[Tweeters] central Skagit Co 5/24: 5 Empidonax species
scottratkinson at hotmail.com
Sun May 25 02:27:59 PDT 2014
Yesterday early was the right time to be birding along Martin Rd. immediately south of Rockport, central Skagit County. The birds were not at the 90-degree bend where parking and river access are possible, but close to the small pond half-way there (mostly south side of the road) after you leave 530. The other hot spot was right at the 530 x Martin Rd. confluence. Near the pond, I enjoyed a cooperative and vocal GRAY FLYCATCHER, just the 2nd for the county (or third, depending on your point of view). I had a bird at the north end of Corkindale several Mays back, and Gary Bletsch et al had one two weeks later at the south end, the first time for us in Skagit Co. Yesterday's GRAY was in the company of several other migrants, including HAMMOND'S and PACIFIC-SLOPE FLYCATCHERS, with several W. TANAGERS and warblers mixed in also. The birds were all associated with medium-height deciduous growth (and a few Doug-Firs) west of the pond. Try as I might, I was unable to snap a shot of the GRAY, it simply moved around too much. I did capture photos of some of the more common species here and nearby: https://www.flickr.com/photos/14115261@N05/with/14161181271
Then right at the 530 x Martin Rd confluence just west, there were 7 warbler species, each represented by single birds, the clear highlight being a NASHVILLE WARBLER. There are plenty of good spots for the species not far away, but this was my first at this particular spot. There were several Empids also, and right as I was leaving, a DUSKY FLYCATCHER sung once and called several times, before I got a brief view of it along the forest edge there.
At the Rockport Quarry, another NASHVILLE was singing on traditional territory, and just east at the eagle overlook there were three more birds, for a total of 5 for the day. At Corkindale, a VESPER SPARROW was in the meadow to the south, near the cattle and under the electric byway pylons. 8 LAZULI BUNTINGS were on territory, mostly north of Hwy 20, and a WILLOW FLYCATCHER (FOS and Empid #5) was at the north end giving the characteristic "fitz-bew! Bet-cha-can't!" vocalization, among a few other migrants grouped there. At the Agg ponds (just barely inside SKAGIT CO), birding was slow but a PINE SISKIN was present, as was a NORTHERN ALLIGATOR LIZARD on the aggregates themselves.
No sign as yet of Bank Swallow, RE Vireo, Black Swift, Am. Redstart or any kingbirds, but the next month should hopefully change that. Final note: Friday, 5/23, a flock of 28 WHIMBREL were near the 108th Street NE/67th Avenue W. intersection in the corn-stubble flats northeast of Marysville. Also unexpected that day, I saw 10 GR. CANADA GESE flying far over Tiny's Land in a northbound direction, seemed a little late for migrants.
mail to: scottratkinson at hotmail.com
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