[Tweeters] central Skagit BALTIMORE ORIOLE, VEERY (long)

Scott scottratkinson at hotmail.com
Sun Jun 5 08:49:53 PDT 2016


Minus Anne Winskie I was back working the central Skagit County corridor again yesterday. The birding was very good and I had about the same species count as May 30 (66 species), sparkling clear weather.

A female BALTIMORE ORIOLE was heard for about 15 minutes before I finally spotted it along the Skagit River near Rockport. The site is the Eagle Festival overlook along Rt 20--if heading eastward from Rockport toward Marblemount, the site is just east of the Rockport Quarry--the road veers southeast and there is a pulloff on the south side of the highway. From here through the trees you can look down (southward) on a marshy stretch that is heavily riparian and laden with cottonwoods. The bird was heard giving a dry chatter that to my ear sounded a bit higher-pitched and nasal than Bullock's, and then a number of times gave the quick two-note (sounds like single upslurred) vocalization.

The bird was seen in flight only, side profile: uneven orange below throughout underparts to undertail coverts, brightest on the breast, the initial impression about same coloration as female Am. Robin; contrastingly dark (but also uneven) head/face and back.

Warning to anyone chasing the bird: there was at least one and perhaps two BULLOCK'S ORIOLES here also.

The other hot bird was a veery, veery good-looking VEERY seen at the NP 213 Road northeast of Marblemount. This silent bird was mostly higher up in the trees than expected and despite my repeated attempts at photography, eluded me. I followed the bird for about 5 minutes before it disappeared. This was a very bright rufous bird above when first flushed about 15' above ground,(first encounter brought thoughts of eastern form) lacking an obvious eye ring (closer scrutiny revealed a very thin 'half ring' on the back side of the eye); the bird had a very clean gray wash along the flanks (no spots) and spotting was limited to the upper breast/throat. Underparts were otherwise very clean and white, including undertail coverts. Another feature that caught my eye was the bill--distinctly two-toned and a bit heavier than I recall with SWAINSON'S, but surely this is a variable feature shared by both species.

Other birds in the area are listed on EBird, but perhaps noteworthy also was an increase in the EASTERN KINGBIRD count at Barnaby Slough to 4 birds. Another was at Corkindale.

County Line was slow (no redstarts), but I ran into good 'ol Gair up in there. A final note: are other observers getting the impression that RED-BREASTED SAPSUCKERS are more frequent than, say, 10 years ago? Birds seem to be at every stop, and they've become regular near our place southward in Lake Stevens, yet we don't have any of what I would consider typical nesting habitat.

Scott Atkinson

Lake Stevens

mail to: scottratkinson at hotmail.com

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