On to the birds! Although I've walked this loop many times, I was surprised by the number of birds I was able to identify when I simply took the time to pay close attention.
Terrible photo, but these are two of the 4 shy little buffleheads who frequent the lake near my house. They dive and swim away as soon as anyone stops on the trail, hence the distant fuzzy shot.
I found several ducks floating in a water retention pond near a busy road. Thanks to the road noise, and a chainlink fence, they didn't seem bothered by my stopping.
These are a couple of Hooded Mergansers
Here I captured a Bufflehead on the left, several Ring-Necked ducks in the center, and the Hooded Mergansers on the right.
There was also a pair of Mallards hanging out (upper left corner) I attempted to get all the ducks in one shot, however framing was difficult due to shooting through a chainlink fence.
On a dirt trail running along a creek/watershed area, I found this Song Sparrow. He sat still long enough for me to pull out my cell phone to shoot a video, put my cell phone away, pull the DSLR out of my camera bag, and take a couple of photos. He was a very patient bird!
Along the pipeline trail, listening to the distant calls of crows, I stopped short when I heard a familiar "thunk-thunk-thunk" sound... this Pileated was on a tree just a few feet from the trail. She hid behind the tree while I pulled out my camera, and kept peeking around waiting to see if I was advancing. When she decided I wasn't coming closer, she resumed her feast on the side of the tree. She left when a couple of women passing by stopped to see what I was pointing my camera at.
Outside of these birds, I also heard several hummingbirds chipping loudly, and spotted crows, wrens, juncos, and black-capped chickadees (though I did not walk with my camera out, so I missed those photo ops)