[Tweeters] Stanwood Swans...Ruffed Grouse (Ozette)

Judy Taylor gaviapacifica at verizon.net
Sat Nov 4 14:54:19 PST 2006


Greetings Tweeters,

I had to run an errand in Stanwood this morning so I
cut over Miller Road to look for swans along the way. 
There was a small flock of 9 (5 adults and 4 dark
juveniles)in the field that is SW of the intersection
of Miller Road and the RR tracks.  As far as I could
tell with my binoculars and judging by size, they were
Trumpeter Swans.  Lots of crows in the other fields!

This is a bit tardy, but a lifer for me, so here
goes....

I took one of my mad-as-a-hatter day trips on October
30th, to the coast.  Despite it being the coldest
morning we have had to date (27 degrees F) with heavy
frost at my place in Warm Beach (Warm - Hah!), I got
up at a quarter ‘til 4 in the morning in order to
catch the 5:50 a.m. ferry out of Edmonds.  I got to
the Lake Ozette campground and parking lot before
10:30 so had a couple of hours to hike to the ocean
before the tide turned.  Only two other folks were
there. They were ahead of me a bit and took the Cape
Alva trail at the split and I choose the Sand Point
trail out so I could loop back via the Cape Alva
trail, which I had hiked before.  I didn’t see them
again until I had hiked past Wedding Rocks.  On the
Sand Point trail I encountered a flock of at least a
dozen Red Crossbills, a mix of red males and yellow
females.  

It was pretty nippy and there was still a crusting of
frost on the driftwood when I reached the beach.  The
tide was way out so I spent a couple hours hiking the
rocky expanse under the watchful eye of a couple adult
Bald Eagles.  There was a tremendous amount of bull
kelp and other sea vegetation in deep blobs all along
the 3 miles to Cape Alva, which made for a slippery
experience.  In addition to DC Cormorants, and a Great
Blue Heron, there were quite a few ducks, out too far
for me to ID; but I did get good looks at one
Harlequin Duck and four Hooded Mergansers.  The
mergansers – three males parading and “generally
showing off” for a single female - were in a sheltered
section near shore.  I also noted a couple of
Red-breasted Mergansers.

I headed back via the Cape Alva trail around 3 p.m. 
The section of the trail that goes up/down hill to the
beach is nearly eroded away in a couple of spots! 
Just as I got the second flat and straight section of
trail through an area that had been cleared several
years ago (noticeable plant succession has occurred
since I first hiked this trail four years ago), a
Ruffed Grouse hopped up onto the boardwalk.  This was
a lifer sighting for me.  I believe it was a male
bird.  At first I thought he was displaying when he
fanned his tail feathers and appeared to hunker down. 
Another look through the binoculars showed that he was
actually descending a step on the boardwalk rather
than hunkering down (maybe also displaying)!  No
high-fashion model ever traversed a runway with more
poise and elegance than this grouse as he walked along
ahead of me, fanning his tail, looking side to side,
and gracefully stepping down each time he came to a
step.  After several minutes of this excellent viewing
experience, he flew off to a tall evergreen at the
edge of the clearing and I hurried on.  It was plenty
cold!  There were actually still patches of frost on
some sections of the trail.  It was my lucky day
however
as I drove the Lake Ozette road on the way
home, I saw another Ruffed Grouse along the berm. 
He/She ducked back into the grass pretty quickly, but
not before I got a good look.

Cheers!
Judy


Judy Rowe Taylor
Warm Beach, WA
gaviapacifica at verizon.net
"Love a Loony Day!"


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