[Tweeters] WOS field trip to Mason County (29 May 2015)

Wayne Weber contopus at telus.net
Tue Mar 31 08:57:18 PDT 2015

Hey Matt,

I know it's been a very warm spring so far, and plant blooming dates and
bird migration are ahead of schedule. However, I think the date was actually
March 29th, not May 29th! Yuk, yuk...

Wayne C. Weber
Delta, BC
contopus at telus.net

-----Original Message-----
From: tweeters-bounces at mailman1.u.washington.edu
[mailto:tweeters-bounces at mailman1.u.washington.edu] On Behalf Of Matt
Sent: March-29-15 8:17 PM
To: tweeters at u.washington.edu
Subject: [Tweeters] WOS field trip to Mason County (29 May 2015)

Today I led an annual WOS field trip to Mason County - the 7th time I've
offered this trip --
15 of us met up in Belfair and had a pretty excellent day -- weather was
more overcast than expected, a bit chilly in the wind at exposed stops, and
misty all afternoon - but at around 60 degrees all day, really there was
little to complain about on that front.

We began with a try for Mountain Quail on Elfendahl Pass Rd., off
Belfair-Tahuya Rd on the Tahuya Peninsula -- we had perhaps the worst
possible countable 'observation' of Mountain Quail with some muted clucking
responses along a gated road about a half mile north of the intersection --
Better observed birds in the area included singing & seen Audubon's
Yellow-rumped Warblers, Mourning Dove, Orange-crowned Warbler, Purple Finch
and Varied Thrush.

Next stop was Belfair State Park, our first view of the Hood Canal and
source of a bundle of birds -- highlights included 2 Bonaparte's Gulls, the
lingering Marbled Godwit, a distant Eared Grebe & Red-throated Loon, 2
Dunlin & 7 Greater Yellowlegs. Also present were White-winged & Surf
Scoters, Northern Pintail, Red-breasted & Common Mergansers and several
other ducks.

A long walk around the loop at Theler Wetlands was enjoyable -- in two spots
we had looks at Virginia Rail popping out into the open. An American Kestrel
was out by the barn, and a Peregrine Falcon soared well overhead, along with
the first of many Turkey Vultures for the day. We picked up Wilson's Snipe,
Bushtit, Savannah Sparrows, heard but didn't see Common Yellowthroats,
Violet-green, Tree & Northern Rough-winged Swallows, Rufous Hummer & three
woodpeckers, with Downy Woodpecker, Northern Flicker & Red-breasted

Our next stop was Twanoh State Park, where we picked up Barrows Goldeneye,
Common Loon, Pigeon Guillemot, Red-necked, Horned & Western Grebe quickly,
then walked to the north end of the park and were pleasantly surprised to
pull out a Pacific Loon & a pair of Black Scoters.

The birds kept coming as we moved south -- at Hunters Farm, the geese flock
has thinned from weeks past, but the lone Snow Goose and a flock of Greater
White-fronted Geese still were hanging around. As we drove down Purdy Cutoff
Rd., we caught looks at Lesser Scaup, Pied-billed Grebe, and Ring-necked
Duck. American Dipper checking its nest under the bridge at the George Adams
Hatchery was our next stop -- We tried for Mountain Quail along E.Eagle
Point Dr. [a place I'd had success with yesterday], but didn't have any

At our lunch break at Potlatch SP, we finally saw our first American Wigeon
of the trip, and a Western Gull was cooperative with good looks. A brief
stop at the Skokomish Park at Potlach turned up Harlequin Duck.

Along Skokomish Valley Rd., we pulled out a perched Merlin early on,
followed by Brewer's Blackbird, a flying Northern Harrier, Band-tailed
Pigeon & Eurasian Collared Dove. A bit behind schedule, we skipped the trip
up into the higher elevations, and next stopped at the Eells Hill Hatchery
-- after trying quite a while without luck to find the resident Green Heron,
someone pulled it out as we were loading up the car. While watching it, we
also had our only Anna's Hummingbird of the trip, and heard a distant
Pileated Woodpecker.

On Eells Hill Rd., most of the way south and right where the dirt road
transitions to paved road, a pair of Western Bluebirds gave us great looks.

After hearing more Virginia Rails and seeing more swallows on Little Egypt
Rd. loop, we moved in to Shelton -- in the Mountainview Neighborhood we
found our hoped for Western Scrub-Jays pretty quickly, and also found our
first House Finch of the day [along w/ more Eurasian Collared Doves].

Last stop of the day was the Kennedy Creek Natural Area, where we pulled out
several Black-bellied Plovers getting into alternate plumage -- the much
larger Dunlin flock also included several molting into breeding plumage
black bellies. A Brown Creeper came in to give us our final new species of
the day.

Notable misses for the day included: Brant, Hooded Merganser, any
accipiter, Hairy Woodpecker, Fox Sparrow, Golden-crowned Sparrow, Red
Crossbill, American Goldfinch.

For the trip, we managed to tally 98 species for the day. If we count the
two owl species Tim Brennan had in the morning before we started [Northern
Pygmy-Owl and Barred Owl] , we can fudge our way to a Century Day in Mason
County -- not too shabby!

Good spring birding

Matt Bartels
Seattle, WA

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