[Tweeters] Whidbey Island

Marv Breece marvbreece at q.com
Sun Apr 27 00:19:15 PDT 2014

Today I birded Whidbey Island for the second Saturday in a row. The temperature was cool and wind strong throughout the day.

Shortly after leaving the ferry at Clinton, I drove along Deer Lake Road. I heard singing BLACK-THROATED GRAY WARBLERS and saw a very dark HAIRY WOODPECKER. The next bird was a stunning male MYRTLE YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLER in alternate plumage.

At Dave Mackey Park were large numbers of BRANT and buoyant as ever BONAPARTE'S GULLS.

At Deer Lagoon were 25 DUNLIN and over twice as many alternate plumaged WESTERN SANDPIPERS, the flipped ratio reflecting the change of season. The great equalizer in the form of a young PEREGRINE FALCON appeared from nowhere and put on a show. After the action, it remained perched on the mud, now alone, having chased away the Dunlin, Western Sandpipers, and a couple of GREATER YELLOWLEGS. And the talons were empty. This time.

Crockett lake had a small flock of peeps and an assortment of ducks, mostly scaup and RUDDY DUCKS.

I stopped at Fort Casey to see if the HOUSE WRENS had returned. Today I saw 2 of them. Couldn't find one last week.

At the intersection of Fort Casey and Burchell Road, a group of gulls was foraging in a freshly plowed field. I pulled off the road to see if I could dig out anything else. A flock of AMERICAN PIPITS got up, swirled around and returned to the soil, as invisible as when I arrived. There was no time to ponder them as I immediately heard the unmistakable cry of a WHIMBREL. I looked up as a flock of 15 flew overhead.

I wondered if there might be a bluebird at The Pacific Rim Institute. I walked the trail through the prairie, spotting a non-robin thrush atop a distant nest box. But rather than a bluebird, it turned out to be a TOWNSEND'S SOLITAIRE. No complaints.

My last stop of the day was Sunnyside Cemetery. I was curious to see if the 2 Chipping Sparrows I had seen last Saturday were still there. Didn't see them. But there was a male SLATE-COLORED JUNCO. Most likely the same bird I saw last week.

Returning to the ferry, I drove past a mostly white deer in Coupeville. Not an albino, but still very interesting.

Marv Breece
Seattle, WA
marvbreece at q.com

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