[Tweeters] Raptors - Greater Seattle Areas

Lynn & Carol Schulz linusq at worldnet.att.net
Thu Nov 29 09:04:56 PST 2007

Hi Tweets:
I wanted to tell about some last-weekend sightings of raptors at Juanita Bay Park in
Kirkland. Also, I'll mention a great article about Peregrine Falcons which is in the
Seattle PI today.
Last Sat, Nov 24, a combined Audubon field trip from Rainier and Tahoma Audubons
traveled north to two parks along the east shore of Lake Washington. We first
visited New Castle Beach Park between Renton and Bellevue. We exited from I-405 at
exit 9, and drove down to the park on Lake WA. 3 BALD EAGLES flew about the area,
and two of them ended up perched on the large dead tree that can be seen from the
I-405 Cold Creek Parkway exit. We walked out on the docks to view the various ducks
including over 200 CANVASBACK'S and saw an eagle-prey sight right below us on a swim
raft. It looked like a partially-plucked Amer. Coot. A crow came in to feed on it.

>From there we traveled north to Juanita Bay Park, exiting I-405 at NE 116th St north

of Kirkland. Over at Juanita Bay on Lake WA, we had a raptor show. After arriving
at about 11am, we started walking the grassy area near the parking lot, and almost
immediately viewed an immature COOPER'S HAWK (COHA). When the COHA ducked and flew
back, we looked up as a rapidly flying MERLIN flew directly over us at high speed.
We walked down to the viewing boardwalk and saw a BALD EAGLE fly in. It flew to the
pilings in the center of the bay. Then it flew around the pilings, and actually did
some hovering as it swooped and flew low. Then it swooped down between the pilings
and came up with a prey. It settled on one of the pilings and ate the prey, which
was an American Coot. We watched this through scopes. Very cool. Another Bald
Eagle flew in, but it flew over and perched in a tall cottonwood tree on the north
side of the bay. We walked about the boardwalks and also had very-close views of 5
WILSON'S SNIPE, and of two River Otters. The imm COHA flew in a perched giving us
lots of close views.
We sat to eat at a picnic table near the parking lot, and the MERLIN (MERL) swooped
over the grass, and right over our heads. Roger Orness was with us, and as we walked
north on the old road/trail, he figured out that the Merlin could possibly be viewed
perched in the tops of the trees that are just south of the grassy area. He looked
back, and sure enough, the MERL was perched in the top of the tallest fir which has a
flat top. We viewed it through our scopes. Suddenly it flew, and Roger waited a few
minutes, and then searched again. The MERL had a prey and was perched in the top of
a fir which is on the west side of the grassy area near the water. The fir tree has
a dead top. We watched the MERL eat the prey as we walked back to the grassy area to
get a closer look. It was about 2pm. The MERL remained there for over 20 minutes.
The MERL was a Columbarius subspecies and it was eating something Amer. Robin-sized.
Wow, what a great view of this uncommon falcon! I want to thank everyone at Juanita
Bay who helped us view birds on Saturday.

Now, today, Thurs, Nov 29, the Seattle PI Getaways section has a large, very-detailed
article by Fiona Cohen about viewing PEREGRINE FALCONS (PEFA) in Seattle. Ed Deal
and Martin Muller led a SAS group to various areas to see these birds. (The SAS
newsletter says they led it on Nov 18, '07.) The falcons love bridges and office
towers. The group observed the birds courting, calling, flying, and perching, and
the leaders read the bands and ID'd the individual birds. These city PEFA's even use
the thermals in rising steam, and can fly over 200mph! The huge article states that
falcons have moved into the following urban "cliffs": WAMU bldg downtown, the Ballard
Bridge, the Port of Seattle's grain terminal, the West Seattle Bridge, the First Ave
South Bridge, and the Ship Canal Bridge.
The article states that the DOT and Seattle City Light tried to lure a pair of PEFA's
away from the First Ave Bridge and nearby power lines. They installed a pole nearby,
with perches and a state-of the art nest box.
"'It all seemed to be working fine until the last days. They're sitting in the nest
box. They're perched on it. They're plucking dead birds on it. And then - boom! -
they've laid eggs on the bridge.' Instead of the clean pea gravel of the nest box,
the falcons chose an expansion joint of the bridge lined with cigarette butts and
other litter. They nested there in 2006 and 2007."
On the day of the field trip the female PEFA was perched on the pole. She had a full
crop. She had eaten that morning.
This was a great article in the Getaways section of the PI.

Report by Carol Schulz
Des Moines, WA
linusq at att.net

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