[Tweeters] Fill yesterday

Connie Sidles constancesidles at gmail.com
Fri Jan 18 00:45:53 PST 2013

Hey tweets, the Fill was really popping yesterday. I started out in
Yesler Swamp, hoping to find Varied Thrushes. Cold, foggy, winter
mornings are just the sort of conditions Varied Thrushes like when
they decide to come down from the uplands around Villa Academy and bum
around with us lowly types. Sure enough, there were three foraging in
the leaf litter in the swamp. All three were uncharacteristically
cooperative, letting me get great views from short distances. Usually,
I mostly see Varied Thrush rumps as the accompanying birds disappear
into the distance, disdaining to be watched by humans.

In Yesler Cove were numerous Northern Pintails, including several
males in breeding plumage. Really, the most elegant ducks. I was a
little surprised to find the cove watery instead of icy, but I think
it gets enough water from the concrete outflow pipe on its north side
to keep water moving and unfrozen. The ducks, of course, knew this a
lot quicker than I did. Also present in the cove were numerous Hooded
Mergansers of various genders and a small number of American Wigeons.
I didn't get any counts because I didn't want to come out into the
open and scare them off. The birds in Yesler Cove are very shy.

Back on the Loop Trail, I ran in Blair Bernson, and we walked out to
East Point together, yakking about birds we have seen in the past and
ones we hope to see in the future. The four Trumpeter Swans that have
been visiting the current version of Atlantis (ephemeral mud islands
in the bay) were preening themselves again, in company with two Bald
Eagles who like to perch there to eat their daily catch. While we were
idly talking and watching, a little movement at our feet caught our
eye, and we were just in time to see a little SORA dash across the
path and dive into a stand of reeds. Wow.

All together, I've seen 77 species at the Fill this year and missed
two more: Blair found a Merlin on his lone way back to the car, and
I'm still dipping on that pesky Swamp Sparrow that I hear from time to
time but do not see. I live in daily hopes that the Tufted Duck and
Barrow's Goldeneyes from last year will return soon to eat freshwater
mussels . The mussels are waiting, as I know because three River
Otters showed up at East Point to dine close to shore and study me
studying them. A great day. - Connie, Seattle

constancesidles at gmail.com
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