[Tweeters] Ridgefield NWR: Rough-legged Hawk irruption and A. White Pelican

wheelermombi at comcast.net wheelermombi at comcast.net
Sun Nov 11 15:57:03 PST 2007

Hi Tweeters,

I have been kind of blown away by work the past couple of weeks, and haven't kept up with Tweeters posting, so I'm not sure if anyone else has reported this. While driving the auto tour portion of the refuge, in the field on the left as one is approaching the final major bend in the road before the straight-away back to the main entrance, I noticed a Rough-legged Hawk flying from the ground to the nearby trees. When I looked to the area that it flew from, I noticed another Rough-legged Hawk on the ground a couple of hundred feet from where the first one had been. Then I noticed another, and another. In all, there were 6 of them on the ground, all at least a couple of hundred feet from one another. Most were standing still, but a couple were stalking around, almost as if they were looking for food. I could clearly see their feathery legs whenever they walked into a low patch of vegetation. Very stunning birds close up! This was around 11:15. I had seen one earlier, so!
on afte
r entering the refuge, hovering above the ground in a typical manner. I don't know if it was one of the birds that I had seen later or if it was an eighth bird. I'm curious to know if any of you folks have ever seen a similar concentration of this species in Washington?

The other bird of note was a lone A. White Pelican I first saw soaring overhead while I was walking to the photo blind. I spotted it twice after that (I assume that it was the same bird). I have never seen one on the west side of the Cascades before. Is this a fairly uncommon occurrence?

Other birds of note: At least 150 Tundra Swans visible from the photo blind; lots of Red-tailed Hawks, including a beautiful very dark morph and also Harlan'sl; 1 A. Kestrel; 1 Bald Eagle; more than a dozen Great Egrets, and large numbers of the more typical winter water bird species. I must have seen at least 10 nutria also, which is more than I typically see. I wonder if this invasive species is becoming even more numerous, or if they just happened to be in the open more than is usual today.

Good birding,

Lonnie Somer
Olympia, WA
wheelermombi at comcast.net
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