[Tweeters] Skagit birds

Gary Bletsch garybletsch at yahoo.com
Mon Jul 18 22:03:10 PDT 2022

Dear Tweeters,
Today, the eighteenth of July, there were quite a few interesting birds at Fir Island Farm Reserve.
Amongst the Canada Geese was a single CACKLING GOOSE. I have seen this species in Skagit County in September, but never before during June, July, or August.
Also present with the goose flock was the SWAN that has been reported by other observers. I am leaning toward Tundra Swan, but am not sure of this bird's ID. Maybe my photos will reveal something. The position of the eye relative to the bill, and the presence of a faint bit of yellowish on the bill, both suggest that the bird is a Tundra Swan, but I thought that the shape of the feathering where it meets the top of the bill on the forehead suggested that it could be a Trumpeter. That feathering did look a little "pointy" (or "Eddie-Munsterish"). Although it is worrisome that this bird should be here this time of year, it seems healthy. It chased after some Canada Geese that ventured too close a few times. It foraged actively, and spent some time preening, acting normal as far as I could tell.
As the tide came in, there were nine species of shorebirds: over 50 Black-bellied Plover, about twenty Killdeer, a single Semipalmated Plover, 9 Greater Yellowlegs, an adult Spotted Sandpiper (on the shore of the Reflecting Pool), close to 20 Long-billed Dowitchers (with some unidentified dowitchers), plus close to a thousand peeps, most of which were Westerns, but with a strong contingent of Least Sandpipers, plus a single Semipalmated Sandpiper.
There were very few ducks, other than Gadwall families, but there was a single Cinnamon Teal on the  Reflecting Pool.
Earlier in the day, I was able to see over 80 American White Pelicans at March Point. There were also a couple of Bullock's Orioles there, always a treat.
I also made a visit to the Fir Island Game Range during the heat of the day. Birding was as slow as one might expect.  What struck me was the enormous amount of marsh vegetation that is taking over the tidal lagoons here. I am wondering if shorebirds will continue to flock to the Game Range, if the place turns into the reedbed that it is rapidly becoming.
Yours truly,
Gary Bletsch
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