[Tweeters] Eastside Audubon Samish trip 11 Dec 2013

B&PBell bellasoc at isomedia.com
Wed Dec 18 16:31:44 PST 2013


Sorry for the delay in the report, but we were changing computers and just
got back online.



EAS SAMISH/SKAGIT/STILLAGUAMISH FLATS - 11 DEC 2013



Eastside Audubon took a field trip today to the Stillaguamish, Skagit and
Samish Flats. The day started out clear (great sunrise) and cold (32F). As
we assembled a flock of CACKLING GEESE flew overhead. Part of the way up
I-405 we saw our first AMERICAN CROW. As we came into Everett the Snoqualmie
Valley was buried in fog that also covered part of Everett. Just south of
Marysville we saw our first RED-TAILED HAWK, and came out of the fog - it
was clear and sunny for the first part of the trip.



At the Smokey Point Rest Area there were several more American Crows and
some EUROPEAN STARLINGs, a SPOTTED TOWHEE, SONG SPARROW. Just north at the
Sylvana turnoff several TRUMPETER SWANs flew over. More Starlings as we
drove west. From Sylvana west we turned onto Norman Road and saw more
Trumpeter Swans, our first BALD EAGLEs and a group of BREWER'S BLACKBIRDs
with a single RED-WINGED BLACKBIRD and some Starlings. By the time we
reached the junction with the road south from Stanwood we had seen at least
15 Bald Eagles, including at least one pair repairing their nest, at least
12 Red-tailed Hawks. A large flock of Trumpeter Swans was just north of the
Boe Road intersection. Down near the end of Boe Rd. we saw 5 KILLDEER and an
AMERICAN KESTREL. Parked at the end of the road by the Nature Conservancy
property we scanned more swans, eagles out on the bay, had a GREAT BLUE
HERON, a SHORT-EARED OWL and a SONG SPARROW. Along Thomle Rd. there were
more Bald Eagles, Red-tailed Hawks, a ROUGH-LEGGED HAWK (dark morph), a
COOPER'S HAWK and several HOODED MERGANSERs. We stopped at the pulloff and
walked into the north end of the Stanwood Treatment Ponds. Much of it was
frozen but in the open water we had a large collection of gulls including
GLAUCOUS-WINGED, RING-BILLED, and CALIFORNIA. A large group of TRUMPETER
SWANs was going thru mass head-bobbing. We also saw MALLARDs, RING-NECKED
DUCK, NORTHERN PINTAIL, NORTHERN SHOVELER, GREEN-WINGED TEAL, RUDDY DUCK,
AMERICAN WIGEON, a single GREATER SCAUP, and AMERICAN COOT.



We cruised Mann Rd. on Fir Island to Wylie Road, where we turned into the
Skagit Wildlife Area. Everything was frozen over, so we moved on. Along Dry
Slough Rd. we saw more Red-tailed Hawks, and along Polson Rd. (at it's east
end) there were approximately 10,000 SNOW GEESE, some of them right up to
the road. That was a real treat for some of our people. We went along Dodge
Valley Rd., but it was really quiet until just south of Chilberg Rd. we had
a field with close swans. Scoping them showed that many of them were TUNDRA
SWANs, and an American Kestrel (male) perched on the wires alongside the
road.



Turning onto Whitney/LaConner Rd. we saw a Bald Eagle being harassed by two
American Crows - the Eagle had a Coot and refused to give it up. During our
lunch break at Bayview State Park there were more Northern Pintail,
Mallards, American Wigeon, BUFFLEHEAD, a pair of COMMON GOLDENEYE off shore
and two COMMON LOONs. A couple of DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANTs were present. By
this time it was overcast and a wind was blowing - everyone gave up and
finished lunch in the cars. Up in the park proper AMERICAN ROBINs were
feasting on the European Hawthorn fruits. At the orchard just before
dropping down into the Samish Flats there were many, many American Robins
feasting on the European Hawthorn fruits. A couple of RED-TAILED HAWKs were
on the poles along Bayview-Edison Rd. Another dark morph Rough-legged Hawk
flew from near the road along Sullivan Rd.



A very nice light morph Rough-legged Hawk was perched just west of the
intersection of Bayview-Edison Rd. and Samish Island Rd. In Edison several
EUROPEAN COLLARED-DOVEs were present. Heading back toward the West 90 there
were many Bald Eagles, including 6 in the large Cottonwood Tree. Several
NORTHERN HARRIERs coursed over the fields. At the West 90 we saw probably 8
Northern Harriers, 4 SHORT-EARED OWLs, several Red-tailed Hawks and a couple
of Rough-legged Hawks.



At the Skagit County Access point on Marsh Rd on Samish Island we could see
BRANT, RED-NECKED GREBE, HORNED GREBE, PACIFIC and COMMON LOONs, BUFFLEHEAD,
COMMON GOLDENEYE, RED-BREASTED MERGANSER, SURF SCOTER, and LONG-TAILED DUCK.
Scanning Samish Bay at the base of Samish Island there were several hundred
American Wigeon along with Northern Pintail. Heading back east along Samish
Island Rd a smallish bird dropped down from a pole - it turned out to be a
NORTHERN SHRIKE.



At various spots during the day we saw CANADA GOOSE, ROCK PIGEON, a single
BAND-TAILED PIGEON, EURASIAN COLLARED-DOVE, MOURNING DOVE, NORTHERN FLICKER,
STELLER'S JAY, BLACK-CAPPED CHICKADEE, a probable BEWICK'S WREN,
GOLDEN-CROWNED SPARROW.



For the day we saw at least 50 Bald Eagles, 40+ Red-tailed Hawks, 10
Rough-legged Hawks and 3 American Kestrels.



It was a good, somewhat chilly but great day out with excellent views of
many birds.



Good Birding!



Brian H. Bell

Woodinville WA

mail to bell asoc at iso med ia dot com





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