[Tweeters] Skagit Waterthrush, Pine Grosbeak and more

merlinmania at comcast.net merlinmania at comcast.net
Mon Jan 1 19:38:38 PST 2007

Hi Tweets,

Today Marissa Benavente, Penny Rose, Fred Boesche and I decided to kick off our New Year's birding adventures in the Skagit area.
We headed to Stanwood STP first where we were treated to the sight of a Barn Owl flying about in the dull morning light (around 8:30) before
apparently settling down into some conifers. We didn't spot anything unusual among the waterfowl but they were a little hard to see as
the birders who walked in ahead of us flushed them all down to the far end - wonder why they didn't just use the scopes they were carrying...
(Yeah, I know, I get crankier every year). Near the Stillaguamish we spotted a Northern Shrike along Thomle Rd and a Rough-legged Hawk
off of Boe Rd. We had two more shrikes on the day - one near the entry to the Skagit Game Range and one in the marsh off the Skagit North
Fork Access.

At the Game Range on Fir Island we walked about 1/2 way out the "river dike" (the trail nearer the boat launch). About 75 yds down the trail
Marissa spotted a WHITE-THROATED SPARROW with a small flock of juncos along the river and maybe another 50 yards down we spotted one
female/immature PINE GROSBEAK calling from atop an alder in the corn fields. It was just close enough to see without having to go into
the muddy fields.

We relocated the NORTHERN WATERTHRUSH a bit further on yet. From the beginnin of the dike trail at the boat launch we walked a short
ways (100 feet?) before the trail begins a long straightaway (perhpas 75 yds long) before making a left turn. The Waterthrush was just before
this turn where a small juniper bush pokes into the trail from the river side. We heard it calling and after several minutes it popped into
sight for a brief look. It then promptly fell quiet and dissapeared. If this bird wasn't calling we would never have found it.

A few other highlights include 4-6 female Purple Finches and a dozen Meadowlarks at Big Ditch. We turned back home after birding the North
Fork on Fir Island. The weather was very cold and windy today with scattered showers.

It was a good day.

good birding,

Jim Flynn
Seattle, WA

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