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Please begin with an informative title:

The Daily Bucket is a place where we can post and exchange our observations about the natural happenings in our neighborhoods. Birds, bugs, blossoms and more - each notation is a record that we can refer to in the future as we try to understand the natural patterns that are unwinding around us.
Seattle. October 2, 2012.

The air has cleared. On Monday I took this photo of Mount Rainier from the southern edge of the Forest. Imagine it even clearer today.

October 1, 2012. Mount Rainier.
October 1, 2010. Seattle. Mount Rainier from the southern edge of the Forest Peninsula.
All of the mountains were out on my commute this morning. Mount Rainier to the south. The Cascades once again with crisp peaks. Even Mount Baker to the north, huge in sunlight.

I cut out of work early today, needing to deal with some neglected things, then celebrated by heading off for the weekly bird count. First stop, the Wetland. I'd hoped for just one sighting of a winter bird, a Ruby Crowned Kinglet, perhaps, or the first Loon of the season. No such luck, but four Mallards scuttled nervously along the Wetland pond as I approached, three males in their fancy winter plumage and one female. The mallards leave the pond in late spring to do what they have to do in the breeding season. In the winter they return to congregate in the pond, sometime in rafts of 50 or more. These are the first. Their numbers will increase week by week as autumn progresses and they find sustenance in the roots of the stands of Wapato (Saggitaria latifolia) growing there. The pond will become muddy as they feed, clearing only after the heaviest winter rain.

October 2, 2012. Wapato (Saggitaria latifolia)
October 2, 2012. Seattle. Wapato at the Wetland.
Of the rest, only the usual suspects: Black-capped Chickadees, Bewick's Wrens, Crows, a Stellar's Jay scolding from the canopy and a Spotted Towhee answering from the underbrush. One Anna's Hummingbird, a female, and a song Sparrow skulking along the main path.

Of note, however, was that today's count found increasing numbers of Chickadees and Wrens flocking together, a sign of the first big mixed winter flocks that come together for protection, or perhaps company in the deep of winter.

October 2, 2012. Mallards are returning to the their winter digs at the Wetland pond. The little birds are beginning to gather into their winter flocks.

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What's happening in your neighborhood, and where is that, as far as you're comfortable sharing? Everyone is welcome to post.

I'll be back in the early afternoon PDT and again for a bit before the Debate starts.

Carry on!

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