WC and Mrs. WC were walking the grounds of a lodge less than a quarter mile from SeaTac International Airport. A portion of those grounds are a “recovered” wetland. The “recovery” seems mostly to have involved hauling away a lot of trash, but the result has been an island of habitat in a sea of urban sprawl. And it brings in birds.
A cousin the of the sparrows, the Spotted Towhee likes brushy habitat, where it forages by scratching along the ground.
Here’s a first winter Golden-crowned Sparrow.
A cousin to the Alaska Black-capped Chickadee, and perhaps even a bit more handsome.
And, best of all, a predator:
This Barred Owl played a sleepy peekaboo with WC. It’s a species that has reached an uneasy compromise with humankind, settling in habitats like this with a higher risk of mortality from contacts with humans for easier prey in the form of mice, rats and birds.
It’s not an intact, healthy ecosystem. It’s too fragmented and a bit too polluted for that. But it’s a tiny little window into what could be. And a pretty cool way to spend an hour in a big city.