[Tweeters] The Ecstasy and Agony of Birding

Jon Houghton jon.houghton at hartcrowser.com
Sun Dec 1 20:18:23 PST 2019

Wow, Tweets! Today had 'em both. First a call from Blair B. that Dennis Paulson (really Netta) had found a Ross's Gull on Marsh Island! Having heard for some time about the last, notorious Ross's in WA, and having failed to see one during several years of work in the Arctic, I had pretty much no expectation of ever seeing this ice-associated species, let alone, in Montlake. A high speed turnaround in Edmonds, a roadside pick-up of Blair, and a race to Montlake. I hadn't been in the Montlake neighborhood since the demise of old MOHAI, but we found a parking place and raced down the trail. We quickly found a knot of about 20 birders, all in smiles, and a somewhat forlorn looking, yet beautiful Ross's Gull. For about a half an hour, we collectively gawked at, photo'd, and admired this bird and our good fortune to be here. Great camaraderie and appreciation of the moment and the bird. Yet, the bird was sitting with its wings drooping a bit and I said to Netta and others, jokingly, I was really glad to get there before it died (thinking of a fairly recent incident of a rare warbler that expired, even while under the gaze of admiring birders). Others came to see and enjoy and the crowd grew a bit, even as I wondered about others who I knew to be on their way. Then the bird flew off the dock and landed in the water. The rest as they say, is history, yet agonizing to have witnessed, and painful to describe to the eager birders just arriving, while their holy grail of birds was being picked apart in the cottonwoods at the entrance to the Cut. I could only offer them scope views of the carnage and wish that Larry H's eagles had stuck to a nice sustainable Coot diet. So it goes in nature. Happier Birding - Jon Houghton, Edmonds

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