[Tweeters] Stanwood Yesterday
xjoshx at gmail.com
Mon Sep 30 11:43:47 PDT 2013
After reading Blair's waterlogged post about Eide Rd on Saturday I decided
to hope for improved weather and made a trip up to Stanwood on Sunday.
When I arrived at Eide Rd, I was surprised to see my first birds were a
small flock of Snow Geese flying overhead. I was greeted by a WDFW officer
who notified me that there were pheasant hunters in the fields and quickly
briefed me on where the safety areas were. The short of it, for anyone who
might head up there before duck season starts in a few weeks, is that you
shouldn't be close to any hunting if you're between the ponds and the dike.
Pheasant hunters should be well out in the field and unlike waterfowl
hunters they are dressed in bright orange and very conspicuous. It seems
like I rarely hear anything positive about Fish & Wildlife personnel so I
have to say that all my experiences with them have been very positive and
this was no exception.
The first pond was lacking shorebirds, but the second pond more than made
up for it. It was filled with Dowitchers (probably close to 200), with a
handful of other species. Sorting through them I found a single Dunlin,
many Western Sandpipers, a pair of Greater Yellowlegs, and at least 10
Pectoral Sandpipers (all scrutinized very, very closely..). As I moved
between the ponds I eventually encountered the single Red-Necked Phalarope
Blair had reported the day before.
Although the weather was dry, it was incredibly windy and as I was trying
to sort through some of the more distant shorebirds a pair of Peregrine
Falcons took advantage of the weather and flushed the entire pond. They
gave me the best Peregrine show I've ever seen. In the chaos several small
birds were flushed into the air and among the obvious American Pipit calls
I heard the distinct "rattle" call of a Lapland Longspur. The winds
dispersed the birds and I was unfortunately unable to refind the Longspur.
A small flock of Cackling Geese also flew over.
A Merlin took a more finessed approach than the Peregrines and managed to
nearly pluck a bird out of the water before the flock noticed he wasn't
just another shorebird.
A mixed flock of Yellow-Rumped Warblers, Purple Finches, and Savannah,
Golden-Crowned, White-Crowned and Song Sparrows was feeding along the dike
near the parking lot as I left.
Several of the fields on Thomle Rd had been recently plowed and Killdeer
and American Pipits were taking advantage. At the end of the road the
fields were full of Snow Geese, roughly 400. A much less conspicuous group
of 7 Greater White-Fronted Geese was nearly invisible by comparison.
Boe Rd was boiling over with Swallows taking advantage of the wind-break
created by the Cottonwood trees. I only saw Barn and Violet Green.
Throughout the day Turkey Vulture migration was evident with single birds
in several locations in Stanwood and at least nine at the north end of
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