[Tweeters] Larsen Lake Redpolls again, Bellevue

Pterodroma at aol.com Pterodroma at aol.com
Sun Mar 3 12:02:11 PST 2013

Lake Hills Greenbelt, today’s notes from the field (two parts):
03Mar – OWL PROWL – 0310-0416 (1.1hrs), partly cloudy (30%), waning half
(55%) moon, wind calm, temperature 36F. Begin and end at Phantom Lake
parking lot, walking north to and thru the central hemlock/cedar grove and back.
Results: Great Horned Owl (1) – very distant, NE of Phantom Lake and way
east of the NE field at SE 16th, calling steady for the last 20 minutes of
the ‘prowl’. Tried really hard for the Saw-whet at the PL parking
lot/restroom and throughout the walk as conditions were virtually identical as
during the 27Feb encounter (including timing post rain), except for two very
annoying and continuously noisy/chatty/loud Canada Geese that arrived on
Phantom Lake from the north (Canada?) at 0400 and kept at it until I left. Oh
for god's sake shut the #%$! up!!! Alas, no luck on the Saw-whet. No
Barred Owls either despite the continuing off-an-on all night hooting coming
from my home turf and Eastgate Park neighborhood again and every night for a
solid week now. Maybe the LHG Barred Owl(s) are not in the usual central
hemlock/cedar grove at the moment as I think I surely should have ‘raised’
one if any were.
03Mar -- 0724-0942hrs -- Just when I was ready to finally give up and
write them off for the season and last known sighting that I am aware, Feb 26,
a certain 23 (maybe 24) Common Redpolls, including 10-12 nice rosy chested
males, were back and feeding away in the now familiar cluster of eleven
white-barked birches on the SE side of Larsen Lake this morning 50 feet west
of backside parking lot at the "The Club" (Boys & Girls Club Teen Center),
15228 Lake Hills Blvd. This morning’s display offered spectacular views,
by far best to date for me during this now full month-long episode and the
whole gathering utterly gleamed bright in the morning sun between 0850-0905
thus allowing at leisure meticulous bird by bird study, every single
individual. The redpolls were definitely NOT there on my first pass at the
start of the lap around Larsen Lake ~30 minutes earlier. While in the birches
on my exit pass, the flock was quite content, feeding, and picking away at
the tiny birch catkins for seeds during the first ten minutes of viewing,
then at 0900 started becoming a little more unsettled, twice flying out a
short distance, circled once, but rushed right back. At 0905, the whole
flock suddenly burst from the trees and took off with quite a chatter and
went straight west along the southern edge of the blueberries and kept going,
in the direction of 148th Ave SE to perhaps more birches on the west side
of 148th or who knows where.
One small feeding flock of ~20-50 Pine Siskins were in the alders north of
the produce stand, and a Virginia Rail with great earnest was loudly ‘
kidicking’ away again inches away and trailside there. Apart from the
Redpoll's return, the other big surprise was the Barn Owl again, and even THAT was
fully lit off in a lucky ray of sun!!. Last seen 13Dec, and no encouraging
recent owl sign (whitewash, pellets) in there all winter, I figured it was
gone for good. I only went into the grove this morning as an afterthought
and because it was so bright and sunny, and low and behold, spotted it
almost instantly perched back in the same roost tree and nearly same spot it
favored during Oct-Nov. At Larsen Lake, both a beaver and a raccoon were
seen. All total, a great morning, warming rapidly 34-44, and sun, sun, sun!
2.4hrs, 46 species.
Richard Rowlett
Bellevue (Eastgate), WA

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