[Tweeters] Skagit Delta/Samish Flats, 28 Jan

Byers byers345 at comcast.net
Sun Jan 29 08:39:22 PST 2017

Hi Tweeters,

Yesterday was a reasonably nice day so Bill and I headed
north to the Skagit Delta area to see what birds fate put in our paths.
Everywhere we went, except for Samish Island, we could hear the boom of
shotguns as hunters tried to bag a few ducks or geese. Also everywhere we
went there were many birders out looking at birds. Many of the birds had
moved into areas where there was no hunting allowed, and the birds seemed
aware of this and didn't mind birders and photographers being around. I
remember Dennis Paulson mentioning in a post a few years back that he had
observed a flock of widgeon that were predominantly Eurasian Wigeon in this
area. I think we found a similar flock yesterday on the road going north to
Samish Island. From a distance they looked superficially like a flock of
Redheads, but a look through the binoculars dispelled that illusion. Then a
shotgun boomed and they all flew off.

There were large flocks of American Wigeon, Pintails, and
Mallards standing around the feet of Trumpeter Swans. I wondered if these
ducks did this too for protection.

At Rosario Head the gates to the park were closed so people
were parking their cars almost out to the main road to walk down and get in.
Seems like the state park department is missing a bet here. They could
surely break even opening the park on weekends. Aside from a number of
geology students from Bellingham, there were non-birders enjoying the fine
weather and many birders too, trying for the Yellow-billed Loon, Eared
Grebe, or Rock Sandpiper. We didn't see any of these, but it was pleasant
just to be in such a beautiful spot.

On the road into Wylie Slough we finally found a sizeable
flock of Snow Geese (there was a huge flock up near Hwy 20, south of the big
bridge, but we couldn't access them). Birders and photographers were lined
up along the road as the Snow Geese went about their feeding. Occasionally
they would fly up. I kept trying to get a shot of one in front of Mt.
Baker, looming in the background. Only limited success there.

Our final stop for the day was Eide Road, where we observed
a small flock of Meadowlarks, all perched in a tree, plus several types of
raptors: Short-eared Owls, Northern Harriers, and Rough-legged Hawks.

We did get a few pictures of birds that are good enough to
share. If you are interested, you can see these at:


After this last week, I found it calming and inspiring to
watch the many birds up in the Skagit area. Charlotte Byers, Seattle

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