[Tweeters] Discovery Park (Seattle, King Co) this morning - 4/24/2015

Evan Houston evanghouston at yahoo.com
Fri Apr 24 21:03:18 PDT 2015

Hi Tweeters,
Despite a constant stiff and chilly south wind this morning, Discovery Park continued to offer up some nice surprises, and none of the surprises were the same as Jordan Gunn's great outing on Monday.  I think late April is a great time to visit Discovery (eBird shows 109 species reported since April 17, with a total of 135 for the year).  At least for me, birding Discovery takes a lot of effort - I arrived just before 6am this morning, stayed past noon, and walked/jogged close to 10 miles.  And I didn't come close to covering the whole park!
Here are the highlights among about 69 species:
- White-winged Scoter - pair zooming north with the wind
- 1 Dunlin and a few peeps, most likely all Western Sandpiper - flying south back into the wind (?)
- 1 DUSKY FLYCATCHER - this bird surprised me as I couldn't place its frequent "wit" calls at first.  Once I was able to see the bird, it gave very surprisingly cooperative views for an empid.  It was in the relatively small north meadow (the north end has a trail with stairs that lead down to the beach; the bird was moving around the south end where the main trail intersects at right angles with an old paved road).  My second at the park.
- 5 Hammond's Flycatchers - Ironically, I encountered the Dusky first, but then came across a minimum of 5 Hammond's, almost all of which were first detected by their sharp "peek" call, very distinct from the "wit" of the Dusky.
- 2 Cassin's Vireos
- Hutton's Vireos - 2 different groups, at least 1 of which had a recent, begging fledgling.  It was giving an unfamiliar-to-me call that sounded a lot like the "bzzt" call of a Bewick's Wren.  But I knew it couldn't be a Bewick's because it was repeated incessantly and coming from the top of a conifer, so I waited it out and eventually saw a scruffy fledgling following a harried parent.  Similar to some of the calls here:  http://www.xeno-canto.org/65861 - 1 HOUSE WREN - a skulky bird that refused to give good looks, but happily serenaded (taunted?) me with its cheerful song.  It was in a neat little spot I don't usually check out - just west of the north end of the naval officer housing there is a large flagpole - from here I walked north and around the abandoned houses, into an open area with stunted trees that is bounded on the north side by a slope that drops down to Disco Park Blvd.  My second at the park.
- warblers included: a slightly-on-the-early side MacGillivray's Warbler (it beat my previous earliest KingCo sighting of 4-26-2010, but then again, just about everything's early this year!), a Common Yellowthroat (not rare, but also not an every-day-bird at Disco), at least 8 Black-throated Gray + many Orange-crowed + 2 Wilson's + a smattering of butterbutts).
- sparrows included: 1 migrant Lincoln's Sparrow that sang half-heartedly, in denser vegetation than I typically find them in winter.  Only 1 each Fox and Golden-crowned detected.  
Interesting to note some of the differences from Magnuson today.  I didn't detect a single swallow of any kind, much less over 400 Violet-Greens!  Also, I saw about 5 times fewer butterbutts (Yellow-rumped Warbler), but more Orange-crowned and Black-throated Gray.
Good birding,Evan HoustonSeattle, WA 

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