[Tweeters] GGOW - WWOW!

Jon Houghton jon.houghton at hartcrowser.com
Fri Apr 6 20:35:15 PDT 2018

Hi Tweeterdom - Well, I'm a little conflicted on this one, but... here goes: Spurred on by Gary Bletsch's report of a Great Gray Owl near Bellingham, I let Frank Caruso talk me into a pretty early departure to the north this morning. We arrived at Sand Road off the Mt. Baker highway about 0730. As always, when chasing a bird like this, we hoped to first find the birders - then the bird. Not to be disappointed in that, as we approached the Harmony School, we could see a gaggle of folks along the road to the north, with scopes headed to the west. We did a slow drive by and could see the GGOW perched on a post at the far end of a small field adjacent to the road. We quickly parked a ways north of the action and walked back to line up photos without the antique camper as a background. After a few dozen pix there, the bird flew to the north a bit, and landed on another fence post, affording a better background for another bunch of pix. I went to Frank's car, parked on the shoulder, for a brace and the bird flew again, to a post about 30 feet from the car! Fantastic!! The 30 or so folk there moved along with us and got to see the bird fly again, toward us, taking a vole near the road, but partially screened by some shrubs. With bins, we could see the classic head tossing as he (or she?) hucked down the vole (whole) and flew back to the previous post. After a few minutes there (and a few more pix), the bird flew off to the west, through a line of trees and out of sight. Apparently the bird has been seen in this place for the last couple of mornings and might be worth a try over the weekend, for those so inclined. Today it was well removed from the school yard so no conflict there and no adverse reactions for locals. But, if you go, as always respect private property (the bird today was nicely protected by a barbed wire fence that kept any of the over-eager at bay)! After the owl viewing, we rendezvoused with Andy Stepniewski, Brian Pendleton, et al. on Fir Island, on the outside chance we could fine the Gyrfalcon reported there in past weeks. No luck on that but, as the weather moderated from the morning's mizzel (love that term, Michael!) Frank and I were able to find FOY Western Sandpipers (2!?), and an Am. Pipet (flyover) at Hayton. Then home to yard work in the surprising 60-degree sun!! Happy birding! - Jon
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