[Tweeters] Fill phalaropes and plover
constancesidles at gmail.com
Tue May 30 14:45:04 PDT 2017
Hey tweets, thanks to the eagle eyes and kind heart of Jeff Bryant, who located a pair of Wilson's Phalaropes and a very special plover, I scurried down to the Fill today to find his phalaropes and a SEMIPALMATED PLOVER on Main Pond. What glorious creatures to drop out of the sky and spend a little time awing us with their beauty. This is only the fifth time a Semipalmated Plover has been seen at the Fill, and only the second time I've ever seen them there. I saw 3 on August 7, 2000, so it's been a mere 17 years' wait. And well worth it, I might add. This little guy was in bright breeding plumage, with his orange bill matching his legs, spanking-white breast contrasting with ebony black breast band, and the quizzical look these birds always seem to me to have, probably because of their slanting white eyebrows. The Killdeers in the area took a distinct dislike to him and chased him whenever he foraged too closely or (I suppose) in too irritating a fashion - I never know what sets Killdeers off, but they do seem to have short fuses before they start yelling.
Meanwhile the pair of Wilson's Phalaropes foraged in a calm but hasty way, as though they had missed many a meal and were trying to make up for it. The female was in particularly fine plumage; her consort a pale shadow of her luminous feathers.
Also present today: a Black-headed Grosbeak singing in the alder grove, and a Ruddy Duck out on the lake. Yesterday, there were at least 10 Blue-winged Teals in the various ponds - I've never seen so many gathered together in my life before. I could find only one female, however, and she seems to have picked her mate. Perhaps with the new hydrology at the Fill, courtesy of WSDOT, they will be encouraged to nest. To my knowledge, Blue-winged Teals have never nested at the Fill, though Cinnamon Teals do so abundantly (up to 12 pairs in the past).
Our Ospreys, Chester and Lacey, are on eggs, we're pretty sure. It won't be long before we'll be able to see baby Osprey heads poking up out of their stick nest. Swallows were abundant today, a circumstance that made me smile as they swept down low just above my head, so close I could hear the whistle of their little wings. Many gave a squeak as they flew past, though whether it was a welcome or a warning, I cannot say. - Connie, Seattle
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