The North Coast Land Conservancy’s Circle Creek Conservation Center is home to flocks of birds, both resident and migratory, including cedar waxwings, song sparrows and flycatchers.
Flycatchers are difficult to see on a sunny day as they’re too busy hunting. But resident bird expert Mike Patterson was pleased to see the rain on the August 2 bird excursion. The misty weather kept the elusive bird lower to the ground and thus easier to spot.
There are more than 600 species of regional birds, including the flycatcher. Other birds like the brown creeper were also out to play in the rain, skittering up and down the iconic Sitka spruce trees.
“It’s always nice to get brown creepers,” said birder Mike Patterson after the two-hour bird watching event at Circle Creek.
The bird event took a small group of birders from the Circle Creek barn through the west end of the property along legacy loop.
Patterson has been involved in conservation on the North Coast since the late 1980s, but started birding as a child. He blames his early obsession on “hanging around the wrong people” and having a biological bent.
“I’m creeping up on the 50 year mark, there’s very little in the way of local birds I haven’t seen and the ones I haven’t seen are rare,” said Patterson.
To keep track of the birds he sees Patterson uses the apps eBird and iNaturalist. He encouraged the new and seasoned birders to make use of these resources. It’s easy to forget what you saw after a half century of birding. Patterson has been fortunate to have seen a variety of life-time birds having lived in Africa for two years as part of the Peace Corps, including a black throated warbler.
As to the why, Patterson is fascinated with the interconnectedness of everything. In addition to birds, the group saw salamanders and a variety of other flora and fauna.
“Everything is amazing, I bird the place not the birds. The bird makes no sense without the context,” explained Patterson.
Upcoming events for the conservancy include a mothing workshop, also led by Patterson, to be held on Saturday, Aug. 17, from 8 to 10 a.m. at the Circle Creek Conservation Center. Mothing involves looking for and enjoying the more than 1,200 regional moth species. The method includes looking for moths on the moth wall and in no-kill traps located throughout the property. While the mothing will largely be done near the barn, there will be some hiking.
If you want to attend keep in mind that it’s rain or shine, there are no toilets on site and dogs are not allowed. Bring water and snacks and wear sturdy shoes. Registration is required but the event is free.