[Tweeters] Skagit County big day, February 24

Wilson Cady gorgebirds at juno.com
Wed Feb 27 13:08:32 PST 2019

Looking at the Big Day records on Washington Birder, it looks like your recent endeavor set a new state Big Day record for the month of February, This link will take you to the records for each county, scroll down to the bottom to see the chart of all of the counties. http://wabirder.com/docs/bigdayreport2018.pdf Wilson Cady
Columbia River Gorge, WA

---------- Original Message ----------
From: Matt Dufort <matt.dufort at gmail.com>
To: Tweeters Newsgroup <tweeters at u.washington.edu>
Subject: [Tweeters] Skagit County big day, February 24
Date: Wed, 27 Feb 2019 12:06:03 -0800

Hi Tweets, After doing a King County big day back in December, I started thinking about the best spots in the state for seeing a lot of species on a single winter day. Western Skagit County, with its combination of extensive saltwater habitats, marshes, fields, and conifer forests, seemed like a good area to try. So on Sunday the 24th, Spencer Hildie, Adrian Lee, and I did a big day through Fidalgo Island, the Skagit and Samish Flats, and a few nearby areas. We started the day owling on Fidalgo, then hit Washington Park and Rosario Head for waterbirds. We moved east via March Point to Fir Island, then further east to Big Lake and the Francis/Lindgren/Thillberg Road area east of Burlington. Then back to the northwest to the Samish Flats and Samish Island, followed by a second round of nocturnal birding from Samish Island down to Fir Island in hopes of finding owls and roosting shorebirds. We ended the day with 116 species, bolstered by great diversity of waterbirds and relatively few misses. Highlights:1) An awesome early-morning alcid flight at Washington Park's Green Point, with 500+ Pigeon Guillemot, 20+ Marbled Murrelet, Common Murres, and a single Rhinoceros Auklet.2) The incredible feeding concentration of loons, gulls, and other waterbirds at Rosario Head on the outgoing tide.3) An Eared Grebe that showed itself at Ship Bay, as predicted by Adrian.4) Continuing Black Phoebes and White-throated at Wylie Slough.5) Swamp Sparrows (3 or more) on Thillberg Road at the base of the hill just west of the dairy - thanks to Ryan Merrill for the tip!6) The spectacle of thousands of geese, ducks, and swans flying over us on the Samish Flats at dusk as they headed to their nighttime roosts. Snow Geese are noisy! Misses included Peregrine Falcon, Black-bellied Plover, and Bushtit, all birds that are reasonably common in the area, but not shocking to miss. We actually struggled to find a Killdeer almost until sunset, then found them in several places on the Samish Flats. It was a great day to be out! I'm now pondering where in the state one could build a bigger day list in winter - perhaps the Grays Harbor / Willapa Bay area, or Sequim/Dungeness? Something to think about for next year. Good birding,Matt Dufort
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