[Tweeters] Two new birds for my King County life list
contopus at telus.net
Tue Nov 5 20:17:55 PST 2019
Yesterday, November 4, I decided to attend the WOS monthly meeting in
Seattle, and did some birding in Snohomish and King Counties on the way
there. There are several recently-seen species, I thought, that should not
be too hard to add to my King County life list. So I decided to try for two
of these- Snow Goose and Rock Wren. I found them both, but one was a
slam-dunk, and the other one I nearly missed.
It appeared that there was a small flock of Snow Geese remaining in the
Sikes Lake area near Carnation. This was one of the easiest county "ticks" I
have ever experienced. As I drove south on the West Snoqualmie Valley Road
from Duvall, there was the Snow Goose flock feeding in the fields, only 300
yards or so from the road. I counted 84 birds in the flock, and more than
75% were juveniles. This was the first species I saw in the Sikes Lake area!
The other species, Rock Wren, was not quite so easy. As many of you know,
there has been a Rock Wren near the Alki Point lighthouse ever since October
9th. Should be easy, not so? I walked along the beach twice from the
lighthouse south to the second beach access ramp to the south (about two
city blocks), with no sign of the bird. However, a second Rock Wren was
found about two days ago along Alki Avenue two miles to the east. By now it
was sunset, so I decided to look for the second bird, with my hopes fading.
I arrived at the 2300 block Alki Avenue about 5 PM, and walked along the
seawall for at least a city block, scouring the riprap along the shore where
the bird had been seen. No luck! Ready to give up, I suddenly heard the
"cher-wee, cher-wee" call of a Rock Wren across the road, on the landward
side of Alki Avenue! There was the bird, hopping along the sidewalk in front
of 2222 Alki Avenue. I didn't even have time to lift my binoculars to my
eyes when the wren hopped into the shrubbery and disappeared. Must have been
his last little burst of activity before turning in for the night. However,
I know the call well, and a Rock Wren it was. Talk about just finding a rare
bird by the skin of your teeth! Success at the last possible second!
Rock Wrens are always rarities on the west side of the Cascades. I have seen
Rock Wrens once in Whatcom County and twice in Skagit. However, I have had a
chequered history in chasing this species in western WA. I tried and failed
to find a Rock Wren on Whidbey Island, some years ago, after a mile-long
walk down the west beach. I dipped out on a bird seen on Ediz Hook near Port
Angeles. I couldn't even find a Rock Wren two winters ago that spent several
weeks in the beach logs at Birch Bay State Park, despite three tries to find
it. I was danged if I was going to miss this bird in King County.
Persistence sometimes pays off!
Ain't birding fun?
Wayne C. Weber
contopus at telus.net
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