Hotel Special Guests


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.

Spotted Towhee

Spotted Towhee

A cousin the of the sparrows, the Spotted Towhee likes brushy habitat, where it forages by scratching along the ground.

Golden-crowned Sparrow

Subadult Golden-crowned Sparrow

Here’s a first winter Golden-crowned Sparrow.

Chestnut-backed Chickadee

Chestnut-backed Chickadee

A cousin to the Alaska Black-capped Chickadee, and perhaps even a bit more handsome.

And, best of all, a predator:

Barred Owl

Barred Owl

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.

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