[Tweeters] promising "new" Skagit birding locale

Gary Bletsch garybletsch at yahoo.com
Mon Nov 28 06:59:25 PST 2005


Dear Tweeters,

Over the long weekend I finally got around to birding
the Northern State Recreation Area, a county park just
east of Sedro-Woolley in Skagit County. This site is
being made into a park for walkers, bicyclists, and
equestrians. It is located on the grounds of the old
Northern State Hospital dairy farm. It's a big park.

To get there, drive east on SR 20 from Sedro-Woolley,
then turn right (north) onto Helmick Road, less than
two miles east of town. Drive a few hundred yards up
Helmick and park in the huge lot on the left, out in
the field, or go up the hill a few hundred yards more
and park at a smaller lot by the dairy buildings.
Wander from there.

In the past I have seen BARN OWLS here at night. The
old dairy buildings (which are off-limits to entry)
were full of pellets as of yesterday.

The hedgerows here were teeming with Song, Fox, and
Golden-crowned Sparrows, plus Spotted Towhees. It
seems a likely spot for the less common species of
sparrows, too.

Bird of the day Sunday was a Northern Pygmy Owl, way
up the trail that goes northwest past the old
smokestack (closer to the hospital grounds proper),
near an old metal sign warning of buried high-voltage
lines.

There is usually a pair of Red-tailed Hawks here, and
lately an American Kestrel, too. Six Trumpeter Swans
flew over on Sunday; I used to see them in fields near
here, before too many structures were built.

I think that, come spring, the place will be jumping
with neotropic migrants, judging by the variety of
habitats. There are deciduous forest patches, small
groves of evergreens, fields, creeks, wet meadows, and
lots of messy hedgerows.





Yours truly,

Gary Bletsch

near Lyman (Skagit County), Washington

garybletsch at yahoo.com




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