[Tweeters] Othello birding

Michelle Landis asmalllife at gmail.com
Mon Feb 4 09:18:26 PST 2013


My apologies to east-side birders, but I always thought having the Skagit
Flats in my backyard was the best thing next to sliced suet. I spent this
past weekend counting raptors for a WDFW survey and WOW....I had no idea
the density over there. We covered just under 100 miles by odometer and
had 70+ birds and we didn't count everything we saw because some were just
too far away...but they were still there.

By far the most common was Kestrels. EVERYWHERE. Even saw one male
feasting on a field mouse or vole on top of a snag, which was a new one for
me. If you give the weight of the vole at 30 grams, a typical weight for a
male Kestrel is 100 grams (forgive me, I used the internet as a reliable
source, here)....imagine trying to climb - forget fly - up a tree carrying
one-third of your body weight!! Holy smokes!! Also saw a lot more males
than females. Interesting.

Red-Tailed Hawks were the next most common. I still struggle with the
different west v. east v. adult v. juvenile plumage, so I didn't age them,
but they were also very dense. Saw two sitting in a tree with a nest and
another carrying material for another nest, which was fun to see. Also saw
two very pretty, very dark, dark morphs.

Saw five Northern Harriers, two adult males and three browns. Stunningly
beautiful.

And bringing up the rear. Two adult BAEA. Which surprised the heck outta
me.

Fantastically fruitful weekend - so much fun - and have now firmly
inoculated my new husband into birding - he's hooked!!

Michelle Landis
Lynden, WA
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