Spencer Island, 11/18/00

Netta Smith nettasmith at home.com
Sun Nov 19 10:35:19 PST 2000

Complete bird list from Spencer Island, 11/18/2000; 10:00-13:00; walked S
loop and up W side of N loop, then returned back down W side; Dennis Paulson
& Netta Smith. Much of the fresh water surface frozen. Numbers after +
refer to sewage ponds. A beautiful day for a walk!

Pied-billed Grebe 3
Double-crested Cormorant 5 overhead + 2 overhead
American Bittern 1 (flushed from near boardwalk between barn and cross dike;
we had seen one in that area the week before that I forgot to include on the
list I posted)
Great Blue Heron 6
Snow Goose + 1 imm. overhead in flock of Canadas
Canada Goose 2 + 30 overhead
Green-winged Teal 30
Mallard 200 + 5
Northern Pintail 8
Northern Shoveler + 40
Gadwall 2 + 20
American Wigeon 20 + 1
Canvasback + few hundred
Lesser Scaup + 6
Bufflehead 15
Common Merganser 1 overhead
Ruddy Duck + few hundred
Northern Harrier 7 (most immature, but we watched a mature female feeding
nearby for quite some time, then saw another adult female bombing across the
marsh toward this bird, flew in behind it and ushered it out of the marsh
with no really obvious aggressive moves!)
Cooper's Hawk 1
Red-shouldered Hawk 1
Red-tailed Hawk 5
Merlin 1
Virginia Rail few heard
American Coot 150 + few
Killdeer 1 overhead
Long-billed Dowitcher 121 (at roost)
Common Snipe 7
Bonaparte's Gull 2 overhead + 12
Mew Gull 20 overhead + hundreds
Thayer's Gull + 1 (gulls at sewage ponds checked only superficially)
Glaucous-winged Gull 2 overhead + dozens
Belted Kingfisher 2
Downy Woodpecker 1
Hairy Woodpecker 2 (males fighting in woods at S end)
Northern Flicker 1
Pileated Woodpecker 1
Steller's Jay 6
crow sp. 12
Black-capped Chickadee 20
Bushtit + 30
Bewick's Wren 2
Winter Wren 1
Marsh Wren 6
Golden-crowned Kinglet 15 (flock)
Ruby-crowned Kinglet 15 (singly)
American Robin 20
Northern Shrike 1
European Starling 20
Spotted Towhee 15
Savannah Sparrow 1
Fox Sparrow 10
Song Sparrow 100 (this species, as dense here as anywhere I've seen it, was
even more interesting on this visit, because many individuals were feeding
on alder seeds in the treetops; there were 7 individuals in one section of
one tree, almost more like a flock of Pine Siskins!)
Dark-eyed Junco 30
House Finch 1
Pine Siskin 5
American Goldfinch + 20
House Sparrow 2 (a pair inspecting nest holes in dead trees on E side of S
loop, one of the more surprising sightings to me)

One of the more interesting memories I brought home from this walk was
showing the immature Red-shouldered Hawk to a couple of birders who had a
copy of the western Peterson field guide and having to convince them it was
really a Red-shoulder, as the painting by RTP of an immature western
Red-shoulder looks so different from the bird. When I got home I compared
it with the NGS guide, which looks right on, and the Sibley guide, which
shows a bird less heavily marked and more contrasty than the Spencer I bird.
The new Kaufmann guide shows one only in flight and is difficult to compare.
Parenthetically, I think a good exercise for birders would be to more
critically compare the birds they see with the images in their field guides,
rather than just accepting that the field guide shows the way a bird looks.
I was somewhat shocked to see how misleading the painting in Peterson was
(not to mention seeing someone still using the Peterson guide; at least it
wasn't the Golden guide).
Netta Smith and Dennis Paulson
1724 NE 98 St.
Seattle, WA 98115

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