[Tweeters] From the Fill

Connie Sidles constancesidles at gmail.com
Tue Aug 12 10:08:33 PDT 2014

Hey tweets, Yesterday my son Alex and I decided to repeat our warbler fallout experience at Marblemount, which happened a year ago exactly. And as long as we were going to drive so far, we decided to make it a Century Day, trying to see 100 species in one day.

We started at the Fill (naturally), which generously gave us 36 species in an hour and a half, including a magnificent GREEN HERON at Conibear (we couldn't bear to just check this off our list, so we lingered to watch it fish for awhile), my FOY BONAPARTE'S GULL, a MERLIN roaring through chased by swallows, and an ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER.

Off to a great start, we zoomed up to Marblemount without too many stops along the way, figuring if we were to get warblers, we needed to arrive when it was still in the a.m. Once in farm country, though, we couldn't resist driving some of the backroads, where we saw WESTERN TANAGER, a WESTERN WOOD-PEWEE feeding its young, a RED-BREASTED SAPSUCKER also feeding its young, numerous EURASIAN COLLARED-DOVES with a few MOURNING DOVES mixed in, and BANK SWALLOWS at Corkindale Creek.

We managed to arrive at Marblemount at 10:30 a.m., the perfect time in the perfect place on the perfect day. Unfortunately for us, the birds did not agree. The place was almost deserted. Finally, after much effort, we managed to eke out a WILLOW FLYCATCHER and a small flock of RED CROSSBILLS.

With sighs for our bust, we headed over to Anacortes to check out the alcids and cormorants. At the ferry dock, we got all three cormorants, including PELAGICS feeding young (I've never seen baby cormorants up close before). At Washington Park we scanned for alcids. Alex, it turns out, has quite the eye for them, due to his many solo kayak trips throughout the Salish Sea and Alaska. We got RHINOCEROS AUKLETS, PIGEON GUILLEMOTS, and MARBLED MURRELETS. No gulls, so on to Everett, where a tiny sports car managed to throw up a boulder-sized rock that hit our windshield like a howitzer, leaving a huge ding behind. We were silent for a time, then, "Fine," I said, in the kind of tone women have been using for ages to indicate the opposite. Now that Alex is grown and about to wed, he understands this tone perfectly and started to laugh. Then he quoted his favorite bumper sticker: "It's an Everett kind of day." To its credit, though, Everett produced a flock of COMMON MERGANSERS, numerous OSPREYS, our only shorebird of the day (KILLDEER), and a HERRING GULL.

We got back to the Fill just at dusk and tried in vain to add anything new to our list, but our total remained at 66. Perhaps not successful if you count only the species, but wildly successful if you count the fun we had spending the day together enjoying the glorious birds of our state.

If you're stuck indoors today on account of the rain and threat of thunderstorms, as I am, it's good to remember the best sightings of such a day, and the laughs shared with people you care about. Here is a poem for you on this rainy morning:

I smelled the rain today,
coming to us after a long drought,
the slow, weeping,
happy rain,
bringing new life to the golden grass.

- Connie, Seattle

constancesidles at gmail.com

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