[Tweeters] From the Fill and beyond

Connie Sidles constancesidles at gmail.com
Wed Nov 12 10:26:01 PST 2014

Hey tweets, Winter arrived yesterday along with the North Wind, blowing in 7 Common Goldeneyes and 6 Trumpeter Swans. A flock of Pine Siskins argued over a seed fall on SW Pond until the arrival of a Cooper's Hawk broke up the fight and scattered the contestants in a wild swirl of stripes and twitters. My son Alex and I spend four hours enjoying the spectacle of the Fill in Winter, when frost dusts the grass stems with crystalline white that melts to diamond, ruby, and emerald as the day warms. We found 47 species altogether, which encouraged us to head to the Everett Sewage Ponds to see if we could break 70.

The wind picked up stronger and stronger as we drove north, rocking the car and nearly blowing off my hat whenever we stopped. Not a bird was braving the saltwater on the way to Spencer Island, but at the sewage ponds, hundreds of Ruddy Ducks seemed oblivious to the cold. Bonaparte's Gulls were dashing back and forth across the gravel road, and among them was one spectacular FRANKLIN'S GULL, a sight I haven't seen in probably 15 years. On the north end of the ponds, rafts of raptors were coming through, including two (!) ROUGH-LEGGED HAWKS, another species I never see (none ever recorded at the Fill). We watched them hover and soar over the fields until we could no longer feel our fingers wrapped convulsively around our binoculars. But who minds the cold when such sights fill the heart with joy? Over at the mudflats near Jetty Island, hordes of Dunlin and Black-bellied Plovers probed the mud along with a lone Greater Yellowlegs. Alex and I finished our big day at Green Lake, where we counted more than 20 Common Mergansers.

Here is a poem for you today:

The North Wind scrubbed the sky
to sapphire blue today
and puffed six Trumpeters down from the tundra.
Our swans have come home.

- Connie, Seattle

constancesidles at gmail.com <mailto:constancesidles at gmail.com>
www.constancypress.com <http://www.constancypress.com/>

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