[Tweeters] Barn Swallows with iced tails in Skagit

Gary Bletsch garybletsch at yahoo.com
Mon Feb 4 19:34:43 PST 2019

Dear Tweeters,
Since it was a snow day off from school, I went birding around Skagit County today. Roads were pretty good. Samish Flats had hardly any birder or photographer activity. At Samish Island Public Beach, surf was up, but nobody except ducks took advantage of the waves, oddly enough. My scope almost blew over there--north wind was blowing a near gale.
At both Hayton Reserve and the Fir Island Game Range, I observed Barn Swallows that were foraging by dipping onto the surface of near-gelid water. All three of the Barn Swallows that I observed were dangling icicles from their forked tails. The Tree Swallow that I saw at the Game Range did not have any icicles. Maybe the forked tail is not such a useful feature in this weather.
The puddle at Ershig and Field Roads that had a Glaucous Gull yesterday had zero gulls today, only a huddle of Mallards.
At the Game Range, just walking along the roadside slough by the boat-launch parking lot was the best way to observe passerines. There I saw a Hermit Thrush, a White-throated Sparrow, and lots of other birds. 
Yours truly,
Gary Bletsch
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