[Tweeters] Sunday at Chinook Bend
josh.n.glant at gmail.com
Wed May 6 14:39:24 PDT 2015
I've had a hectic week (although, isn't every week in high school hectic?), so I haven't gotten around to sending a Tweet until now.
I had a nice visit to Chinook Bend on Sunday. I had intended to check Sikes Lake first, but our sunny weather caused the unfortunate consequence of a dry, mudless field.
I met Bill Fletcher, photographer extraordinaire, at Sikes Lake, and spent the entire morning with him at Chinook Bend.
Anyways, the park was VERY birdy. Right on getting out of the car, there was a singing Black-throated Gray Warbler, a singing Orange-crowned Warbler, and a Western Tanager. Down the trail I saw White-crowned and Golden-crowned Sparrows, as well as many goldfinches. There was a screeching Red-tailed a Hawk to our right, a circling eagle that I couldn't identify before it sailed out of sight (are we out of season for the Golden Eagles?) and an Osprey that pretended to be a Kestrel by hovering in the distance, until it came closer for a correct ID. On the river, I saw FOY Spotted sandpipers, and Tree, Barn and Rough-winged (lifer!) Swallows swooped overhead. (No Banks; better luck next time!) Lots of goldfinches, and a Warbling Vireo near an active starling nest. Red-breasted Sapsuckers tapped in the distance.
As we went on, there were singing Pacific-slope Flycatchers, Yellow and Wilson's Warblers, Common Yellowthroats, and a low Yellow-rumped Warbler nest in the riparian cottonwoods. Two Sharp-shinned Hawks harassed a Turkey Vulture high above.
However, the highlight by far of the day was just to come. Around a bend in the trail, a small cloud of pinkish-brown shorebirds erupted into flight. I got my binocs on them too late to make an ID. Fortunately, Bill was quick with his camera. After I looked at the screen, there was no doubt; we had just seen a flock of 80+ (!) Whimbrels at Chinook Bend. Someone reported the same flock at Stillwater later that morning.
His photo has been posted on my Flickr, so I could share with you all (all credits to him, of course):
A little blurry, but a good photo nonetheless. What a surprise sighting!
Later on, we saw many Rough-winged Swallows swooping around a bank in the river. A kingfisher flew by. A spotted a non-Spotted Sandpiper flying down at the river, and we were able to enjoy two Western Sandpipers, more Spotted Sandpipers, and a Killdeer. The Western Sandpipers were the target birds for my outing, so I was happy! Almost a nemesis bird, now a friend.
On the way back, we heard my FOY singing Black-headed Grosbeak. My final birds of the day were a singing Common Yellowthroat, the BT Gray and OC Warblers, and the still-singing Western Tanager. I love the bouncy sounds of their calls and songs!
Anyways, that was my Sunday trip report. A great day at Chinook Bend!
Good birding, Joshua Glant
Mercer Island, WA
Josh.n.glant at gmail.com
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