[Tweeters] Edmonds Roundup

Carol Riddell cariddellwa at gmail.com
Sat Oct 22 13:05:44 PDT 2016

Edmonds Waterfront

September was a decent month along the Edmonds waterfront. There were no code 5 birds seen but two code 4 species showed up: at least seven Cassin’s Auklets were seen during September and including October 1st; a young Sabine’s Gull was seen and photographed on September 25th. The last time we saw an irruption of Cassin’s Auklets was fall 2009. The Sabine’s Gull was the seventh sighting in Edmonds waters that we know of. All were fall sightings of juvenile birds. October 16th, following the big storm that wasn’t, we had two independent sightings of Brown Pelican (code 4), one of three birds and another of a single juvenile.

Many Red-necked Phalaropes (code 3) moved through the offshore waters in September, mostly during the second week. There have been a number of Parasitic Jaeger (code 3) sightings, mostly in the offshore waters. In the last few days, several skeins of migrating Snow Geese (code 3) have been seen heading south, some along the Sound and others over the city. So far the flocks have totaled about 300 birds. A Long-tailed Duck (code 3) was seen on October 16th. Common Terns (code 3) did not appear this year. They seemed to skip Edmonds. In 2015 they showed up in good numbers by mid-September with anywhere from 30 to 40 birds reported.

A few duck species returned to the waterfront in mid-September. There have been numerous reports of anywhere from 1 to 9 Harlequin Ducks (code 3). From 1 to 7 Black Scoters (code 2) have been seen almost daily. It started with fly-bys and then a small flock has settled into its usual location around the north end of the Underwater Park, best seen from Sunset Avenue. Sightings of White-winged Scoters (code 2) have involved from 1 to 20 birds. On October 16th six settled in for a swim in the Underwater Park before continuing south. Fall movement of Surf Scoters (code 1) started with two birds on August 27th. Since then more than 100 birds have been seen on some days. Also on August 27th a small number of American Wigeons returned. Their numbers have been increasing into the 70-80 range. We have had sightings of Northern Pintails (code 3), Greater Scaups (code 2), and Common Mergansers (code 2). Other ducks such as Red-breasted Mergansers, Buffleheads, Common Goldeneyes, and Barrow’s Goldeneyes should be arriving soon.

Heermann’s Gulls (code 1) are still around and resting on the marina breakwater but many have started to migrate south. California Gull (code 1) numbers are diminishing as more Mew Gulls (code 1) are moving in for the winter. Olympic Gulls (Glaucous-winged x Western hybrids) have returned from their coastal breeding areas.

Western, Horned, and Red-necked Grebes have returned. Pacific Loons (code 2) are also back in small numbers. The loons are usually north of the Underwater Park, best seen by scope from Sunset Avenue.

Edmonds Marsh

Fall shorebird migration was not notable at the marsh. No code 4 or 5 species have been seen in September or October. A late July Lesser Yellowlegs is the only code 4 species that was seen. Ducks are returning: American Wigeon (code 1), Northern Shoveler (code 1), Ring-necked Duck (code 3), and Hooded Merganser (code 2). We list Ruddy Duck as a code 3 species for Edmonds but it can be a tough find. One did show up in the marsh recently. A most surprising sighting in the last week was a first ever Surf Scoter, either an adult female or a young bird. It is an abundant winter resident of the waterfront that just shows no interest in the marsh.

In September a Cassin’s Vireo (code 3) was spotted near the marsh. In October we have had one Western Sandpiper (code 1), a Greater Yellowlegs (code 3), a couple of sightings of Northern Harrier (code 3), and a Peregrine Falcon (code 3). Two Mourning Doves (code 3) flew through the marsh yesterday (October 21st).

I forgot to mention in my previous post that a Common Raven (code 3) arrived at the marsh in mid-May and remained in the area for several months. The crows spent a lot of time harassing the raven, which did a lot of vocalizing, sometimes seemingly nonstop. It provided many viewing and photographic opportunities while it was around. It acted like a confused young bird but its bill appeared to be the size of an adult raven’s bill. The last sighting of this bird that I am aware of was September 30th.

Edmonds Parks and Neighborhoods

Both Hermit Thrushes (code 2), Varied Thrushes (code 2) and Ruby-crowned Kinglets (code 1) have returned to wooded parks such as Yost and Pine Ridge. A Western Screech-Owl (code 5) was heard recently at a birder’s house in central Edmonds. This is the second report for the city, the first one a number of years ago in Yost Park. Two California Scrub-Jays (code 4) visited a central Edmonds yard in September and there was a single sighting of one in the Edmonds Bowl.

Several missses so far this year are Common Tern, Western Meadowlark, Red Crossbill, and Yellow-headed Blackbird. A checklist of birds seen in 2016 is in the bird information box at the Olympic Beach Visitor Station at the foot of the Edmonds pier. We are at 178 species for the year.

Carol Riddell

Abundance codes: (1) Common, (2) Uncommon, (3) Harder to find, but usually seen annually, (4) Rare, 5+ records, (5) Fewer than 5 records.

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