[Tweeters] Skagit Cassin's Finch and a Raven observation

Gary Bletsch garybletsch at yahoo.com
Sat Feb 16 19:41:03 PST 2019

Dear Tweeters,
This morning (16th inst.) a bright red male Cassin's Finch visited my place near Cockreham Island in Skagit County. This was only the fourth occurrence in my yard of this species. It spent five minutes looking at the feeders, then up and flew off to the east, not to be seen again.
Later in the day, I bumped into Marv Breece out on the Samish Flats. We discussed how there were so few birds out there, and I remarked how odd it was that I couldn't find a Meadowlark, when they'd been all over the place when the winter storm had been raging. 
 A few minutes later, we found a few feathers that we realized were Meadowlark feathers.
A few minutes after that, we watched a Common Raven fly in with a dead bird in its beak. Soon it became evident that the dead bird was a Meadowlark. An adult Bald Eagle flew after the Raven, but the Raven evaded the Eagle with ease. The Eagle then flew to a fencepost 200 yards away. The Raven dropped the carcass into a snowy row of corn, flew around a bit, then picked it up, making a wide circle around the Eagle. The Eagle then took off again, but then another Raven started croaking and flying in from the east, and the Eagle went back to perch. The Raven with the Meadowlark flew off into the cornfields with its booty intact.
Marv and I were wondering how the Meadowlark had died, whether it was a kill or a death from exposure. 
I kept on birding, but the dead Meadowlark was the only Meadowlark I saw all day.
There was a nice low tide at Rosario Head, and I was able to locate a small flock of SURFBIRDS and BLACK TURNSTONES out there. A Bald Eagle got an assist on this one, since its poor attempts at making a pass at the rocky shorebirds brought them into view for me.
Yours truly,
Gary Bletsch
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