[Tweeters] Skagit birds and (mostly dead) mammals

Gary Bletsch garybletsch at yahoo.com
Sun Sep 7 19:55:54 PDT 2014

Dear Tweeters,

Recently someone posted to Tweeters asking about porcupines in Washington; I can't remember who it was. Today (7 September 2014) there was a dead porcupine in a very strange place--right in the busiest area of Mount Vernon, on the concrete shoulder of Interstate Five. That was the first one I'd seen in the state, dead or alive, in quite a long time.

I also saw a dead mink just east of Sedro-Woolley today. That's not a mammal I have seen as road-kill before.

At the Fir Island Game Range, Qinglin Ma and I watched a very large garter snake--biggest one I have ever seen--eat a poor baby vole that was squeaking most piteously during its last moments. A few minutes later, I saved what was probably the mother vole from a chow-chow dog intent on digging her out of a burrow.

Now to the birds. It was pretty good shorebirding here and there in Skagit today. At Lyman was a nice flock, including a Baird's, a Pectoral, a few Leasts, a few Greater Yellowlegs, a Spotted Sandpiper, and two Solitary Sandpipers.

Down the river from Lyman, there were no shorebirds at Nichols Bar, but there was a nice movement of passerines, including lots of Audubon's Warblers, a few Black-throated Greys and Orange-crowned Warblers, and a Western Tanager. A Hutton's Vireo joined the throng at one point.

At the Game Range were scores of Lesser Yellowlegs, a dozen or two Greater Yellowlegs, a Wilson's Snipe, and several of each dowitcher species. Randy Robinson and his group of birders from Seattle told me that they had seen a probable Stilt Sandpiper, so I stayed there for quite a while, but did not find one.

Channel Drive had 5 Leasts and 27 Westerns, plus a few Lesser Yellowlegs and some dowitchers I didn't ID.

Lincoln's Sparrows were popping up here and there in ones and twos today.

Yours truly,

Gary Bletsch

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