[Tweeters] Notes from a few trips to the Stillagit this past week - Jan. 3, 4 & 7

Barbara Deihl barbdeihl at comcast.net
Tue Jan 8 17:04:59 PST 2013

A bit of cabin-fever plus a desire to see if I could experience anything interesting up in both the Stillaguamish and Skagit Flats, pushed me to override the urge to just stay put late in the afternoon on several days that were predicted to have either no rain or a few stray moments of light. I thrice hit the road around 3 p.m. and found my efforts were not a total wash. To a trip, the weather didn't materialize quite as anticipated, but there still were some bright moments, if not due to heavenly illumination, then to the uplifting result of discovery. It also was refreshing to be out in the brisk air, letting my senses run amok.

Birdwise, this was the extent of my finds (mostly at and after dark) - Near parking areas on Boe, Thomle & Eide Rds, Big Ditch, and on Fir Island, I saw and heard various calls of Short-eared Owls, Northern Harriers, Great Blue Herons, RLHA, RTHA, fly-over shorebirds, ducks, swans, geese and blackbirds or starlings. On each of the trips I saw one Snowy Owl - one along Eide, flying off the dike and heading over to the other side of it, one in flight and landing in the grass at Big Ditch way off to the north near the trees and houses, and one at Hayton Reserve sitting on some large driftwood off on the edge of the bay. In the trees at the north edge of the Big Ditch dike, I was surprised to see a couple dozen Bald Eagles. Maybe they are starting to come down from the upper Skagit to find food down amongst the flocks on the flats, as the dwindling supply of spent salmon forces a menu change. A few SEOW were seen at each site except Big Ditch. On the Rawlins Rd. dike, besides the vocalizing SEOW, were a couple of GBHE gronking at each other in a seeming confrontation - it was, however, too dark for me to see them. A Peregrine Falcon was a bonus find in a tree along Eide Rd. - stunning.

I did have 2 friendly encounters with employees at a couple of restaurants at which I stopped - we exchanged Snowy Owl stories and info. One young man's eyes widened after I showed him a Snowy photo on my camera and he exclaimed that he had seen just that kind of bird in November, sitting in the middle of the street on which he lives, near the Tulalip Casino. He said the "huge white bird" didn't move at all as he slowly drove around it - when he came back on foot a bit later, the owl had disappeared and he never saw it again. He asked all kinds of questions and we conversed awhile - business was slow. This guy sure lit up! Birds can do that to a person...

There's always a bright side to a gloomy day, if you are open to whatever comes along.

Some dark photos with some bright specks, from these 3 trips, can be viewed here - no bird shots..... :-)


Barb Deihl

North Matthews Beach - NE Seattle

barbdeihl at comcast.net

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