[Tweeters] Eastside Audubon Samish-Skagit trip 12/6
bellasoc at isomedia.com
Thu Dec 7 15:00:59 PST 2017
Yesterday, Eastside Audubon took a trip to the Samish and Skagit Flats
areas. We started out under chilly (35F) but sunny conditions. Somewhat
surprisingly, we didn't see a lot of birds on the way up (a few AMERICAN
CROWs, a couple of gulls) and no Red-tail Hawks. But, as we came down into
the Skagit Valley there was a large group of swans in a field west of I-5
(but no way to get close to view). It was perfectly clear and chilly. We did
take the Conway exit (with its usual ROCK PIGEONs) and turned right on
Cederdale Rd and walked a ways down Conway Hill Rd. to look over a group of
swans. They were mostly TRUMPETER SWANs but there was at least one TUNDRA
SWAN in with them. It was nice to get a couple of calls from the Trumpeters.
As we walked back out there were BLACK-CAPPED, CHESTNUT-BACKED CHICKADEEs,
RUBY-CROWNED KINGLET, and a BROWN CREEPER in the trees.
Our next exit was to Chuckanut Drive and then to Pulver Rd. - we saw a
RED-TAILED HAWK in the top of a conifer and a bunch of EUROPEAN STARLINGs.
At the intersection of Pulver and Sam Bell Rd. there were some more swans
but they were extremely backlit so we passed them by. We went up Ershig Rd.
and saw EUROPEAN STARLINGs, BREWER'S BLACKBIRDS, RED-WINGED BLACKBIRDs,
distant swans and gulls. Along Worline Rd. we saw distant flying swans. From
Bow Cemetery we could see a BALD EAGLE in a treetop to the southwest. At the
house with feeders on Bow Cemetery Rd. we picked up BLACK-CAPPED CHICKADEEs,
SPOTTED TOWHEE, DARK-EYED JUNCO and GOLDEN-CROWNED SPARROW.
Back on Chuckanut Dr. north of Bow there were several BALD EAGLEs perched.
In the lagoon inlet along Blanchard Rd. there were a couple of BUFFLEHEAD.
Back down Blachard Rd. there were several NORTHERN FLICKERs perched in the
trees. It was quiet at the feeders at Blanchard Rd. and Colony Rd, but we
did see BLACK-CAPPED CHICKADEE, HOUSE SPARROW, GOLDEN-CROWNED SPARROW,
WHITE-CROWNED SPARROW, SPOTTED TOWHEE, SONG SPARROW and FOX SPARROW.
We turned on Smith Rd, coming into Edison, and saw a PEREGRINE FALCON and a
NORTHERN SHRIKE (they were in separate trees about 50 feet apart) - guess
that was why we didn't see the usual teal in the slough. In the slough
behind the Bread Farm Bakery there were a load of GREEN-WINGED TEAL and a
couple of MALLARDs. As we turned onto Bayview-Edison Rd. we had a NORTHERN
HARRIER off to the right and some more MALLARDs to the left. Further along
there were a couple of BALD EAGLEs in their usual tree and a ROUGH-LEGGED
HAWK was perched south of the road. A RED-TAILED HAWK was perched at the
north 90 and a BALD EAGLE off to the east. Around the corner from the East
90 there was a beautiful ROUGH-LEGGED HAWK on a pole.
It was pretty quiet at the West 90, but we did see several NORTHERN HARRIERs
(male, female and probable imm.), a bunch of BALD EAGLEs, a couple of
RED-TAILED HAWKs, an very distant ROUGH-LEGGED HAWK some flyby WESTERN
MEADOWLARK and a KILLDEER was heard. A group of gulls was waaay to distant
to i.d. Going up Samish Island Rd. there was another RED-TAILED HAWK. At the
public access point on Wharf St. we scanned Samish Bay and could see
BUFFLEHEAD, COMMON GOLDENEYE, COMMON LOON, PACIFIC LOON (distant flyby),
HORNED GREBE, RED-NECKED GREBE, BRANT, DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANT, LONG-TAILED
DUCK, SURF SCOTER and RED-BREASTED MERGANSER. We cruised the Samish Flats
and saw some more eagles and Red-tails.
As we came up Bayview-Edison Rd. just west of D'Arcy Rd. we stopped and
scanned Padilla Bay - There was a large group of SNOW GEESE on the water and
a lot of ducks. At the access point at Bayview-Edison State Park we could
see BUFFLEHEAD, COMMON GOLDENEYE, some very distant AMERICAN WIGEON (no
Eurasian) and a few GREATER SCAUP.
We stopped at the feeders on Valentine Rd. and saw BLACK-CAPPED and
CHESTNUT-BACKED CHICKADEEs, RED-BREASTED NUTHATCH, SPOTTED TOWHEE,
GOLDEN-CROWNED SPARROW, SONG SPARROW, DOWNY WOODPECKER, AMERICAN GOLDFINCH,
PINE SISKIN. We drove to the end of Rawlins Rd. and picked up RED-TAILED
HAWK, NORTHERN HARRIER, a MERLIN attacking some DUNLIN, a dowitcher species
and the best bird of the day - a PRAIRIE FALCON!
Scanning from the access off of Jensen there were a ton of ducks and DUNLIN
in Skagit Bay. Back up Fir Island Rd and a flock of about 10,000 SNOW GEESE.
At the Hayton Preserve we had two huge groups of DUNLIN being harassed by
PEREGINE FALCONs - spectacular. Then the Dunlin on Fir Island Rd. all took
off, swirled around and began to make their way toward us in large groups.
What a way to end the day!
At various time during the day we saw GREAT BLUE HERONs, AMERICAN KESTREL,
KILLDEER, MEW GULL, GLAUCOUS-WINGED GULL, EURASIAN COLLARED-DOVE, BUSHTIT,
PACIFIC and MARSH WRENs, AMERICAN ROBIN, VARIED THRUSH, PURPLE FINCH.
We couldn't have asked for a better day (much better than the forecast very
foggy conditions), and saw 65 species!
Brian H. Bell
bell asoc a t iso media dot com
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