[Tweeters] Sikes Lk Afternoon - 12/14/14

Barbara Deihl barbdeihl at comcast.net
Mon Dec 15 00:55:28 PST 2014

After taking a circuitous route to get to Carnation Farm Rd., friend Anne and I immediately pulled over to watch a coyote hunt and take a slow amble in a field in the distance - used scope and binoculars to follow it and I managed a fun series of photos, despite shooting into the sun at quite the distance - it was a healthy-looking doggy. We watched it for some minutes, but after trying to pounce on something, without success, the coyote finally became less perky, sort of had a 'hang-dog" look and gave up for awhile - we gave up on the coyote as well, with the prospect of seeing the Golden Eagle that Mike Hamilton and Hank Heiberg had seen and nicely photographed last week, pushing us on down (or was it up?) the road.

Views of ducks, coots, geese, cormorants and herons were next - we identified the following: Mallard, American Wigeon, Northern Pintail, Pied-billed Grebe, American Coot, Double-crested Cormorant, Canada Goose (may have been Cackling Goose there, too, by the sounds some of the hundreds were making), Greater White-fronted Goose (a solitary one in the grass next to the lake). A gal and her daughter came along and told us they were looking for more swans - they pointed out the 2 they had found along the bank of the lake (1 adult, 1 juvenile). Not too long after that a formation of 8 trumpeted and flew over and we saw them the rest of the time we were there. The young girl (maybe in middle-school?) was very into birding, which her mother and Anne and I all found to be wonderful :-)

A couple of Belted Kingfisher were heard and Anne followed one flying until it disappeared. Lots of blackbirds in the fields and crows mobbing hawks over near the farms across the Snoqualmie Valley Rd.

The first raptor we saw was on a utility pole right near where we parked - a juvenile Cooper's Hawk - we watched it fly off and be joined by another one - the two kibbutzed (?) around a bit and then split up again. The other one was likely the adult Cooper's we saw later, also using the same utility-pole lookout perch - that one we watched go after something on the ground, but we couldn't see if it caught anything or not. We all spent some time trying to ID both accipiters, but once I got home and looked in more books, I am sure that instead of 1 Sharp-shinned Hawk and one Cooper's, both birds were Cooper's, likely 2 males. But I could be wrong...

Next we saw a Red-tailed Hawk on a short stump - it stayed in that area for awhile and then moved closer to us and scouted for prey from a bush near the water's edge.

A Northern Harrier made an appearance a couple of times as we stood on the bridge.

The Golden Eagle remained unsighted for us and some other friends who tried for it earlier in the day, but the gray morph Gyrfalcon more than made up for it - oh, OK, I'm just pulling your leg on the Gyr, but I sure wonder if one will show up in the Monroe area like it did last year and the 2 years before that...

When we spotted something with a large wingspread glide over the field to the south of us, scaring up the ducks, a closer look revealed it to be a remote-controlled glider, in Seahawk colors :-) Another "Big Bird" was prepared for flight a bit later, but we were busy with the Cooper's Hawkwatch about the time it might have been flying - nice that these 2 aerial flyers were so silent...

The afternoon started out almost 'hot' and ended up back to frigid cold by the time we packed up to leave. Just before we left, we saw a redtail fly into a tree along Snoqualmie Valley Rd and saw another silhouetted in a big tree farther up the road as we headed off to Woodinville for a warm-up coffee before getting back on 522 heading west.

A very nice afternoon in the Snoqualmie Valley. Will have to return again to try to connect with the Golden Eagle.

a link to my photos in a Flickr album "Sikes Lk Afternoon" : https://flic.kr/s/aHsk3kEMpE

Barb Deihl
North Matthews Beach - NE Seattle
barbdeihl at comcast.net

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