[Tweeters] Carnation Marsh
louise.rutter at eelpi.gotdns.org
Thu Dec 20 19:22:12 PST 2007
When I woke up this morning, I decided it felt like a Swamp Sparrow Day, and
headed out to Carnation Marsh to spend some time pishing at brambles and
reeds. When I arrived, the intermittent sun didn't seem to have inspired the
birds to any great amount of activity - robins decorated the treetops, but
otherwise all was silent and still. The explanation swept by five minutes
later in the form of an immature Cooper's Hawk, pursued by two crows. The
hawk dropped into a tree, spread its wings and tail wide until the whole
bird looked like an inverted fan, and shook itself at the crows for over a
minute. Sadly, the crows weren't at all deterred by this demonstration, and
the hawk headed out a couple of minutes later, still with its entourage.
Cooper's Hawk making snow angels:
A beautiful bird and a fascinating interaction, but not the best possible
start to a session of seeking out shy little passerines!
My early birding understandably resulted in very little, but as I made my
way further north, away from that area of the marsh, things started to liven
up. My pishings set the fox sparrows ticking like little metronomes, and the
towhees took up their wailings all around. There were song sparrows aplenty,
of course, a nice opportunity to see the variation in their plumage styles.
It's always fascinating to watch an apparently lifeless, barren patch of
bramble erupt into little bouncing birds in response to such a simple sound.
It just doesn't get old.
I pished in black-capped chickadees and golden-crowned kinglets, several
Bewick's wrens, and that tiniest of undergrowth flitters, the winter wren.
It's always great to see an old British friend that isn't an evil alien
invader, hanging sideways from a vertically curving bramble stem. A pair of
bald eagles glided their way over the fields across the road. And then
another bush turned up a cautious little grey-faced sparrow, with a thin
dark line behind the eye, and for a moment I thought I was there - then it
crept out a little further, and turned to watch me, revealing the beautiful
rich buffy breast of a Lincoln's sparrow. Not my intended after all, but a
delightful find a little after noon, as the rain moved in and the
I left without my swamp sparrow, and a little dry-mouthed from all the
pishing, but enjoyed a pleasant morning's outing all the same.
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