[Tweeters] Amazing Fill

Constance Sidles constancesidles at gmail.com
Thu May 4 15:50:02 PDT 2017

Hey tweets, Nature has a way of surprising us with surpassing gifts, especially when we least expect them. I guess that's one reason I love birding so much.

I was out at the Fill today, experiencing a very slow time. The huge numbers of Yellow-rumped Warblers that have entertained us for weeks are now almost completely gone, all in a day. I was hoping they would be replaced by new spring warblers, but I saw only one female Wilson's. There are, however, numerous Common Yellow-throats out and about, so that was some compensation.

The devastation visited upon us by WSDOT has counterintuitively produced a good shorebird migration - best in years - as the landscapers have leveled almost all the old plants, and the thousands of new ones they have installed instead have yet to grow big. In effect, we have open spaces we haven't had since the 1980s. It's only temporary, of course, but the birds have taken immediate advantage of this new habitat. There were 3 LEAST SANDPIPERS foraging in one of the mud potholes created by the construction heavy tractors pressing down on the underlying garbage and peat. On our monthly bird census April 30, we had a flock of 25 Leasts and 1 Western, along with 25 American Pipits.

I set up my camp stool near Main Pond to commune with the ducks (Ring-necked, American Wigeon, Mallard, Gadwall, Bufflehead, Cinnamon Teal, Northern Shoveler) and watch the mare's tail clouds drift by. It was good to feel the hot sun on my shoulders and track the swallows as they swooped over the pond.

After a while, I saw a small Cesna flying toward me, so I hauled up my binoculars to study it. I like to compare human-made things to nature-made. But what I saw was not a Cesna. It was an AMERICAN WHITE PELICAN flying right at me. Holy cow. The pelican reached the Fill and began to swirl lazily overhead in some kind of invisible thermal. Round and round it went, scarcely flapping against the blue sky. The sun shone through its white feathers, making them glow like purest alabaster, set against the black onyx of their flight feathers.

I looked around for anybody else to share the glory, but all I could find was a Mallard asleep near my feet, indifferent to the beauty above. And why not? The Mallard's emerald head was catching the sunlight and glowing too, in every possible shade of green and gold. Why should he bother with any beauty but his own?

What a planet.

Also on view today: A gorgeous male Yellow-headed Blackbird flying back and forth from Main Pond to Shoveler's Pond; baby Bushtits fresh out of the nest at Leaky Pond; 1 American Pipit in Hunn Meadow West; baby Mallards in SE Pond and Shoveler's Pond; calling Virginia Rails in several cattail areas; and a Northern Rough-winged Swallow foraging over the lake.

A great day. - Connie, Seattle

constancesidles at gmail.com <mailto:constancesidles at gmail.com>
csidles at constancypress.com <mailto:csidles at constancypress.com>

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