[Tweeters] Seattle Audubon trip to Samish-Skagit-Stillaguamish
bellasoc at isomedia.com
Thu Feb 14 15:23:26 PST 2013
Yesterday, a group from Seattle Audubon took a trip up to the Samish/Skagit/Stillaguamish Flats. The day started out with misty rain and occasional showers, but when we got north of Arlington it all disappeared. The rest of the day was under high cloudy skies with good visibility.
We started picking up swans as we came down into the Skagit valley. The first chance we had to study them was up along Chuckanut Drive when we turned off on Sunset Rd. A bunch of TRUMPETER SWANs and three TUNDRA SWANs. A couple of RED-TAILED HAWKs along the way and several BALD EAGLEs. At a feeder near the Bow cemetary we picked up DARK-EYED JUNCO, DOWNY WOODPECKER and NORTHERN FLICKER. As we drove north on Chuckanut Drive from Bow, we had several flooded fields MALLARDs, NORTHERN PINTAIL, and many, many AMERICAN WIGEON. We also had 6 EURASIAN WIGEON. These fields also included GREEN-WINGED TEAL, BUFFLEHEAD, GADWAL, and NORTHERN SHOVELER. The trees and wires along Chuckanut yielded 5 RED-TAILED HAWKs, 15 BALD EAGLEs, and an AMERICAN KESTREL (up near Blanchard). The pond by Blanchard had many NORTHERN PINTAIL. A Great Blue Heron tried to hide back in the grass. A COOPER'S HAWK was perched in a tree behind a residence. At the house with feeders in Blanchard there were 18 EURASIAN COLLARED-DOVEs, HOUSE SPARROWs, WHITE-CROWNED, SONG, and FOX sparrows. Lots of DARK-EYED JUNCOs. A couple of SPOTTED TOWHEEs.
As we turned west from Bow we spotted a couple of raptor shapes in the trees north of the road. Turning onto the circle road a falcon shape blasted off to the east. We spotted it back the way we came. A really attractive PEREGRINE FALCON was perched at the corner of Chuckanut Drive and Bow Hill Rd. There we more swans in the fields going into Edison. Coming into Edison the resident MERLIN was perched in the top of one of its regular trees. A quick stop at the Farm-to-Market Bakery for some good Lime-Soaked Polenta Cakes. Heading toward the West 90 the fields were covered in MALLARDs and NORTHERN PINTAIL. NORTHERN HARRIERs worked the fields over, and 9 BALD EAGLEs perched in their usual Cottonwoods by the house to the north of the road. Where Bayview-Edison Rd turned south a nice ROUGH-LEGGED HAWK was perched on the mast. Still more Bald Eagles out on the bay. At least 5 RED-TAILED HAWKs were perched on wires or crossarms.
At the West 90 (where Samish Island Rd turns north) we saw lots of RED-TAILED HAWKs, NORTHERN ROUGH-LEGGED HAWKs, NORTHERN HARRIERs, and a couple of SHORT-EARED OWLs. Sullivan Rd. had more NORTHERN HARRIERs, BALD EAGLEs, and MALLARDs. Padilla Bay had many MALLARDs, NORTHERN PINTAIL and AMERICAN WIGEON.
Just west of Dodge Valley Rd. we had a chance to study some really close swans. Great looks at side-by-side TRUMPETER and TUNDRA SWANs.
We stopped at Valentine Ranch to work over the feeders. Lots of PINE SISKENS, DARK-EYED JUNCOs, HOUSE FINCH, BLACK-CAPPED and CHESTNUT-BACKED CHICKADEEs, a RED-BREASTED NUTHATCH, a RUBY-CROWNED KINGLET, SPOTTED TOWHEE, SONG and FOX SPARROWs, DOWNY WOODPECKER and NORTHERN FLICKER. Suddenly, everybody scattered at an accipiter blasted thru the area. After about five minutes with no activity, the accipiter (a SHARP-SHINNED HAWK) zoomed out of the yard. For a brief moment after the birds scattered, a PURPLE FINCH was in a tree-top across the street.
We worked over the eastern parts of Fir Island and saw lots more swans and at the eastern end of Moore Rd. had a field with about 1200 SNOW GEESE. We also had a scattering of Red-tailed Hawks and Bald Eagles. Down at the Game Range the ponds had MALLARDs, NORTHERN PINTAIL, GADWALL, RED-TAILED HAWK, and a good look at a COOPER'S HAWK.
We made a quick stop at Eide Rd. in Stanwood, but other than a Red-tailed Hawk the birds were elsewhere. We stopped at the Stanwood Treatment Ponds and hit the jackpot with MALLARDs, GADWALL, WOOD DUCK, RUDDY DUCK, NORTHERN PINTAIL, NORTHERN SHOVELER, RING-NECKED DUCK, GREEN-WINGED TEAL, GREATER SCAUP, COMMON GOLDENEYE, HOODED MERGANSER and AMERICAN COOT. Out to Thomle Rd. where we saw several SHORT-EARED OWLs, NORTHERN HARRIERs, ROUGH-LEGGED HAWKs, and in the distance a huge group of SNOW GEESE. At one point a Bald Eagle flew over them and put them up, and between the thousands in the air and on the ground we estimated that there were at least 20,000 birds - what a noise. But the real treat from Thomle were the 4 SNOWY OWLs that we saw. One was perched in the top of a bush behind the dike, and 3 where perched along the top of the dike.
Elsewhere during the day we saw CANADA GOOSE, PIED-BILLED GREBE, DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANT, KILLDEER, DUNLIN, MEW, CALIFORNIA and GLAUCOUS-WINGED GULLs, ROCK PIGEON, BAND-TAILED PIGEON, ANNA'S HUMMINGBIRD, BELTED KINGFISHER, NORTHERN SHRIKE, STELLER'S JAY, AMERICAN CROW, COMMON RAVEN, AMERICAN ROBIN, EUROPEAN STARLING, RED-WINGED BLACKBIRD, WESTERN MEADOWLARK, BREWER'S BLACKBIRD, AMERICAN GOLDFINCH.
It was a very good day, with some outstanding looks at hawks, eagles, falcons, and owls. Lots of waterfowl and swans and a good cross-section of songbirds. We wound up the day with 69 species and some very satisfied folks.
Brian H. Bell
mail to bell asoc at iso media dot com
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