[Tweeters] SAS trip to the Samish/Skagit 29 Nov 2013 - long

B&PBell bellasoc at isomedia.com
Fri Nov 29 21:25:03 PST 2013

Hi Tweets

Seattle Audubon took a trip to the Samish and Skagit Flats today. We started out under cloudy, but dry skies with a temperature in the low 40s. The day remained largely cloudy, but was windless. By the time we were north of Marysville we had seen 6 RED-TAILED HAWKs and a few GLAUCOUS-WINGED GULLs. At the Smokey Point Rest Area we added BLACK-CAPPED CHICKADEE.

Up near Mt. Vernon we saw large groups of EUROPEAN STARLINGs and a few BREWER'S BLACKBIRDs. One of the open fields gave us an opportunity to study TRUMPETER SWANs, and mixed in were three TUNDRA SWANs. They were close enough that we could pick out all the details allowing us to assign them to species and giving some of the folks new information.

Along Chuckanut Drive we saw a couple more Red-tailed Hawks, a few swans. We circled around on
Cook Road, Pulver Road and Allan West Road. At the county park off Alan West, we had a lot of GLAUCOUS-WINGED GULLs and a few CALIFORNIA GULLs. Across the street on the wires were more European Starlings and a couple of EURASIAN COLLARED-DOVEs. Moving up to Ershig Road we were able to have very nice looks at a patient, perched COOPER'S HAWK. We ducked over the Bow Ridge and down to Pomona Grange County Park. We heard GOLDEN-CROWNED KINGLET and heard and saw PACIFIC WREN.

Back down in Bow we turned onto Bow Cemetary Road and saw DARK-EYED JUNCO, BLACK-CAPPED CHICKADEE, EURASIAN COLLARED-DOVE and WHITE-CROWNED SPARROW. Continuing out to Bow we picked up more Red-tailed Hawks, a couple of BALD EAGLEs, GREAT BLUE HERON and a single MOURNING DOVE. On Chuckanut Drive we paused near one of the roadside ponds and saw MALLARDs, and down the road more MALLARDS, GREEN-WINGED TEAL, NORTHERN PINTAIL, a NORTHERN SHOVELER, and AMERICAN WIGEON. Overhead there was a large flock of CACKLING GEESE. A couple of BALD EAGLES perched in the cottonwood trees.

In Blanchard, the pond near the State Highway yielded BUFFLEHEAD, COMMON GOLDENEYE, NORTHERN PINTAIL, DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANT and a single AMERICAN COOT. Across the street was a NORTHERN SHRIKE and nearby a single STELLER'S JAY. Down at the house with feeders there were HOUSE FINCHes, HOUSE SPARROWs, GOLDEN-CROWNED SPARROWs, a WHITE-CROWNED SPARROW, a SPOTTED TOWHEE, more Eurasian Collared Doves, an AMERICAN ROBIN, and more DARK-EYED JUNCOs.

Moving west to Edison and beyond we saw several NORTHERN HARRIERs, RED-TAILED HAWKs and our first ROUGH-LEGGED HAWK. This was the first time I have ever gone by the house near the Samish River without seeing Bald Eagles perched in the surrounding trees. In the field northwest of the
East 90 were some TRUMPETER SWANs, two more NORTHERN HARRIERs. Moving west toward the West 90 we saw another very nice ROUGH-LEGGED HAWK.

It was close to lunch time so we buzzed up to the Wharf Road access point and scanned Chuckanut Bay. We saw very, very distant BRANT, SURF SCOTER, LONG-TAILED DUCK (including close, absolutely stunning looks at them), BUFFLEHEAD, COMMON GOLDENEYE, RED-BREASTED MERGANSER, COMMON LOON, HORNED GREBE, RED-NECKED GREBE, BRANDT'S and DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANT. A couple of COMMON RAVEN gronked and flew over.

We dropped back down toward the West 90 and stopped at the base of Samish Island, where we saw about 3000 AMERICAN WIGEON scattered about over the bay. A PEREGRINE FALCON flew over and perched in a tree close by. More Red-tailed Hawks and Northern Harriers. At the West 90 we saw still more NORTHERN HARRIERs, RED-TAILED HAWKs, ROUGH-LEGGED HAWKs, a WESTERN MEADOWLARK, RED-WINGED BLACKBIRD and at least one SHORT-EARED OWL.

At the Nature Conservancy property on Bow-Edison Road there were some NORTHERN SHOVELERs on the pond. A bit further down near Sullivan Road a Dark-morph ROUGH-LEGGED HAWK was perched and allowed us great looks.

It was moving on, so we started south with a brief side trip up Person Road where we saw an AMERICAN KESTREL. Coming back down to Bayview Edison Road there was an ANNA'S HUMMINGBIRD. At Bayview-Edison State Park, out on Padilla Bay, we saw many AMERICAN WIGEON, several COMMON LOONs (including two that exhibited an interesting behavior - they would move rapidly across the water paddling hard underwater and moving their wings in swimming motions. They were separated by at least 50-100 feet and did not appear to be antagonistic. They would go thru this behavior for about 100 yards, sometimes one would dive and the other would then circle in this motion of the spot of the dive. When the other bird came up they would turn around and repeat the process in the other direction. A quick review of BNA Online did not seem to have a discussion of this particular behavior. Can anybody shed light on this?) Also present were BUFFLEHEAD, and many Scaup (too distant to identify to species). Two PACIFIC LOONs were present.

We finished the day on Boe Road with distant looks at a large flock of SNOW GEESE.


It was an excellent day, and we wound up with great looks at 60 species.

Brian H. Bell
Woodinville WA
mail to bell asoc at iso med ia dot com

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