My family and I just returned last night from a tour of the upper North western area of Washington state. While there, we went on a light house tour, a whale-watching tour and of course, ate tons of sea food. There is so much to share about this trip - learning about the old light houses and when they were established, how they were protected, the people that manned the light houses along with their families, the beautiful coastline, the whales that live and/or migrate through this area (YES, we spotted Humpback whales AND Transient Orcas!!), and so much more. But, the icing on the cake came on our very first day - August 19, 2017.
|The martins were nesting on the Western end of the house (left side in this picture).|
It was one of those surreal moments where your mind registers it before you fully comprehend and realize - you're on an upper west coast peninsula. Right next to the Pacific ocean. I must be hearing things. Nope, there it is again - a familiar and very distinct male purple martin call, with the clicking at the end. That's impossible. As the cold northerly winds whipped at my ears, I spun round and round in the sand, until finally, I looked almost straight up and there he was at the top of the weather vane, preening in the cold, salty air, striking an oh so-familiar pose.
Western Purple Martins (Progne subis arboricola), but it had not crossed my mind that I would be so lucky to spot one, much less a nesting pair, on this trip! Apparently, they are recovering on the West Coast - check out this link: http://saveourmartins.org/recoveryprogram.html
and this one: http://saveourmartins.org/
As I watched and refocused my ears, I heard another familiar sound - that of nestlings begging for food - and I zeroed in on the opening in the eaves of the caretaker's house. There she is - a female purple martin delivering food back & forth to an unknown number of young. WHEEEE - what a thrill, to drive all the way up to an unfamiliar place and be welcomed by such a heart-warming sight!