Monday, May 11 Whidbey & beyond Bird-A-Thon (long report)
h2ouzel at comcast.net
Thu May 14 14:50:35 PDT 2015
Sharon Aagaard, Stan Wood, Mark Crawford and Hugh Jennings went on the annual Whidbey Wing-Dings Bird- A-Thon on May 11.. It was cloudy most of day, but calm, with some sunny periods and got back to P&R about 7:30 p.m. Our previous high for this event was 120 in 2011, but we blew past this goal and ended up with 123. We had 108 by lunch time. We got on the 0530 ferry from Mukilteo to Clinton, birded our way up Whidbey Island and then come back by way of the Skagit and Stillaguamish valleys.
We started with Glaucous-winged Gulls, American Crow, European Starling, Song Sparrow and House Sparrow at the Mukilteo ferry dock. On the way to and at the Clinton ferry dock we added Pigeon Guillemot, Surf Scoter, Rhinoceros Auklet and Great Blue Heron.
Along Campbell Road we stopped at a few wooded areas which were very productive. We saw and/or heard American Robin, Dark-eyed Junco, Pine Siskin, Steller’s Jay, Mourning Dove, White-crowned Sparrow, Spotted Towhee, Purple Finch, Red Crossbill, Bewick’s Wren, Black-capped & Chestnut-backed Chickadees, Swainson’s Thrush, Rufous Hummingbird, Mourning Dove, Great Horned Owl which we hear a few times and then saw one in some nearby trees, Brown-headed Cowbird, Black-headed Grosbeak, Brown Creeper, White-crowned Sparrow, Common Raven, Violet-green Swallow, Warbling Vireo, Golden-crowned Kinglet, Northern Flicker and Red-breasted Sapsucker.
At the Ewing Road ponds we saw 5 swallow species, at least five American Bittern doing their oonk-ka-lunk call (we saw 2 or 3), Virginia Rail, Northern Harrier, Killdeer, Hooded Merganser, Canada Geese, Mallard, American Coot, Ruddy Duck, Bald Eagle, Blue-winged Teal, Red-winged Blackbird, Cinnamon Teal, Northern Shoveler, Savannah Sparrow and a Sora was heard.
At Sunlight Waters by Deer Lagoon we had 20+ Whimbrel, Rock Pigeon, Ring-billed Gull, Green-winged Teal, Bald Eagle and many Caspian Terns. At the nearby Lincoln St. access to Useless Bay we saw many Black-bellied Plovers, Western Sandpiper, Mew Gull, Bufflehead and Red-breasted Merganser. We were over 80 and on a roll. Our next stop at The Earth Sanctuary was good for Black-throated Gray Warbler, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Golden-crowned Sparrow and Yellow Warbler.
Double Bluff Beach had White-winged Scoters, Pacific & Common Loons, and a House Wren in the brush to the west. At the ponds behind the dike we saw many duck species, but new ones were Lesser Scaup, Northern Pintail and Common Goldeneye. We went on to the Admiral Way road where we saw a group of Long-billed Dowitchers feeding along the shore of the pond. At the bay access we saw Horned Grebe in breeding plumage, Pigeon Guillemot, Bonaparte’s Gull and Red-breasted Merganser, Pelagic Cormorant and Harlequin Duck.
Crockett Lake had large numbers of Western Sandpipers, a few Dunlin and a Purple Martin that was new for the count. At the old dock at the ferry landing parking lot we saw Brandt’s & Pelagic Cormorants.
We ate lunch at Fort Casey State Park about 1230. We didn’t see anything new but the usual House Wren was there. Our total at lunch after 7 hours of birding was an amazing 208. Previous high for lunchtime was 204 in 2014.
On the Penn Cove our only bird was an Olive-sided Flycatcher. At Partridge Pt. we saw Red Crossbill. At the Hastie L. Road beach access we added Pileated Woodpecker and a lone Black Oystercatcher. At Bos Lake area we were rewarded with a flock of Sanderling feeding at the edge of the surf. Then it was on to Dugualla Bay where we found the lone Spotted Sandpiper that is usually there.
We left the island and headed for La Conner, then Dodge Valley Road to the house on Valentine Road that is bird mecca. We saw Mourning Dove, Downy Woodpecker and heard a Common Raven. Our next stop was the Skagit Game Range parking access and found our first Greater Yellowlegs and Least Sandpiper mixed in with some Western Sandpipers. In the woods east of the parking lot, a Bullock’s Oriole was heard and then seen. Also saw a Cedar Waxwing. We continued on to Stanwood and Eide Road where we finally spotted an American Kestrel. Our last stop was the access to the east end of Stanwood Sewage Treatment Ponds where we see a lot of ducks. One of them turned out to be a Canvasback. Our last and 123rd bird species for the day. A very rewarding and enjoyable day of birding.
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