Every spring and summer we notice a few nests show up in our yard or neighborhood and this year was no different. Conveniently for us a pair of Dark-eyed Junco’s decided to place their nest in our hanging flower basket right outside our front door. I found this to be a wise decision of the Junco’s, knowing we were birders they must have thought we’d keep an eye on them and protect their nest from Crows and Squirrels. In the end it worked out well, they laid three eggs, all of which hatched into nestlings which eventually grew to fledglings and I think now are still happily flittering around our back yard and eating at our feeders. You’ll see in the photo gallery the progression from eggs to barely born hatchlings, to hungry nestlings that are all head and beak. It was quite interesting to witness the entire process!
But these were not the only baby birds we were able to see this summer, on a trip to Kalaloch Campground we stopped by the Lodge for a snack from the store and were able to watch greedy fledgling Barn Swallow’s being fed on the roof of the Lodge! I’m not entirely sure, but if you watch closely it looks like the insect being fed here was night quite ready to be a meal and made a last second escape.
Both the mother and father Barn Swallow would swoop in about every thirty seconds to a minute with more food for these little ones, they made quite a racket each swoop! Barn swallows almost exclusively build nests in buildings, under eves or even under bridges. You can see them dropping into mud puddles for materials as they build little mud nests.
On our way home from Kalaloch we stopped in for a swim and paddle board on Lake Crescent. This is where we photographed the Mallard ducklings in the gallery below. If you’re ever visiting the Olympic Peninsula these are two great places to stop. Kalaloch Campground is incredible, it has many sites up on a bluff above the Pacific Ocean, so close you can listen to the waves crashing as you fall asleep at night. There are many beach access points near here including at the campground but Ruby Beach (photo’d below) was our favorite. Though it does get busy on the weekends so you have to get in early to find easy parking! Fairholme Campground is another excellent choice located on the west end of Lake Crescent. This is an excellent lake for swimming, paddle boarding, or boating. You can also access the Spruce Railroad bike trail here that runs along the north end of the lake which takes you to one of the best swimming holes in the state, the Devil’s Punch Bowl near the northeast end of the lake.