[Tweeters] a numerically curious birding walk

Gary Bletsch garybletsch at protonmail.com
Wed Jan 26 18:24:50 PST 2022

Dear Tweeters,

This afternoon I took a walk at Northern State Recreation area near Sedro-Woolley, and a quirky thing happened along the way.

The first bird I saw was a Great Blue Heron. Then I saw a single Black-capped Chickadee. I tried to pish out a few more chickadees, but the bird appeared to be alone.

In one of the many excellent sparrow patches along my route, I pished up a little trio: one Fox Sparrow, one Spotted Towhee, and one Song Sparrow.

A few minutes later, one European Starling flew over. Then a Red-tailed Hawk glided past.

I pished my lungs out at some of the sparrow patches along the next leg of the route, but the only bird that I saw was a lone Purple Finch.

At that point, I realized, "Huh, I've seen eight species, one individual of each species." I kept trying to find some more Song Sparrows or Spotted Towhees, but they were not in evidence.

A few minutes later, a single Ruby-crowned Kinglet called. That made nine species, one individual each.

I walked along a stretch that usually has all sorts of sparrows and other birds, trying to get something else to pop up, but there were no birds.

Then a single Sharp-shinned Hawk flew over. That made ten species, exactly one individual each, after I'd been birding for about 45 minutes, covering over two miles, mostly on foot! I'm not sure that's ever happened to me before.

Of course, just then, what species spoils it all? Five more Starlings chattering in the treetops!

Immediately after that, all sorts of other little flocks of birds popped up here and there, as if to say, "We were just spoofing you!"

Yours truly,

Gary Bletsch

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