[Tweeters] From the Fill

Connie Sidles constancesidles at gmail.com
Mon May 19 06:29:30 PDT 2014

Hey tweets, Yesterday at the Fill was a day for ducks. Our Cinnamon Teal continue to find the habitat here pleasing, and I think we will soon see ducklings sailing behind their moms. Meanwhile, the males hang out together and think about molting.

A stunning male Blue-winged Teal has been shuttling between Shoveler's Pond and Main Pond for the past few days - a very handsome fellow. This spring we saw at least five separate Blue-winged Teals, which has got to be a modern record for us.

Also on Main Pond, two unusual species: a female NORTHERN PINTAIL, and a pair of RING-NECKED DUCKS. I read in Seattle Audubon's Birdweb site that Ring-necked Ducks like shallow, wooded ponds for breeding. They find such ponds mostly in boreal forest, and also more uncommonly in low-elevation wetlands of Eastern Washington. Main Pond has become quite wooded over the years and has always been shallow. At the north end, the willow snag that stood for years has fallen into the water, creating a maze of dead limbs that look kind of wild and boreal. Maybe these two will decide to stay and give breeding a try.

We had our first WESTERN WOOD-PEWEE two days ago. Kayakers report that Barn Swallows are nesting again under the 520 bridge. The Cliff Swallows have been coming to Main Pond to pick up beakfuls of mud, so I'm hoping they will have a good year for a change. Also on the swallow front, the Tree Swallows' favorite snag on SW Pond fell over, forcing the Trees to find nest holes elsewhere. One productive area has been the line of dead snags just north of Boy Scout Pond, where Downy Woodpeckers have nested for the past three years, convienently leaving behind numerous swallow-sized holes. Yesterday, an industrious Tree Swallow kept swooping down onto the Loop Trail to pick up grass stems left behind by the CUH's mower, the avian version of visiting Bed, Bath & Beyond, I guess.

Here is a poem for you today:

Five times the swallow swooped
to pick up grass from the mower
for her nest.
We cut the field for us
not her,
but nature wastes nothing.

- Connie, Seattle

constancesidles at gmail.com

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