[Tweeters] Padilla Bay pelicans

Gary Bletsch garybletsch at yahoo.com
Sun Jun 20 08:33:10 PDT 2021

Dear Tweeters,
As far as I know, the American White Pelicans started showing up in Skagit County in 2014. I believe that Wayne Weber was the first one to find them. They have come back every year since, but there were only small numbers for the first few years. Earlier this year, I counted over 130 of them, and a few years ago, over 150.
I was told by a reliable source that the pelicans attempted to breed on one of the dredge-spoil islets at the north end of Swinomish Channel, where it reaches Padilla Bay. It is said that a man with a dog landed his boat on the islet and let his dog loose, running off the pelicans, at least for that year.
Every year, there is a big fireworks sale in a gravel lot by the Swinomish Casino. This lot is a few hundred meters from the dredge-spoil islets where the pelicans gather every spring. At least one year, the pelicans disappeared right after the 4th of July. I have always suspected that the firing of pyrotechnics had something to do with the abandonment of the area. 
Moat years, the pelicans can be seen wandering to other bays in the area. They turn up on the shore of Fir Island now and then; one time I saw them way up in Whatcom County, north of Bellingham.
There is a photo of these birds in today's issue of the Skagit Valley Herald.
Yours truly,
Gary Bletsch
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