[Tweeters] Birding on San Juan Island

Henne Queisser henneq at comcast.net
Mon Apr 18 22:02:01 PDT 2005

We rarely see any Tweeters' posts on San Juan Island, but it is one of our 
favorite birding spots.  The habitat is varied, from salt water to fresh 
water, woods, open prairie, rocky shores and sandy beaches.  We spotted 
close to 60 species last weekend. We are novice birders, so experienced 
birders would have seen lots more.   Below are some of the birds (and some 
mammals) we observed.  Hopefully, we didn't mis-identify too many of them!

We missed seeing the immature Golden Eagle that was reported at American 
Camp.  Also, missed seeing the red- tailed foxes there, though we've seen 
them before.

There was an interesting goose at English Camp--perhaps just a hybrid, but 
we'll describe it in any case.  It was hanging out with a group of Canada 
Geese.  It was slightly smaller and "rounder".  It had pink legs and feet, 
but an all black bill.  The body was light gray and the neck and head were 
tending toward a darker gray/brown.  No white marks on the head.

Spring was definitely in the air, as we observed bald eagles and black 
oystercatchers mating.  All the water birds were in breeding plumage.

Red necked grebe
Eared grebe
Horned grebe
Pied-bill grebe
Double-crested cormorants
Pelagic cormorants
Brandt cormorants
Great blue herons
Canada geese
Brandt geese (flock flying overhead)
Green-winged teals
American wigeons
Northern pintails
Wood ducks
Ring-necked ducks
Surf scoters
White-winged scoter
Harlequin ducks
Common goldeneyes
Common mergansers
Red-breasted mergansers
Hooded mergansers
Black oystercatchers
Black-bellied plover  (there were lots of shorebirds way out there we 
couldn't identify--we didn't time the tides correctly)
Greater yellowlegs
Glaucous winged gulls
Mew gulls  (probably other varieties of gulls also--but we didn't stop to 
identify them....)
Pigeon guillemot
Rhinocerous auklet (from the ferry)
Turkey vultures
Northern harriers
Red-tailed hawks
Rough legged hawk (on rt. 20 driving toward Anacortes)
Osprey (pair in their nest near English camp)

American Wigeons
Harlequin ducks
Red breasted mergamsers
Hooded mergansers
Common mergansers
Northern Pintails

Rough Legged Hawk
Tree swallows
Violet green swallows
Redwinged Blackbird
Bald Eagles (adult and immature)

Surf scoters
Sea lions
Orange crowned warblers
Ruby crowned kinglets
Red tailed hawk
Great blue heron

Savannah sparrows
Downy wood pecker
Song sparrows
Rufous hummingbird
Black oyster catchers
Hairy woodpecker
American robins
(copulating oyster catchers)
Black capped chickadees
Northern Harrier
Barn Swallows
California Quail
(eagle's nest)
Chestnut backed chickadees
White crowned sparrows
Pine siskins
Glaucous winged gulls
American Crows
Turkey Vultures

Ringnecked ducks
Canada Geese
(copulating eagles)
Green winged teal

Pied bill grebe
Double crested cormorants
Red breasted nuthatch
Wood ducks
Common merganser
Gold finches
River otter
Osprey (pair in nest)
Spotted towhee
Northern Flicker
Pelagic cormorants
Black bellied plover
Greater yellowlegs
Yellow rumped warbler
Eared grebes
Brandt geese (flock overhead)
Rhinocerous auklet
Pigeon guillemot 

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