[Tweeters] KKK Day Today

Jon Houghton jon.houghton at hartcrowser.com
Thu Jan 22 21:30:57 PST 2015

King Kounty Kleanup, that is. Today I decided to play hooky from work one more time to try and track down (klean up?) some of those "King Kounty (almost like) endemics: the Yellow-billed Loon, Palm Warbler, and Red-naped Sapsucker (go figure what they're doing here!). En route the Vashon ferry, I stopped along Alki to pick up the reliable Surf Bird to be sure my trip was a success. Well, there were none, and no Black Turnstones to be seen along the riprap either side of Luna Park. Undeterred, I headed for the ferry, arriving at Tramp Harbor around 11 am. From the pier, I could see 2 loons well to the south, one of which looked like a promising YBLO candidate, but the distance was too great to be sure. I drove along the shore to where the road turns up the hill (notable for the array of used treadmills inexplicably located along the shore). From there, I had a closer view and better light for comparison (at 60x) and convinced myself that one was indeed the 'resident' Yellow-billed - it was a bit larger and had a more substantial and paler bill held upright from the level, compared to a nearby Common Loon. Back on the ferry, I called Blair Bernson, who was at the Cedar River Mouth searching with Carol Ridell for the Palm Warbler without success. I headed there anyway, arriving after they had left, but encountering Bill ?? who I recognized from the TBMU quest in Port Angeles on Tuesday. Neither of us found any warblers in the trees or scrub along the river mouth, but we did find Steve Giles. Steve and I had about given up and were walking back to our cars in the parking lot at the north end of Nishiwaki Lane, when Steve heard a little 'twit' and caught a glimpse of movement in the top of one of the last (northernmost) pines, inside the oval of the parking area. We both saw a bit of yellow, got excited, and quickly found the Palm Warbler (Steve reported on ebird). From the tree, it flew north and fed around the well-trimmed low laurel shrubs at the north end of the parking lot, hopping in and out of the chain link fence behind. Happy with that , I heading up 405, and called Blair again - he and Carol were in the UW Arboretum at the sap well tree and Carol had seen and photo-ed the Rednaped Sapsucker (see their ebird posts). When I arrived about 3, they were both there, looking into the dense dark branches where the RNSA was quietly lapping up the sap of it's work (easiest bird of the day!). An Anna's Hummer was working some lower holes, and Blair allowed as how a Red-breasted Sapsucker (FOY #4) was sharing the tree, visible up through the branches on the west side of the tree, almost directly opposite the Red-napped!. Anyway - great day of birding alone, and with the help of some very knowledgeable old, and new friends!! When you're looking for a single bird in a funny place, it certainly helps to have the support and guidance of really competent birders. Thank you all!! - Jon

Jon Houghton, Ph.D.
Principal; Senior Marine/Fishery Biologist
Jon.Houghton at HartCrowser.com<mailto:Jon.Houghton at HartCrowser.com>

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