[Tweeters] SnoCo Morning
xjoshx at gmail.com
Tue Mar 18 14:33:33 PDT 2014
I was happy to see that Carol was able to refind the MOBL's this morning. I
watched them move around the field for about 5 minutes after hitting send
on that report and then they disappeared and I could not refind them in the
nearby fields, so I'm relieved that my report was useful to someone.
It was actually quite an eventful morning. I'm stuck with a couple big
projects at work for the next couple of weeks and I'd been itching to get
out into the foothills and today looked like my only good weather window
for a while.
I focused mainly on clearcuts northeast of Sultan. I did a bit of owling
before dawn under nearly perfect conditions. I struck out at a few stops
before finally locating a NORTHERN SAW-WHET OWL that came in tooting along
Sultan Basin Road. After the sun came up a little bit I was able to bring
in a NORTHERN PYGMY OWL which gave me life looks as it tooted away. Several
other Pygmy Owls were heard throughout the morning. One big surprise was a
winnowing Wilson's Snipe that made its presence known while I was listening
to the Saw-Whet. Not what I was expecting to hear standing in a mountain
I had two apparent RED CROSSBILL'S briefly land at the top of a fir tree
calling loudly. They didn't sound like our normal type, so I made a
recording with my phone and my ears must have been lying to me because they
appear to be standard Type 4's. The area was very birdy, but the only
remotely uncommon species were GRAY JAYS that seemed to be heard
everywhere, but only seen a couple of times. I also had three flyover
GREAT-BLUE HERONS. Normally these wouldn't be even remotely notable, but I
was a bit surprised to see multiple birds in an area with limited wetland
I next took a short hike to a large clearcut north of Kellog Lake.
Highlights here were my first NORTHERN SHRIKE of the year, a pair of
singing HUTTON'S VIREO, and a pair of WESTERN BLUEBIRDS.
I birded some of the farm fields on my way into Sultan in hopes of locating
MOUNTAIN BLUEBIRDS. Ryan Merrill seems to locate these in good numbers in
the Skagit Valley 50 miles to the north, so I've always assumed many of
these birds must have passed through Snohomish County. That said, I was
still stunned when I pulled into the AM/PM parking lot and immediately
located a female sitting on fence post. As I was trying to confirm she was
a Mountain rather than a Western three males flew in and kicked her off her
perch and made the ID easy.
On the way home I made one more stop at Crescent Lake/Monroe Prison Farm
Ponds. The whole area was swarming with VIOLET GREEN SWALLOWS and TREE
SWALLOWS. The prison farm pond had a pair of CINNAMON TEAL. The FOY I'm
aware of in the county. I also heard my first SAVANNAH SPARROW song of the
The Swan numbers in the fields across the street from Crescent Lake have
swollen since I last passed by last week. There were many TUNDRA SWANS,
which I haven't seen here since late November, mixed in with the usual
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