[Tweeters] Skagit Shorebird-ing
amk17 at earthlink.net
Mon Sep 2 18:24:29 PDT 2019
Saturday, I decided to spend about 4 hours birding Skagit WMA Wylie and Hayton as well as Channel Drive. Ten hours later...
First stop was Wylie Slough where there were no shorebirds but for a SOLITARY SANDPIPER and a KILLDEER. I observed multiple flocks of passerines high in the trees but decided to move on to Hayton Preserve. (The report of a AMRE and NOWA the next day - doh!) It was otherwise uneventful but I did run into Marv Breece and we tried to turn a BLACK-BELLIED PLOVERS into at least one golden but no such luck. There were numerous, distant WESTERN and LEAST SANDPIPERS, SEMIPALMATED and BLACK-BELLIED PLOVERS (BBPL). I moved on to Channel Drive.
It was pretty slow, and hot, and birds were in the distance, far, far away. I observed one large sandpiper but not enough to id. Phil Weggener also observed the bird and noted 4 others like it earlier. Phil left and I remained hoping for shorebirds closer in. No shorebirds but Marv Breece and Gary Bletsch and eventually Steve Pink (?) arrived. I did re-locate the large sandpiper and Marv and Gary id'd it as a PECTORAL SANDPIPER. Closer in, two BAIRD'S SANDPIPERS and a single DUNLIN with a blotchy black and white belly touched down long enough to be id'd. A few YELLOW WARBLERS were also foraging in the birch trees. It was hot so I moved back to Hayton (with a quick break at the Rawlings Road farm stand (really good smoked salmon).
At Hayton, the tide was still out (about 330 pm) so I sat with my scope and studied the BBPL ~50 of them. On the way over I read about a red knot with a flock of BBL but I was not hopeful. After about 1/2 hour, I noticed Marv Breece drive up. And as I returned to study the BBPL about a dozen shorebirds ran up the mud bank towards to the BBPL. They were fairly close with or without a scope. These med shorebirds were gray-bodied with yellow-green stocky legs, dark straight bills that were longer than the plovers but I would not describe as long, in general. As Marv walked up I described the location and the knot possibility. In about 10 seconds, Marv counted 11 RED KNOTS. So the long, hot, uneventful day turned, for me at least.
Before long G. Bletsch arrived and counted 18 knots. We also heard a Baird's and watched a pectoral sandpiper. We were also joined by Bob Kunz. As the tide submerged the slough, the BBPL took off and I managed a few photos of the flock. I counted 20 RED KNOTS in the photos (posted on ebird) with the BBPL.
On the way home a quick stop at Wylie where I had excellent views of 2 Pectoral Sandpipers with yellowlegs and studies juvenile dowitchers. Thanks to Marv Breece and Gary Bletsch for the id help most of the day. The pects were a highlight at the end of the day as they were so close.
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