Falcated Duck and Yellow-billed Loon

Ruth Sullivan godwit at worldnet.att.net
Sat Mar 9 21:34:17 PST 2002

Hello Tweets,

Today Dave Hayden,and my mother and I birded the northern portion of Skagit
Co.,mainly in search of a few target birds starting with the male FALCATED
DUCK that was observed from the West 90 dike access on the Samish Flats from
10:30am-11:15am. The bird was found by an Oregon birder and observed by at
least 15 other observers during a walk along the dike north from the West 90
parking lot. After being found, as the bird foraged loosely and amongst a
flock of American and Eurasian Wigeon we extensively watched the bird about
80-90 yards offshore in spotting scopes in the relatively rough water due to
stiff southwesterly winds that remained throughout the day with increased
rain showers late in the day during our birding excursion. The bird was not
seen well,as it had it's head tucked most of time,but initially the bird was
seen closer to shore then the flock flew further well offshore and roosted
in Padilla Bay until we left the scene.

We arrived at 7:15am at the base of Samish Island at the most notable
morning location where the bird has been most present until 10am with NO
luck,despite large numbers of Am.Wigeon with lesser numbers of Eurasian
Wigeon(about 75+ birds), Am.Green-winged Teal, Northern Pintail, and
Northern Shovelers. The bird was probably along the shores of Padilla Bay
the entire time as many observers scanned and scoured through the wigeon
flocks that flew to and from the partially flooded fields,as well as grazed
most of the time.It is unclear if the Falcated Duck was present after
11:30am,but others attemted for the bird during a return visit to the West
90 parking lot at 4pm,but with NO luck made by other observers. A NOTE TO
ALL BIRDERS: The landowner has placed a NO TRESPASSING sign/and or posted
marker along the dike north of the West 90 parking lot and indicated to
birders that were present during his arrival of announcement that the area
is officially of limits beyond the posted sign(s),but a length of the dike
can still be obtained to a certain point from walking straight west of the
West 90 parking lot then due north on the dike. This noticification is
official to ALL birders/and or the public and should be advised for any
upcoming attempts for the Falcated Duck,if looking for the bird at this
location. The landowner could and may become very aggressive to any people
who trespass onto his land,and it seems clear he may enforce the regulations
and will call the local police or sheriff,if necessary. It is still advised
to check the base of Samish Island Rd. in the early morning, as it may still
prove to be successful with probably the best quality looks at the bird
compared to viewing the bird from the West 90 dike/and or on Padilla Bay.

The YELLOW-BILLED LOON(apparently a adult in nonbreeding plumage)was again
seen from the end of Docks A and B of the Cap Sante Marina in Anacortes
during our visit at 12:45pm and seen by several observers at extremely close
range,as it actively preened and bathed,showing ALL major details and field
marks of this exceptional species for this location. The bird was seen
closer to shore before we arrived viewed from the parking area,but then swam
further into the channel,but still remained at close range at the end of
Docks A and B, with at least 3 Common Loons present nearby(1 breeding
plumaged bird,2 winter or basic plumaged birds). The exact area lies at the
north end of the Anacortes Industrial area and immediately north of the
Seafarer Memorial,which are both accessed from Seafarer Way in Anacortes.

We looked two seperate times of the Great Gray Owl north from the end of
Samish Island Rd.,as did other birders during the day but with NO luck,but
it is very possiblt the bird could still be present in the general area,but
access is very limited due to extensive private property. Other species of
note during the day included:

Red-throated Loon
1 off Samish Island in Samish Bay

Pacific Loon
12 at Anacortes
16 off of Samish Island in Samish Bay

Harlequin Duck
1 male off of Samish Island in Samish Bay

Long-tailed Duck(Oldsquaw)
17 at Anacortes
2 off of Samish Island in Samish Bay

Cooper's Hawk
1 adult along Bayview-Edison Rd.,south of Sullivan Rd.

"Harlan's"Red-tailed Hawk
1 adult bird north of the West 90 Parking lot

Rough-legged Hawk
7 on the Samish Flats along Samish Island Rd.

1 at the base of Samish Island

Wild Turkey(relaesed)
1 adult at the base of Samish Island

Black-bellied Plover
54+ at the south end of Samish Bay

5-6,000+ on the Samish Flats(various locations)

Herring Gull
1 adult at the West 90 parking lot(flying over)

Mourning Dove
7 along Best Rd.(flying over,last species of the day)

Violet-green Swallow
3 at the base of Samish Island

Savannah Sparrow
5 at the West 90 parking lot/and dike

Lincoln's Sparrow
6 at the West 90 parking lot/and dike
2 south of Allen West Rd.

Good birding,

Ruth and Patrick Sullivan
GODWIT@ worldnet.att.net

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