - listening and calling... nothin.
|American Camp - San Juan Island|
|Approaching Cattle Point Light|
|Cattle Point Light|
|Prickly rose bushes were pretty common|
Cattle Point was the best stop of the trip for sea birds. They were out a bit too far for good pictures, but I had Pacific and Common Loons - dozens of each - Harlequin Ducks, Marbled Murrelets, Common Murre, Pigeon Guillemots, Buffleheads, Red-breasted Mergansers, Pelagic Cormorants and Double-crested Cormorants. In addition, walking the path to the lighthouse led me to House Finches, Golden- and White-crowned Sparrows, as well as a Merlin and a Sharp-shinned Hawk.
Bailer Hill Road and San Juan Valley Road run east-west across the farmland in the middle of the island. Driving through here, I found a lot of ducks, including Canvasback at Lake Zylstra, and Geese, including Canada and Cackling. I made a run up Roche Harbor Road after grabbing lunch in town, and found some Trumpeter Swans on one of the lakes. Also found a perfectly fine telescope for $25 at the thrift store on that road. Sadly no good mugs...
Went to the ferry terminal to wrap up my trip, and learned that the 2:50 ferry was walk-on passengers only. I had another hour and a half! First thing I did was to return to American Camp to look for a bird I knew would be hard to find on my other trips this year - Black Oystercatcher. I hadn't seen any on the rocks earlier in the day, but decided to walk down to Grandma's Cove from the visitor center. Success!
|Black Oystercatchers! Saw some more from the ferry flying overhead|
So happy to get home after four days out, but they were good days, and I had three counties 'done' with 39 birds or more seen in each. A couple weeks away from a trip to the Southwest corner - Lewis, Cowlitz, Clark and Wahkiakum - in early February.
|Leaving American Camp - the moon peeking out|