[Tweeters] From the Fill

Connie Sidles constancesidles at gmail.com
Thu May 1 13:34:23 PDT 2014

Hey tweets, we haven’t had a day like this one for years: warm sun early in the day, no wind for hours, and plenty of birds. The north wind yesterday cleared out the air, which is gently perfumed with flowers. (By the way, my son Alex dragged me out of my rut yesterday to go to Discovery Park to look for Horned Grebes in breeding plumage - no grebes, but a honking Brant (never heard that before) and a view of Mt. Rainier, Mt. Baker, and Mt. Adams all at once.)

WESTERN TANAGERS are singing in several locations at the Fill - they seem to like birch trees, so the first male I saw was in the birches near the Art Building (on Clark). There was at least one other in the alder grove near the kiosk. Also in the alder grove, the last few dozen YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLERS of the season (probably), an ORANGE-CROWNED, and a BLACK-THROATED GRAY. I *love* those little guys, so spiffy in nearly monochrome, which, as you may recall, Beau Brummel always said was de rigueur for the well-dressed male.

On Main Pond were five LEAST SANDPIPERS and one SOLITARY SANDPIPER, in company with two male CINNAMON TEALS. The previously reported BLUE-WINGED TEAL pair on Shoveler’s Pond and a pair of lingering GREEN-WINGED TEALS made it an unusual three-teal day. Also on Main Pond, a BELTED KINGFISHER, which I haven’t seen in several months now.

Over at Yesler Swamp, a PILEATED WOODPECKER showed up on the tall snag near the CUH’s shed on the west side of Yesler Cove. On Surber, three BAND-TAILED PIGEONS were eating willow buds and being annoyed by a couple of STELLER’S JAYS. We don’t really have much of the right habitat for our native pigeons, so they usually stay only a short while. Two did try to nest last year - don’t know if they succeeded but I rather think not. An odd pigeon flew overhead - completely white underneath except for black on the tail, which was squarish. It didn’t quite gizz as a Rock Pigeon, but I suppose that’s what it was.

Speaking of nests, the BUSHTITS are doing great this year. I have seen at least five nests, and there are undoubtedly more not out in the open. The male MARSH WRENS have been singing like crazy, when they don’t have their bills filled with cattail fuzz for nest-building.

Here is a poem for you today:

The Marsh Wren, little samurai,
climbs up his cattail,
prepared for battle.
He fights for his land and for his lady,
his only weapon a song.

- Connie, Seattle

constancesidles at gmail.com

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