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The Daily Bucket is a regular feature of the Backyard Science group.  It is a place to note any observations you have made of the world around you.  Rain, sun, wind...insects, birds, flowers...meteorites, rocks...seasonal changes...all are worthy additions to the bucket.  Please let us know what is going on around you in a comment.  Include, as close as is comfortable for you, where you are located. Each note is a record that we can refer to in the future as we try to understand the patterns that are quietly unwinding around us.
Shores of the Salish Sea
March 2014

Spring has officially arrived!

A sign of the season: birds pairing up. Unlike some creatures, many birds flaunt their pairing publicly. I find wildlife behavior fascinating, so I watch. Here are a few pairs I've seen recently along the shore.
(All photos by me. In to enlarge)

My beloved Buffleheads:

How many pairs of Trumpeter Swans do you see on a partially frozen lake:


Courting display, watched by another swan.

My local Black Oystercatcher pair, RAy and his new mate. I still see them together at all times:

These two pairs of Gadwalls have been hanging out in a quiet bay for the past month:

The local pair of Ravens occasionally perch together in a visible spot. In the second photo they were gazing at each intensely before they retreated into the branches, where I could only see glimpses of their bowing and nuzzling.

raven dark 2

The gulls are particularly lively in their courting displays. Here a couple of Glaucous-Winged gulls share a moment:

The local pair of Bald Eagles:

Two pairs of Northwestern Crows:

Another pair of gulls (they have little fear of people so I can get cool closeup views of the expressions on their faces). Interesting how one offers a gift. The shred of seaweed has no intrinsic value, but the gesture is meaningful. The gulls are very vocal in their courting.

And last pair this morning, seen out on the windy bay yesterday, two Red Breasted Mergansers.

In this flock of mergansers only a few were paired up, swimming together. Most were still in the choosing stage. The male Red Breasted mergansers were displaying their moves, as the females watched, sometimes covertly.

That's just a few for a late bucket today. Some seasonal bird activity.

Your turn now to report what's up in nature in your backyard.

And -

"Green Diary Rescue" is Back!

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Originally posted to Backyard Science on Thu Mar 20, 2014 at 09:26 AM PDT.

Also republished by Shutterbugs and Birds and Birdwatching.

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