[Tweeters] Fill fun

Connie Sidles csidles at isomedia.com
Fri Jul 1 09:18:16 PDT 2005

Hey tweets, yesterday at the Fill was Seattle's best example of wild nature
in the midst of the city. I found three WESTERN SANDPIPERS and one LEAST on
the main pond, so fall migration has definitely begun here. Spring migration
may be more colorful, but I love the fall because the birds remind me how
mysterious and awesome nature really is. The four sandpipers were all
adults, and I assume they left their babies behind to fend for themselves.
In another month or two, the juveniles will be migrating through. How they
know where to go without any adults to show them the way is a great mystery,
especially when you consider that these birds can't have been doing this for
much longer than 12,000 years (since the ice left the north).

The GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE is still hanging out at the main pond,
looking kind of clueless. At one point, all the CANADA families exited the
pond to feed in the grass, so after dithering for a while, the GRWF decided
to get out of the water, too. But he wasn't really hungry, so he just stood
around with nothing to do. When I walked toward all the geese, seeking a way
around them, the poor visitor didn't know whether to panic or stay cool.
Cool won the day, but only just.

VAUX'S SWIFTS were out and about in great abundance yesterday, as the clouds
moved in and the sky turned purple/pink/blue/green/yellow, all at the same
time. No wonder the Martians want to come here and take over our planet - it
is so very beautiful. I think the swifts were attracted by the recent bug
hatch, which was also in great abundance!

The grass has grown tall and more prairie-like everywhere at the Fill, with
wildflowers in riotous bloom. I was there almost alone, with only the
occasional jogger to share a smile with. As the clouds moved in, the wind
picked up, causing the grasses to wave in rustling swells of gold. The
poplar leaves did their St. Vitus dance, adding to the sibilant symphony.
When a little flock of mallards flew over my head, the wind of their wings
added a chorus of sharp whooshes. At the last minute before sunset, the sun
peeked out from a heavy layer of clouds and flooded the scene with golden
light. A mother turtle took a second to rest from digging a surprisingly
deep hole in the hard pan of the trail. In the night, she will lay her eggs
and give us all the promise of life abiding.

Here are all the birds I saw yesterday:

pied-billed grebe
great blue heron
Canada goose 
greater white-fronted goose
lesser scaup
glaucous-winged gull
least sandpiper
western sandpiper
Vaux's swift
tree swallow
violet-green swallow
barn swallow
cliff swallow
American crow
marsh wren
American robin
European starling
common yellowthroat
savannah sparrow
white-crowned sparrow
red-winged blackbird
brown-headed cowbird
American goldfinch

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