[Tweeters] A great outing at Discovery Park this morning (King Co.,; 10/2/2015)

Evan Houston evanghouston at gmail.com
Sat Oct 3 00:03:52 PDT 2015

Hi Tweeters,

I had some trepidation about my planned outing at Discovery Park this
morning when I arrived early to fog and mist. But, those quickly
dissipated, and it turned out to be a great morning. I spent much of the
time birding with Jordan Gunn, and there were a number of highlights, but
the headliners were the 3 species in CAPS below, all of which were not only
firsts for the park for me, but also particularly charismatic birds.
Highlights in taxonomic order:

- Goose flyovers - I hit a bit of a goose jackpot this morning with 1
flyover flock each of Greater White-fronted, Cackling, and Snow Geese.
None of these are easy to detect at Discovery, and most surprising to me
today were the 2 Snows, which were flying high to the north above West

- Pied-billed Grebe - a single bird off North Beach, only the 3rd time I've
come across one on Discovery's salt water.

- GREAT EGRET - Jordan and I were looking at a hawk above the south meadow
when a large bird flying nearby caught my eye. I may have uttered an
obscenity as we keyed in on the bird and realized what it was. They're not
the hardest bird to find around the Puget Sound, but this is the first
record I'm aware of at Discovery (which, by my count, is up to 275 total
species - email me if you'd like a list).

- Cooper's Hawk - a bird flushed up from the ground carrying a still-alive
prey item that we think was either a small rabbit or a squirrel. The
Cooper's wouldn't let anything get close to its prize, but we could easily
tell that this prey item had not yet been fully dispatched by the loud,
frantic squeals.

- BLACK TURNSTONE - a very cooperative bird that rested and bathed at the
rocks at West Point. It must have silently flown in while I was scoping,
because it wasn't there when I got to West Point around first light, but
then I did a double-take when I looked down after a scan of the water with
my scope!

- Parasitic Jaeger - adult flying north.

- Barred Owl - on a day roost.

- Merlin - South Meadow.

- ROCK WREN x 2 - I was already at West Point when Jordan texted me that
he'd found this bird, which then put on a show for both of us, bobbing up
and down, foraging, and calling as it worked its way from the driftwood
along South Beach to the rocks at West Point. We later told Kathy and Arn
Slettebak to check at West Point, and they found 2 Rock Wrens there! 2
birds were still there when I went by at 1:15, frequently interacting,
though I gather that only 1 was found later in the afternoon.

- Red-winged Blackbird - a single bird flying over South Meadow, calling -
the first one I've seen at the park in a couple of months.

- Ryan Merrill found 2 Lapland Longspurs later in the afternoon.

A few pictures of the special triumvirate are at my eBird checklist (keep
in mind that Discovery almost always make you work hard for the birds -
today I walked over 12 miles):

Good birding,
Evan Houston
Seattle, WA
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