[Tweeters] Stellar day at the Fill

Constance Sidles constancesidles at gmail.com
Sat May 13 19:54:39 PDT 2017

Hey tweets, despite the howling winds and the occasional rain, it was a wonderful day at Montlake Fill today. The place was alive with migrants and spring arrivals, including a swarm of swallows flowing up and down University Slough. Eventually three perched on a little branch: a Barn, a Violet-green, and a drab Northern Rough-winged, looking thoroughly outdressed by its perch-neighbors.

Louis Kreemer, Bill, Driskell, and I were on our weekly shorebird survey and found a WILSON'S PHALAROPE on the pond where the Dime Lot used to be. It was a lovely male, just coming into breeding plumage and giving us great looks as it fed its away around and around what I am thinking of calling the Bathtub. Dime Lot Pond seems such a long mouthful, and UBNA's designation - E-5 Pond - so dismal. The Bathtub seems like the perfect name, as a pond that was dug and built by WSDOT's minions and is supposed to be vernal will, I believe, turn into a permanant, non-draining pond very popular among the crows for taking baths.

For now, the Bathtub is proving rather attractive to shorebirds: two Killdeer have attempted a nest on the north side (they're on two eggs), and Spotted Sandpipers are regular. The PHALAROPE was a delightful surprise. If only the Bathtub can remain open, and the plants don't take over the edges, I think this place could attract shorebirds during both spring and fall migrations.

Nearby is riparian-type habitat restored by Professor Kern Ewing's ecology students. A male Western Tanager appeared there briefly today. Through the trees on the southeast side, we caught good glimpses of the Chester and Lacey, the two Ospreys who are in the process of nesting again on their nest pole. Also present: Orange-crowned Warblers, Wilson's Warblers, a little flock of Yellow-rumped Warblers, some Common Yellowthroats, Warbling Vireos, a Pileated Woodpecker, and nearby, a Willow Flycatcher. Also, a White-crowned Sparrow with no tail at all - a bird who has, I hope, learned some kind of lesson. Louis heard two Pine Siskins, but I'm afraid my ears failed to catch their calls - they would be the first Pine Siskins seen here all year.

The two bold Coyotes that have claimed the Fill for their own put on quite a show today. They frolicked in Hoyt Meadow, biting the PVC pipe and sprinkler installed by WSDOT (not hard enough to cut through them, more's the pity). Then they scampered off to find an old rag in Hunn Meadow West, which they used in a lively game of tug-of-war and flag football, chasing each other around and around. Then off they went to catch Killdeers, not successfully. Eventually they ended up in the alder grove southwest of the CUH building, where they began to bark furiously at a husky-style dog. I've never heard Coyotes barking before. They kept this up as the owner walked her dog to the Loop Trail, eventually sauntering down Wahkiakum like any other joggers, until they came upon a dried-up beaver carcass in a field, which they proceeded to chew on contentedly. A great day for them, too. - Connie, Seattle

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

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