[Tweeters] SE Washington Sat-Mon

Michael Hobbs birdmarymoor at frontier.com
Tue Jan 7 22:12:12 PST 2014

Hi all – I did the big drive over to Clarkston, with the aim of adding LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL to my Washington State list. And, I did indeed find the gull, at the Clarkston Landfill on Saturday morning, Jan 4th. I also found a TRUMPETER SWAN at Chief Timothy State Park. At Swallows Park, one of the wigeons looked good enough to call a EURASIAN WIGEON, though there were 1-2 males that were definite hybrids as well.

I nipped over to the Whitman side, where I briefly observed a GLAUCOUS-WINGED GULL high overhead. Otherwise, however, the Wawawai area was pretty deserted.

That night, when I checked email, I found that the Trumpeter Swan had already been reported (though from the Alpowa mouth). I also saw that a Lesser Black-backed Gull had been seen in Renton, about 20 miles from my house. Well, drats.

Sunday, I tried birding Garfield and Columbia counties, which were rather birdless (no great surprise).

In Garfield, I did find one nice mixed flock of birds on the road to Lower Granite Dam (along the river), which included at least one FOX SPARROW.

In Columbia County, I found the first-winter GLAUCOUS GULL, previously reported by MaryFrances Mathis. It was sitting just above the dam with several other gulls. I also found a male REDHEAD below the grain elevator near Lyons Ferry.

Monday, I hit Walla Walla county in the morning, finding a couple of WHITE-THROATED SPARROWS off Mill Creek Rd, and 1-2 TRUMPETER SWANS at the Peninsula access at McNary NWR mixed in with a dozen plus TUNDRAS. There was a MEW GULL at Ice Harbor dam as well.

I then shot up to Leslie Groves Park in Richland, where I failed to find anything resembling a Garganey or Baikal Teal (closest was a female Green-winged Teal that was fairly brightly marked). At the north end of the island, though, as I scanned the gull flock, I spotted a LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL. I heard later that a LBBG had been seen there on the CBC this winter.

So I’ve been birding in Washington for over 25 years, quite seriously for the last 15 or so, and until this weekend had never had a LBBG. Now I’ve seen 2. I’m still hoping I’ll find the King County one as well. Both birds I saw jumped out immediately due to the brilliant ruby red spot on the yellow bill. The shins of both birds were a touch gray-greenish, but the legs got more and more yellow around the sides and back. The mantle color was distinctly darker than nearby California Gulls, but nowhere near black. The eyes and head streaking resembled those of Ring-billed Gulls. Nice looking birds.

Kind of a slow weekend overall, despite really nice weather. But not a bad list of birds, really. (I had about 75 for the trip).

== Michael Hobbs
== Kirkland, WA
== www.marymoor.org/birding.htm
== BirdMarymoor at frontier.com

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