[Tweeters] Seattle Big Green Day (Harris's Sparrow, Solitary Sandpiper)

Chris Rurik chrisrurik at gmail.com
Wed May 8 10:59:33 PDT 2019

Greetings Tweeters—

With plenty of travel upcoming in the month of May, I thought this year I
would avoid the 'big day bug.' How naive of me. The bug bit.

With a minimum of planning I set out yesterday for an impromptu carbon-free
big day, all on bike, starting and ending at my apartment in Wallingford,
all within my 5MR (five-mile radius).

It was a wonderful day. The morning was especially memorable with a wave of
50+ migrant warblers and tanagers and vireos pouring over the bluff at
Discovery Park. Being close to home allowed me to find several things in
neighborhoods along the way, proving the value of local knowledge. And a
number of memorable mini-interactions occurred, as is often true on bike.
One woman asked me if I was a Youtube train-filmer. In another place I was
delayed by two women in their fifties standing in my scoping spot and
blowing bubbles into the wind for ten minutes.

The only thing that might have made things better is cloud cover—both for
my body temp on the bike and for the stirring up of rare migrants. As John
L commented, it's weather that is good for the birds, not so good for the

Route: Discovery Park, Carkeek Park, Green Lake, various neighborhoods, The
Fill, Magnuson Park...and back to the The Fill.

HARRIS'S SPARROW -- Discovery Park (seen near the south meadow dunes with
WC and GC Sparrows at 5:55 am)
Nashville Warbler -- Discovery Park
Barred Owl -- Discovery Park
Solitary Sandpiper -- The Fill (didn't know it has been reported there for
two days, seen only at post-sunset visit)

Lingering waterfowl helped with three Aythya species, four species of
grebe, Green-winged Teal, Surf Scoter, Bufflehead, and two gorgeous Ruddy

Both Hutton's Vireo and Pileated Woodpecker appeared right as I was leaving
my last-chance spots for them.

Misses included Red-tailed Hawk, Wood Duck, Cinnamon Teal, California
Scrub-Jay, Hairy Woodpecker, shorebirds, and Belted Kingfisher.

I had planned to stake out the Magnuson Park Barn Owl box at the end of the
day, but after birding the park for two hours and finding nothing new, I
was exhausted. My excitement about the owl had evaporated. Luckily I
realized I might be able to add more species anyway by heading home and
detouring through The Fill again. That proved to be true, as the Solitary
Sandpiper had materialized and a Virginia Rail grunt-called for my last new
bird of the day.

For the day, 84 species (and eight species of mammal). Something like 28
miles covered on bike and 12 on foot. Thanks to John L and Jim F for
company and tips in the field. A wonderful day! Thank you 'big day bug' for

Chris Rurik
Seattle / Anchorage
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