[Tweeters] Marblemount finches at salt-lick

Kevin Lucas vikingcove at gmail.com
Thu Oct 7 22:04:29 PDT 2021


Perhaps related:
Finches have for years gathered at a spot on the Maloy dirt road to
Barbecue Flats where the old Bass driveway cuts off not far from Wenas
Creek. It's a place where I've guessed that the plow / road salting trucks
turn around, and I suspect spill salt and calcium chloride & grit & such. I
like to stand there and watch the finches getting whatever they get. They
gather similarly at the junction of Maloy, Audubon, & North Wenas Roads.
The finches aren't always as concentrated there. There's more room for the
plow trucks to turn around there.
Just my entertaining theory.

Good Birding,
Kevin Lucas
Yakima County, WA

Sent with AquaMail for Android

On October 7, 2021 5:05:27 PM Gary Bletsch <garybletsch at yahoo.com> wrote:

> Dear Tweeters,

> Today, the seventh of October, birding was relatively slow in the Upper

> Skagit Valley. It was a beautiful day, though, and there were several spots

> where one could view large numbers of spawning sockeye salmon. Here and

> there, Corvids and Glaucous-winged Gulls were feeding on the carcasses. 

> At Ranger Station Road, I was treated to a flock of Pine Siskins and Red

> Crossbills. Most of these birds were at a salt lick. In the more northerly

> of the two mule pastures, there is a trough, fed by a continually dripping

> hydrant. I think that the dripping is intentional, but am not sure if

> that's what the NPS had in mind. This is north of the Ranger Station

> itself, next to an area where old, discarded equipment is stored.

> Beside the trough is one of those plastic, bucket-like holders, made to

> hold a mineral block or salt lick. It looked as if quite a few large

> tongues had worked over this salt lick over the past few months. The

> Siskins and Redpolls spent little to no time on or near the mineral block

> itself. However, they crowded around the ground at the base of the holder,

> where there was some standing water. I was not sure if the birds were

> drinking the salty water, or perhaps gleaning little bits of mineral that

> might have fallen away from the block. The birds allowed me to approach

> within four meters, as I took partial cover behind a gate.

> I use similar mineral blocks for my goats, and I don't remember ever seeing

> birds showing any interest in them--not even my chickens. I have seen

> finches foraging on old fire pits, apparently eating charcoal, but I cannot

> remember ever seeing them at a salt lick before.

> Yours truly,

> Gary Bletsch



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