[Tweeters] Created Caracara - No(t yet)
josh.n.glant at gmail.com
Mon Jun 22 23:27:44 PDT 2015
I finally managed to get up to Skykomish today. We got to Mill Town at around 12:30 PM. Up and down the Old Cascade Highway we went, slowly scanning for a special avian visitor. A few Steller's Jay alarm calls made for brief but unrequited excitement. Then I strolled around Mill Town a bit without any success. The trail to the railroad was similarly fruitless, as was the ballpark on the eastern edge of Skykomish. I wasn't the only one without luck either; from as early as 7:00 AM, birders had been waiting unsuccessfully.
I was amazed that everyone, even the UPS deliveryman, asked "have you seen it yet today?" A couple locals shared some of their sightings, too. (I did not get any names.)
"The last few nights at about 5 or 6, he's soared right over my house on the edge of [Mill?] town. I think he's going to the ballpark every night on the east side of town. I've seen him in Mill Town and at the air strip next to Skykomish, too. He likes hunting snakes right over there, where the railroad comes up next to Mill Town."
Local #2 (railroad worker?):
"Oh yeah, I saw him in those cottonwoods down that way [south of Mill Town along the railroad track] just the other day!"
I don't remember if the UPS driver said he saw the bird, but he at least knew about it. Apparently, the caracara has become well-known and beloved among the locals! Judging by the photos I've seen, he certainly has the attitude of a celebrity, posing for some of the finest photos I have ever seen of a bird of prey, let alone a vagrant!
The trip wasn't a waste, though. I met some fine birders, including Andy Stepniewksi and two ladies who were driving in a car with an awesome vanity plate, Waxwing (if you're reading this, it's really cool! Sorry I didn't get your name) among others.
I saw many Rufous Hummingbirds and Turkey Vultures, as well as my favorite bird the Common Raven, and Red-breasted Sapsuckers, Band-tailed Pigeons, Red Crossbills; in the heard-only category, there were Western Wood-pewees, Warbling Vireos, Pileated Woodpeckers, Black-headed Grosbeaks, and MacGillivray's Warbler! I even finally got my lifer Black Swift to the north of Mill Town at 3:30 PM, probably soaring over the river. Great birding for sure around Skykomish!
Right as I left at 3:40 PM, a few Turkey Vultures began to wheel leisurely above Mill Town. A Steller's Jay might have been mimicking either the Caracara or a crow's rattle, I couldn't tell which.
I hope I get the chance to see him! Seeing that avian rockstar would rock my world.
Good birding, and long live Crested Caracaras, Joshua Glant
Mercer Island, WA
Josh.n.glant at gmail.com
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