[Tweeters] Skagit shorebirds & Neotropic migrants

Gary Bletsch garybletsch at yahoo.com
Sun Sep 3 12:36:20 PDT 2006


Dear Tweeters,

Saturday was a good day for shorebirds in Skagit
County, although, so far, we are not having a fall to
match last year's bonanza.

The Skagit River at Lyman was extremely low, as low as
I ever recall seeing it, with acres of sandbars. There
were three SEMIPALMATED PLOVER with four Least
Sandpipers there. We don't get many inland
Semipalmated Plovers. Two Wilson's Snipe were also
there, as was an interesting collection of waterfowl:
four Pied-billed Grebes, at least four late
BLUE-WINGED TEAL, a Green-winged Teal, three Common
Mergansers, and an early RING-NECKED DUCK. 

At Channel Drive were seven Greater Yellowlegs, a
Lesser Yellowlegs, a handful of Least and Western
Sandpipers, one SHORT-BILLED DOWITCHER, one
Long-billed Dowitcher, and two RED-NECKED PHALAROPES.
There were also two early BUFFLEHEADS. I had never
before seen a Bufflehead in September in Skagit
County. Actually, I had never seen the species
anywhere during September! There were also a few
American Pipits flying over the Channel Drive ponds.

Green Point was pretty slow for seabirds. There were
two Marbled Murrelets, one Rhinoceros Auklet, and one
Pigeon Guillemot. Only a few Glaucous-winged Gulls
were present, and no other gull species identified. 

At March's Point was a single BLACK TURNSTONE on the
usual pier. A flock of four Canada Geese on the
Padilla Bay shoreline of March's Point was accompanied
by one smaller Canada Goose-type, possibly a Cackling.
It had a small bill and small size overall. The
plumage looked a bit smudgy and dull. Perhaps it was
just a young Canada? Also of note at March's Point
were the Double-crested Cormorants--over 510 of them!

Today on Cockreham Island just east of Lyman, a nice
flock of passerines paused to feed near the "Etach
Slough East" bridge, which is a good spot for
migrants. There were two Willow Flycatchers, two
Red-eyed Vireos, one Yellow Warbler, one
Black-throated Grey Warbler, two Common Yellowthroats,
two Lincoln's Sparrows, and one Western Tanager.
Meanwhile, the south ponds at Cockreham Island have
shrunk to about as small as they ever get, with nary a
shorebird to be seen.

Hundreds of American Crows and Eurasian Starlings
continue to feed on chicken manure that has been
spread on hayfields in the Lyman area. In turn, a few
Red-tailed Hawks, accipiters, and Northern Harriers
have passed by, perhaps trying to catch some of the
manure-feeding birds.




Yours truly,

Gary Bletsch

near Lyman (Skagit County), Washington

garybletsch at yahoo.com


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