[Tweeters] Redwing at Olympia today 12-23

Ruth Sullivan godwit at worldnet.att.net
Thu Dec 23 20:14:02 PST 2004

Hello Tweets,

Today the Redwing was again well observed at Olympia by many,many birders beginning at 10am near 4th Ave. until at least 3:15pm,where we last observed the bird along Cushing Street,which connects between 4th Ave. and Harrison Ave. The bird was first located by an Enumclaw birder with his son,then by way of FRS radios other birders quickly fled to the location,as we all stood with our spotting scopes watching the bird in a willow tee along 4th Ave.. The bird was very visible at times in a somewhat limited area between Decatur and Cushing Streets and along 4th Ave.,but was most readily observed at a residence at the south corner of Decatur Street and 4th Ave.,then along Cushing Street and an associating alley immediately east of that street. The largest crowds of birders were noted just before 10am,then when the bird was first located for the day we all raced to the location along 4th Ave.,where the bird was observed perched in a willow tree for approximately 15 minutes until it flew down into a nearby backyard from that same location. By this time everyone that had previously been walking the side streets,etc beginning shortly after 8am had seen the bird,but several of us remained watching the bird through the afternoon. When the bird was in Holly trees it seemed quite difficult to locate,as it often concealed itself deeper in the tree than the Am.Robins,but with enough keen eyes the bird was located.

Conditions were quite gloomy at times because of the thick cloud cover resulting in rather poor photography of the bird along with relative distance,but several of us obtained many photographs to say the least and the bird often remained up higher in the trees. The bird would be most often close to Am.Robins,especially when feeding in Holly trees,etc,then perched in several deciduous trees,but at times was noted alone resting and preening in these trees.The bird was very striking and most of us enjoyed great scope views of it,as we helped others locate the bird and the bird didn't seem very wary by our presence,but at times was somewhat elusive. Our highlight observation of the bird was seeing the rusty red to rose underwing linings,as the bird on at least two occasions lifted it's wings before flying off or as it stood perched on branches,which was very distinctive contrasting to the white underparts. Several of us noted while watching the bird pale edges on the wing coverts,(especially visible on the greater coverts),which would indicate an immature or young bird,as mentioned by Robert Sundstrom in his Tweeters posting on the 21st. Many of us helped keep track on the bird throughout the day,as new birders arrived,but conditions slowed down by 1pm. After 2pm many birders enjoyed watching the bird along Cushing Street,specifically from the residence of 123 Cushing Street,as that owner allowed us to walk in his hard,although many of us stood graciously along the sidewalks and road edges. We never observed the bird on the ground,but the bird would occasionally forage in short Holly trees,then consume a few berries then quickly fly up to another tree to finish eating them,which we observed on several occasions. In the end today everyone saw the Redwing,as far as we know.

We estimated there were approximately 70+ birders during our entire visit and we didn't run into any residents that were unhappy by the large gathering of birders walking and standing along the sidewalks,etc. It was nice to see new and old faces in the field from Washington and abroad and everyone enjoyed seeing these grand rarity and hopefully the bird will remain through the winter with the scattered Am.Robin flocks. This is one species many of us probably would have never thought of showing up in Washington and as they saying goes you never know what could show up no matter where. It was a fun bird to watch and was definitely a highlight for many of the neighbors in the surrounding area that were entertained by birders and seeing the bird! This was truly a remarkable bird to see for everyone and a big thank you again and again to Gene Revelas for finding this Eurasian thrush and also for him talking with many of us birders during the day too! My mother and I have placed 7 photos of the Redwing onto our website,which can be accessed at the following link:  http://www.pbase.com/godwit/current/

A few species of note encountered walking the side streets in the general vicinity of 4th Street included the following:

2 Cooper's Hawks
1 Merlin(observed catching a Starling in flight,then flying off to an unknown location)
2 Downy Woodpeckers
1 Red-breasted Sapsucker
8-10 Western Scrub Jays
3 Berwick's Wrens
1 Mountain Chickadee(observed and located amongst a mixed flock of Black-capped and Chestnut-backed Chickadees at the corner of 5th Street and Sherman Street)
1 Hutton's Vireo
3 Townsend's Warblers
40-45 Pine Siskins

Good birding,

Ruth and Patrick Sullivan
godwit at worldnet.att.net
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