[Tweeters] Skagit birding and corrigendum

Gary Bletsch garybletsch at yahoo.com
Sat Oct 28 21:22:15 PDT 2017

Dear Tweeters,
Today, Saturday, 28 October 2017, was a fine day for birding in Skagit County. My apologies first for sending a message to Tweeters about a "Bulk Phoebe." Darn spell-checker! The bird I saw at the Fir Island Game Range was not the rare and critically endangered Bulk Phoebe, but rather the still very exciting BLACK PHOEBE. Kudos to Paul Jay for finding and sharing this bird. Bob Kuntz and I saw it today where the new dike goes off straight west, by a new temporary sign about a hunter safety zone, which is on a low metal tripod weighted down by a cinderblock. If you find yourself stumbling over the extra-large rock that makes up this little dike junction, a few hundred meters beyond the parking areas, then you are in the right spot. 
Bob and I went to Hayton Reserve next, where we met Jeff Osmundson and some other birders. We were surprised to see a late LESSER YELLOWLEGS, and even more surprised when a SHARP-TAILED SANDPIPER joined a Pectoral Sandpiper here.
I struck off on my own after Hayton, and kept finding more good birds. Pretty soon, I realized I had a shot at a century day, which I had never accomplished in the month of October before.
At March Point was a pair of Barrow's Goldeneyes. Bay View State Park's campground area was full of woodland passerines. Samish Island Public Beach had most of the expected saltwater birds. The Samish West Ninety was not as good as it was last week--no plovers--but I did see a Short-eared Owl. Elsewhere on the Samish Flats, a blackbird flock contained two Brown-headed Cowbirds, and a Rough-legged Hawk was perched near the East Nineties. 
Since I had not ID'd any swans this fall, I took a shot at the Butler Flats, and was glad to see a flock of Trumpeters with a few Tundras along Dahlstedt Road. A quick stop at Northern State Recreation Area did not turn up the hoped-for bittern, but a Virginia Rail did call a few times. 
A nocturnal walk among the coyotes at Harry Osborned State Forest produced the last bird of the day, species number 101, a Northern Saw-whet Owl. Wow!
I might add that yesterday was not too shabby for birding around here, either. An AMERICAN TREE SPARROW turned up near the Baker River's mouth in Concrete; I saw Northern Pygmy Owls in three different spots yesterday, too.
Yours truly,
Gary Bletsch

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