[Tweeters] Seattle Audubon Whidbey trip ) Oct 17
bellasoc at isomedia.com
Wed Oct 18 10:07:12 PDT 2017
Yesterday, Seattle Audubon took a trip to Whidbey Island. The day started
out overcast and windy and seemed somewhat problematic - the forecast was
for heavy rains and wind on Whidbey, but the enthusiastic group decided to
brave the forecast.
While waiting for the ferry at Mukilteo we scanned the waters off the
terminal and picked up GLAUCOUS-WINGED and MEW GULLs, ROCK PIGEONs and a
BELTED KINGFISHER, with moderately heavy winds resulting in a difficult sea
surface. As the ferry pulled away we had 2-4 foot swell with some whitecaps
and a lack of birds. It wasn't until we approached Whidbey that we finally
picked up birds near the terminal at Clinton - GREAT BLUE HERON, BALD EAGLE.
At Clinton Beach park at the terminal we managed to see SURF SCOTER,
DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANT (a real lack of cormorants - only two ), PELAGIC
CORMORANT (one). As we started out of town toward Deer Lake we had a
COOPER'S HAWK fly over.
At Deer Lake we started to have few sprinkles and it was still windy so not
many small birds. At the lake we saw CANADA GOOSE, NORTHERN FLICKER, a large
group of COMMON MERGANSERs, DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANT (1), DARK-EYED JUNCO,
BLACK-CAPPED CHICKADEE, NORTHERN SHOVELER (1), an unidentified scaup. With
the wind we missed most of the small birds that we usually can find there -
guess everybody was hunkering down.
Rollinghill Road was also really quiet with the wind but we did find
DARK-EYED JUNCO, AMERICAN CROW, BALD EAGLE (flying over), and an
On to Maxwellton where we saw EUROPEAN STARLING, BREWER'S BLACKBIRD, SONG
SPARROW and WHITE-CROWNED SPARROW. At Dave Mackie Park the rains started and
we searched the waters of the south end of Useless Bay from under one of the
picnic shelters (again much disturbed by the weather with swell and chop
making finding bird difficult). We did find lots of MALLARDs, AMERICAN
WIGEON,PIED-BILLED GREBE, CALIFORNIA GULL, SURF SCOTER, WESTERN GREBE (1),
RED-NECKED GREBE, GLAUCOUS-WINGED GULL, AMERICAN CROW and DOUBLE-CRESTED
The Ewing Road wetlands are still dry (could probably change with the
rains), but we did see a RED-TAILED HAWK.
At Deer Lagoon on Sunlight Beach Road there was a very low tide, but we did
see AMERICAN CROW, GREAT BLUE HERON, GLAUCOUS-WINGED GULL, a large flock of
AMERICAN WIGEON, two LONG-BILLED DOWITCHERs. We had just started to scan the
wigeon flock for a possible Eurasian when a young PEREGRINE FALCON came
zooming in and everybody flushed. A BALD EAGLE was perched out on the beach
and the wigeon flock was in the distance (too far for good i.d. of different
birds). On the way out we picked up DARK-EYED JUNCO and HOUSE FINCH. The
winds continued and seemed to be picking up.
We made a stop at Holmes Harbor for lunch where the cloud front passed over
and it got sunny, but still with high winds. We saw GLAUCOUS-WINGED and
RING-BILLED GULLs, AMERICAN CROW, RED-TAILED HAWK, WHITE-CROWNED SPARROW,
and MEW GULL.
At Crockett Lake the water was very high and the winds continued and there
was a general lack of birds, but we did seem some GREEN-WINGED TEAL, GREAT
BLUE HERON and some very distant AMERICAN WIGEON (barely identifiable). We
scanned the old platform near the ferry terminal and saw DOUBLE-CRESTED
CORMORANT (mostly juveniles), PELAGIC CORMORANT and BRANDT'S CORMORANT. ON
the way into Coupeville we saw a SNOW GOOSE and a flock of EUROPEAN
With a very high tide Kennedy Lagoon was all water. We made a stop at Libby
Beach, and with fifty or so miles of the Strait of Juan de Fuca we had
extremely high winds and 7-8 foot swells and no birds. Similar conditions
were seen at the Hastie Road access and the ocean side of Swantown. Bos Lake
was somewhat quieter and we saw AMERICAN WIGEON, MALLARD, NORTHERN HARRIER
and BALD EAGLE.
At Ala Spit we had CANADA GOOSE, COMMON MERGANSER, a couple of COMMON LOONs,
RED-NECKED GREBE, DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANT and NORTHERN FLICKER (clinging
for dear life to the top of a wildly waving tree).
On the way home we had a flock of between 3-5,000 SNOW GEESE off of Dry
Slough Rd on Fir Island - a nice way to end the day.
Between constant winds (many times heavy) and rain our total number of
species was a relatively low 43, but we had a good day.
Brian H. Bell
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