[Tweeters] good birding in Skagit

Gary Bletsch garybletsch at yahoo.com
Sun May 1 09:46:40 PDT 2022

Dear Tweeters,
Yesterday, the last day of April, was a fine day for birding in Skagit. 
Mike Nelson found a PECTORAL SANDPIPER at Fir Island Farm Reserve (FIFR). I think it was a female. It foraged by itself as the tide came in. I was happy to see this bird. Outside of Florida, I had never seen this species in April before. Mike also spotted a late drake EURASIAN WIGEON there at FIFR.
Yesterday was also the first time I'd ever seen all seven of our swallow species in one day in April. Green Road Pond was the best swallow spot, with a couple of early Bank Swallows, plus Barn, Cliff, Rough-winged, Tree, and Violet-green. A Sora called the whole time I was there.
A few Purple Martins circled around the  Anacortes Ferry Terminal, making seven species of swallows for the day. I also saw a Hermit Thrush there. Ospreys were working on their nest. I am guessing that the male was the one carrying the sticks, and the female was the one encouraging (or haranguing?) him. At one point, he attempted to fly with an enormous stick in his talons. It must have been three yards long. Halfway to the nest, he dropped it. It might have been just a few pounds too heavy for him to manage.
At Green Point, seabird numbers were fairly low, but it was a good variety. A single Marbled Murrelet in brown plumage swam close to the point. Pelagic Cormorants were feeding closer to shore than normal, giving good looks at their breeding finery. A few Brandt's Cormorants joined them, along with lots of Rhinoceros Auklets. In the forest, I heard several Townsend's Warblers singing, but I could not get them in view. This was where I saw the only junco of the day, oddly enough.

At the Game Range on Fir Island, a female YELLOW-HEADED BLACKBIRD showed up by the spot that I call the Dike Junction. This is the spot where a new dike heads off to the west, over a stout bridge, and the old dike continues off to the south. As usual with this species, the Yellow-headed Blackbird perched on various snags in the wetland. She was not with any other blackbirds.
I ended up with a day list of about 105 species, which I think is a new April big-day record for Skagit--despite dipping on the Sanderlings and White Pelicans at March Point. Also, as is invariably the case on a big day, there were some silly misses, including Turkey Vulture, Golden-crowned Sparrow, kinglets, and most of the woodpeckers. 
Yours truly,
Gary Bletsch
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