Fill fill-in, part deux

B. A. Wolfe gismybabe at
Sun Sep 22 21:13:17 PDT 2002

I too was out on the fill this beautiful late summer evening. Between 5:30 and 6:00pm, I laid down under the bare trees towards the west end of the fill and watched as a flock of some 70 Starlings and a separate flock of some 50 Red-Winged Blackbirds chattered and sang directly above me. Very cool! There were 2 Brewers with them, and 3 Brown-headed Cowbirds, as well as the usual American Goldfinches and House Finches popping in and out. And the ubiquitous Great Blue Heron in the marshy area. Alas, the Common Snipe my wife and I saw there a week or so ago was not around. =(
I must have seen you Constance, as I saw a couple in the area you spoke of looking through the grass around 7:00. I was the guy with green hair walking by on the trail. Must be where you flushed the Pipit (which I still have not seen). I would like to add a couple of other birds I saw.
As well as the American Wigeons, I also noted a pair of Eurasian Wigeons on the Bay amongst all of the Coots. I've never seen so many Coots there - quite interesting. There were also at least 4 Gadwalls.
I also noted at least 18 total Yellow-Rumped Warblers at the main pond. Sat and watched them for a good 15 minutes, 6 on the west side, and at least a dozen on the east side. Also saw a Ring-necked Pheasant in there, which seems to hang in the general vicinity.
As I was leaving, I crossed the "north" bridge over the canal behind the UW baseball field, when something caught my eye. It was a female Mallard, but there was a rail on the log next to it. I watched it for a good bit, grabbed my Sibley's out of my back-pack and ID'd it as a Virginia Rail - a new lifer! There were also 4 Blue-Winged Teal and a Muskrat happily munching some green stuff. I had never paid much never mind to this little canal, but I'll come back there again. I also saw a pair of Northern Shovelers a little further south there, almost to where the little road turns back west again. It was getting dark and hard to see, but their bills are unmistakeable.
All in all, a typically wonderful evening at the Fill. I needed this walk tonight as school starts back up tomorrow, and between work and school, I am tied up all day. Still, I'll have to try to find some time on weekends to get out there as it is just too nice to pass up. Good birding all!
Brett A. Wolfe gismybabe at Seattle, WA
"Constance J. Sidles" wrote:Hey tweets, just to add to Stuart's report, I tore myself away from bidness
long enough to get to my favorite place on earth just at dusk tonight.
Luckily, the light is still lingering for a surprisingly long time, even
after the sun sets. Mount Rainier was magnificent, all magenta, blue and
gray - very dark magenta, unlike the usual sunset pinks. The clouds over
Lake Washington were spectacular tonight - they looked like Cloud City in
Star Wars, only realer.

A few Vaux's swifts were still flying around, as were a number of barn
swallows (but nothing like the 70-plus barn swallows I saw perched in the
little scrub-tree in the middle of the main pond two days ago. As we were
looking at the swifts, my husband and I flushed an American pipit in the
tall grass on the east side of the main pond. It dove down into deeper
grass a few yards away.

On Union Bay, we saw one wood duck, a little flock of ring-necked ducks,
one green-winged teal, several American wigeons, and huge numbers of
American coots. Also, tons of pied-billed grebes - this has been the best
year in my memory for them. We didn't see the blue-winged teals that Stuart
mentioned, nor the lone northern shoveler I saw there two days ago. Nor the
juvenile sora I've been seeing nearly every day. I wonder if it has
migrated? The other day, it was foraging openly out on the lily pads, and
it stopped to stretch and flap its little wings. I could not imagine how
those little stubs could elevate anything, let alone a plump sora. Maybe if
it flapped them very, very fast? What is known about sora migrations?

On another topic, I will be sending out thank-yous to the many tweeters who
responded to my plea for help for Micronesia. But I also want to thank
people publicly here. Your support and the notes many of you sent were
deeply touching. My son Alex called via military radiophone tonight (first
time I've heard from him in weeks). He said several island chiefs had
coordinated a group listen all up and down the outer islands. People wanted
to know how we were doing. I had to say that we have had no luck at all
moving government agencies. But I also told Alex (and the outer islanders)
that help was on the way. With the money that you and others gave, we
managed to buy 400 sacks of rice (each sack is about 40 pounds). That's one
sack per person. The rice is supposed to arrive today or tomorrow. Alex
almost cried with relief. He said it was the only help anyone has given,
and there would be celebrations on the islands tonight. I promised to wire
out another donation in early December, when this shipment of rice runs
out. So please go to bed tonight knowing that you have saved 400 grateful

As a side benefit for me personally, I have had the very great privilege of
knowing how caring you are. Thank you. - Connie, Seattle

csidles at

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