[Tweeters] At the Fill today

Connie Sidles csidles at isomedia.com
Sat Jul 2 23:51:46 PDT 2005

Hey tweets, It was another day of spectacular birding at the Fill. The day
started off with loud keeks from three (!) OSPREYS flying overhead. Two of
them appeared to be "an item," while the third soared with them for a while
and then headed off east toward Lake Washington. Ospreys never stay for long
at the Fill, but they often pay visits because the place is just loaded with
fish. The fish support a horde of waders, grebes and ducks. As an example,
the secluded pond by the dime parking lot hosts a little family of
PIED-BILLED GREBES, a parent and three zebra-striped babies. I wondered if
the parent was new to the job this year, because it had caught a very large
fish that would have been a feat for a full adult to swallow. For the
babies, it was impossible. But "give up" was not in this bird's vocabulary.
It would feed the fish to one baby, who would struggle with all its might to
get it down the hatch but who would then drop it into the pond. The parent
would fetch the fish back up and try the next baby. Every baby had its turn,
and then the parent started on seconds. I left before things got any more
painful to watch. I remember all too vividly being a parent of a kid who
wouldn't swallow his food, no matter how many airplane noises I made.

On the main pond today were nine LEAST SANDPIPERS and, best of all, a
SHORT-BILLED DOWITCHER. These birds can be a bit hard to spot because the
vegetation has grown so thick around the pond. The loosestrife, you'll be
pleased to hear, has been severely intimidated by the introduced weevil and
beetle from Europe, but other plants have moved in opportunistically. I can
remember when the whole pond was surrounded by cattails, but that was long
ago. However, looking on the bright side, I parked my camp stool in amongst
the foliage, and when the sandpipers did approach my spot, they took me for
part of the scenery. The leasts came within three feet of me. Meanwhile,
CEDAR WAXWINGS kept winging in and landing on the stunted loosestrife. I
think they must have been picking the bugs off the ravaged leaves.

The GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE is still on the main pond, and the
BUFFLEHEAD was back again today, too. A WESTERN WOOD-PEWEE hunted for bugs
in the nearby trees, and VAUX'S SWIFTS were everywhere, many swooping so low
I could see their beady little eyes as they sped past.

Here's everything I found today:
pied-billed grebe
great blue heron
Canada goose
greater white-fronted goose
lesser scaup
least sandpiper
short-billed dowitcher
glaucous-winged gull
ring-necked pheasant
rock pigeon
Anna's hummingbird
northern flicker
downy woodpecker
western wood-pewee
tree swallow
violet-green swallow
barn swallow
cliff swallow
American crow
black-capped chickadee
Bewick's wren
marsh wren
American robin
cedar waxwing
European starling
common yellowthroat
savannah sparrow
song sparrow
white-crowned sparrow
red-winged blackbird
brown-headed cowbird
American goldfinch
house finch - Connie, Seattle

csidles at isomedia.com

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