[Tweeters] More on Wylie Slough and Environs - Rusty Blackbird and a Possible Modification

Blair Bernson blair at washingtonadvisorygroup.com
Thu Dec 18 16:16:17 PST 2014

I just returned from visit to Wylie Slough area
where the main objective was a picture of the
Swamp Sparrow reported by Ryan Merrill and Brad
Waggoner yesterday. Brad provided excellent
specific directions and I was very excited when I
got to the end of the dike trail and saw what
appeared to be a small sparrow foraging on the
ground just where he described it. As I
approached for a possible shot and good look,
however, it flew off into the reeds and despite
many attempts to call it in, it never reappeared
and I did see at least two Song Sparrows there so
no no photo and perhaps it was not even what I
saw... HOWEVER today (unlike some recent failed
chases) there were wonderful consolation prizes.
I earlier reported a Haralan's Hawk which was
spectacular - very dark seemingly black and white
but I may have to change it to a dark juvenile
Western. I have never seen a Red Tail that dark.
Some other treats were seeing Pacific, Bewick's
and Marsh Wrens and hearing at least two and
seeing one Virginia Rail. I also had a very brief
glimpse of what I expect is the same Northern
Waterthrush that I saw and photographed earlier
this month. The best find, however, was what I
believe is a male winter plumaged Rusty Blackbird
in a very large flock of mixed blackbirds on Wylie
Road. The flock was skittish as usual and moved
constantly between the fields, powerlines and the
farm buildings just to the North and barely west
of the road itself. The individual was striking
in its rusty head and breast/back with a very
bright yellow eye with a dark center.
Interestingly too, although there were a number of
starlings nearby, they remained mostly out of the
flock and greatly favored the powerlines.
Brewer's, Red Winged and Cowbirds were in the
flock. Still want that Swamp Sparrow picture but
this was a fun "miss".

Blair Bernson Edmonds

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