[Tweeters] Redpolls no, Saw-whet Owl yes - LHG-Bellevue

Pterodroma at aol.com Pterodroma at aol.com
Mon Mar 25 11:39:45 PDT 2013

No Redpolls this morning in the 0830-0930 time frame during my loop around
Larsen Lake. A number of other birders were lingering about, so maybe
some of them will have had better luck and will report.

notes from the field:

25Mar -- OWL PROWL -- 0320-0420 (1.0hrs), clear, moon 7/8 full, wind calm,
temperature 37F. Begin and end at Phantom Lake parking lot, walking north
to and thru the central hemlock/cedar grove and to the Larsen Lake
hemlock/cedar grove and back. Results: Northern Saw-whet Owl (1), Great Horned
Owl (1). Total silence at the start and standing in the shadow of the PL
kiosk from the restroom floodlight, I commenced from my own lips my whistled
Saw-whet rendition. Within 20 seconds(!) came a Saw-whet response from the
northwestern quarter of the adjacent conifers. No need to push it any
further, just hearing it was enough and I pushed on northward up 156th Ave SE
continuing to hear the Saw-whet tooting away until I was out of range just
beyond the edge of the lawn. The rest of the walk north and most of the way
back was quiet. On the return and just past 0400 nearing the windmill /
produce stand, I started hearing a Great Horned Owl just hooting away on it’s
own somewhere south of the 156th SE / SE 16th intersection (I don't ever
try to imitate that one). Almost immediately after I crossed over to the
east side sidewalk and heading south along 156th, I started hearing the
Saw-whet again which continued insistently and incessantly all the way back to
the car without so much as another peep coming from me while the Great
Horned kept hooting from across the street. It turns out the Saw-whet Owl had
moved from the conifers where first detected and stirred up to the scattered
cedars on the north side of the lawn area north of the three picnic tables
which is why I could hear it from so far away at the corner of 156th SE
and SE 16th. By the time I got back to the kiosk near the restrooms and
parking lot, I actually spotted the Great Horned Owl directly across the
street on the west side of 156th SE, perched atop one of the tall Douglas Firs
piercing the clear moonlit sky and silhouetted against the sky. With both
owls calling simultaneously and the Great Horned already so near by, I
certainly did not dare care to mess with the Saw-whet again and just let it be
to do its thing from hopefully some safe spot hidden away in the cedars.
Despite hearing both the solid month long now incessantly persistent
Barred Owl and a 3-time hissing-screeching flyover Barn Owl before I even left
home early this morning, neither were detected in the greenbelt. The Barn
Owl is certainly present since I see it fairly regularly now in its favored
day roost spot, but have yet to ever hear one flying around during the few
early morning owl prowls I've done to date. I think the Barred Owl which
usually frequents the central hemlock/cedar grove when present isn't even in
there anymore perhaps in some part due to the pair of Cooper’s Hawks
which have commenced nesting in there again, thus maybe no room / tolerance for
25Mar -- (0725-0955hrs) -- Clear, calm, and frosty start (35F) but warming
fast in the bright sun (49F). I started with a brief search of the
suspect cedars north of the three Phantom Lake picnic tables where the Saw-whet
Owl was last heard 3 hours earlier; no luck but possibly a few 'owl-like'
spots of whitewash droppings noted. No Redpolls this morning in the
0830-0930 time frame and loop around Larsen Lake, but there were other birders
around and lingering this morning, so they might still turn up. Ducks
apparently undertook a significant pull out overnight, notably the recent buildup of
Phantom Lake scaup (both GRSC & LRSC) that peaked yesterday at ~80 was
less than half that this morning, and the remaining 18 Ruddy Ducks of the past
few weeks from a season high of ~55 earlier was down to but 2, however, 6
Northern Shovelers (4m,2f) were new arrivals overnight when there had not
been any there for awhile. The Larsen Lake wigeon flock present and always
reliable since 29Jan including the hybrid male EUWI x AMWI were MIA for
the first time save for one lone residual American Wigeon. No swallows, no
Rufous Hummingbirds, but one adult male Yellow-rumped (Myrtle) Warbler was
new for the month and year. The Barn Owl continues in it's exact same
secret little window to the world north of the windmill. 2.5hrs, 53 species
(including the two 'night owls', me not included).

Richard Rowlett
Bellevue (Eastgate), WA
Pterodroma AT aol.com

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