[Tweeters] Whatcom Black Terns, etc

Gary Bletsch garybletsch at yahoo.com
Sun May 24 22:06:18 PDT 2015

Dear Tweeters,
Today, 24 May 2015, I decided to try for some Purple Martins that Phil Wegener had told me about. It took about fifteen minutes for me to find the pair of PURPLE MARTINS at Lake Terrell, which is west of Ferndale in northern Whatcom County. They were at an apartment-style ("Back-East-Style") bird house. It is mounted on a pole in the parking area at the boat launch, just across the road from the ranger's (?) residence. 
Then I took a walk to the north and west part of the lake. I am glad I did: I was soon rewarded with decent views of three BLACK TERNS! I observed them from about 1435 to 1500. They were feeding along the surface of the water at the edge of the vegetated shoreline for the first fifteen minutes, but then they flew up high; they seemed to be catching insects up about two hundred meters in the air, with various swallows. I could see their black bellies, grey upperparts, grey wings, more or less square-cut tail, buoyant flight, and so forth. I took some photos and videos, but am not sure if they turned out. If they did, I will put a photo or two on an eBird checklist soon. 
I phoned a few Whatcom birders. Phil Wegener and Phil Calise came, but I don't think they relocated the terns. However, I heard back from Larry Moss later; he arrived at Lake Terrell after I had left--he eventually saw one of the terns. I think that was some time after six in the evening.
As I was chatting with Phil and Phil in the parking area, I heard a HOUSE WREN singing. I never did see the bird, but heard it singing from the area of the ranger's (?) residence. When I went over to look for it, I was amazed to see a LARK SPARROW foraging with House Sparrows in the parking area near the restroom! Phil and Phil got good looks at it, and took photos that are sure to be better than mine. Phil C. told me that another birder had reported that bird here earlier in the day.
I went to Tennant Lake afterwards, thinking that the terns might have gone over there. They weren't there, but it was a lot nicer birding that site than it normally is when Bob Kuntz and I bird it for the CBC each December!
Yours truly,
Gary Bletsch

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