Vance Creek afternoon

Jon. Anderson and Marty Chaney festuca at olywa.net
Sun Dec 23 11:01:14 PST 2001


Hi folks,

Too nice a day yesterday to hang around and do my last minute Christmas
shopping (I've still got time, don't I?), so I threw the canoe in back of
the pickup and headed for Vance Creek near Elma in Grays Harbor Co.  I put
in where the 'Wenzel Slough' road crosses the creek and paddled downstream
to the game management area below the Shoulweiler Road.  The area was pretty
well flooded, but was about 3 feet lower than last week's high water mark on
all of the brush, trees and fence posts!

I wasn't hard-core birding, but managed to see the following:

Double-crested Cormorant
Great Blue Heron
Bald Eagle - 2nd year imm
N. Harrier
Kestrel - female
Red-tailed Hawk
Cooper's Hawk - imm female
Glaucous-wing X Gulls
Ring-billed Gulls
Black-bellied Plover - flock of ~20
Dunlin - high hundreds
Trumpeter Swan - 14
Canada Goose
  B.c. moffitti
  B.c. taverneri
Mallard
Pintail
Green-winged Teal
Am. Wigeon
Common Merganser
Red-shafted Flicker
Hairy Woodpecker
Great Horned Owl - 1 seen, another heard
Belted Kingfisher - 3
Steller's Jay
Crow
Black-capped Chickadee
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Marsh Wren
Bewick's Wren
Northern Shrike - 1
Starling
Red-winged Blackbird
Song Sparrow
Fox Sparrow
Golden-crowned Sparrow
Spotted Towhee
House Finch

Also saw a black-tailed doe and several nutria.

One of the red-tailed hawks showed much bright white in its primaries, but
was at a distance that I couldn't get a better view of it.

I stayed down near the Newman Creek ditch until about dark, then paddled the
2 miles back upstream by the light of the first quarter moon and the stars.
There's something somewhat magical about gliding quietly through the night,
seranaded by the passing of geese and pintails in the moonlight, espied by
owls hunting the flooded riparian woods, and apparently ignored by the
usually skittish nutria.  I should do more of it....

Jon. Anderson
Olympia, Washington
festuca at olywa.net



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