[Tweeters] Mason County WOS Trip - 2 March 2013

Matt Bartels mattxyz at earthlink.net
Sat Mar 2 21:07:28 PST 2013

Hi Tweeters -
Today I led a WOS trip to Mason County. 12 of us had a fun day despite pretty high winds and a good deal of rain -- mostly showers but some rainy stretches. Overall , the passerines were pretty absent, but we managed to see a good number of birds.

We met at Theler Wetlands in Belfair , and for our first stop went up to Tahuya-Blacksmith Road, where Mountain Quail are fairly reliable -- they were moderately cooperative after a bit, but only with vocal responses several times..

At Belfair State Park, the highlight was the lingering MARBLED GODWIT, still present. We also saw our first White-winged & Surf Scoters, a flock of 5-6 Brant, a Eurasian Wigeon amongst the American Wigeons, and one participant saw our only Pelagic Cormorant of the day.

Next up, at Theler Wetlands we called in a BARRED OWL who remained very vocal. A couple of Virginia Rails were scurrying around in the first marshy area off the main path. Our first Swallows of the day, probably Tree Swallows, cruised by for a glimpse of spring. We also had a flock of Red Crossbills come in for good views and some distant views of Dunlin.

We worked our way down the east side of the Hood Canal, stopping at Twanoh SP [Pied-billed, Horned, Red-necked & Western Grebes, Barrow's Goldeneye], Union [Black Scoter and our first good Common Loon looks], and the mouth of the Skokomish [puddle-Canvasbacks].

The rain picked up as we headed up Skokomish Valley Rd., which is getting close to flooded again. A trip up FR 23 to the High Iron Bridge was humorous in its complete lack of birds. Eels Hill Hatchery failed to turn up the Green Heron that was present last weekend, but did offer an American Dipper. Heading out the Skokomish Valley Rd., a male Northern Harrier was a nice find.

At Potlatch SP, we stopped for lunch between showers and picked up Eared Grebe and many more of the same waterfowl species.

Skokomish Park at Potlatch had Harlequin Ducks and great looks at Red-breasted Mergansers.

En route south, we stopped at Sanderson Field on the gated road to the fairgrounds -- A small flock of Swallows included Tree Swallows and Violet-green Swallows - again spring!

Moving to Shelton, the neighborhood around H & King again produced the quality new-arrival birds: Eurasian Collared-Doves [10+], Anna's Hummingbird, and Western Scrub-Jay.

Heading west, at Highland Rd a little north of Panhandle Lake, we dipped on Western Bluebird, but did find an American Kestrel. A run to Matlock turned up nothing, and we ended our trip with a stop at the Kennedy Creek Natural Area, where we got distant looks at Black-bellied Plovers and Dunlin.

I come up with a count of 72 species for the day, pretty good considering our 'misses' included: House Sparrow, Steller's Jay, Fox Sparrow, White-crowned Sparrow, Pine Sisken[!], woodpeckers except Flicker....

A good day, indeed --

Matt Bartels
Seattle, WA

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