[Tweeters] WOS Samish-Skagit trip 6 Dec 2014
bellasoc at isomedia.com
Mon Dec 8 12:13:33 PST 2014
A belated report on a Washington Ornithological Society trip to the Samish
and Skagit Flats on Saturday, December 2014. We started out while it was
mostly still dark, hoping to have as much daylight up on the Flats as
possible. It was an overcast day, temperature 43F and we ran into a bit of
mist on the way up. By the time we moved down into the Skagit Valley it was
light and we had a high overcast.
Our first stop was at the LaConner turnoff, where we turned right and went
down the frontage road and had very nice close looks at a small group of
swans. They were all TRUMPETER SWANs. Moving north we exited I-5 at the
Chuckanut Drive exit, went up Pulver Rd. where we saw more swans and a
RED-TAILED HAWK. As we turned onto Sam Bell Rd. we had a large group of
swans just next to the road. This gave us a chance for good study, and we
found a TUNDRA SWAN in with the Trumpeters. Further west along Sam Bell
there was another very large group of TRUMPETERs and there were at least 3
TUNDRAs in with them. Across the road was a tree with 4 NORTHERN FLICKERs
(red-shafted). The closer part of the flooded field had MALLARDs, AMERICAN
WIGEON, NORTHERN SHOVELER. Further out near the swans was a huge group of
GREEN-WINGED TEAL and a few Mallards. The close field had GLAUCOUS-WINGED,
MEW, RING-BILLED and CALIFORNIA GULLs.
As we turned onto Ershig Rd. there was a nicely perched COOPER'S HAWK on the
telephone line. Further down Ershig we had 3 or 4 EURASIAN COLLARED-DOVEs,
in and near the fields were BALD EAGLEs. By this time the temperature was up
to 50F, and it stayed there the rest of the day. Along Worline Rd. we saw
several RED-TAILED HAWKs, a large flock of EUROPEAN STARLINGs (the first of
many flocks), and some ROCK PIGEONs. At the house with feeders on Bow
Cemetery Rd. we had DARK-EYED JUNCO, SONG SPARROW, SPOTTED TOWHEE and
another Eurasian Collared-Dove. Along Bow Hill Rd. we had several more
RED-TAILED HAWKs and a couple of BALD EAGLEs. Along Chuckanut Drive a couple
of the flooded fields had MALLARDs, a few NORTHEN PINTAIL, and AMERICAN
WIGEON and the wires had some RED-WINGED BLACKBIRDs. At the inlet east of
Chuckanut and west of Blanchard Rd. we had BUFFLEHEAD and several GREATER
SCAUP. Three GREAT BLUE HERONs were perched in nearby trees. At the house
with feeders at Blanchard and Colony Rds we saw STELLER'S JAY, HOUSE
SPARROW, SONG SPARROW, SPOTTED TOWHEE, DARK-EYED JUNCO, GOLDEN-CROWNED
SPARROW, and still more EURASIAN COLLARED -DOVEs. A RED-TAILED HAWK was on
Colony Rd. Heading a back down Chuckanut we saw another BALD EAGLE, and a
As we entered Edison we turned on onto Smith Rd. and in the fields to the
east we watched two PEREGRINE FALCONs harassing a NORTHERN HARRIER. We
scanned Edison for the Merlin, but it must have decided to be elsewhere. As
we were leaving town we had a single MOURNING DOVE on wires with EURASIAN
COLLARED-DOVEs. Westward along Bayview-Edison Rd we had a ROUGH-LEGGED HAWK
perched across a field. A couple more RED-TAILED HAWKs were perched further
west along the road.
At the West 90 there was a distant perched Dark-morph ROUGH-LEGGED HAWK, and
three or four NORTHERN HARRIERs. A MARSH WREN was in the grasses close to us
(a couple of folks got very brief looks). There were distant BALD EAGLEs. A
group of WESTERN MEADOWLARKs flew thru the view from the spotting scope at
one point. Because there were a good number of hunters out in the fields we
did not see any Short-eared Owls (a definite disappointment). As we
progressed up Samish Island Rd. it began to rain lightly, but we saw more
GREAT BLUE HERONs as well as a BLACK-BELLIED PLOVER in the field east of the
road. A suspicious appearing bird flew west across the road - we scoped and
it was a NORTHERN SHRIKE. Samish Bay was entirely devoid of birds
surprisingly. Out on Samish Island down at the end of the road past Blau
Oyster we scanned the bay. There were SURF and WHITE-WINGED SCOTER,
RED-BREASTED MERGANSER, COMMON LOON, DOUBLE-CRESTED and PELAGIC CORMORANTs.
Along the way to Wharf Rd we picked up a RUBY-CROWNED KINGLET. When we
arrived at Wharf Rd. it had started to rain solidly, but we scanned Samish
Bay and managed to turn up BUFFLEHEAD, LONG-TAILED DUCK, COMMON GOLDENEYE,
SURF SCOTER, HORNED GREBE, RED-NECKED GREBE, RED-THROATED LOON and PACIFIC
LOON. Retracing our steps, we turned south on Bayview-Edison Rd. and found
RED-TAILED HAWK, and a couple of flocks of DUNLIN.
Because of the rain we made a lunch stop at the Breazeale-Padilla Bay
Interpretive Center. By the time we finished lunch it had stopped raining.
As we walked back to the cars, Bob Schmidt said we had to come over and look
at the birds in the top of the trees across from the Center. We were amazed
to be looking at 11 PINE GROSBEAKs (males and females) - the first time most
of us had seen these birds on the west side of the state and at sea level.
Definitely, the Bird of the Day.
At Bayview State Park we saw a PACIFIC WREN, PINE SISKINs.
At the Valentine Rd. feeders it was a slow day, but we managed to see
BLACK-CAPPED and CHESTNUT-BACKED CHICKADEEs, DARK-EYED JUNCOs, ANA
HUMMINGBIRD, RED CROSSBILLS overhead, PURPLE FINCH (down the road), heard a
FOX SPARROW chipping away and also heard a DOWNY WOODPECKER and a
At the Hayton Preserve there was a large flock of SNOW GEESE (a couple of
BLUE MORPHs). A single CANADA GOOSE.
At various spots during the trip we saw CANADA GOOSE, a single CACKLING
GOOSE, AMERICAN KESTREL, BELTED KINGFISHER, AMERICAN CROW, COMMON RAVEN,
AMERICAN ROBIN, BREWER'S BLACKBIRD, and HOUSE FINCH.
It was a nice day with a good bunch of people, and we wound up seeing 71
species for the day.
Brian H. Bell
mail to bell asoc at is o media dot com
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