[Tweeters] Nisqually

Connie Sidles csidles at isomedia.com
Mon Jul 11 08:46:36 PDT 2005

Hey tweets, Nisqually was really jumping yesterday. John and I arrived early
in the morning, with the rain misting. You may be interested to know that
rainy weather will not deter a rail convention. On the contrary, attendees
seemed to revel in it. (I infer the convention because the numbers of rails
were so great.) I began encountering Virginia rails just past the first park
bench on the gravel path toward McAllister Creek. The water here on either
side of the trail is pooling in small puddles with plenty of drippy mud in
between. Many rails were boldly coming out to forage in the open - we saw at
least six and heard many more. Their boldness seemed to assure shyer
denizens that all was well, so at one site, I also saw a Wilson's snipe come
out of hiding and forage too. He was amusing to watch - with his eyes set so
high on his head, he was constantly keeping a lookout for possible attack
from above, but that need warred with his need to feed, which required him
to look down from time to time. What a dilemma. Soras were a little more
wary than the Virginias, and John and I saw only one, a juvenile near the
creek. Also on view, numerous shorebirds (leasts, westerns and dowitchers)
and an overflying bittern.

With such success in the early morning, we decided to forge ahead to Rock
Candy Mountain and the Capitol Forest, where we hoped to encounter hermit
warblers. Alas, the rain got heavier and the fog thickened to the point
where we could hardly see a thing. We kept giving up, driving down the
mountain, encountering better weather, thinking the front had moved on,
driving back up the mountain, only to encounter dreadful conditions, and
then repeating the above. We went back and forth three times, until we could
identify such landmarks as, "Oh, there are those two big puddles we passed
before. There's that big brush pile again." We got so good at navigating the
Minotaurean maze up there that we had dirt bikers following our lead. It was
very funny to be leading people who were tricked out in breathing-tubed
helmets and teflon-coated riding suits riding fancy mud-guarded motorcycles,
while we were driving our little suburban Honda Civic and my husband, from
time to time, would haul out his laptop computer to work on calculations. No
birds to distract us, unfortunately.

By the way, you should know that the C line has been closed due to a washout
of the road. We saw the "Road Closed" sign soon after we turned off from Hwy
8 onto Rock Candy Mountain Road, but we disregarded it, thinking it was
homeowners not wanting to put up with hordes of weekend visitors. But
shortly after coming to the house on the left of that road, we saw a big
shovel truck parked across the road, blocking it. Nothing daunted, we drove
all the way around to the Delphi entrance, then backtracked our way down
C-4000 to the main C Line road, thinking we could probably sneak under the
arm of the shovel truck. That's when we encountered the washout. Oh well. We
turned around, as did the line of bikers following us (!) and drove all the
way back, giving us another opportunity not to see any birds in the fog.
Such is birding. - Connie, Seattle

csidles at isomedia.com

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