Watch Notes 09.21.12

Met at Bluebird Park at 8AM – Jeff, Bob, Kathy JoAnn and Barbara. Carpooled to the top and walked down both sides of the creek.We saw a lot of whitewash and 3 dippers.

First an unbanded bird where the creek enters the reservoir. It didn’t stay long, flew upstream.

Another unbanded bird was seen just downstream from the 4th bridge. This one was closer and had a dark bill and and white edging on the wings. We thought it was this year’s bird. It was foraging among the rocks and swimming for food in shallow water.

The 3rd was heard singing around 10:30 along Guanajuato Way and then seen standing on a rock below the mid-morning breakfasters at the tables closest to Main St. It was SRWW, the male from the Main St. bridge nest. He was singing and foraging. As we watched and listened a brown mammal came slinking from the shrubbery and behind rocks out to mid-stream. It was only about 6 feet from SRWW, who saw it and stopped singing and flew to a farther rock. We saw the animal again – it apparently swam underwater and appeared briefly closer to the bird, who was standing on alert, head turning, silent. After a few minutes SRWW began to sing again, and then flew north under the Main St. culvert. Bob was quite sure it was a mink; he had an encounter with one downstream near his home last year. He has a tuft from that animal (which killed a Mallard) and we will try to get an ID from its hair, as Bob said this one was similar. We all got a very good, if brief, look at it and Bob had done some checking on mink/weasel earlier. The size was right for a mink, and the mink is semi-aquatic and the weasel is not. What a fascinating field encounter, and we felt SOOO lucky to see it. As well as fearful that the mink would persist and succeed in its hunting.

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