[Tweeters] With no falcons sighted, short trip to the Samish Flats still special

Barbara Deihl barbdeihl at comcast.net
Sat Nov 11 14:07:31 PST 2017

Once under way from Seattle to more northerly realms, the sun was the first stranger to greet me. Second was a bird on a light standard over the freeway, flicking me a tail, happily a red one, making the hawk's ID easy. Next was a Cooper's Hawk soaring over the road and on into a small copse. Until I took the Chuckanut Drive exit I saw no more "post birds" enroute to the Flats. Near Mt. Vernon, 6 long-necked white birds languidly made their way westward - SWANS ! These were the only ones I saw all afternoon.

More special sightings remained to fill the trip with deihlight - along Bayview-Edison Rd, across the road from the big tree with the Bald Eagle Nest and a few perching eagles, there were some eye-catching hawks, but no brownish falcon on a snag or flying anywhere there in the East-90 area. I pulled over in the gravel 90-degree corner, able to check and find with my binocs, the birds I'd spotted as I'd driven toward that pull-off. First, I saw a big, black flyer - a Common Raven. There were a couple of low-flying harrieresque birds skimming the fields on the north side of Bayview - Ed. Rd. Too dark with none of the available light high-lighting a white rump, hence the inexact ID. Several redtails lined the road power lines and poles, as frequently encountered out there. Then, I found a light Rough-legged Hawk in a tree way out there. Welcome back, beautiful Hawk with the swish eyeliner !

As the sun was on its way toward the horizon in its colorful glory, multiple skeins of other large, mostly white birds (though due to the setting sun, they appeared as black), wove their way toward the bay. Strange for me was that I don't recall hearing them honking. I did hear a few gunshots, though, and I was reminded that it was duck-hunting season (not sure if goose-hunting time is concurrent). I drove into the West-90 parking lot and positioned my car amongst a half-dozen hunter vehicles. All but one (no make that 2) hunters were still out in the fields I immediately caught sight of a familiar light-colored bird, flopping and flapping around and diving to the ground. I was ecstatic to find at least one Short-eared Owl at this favorite site. I had watched them for many years, along with the group that used to grace the Eide Rd. site (let's not go there ...), the Rawlins Rd. visitors and other occasionals on Fir Island . W-90 is still supporting some - we'll see how many as the seasons roll - yesterday I may have seen 2. Even though the paths started filling with returning huntsmen (and one small boy), the owl (s) seemed unperturbed by human presence. Up and down and all around... Nice :-) I watched and watched, until darkness consumed most all the light.

SEOW are one of my favorite owls - I had worried they wouldn't be found up there anymore. Feeling better now. My day was sweetened. I celebrated on the way home with fish tacos (with cheese, cabbage and delicious 'white' sauce at Taco del Mar in Burlington ! )

Maybe that Prairie Falcon will still be in the area - if not, I'll hold out hope for some still to be in Central Washington.

And no, I took no photos yesterday - it was a time for allowing the day to stimulate me in other ways. It was good !

Barb Deihl
Matthews Beach Neighborhood - NE Seattle
barbdeihl at comcast.net

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